Saturday, June 6, 2015

First Impressions: Texas 2015

1. Scott Dixon was the man to beat. Unlike pack racing, Texas is now a nonstop sprint. You can't go off strategy; you can't conserve fuel. If you don't go all out, you will go a lap down and once you go one lap down, you are screwed. Dixon went all out and won. 

2. Tony Kanaan made it a Ganassi 1-2 and had a decent battle with Kanaan. Ultimately, Dixon was able to go further on the final round of pit stops and beat Kanaan by 7.8 seconds. Not a bad race for either driver.

3. Hélio Castroneves came home third. He wasn't quite as good as the Ganassi drivers but was able to keep up the pace to stay on the lead lap. Same can be said for Juan Pablo Montoya, who finished fourth.

4. Marco Andretti and Carlos Muñoz did 54 and 55 laps respectively on their final stints and came home fifth and sixth. Andretti was able to say on the lead lap but was running nearly 10 MPH slower than the leaders. Muñoz was the first car one lap down. Not the 1-2 they had at Belle Isle but it could have been worse.

5. Charlie Kimball had another nice race. Seventh place. This is what Kimball does. He qualifies mid-pack but finds a way to finish in the top ten by just bringing equipment home in one piece.

6. Ryan Briscoe finished eighth. It is indefensible that Francesco Dracone has more starts than Briscoe this season. From 19th to sixth. And now he is off to Le Mans to try and accomplish the Endurance Racing Triple Crown with Jan Magnussen and Antonio García after winning the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. After Le Mans, somebody should get him in a car for the rest of the IndyCar season. He can drive anything and drive it well. 

7. James Jakes finished ninth. He runs well at two tracks: Belle Isle and Texas. And NOLA when it rains. 

8. Gabby Chaves scored consecutive top ten finishes. Good for him. And he did it beating Simon Pagenaud, Sage Karam and Will Power. The latter three could have finished better. Both Pagenaud and Power just seem to fade as the night went on and Power scraped the wall but was able to continue. Karam also had to make an unscheduled pit stop that dropped him out of it. Not a great night for Power as Montoya extended his championship lead.

9. Sébastien Bourdais scored his best finish at Texas in 14th. Graham Rahal faded early and finished 15th. Takuma Sato did nothing and finished 16th. Pippa Mann did nothing and finished 17th. Ryan Hunter-Reay couldn't back up his final practice pace and finished 18th. Stefano Coletti held on for dear life and finished 19th. That's the rest of the finishers.

10. Tristan Vautier retired. Josef Newgarden and Ed Carpenter retired. Carpenter said his engine failed but he was two laps down, had no shot of turning it around and probably thought it be better to end CFH's night early and not tear up more equipment as Toronto beckons on the horizon in a week. Jack Hawksworth was out before completing 100 miles.

11. One caution in this race for debris and it lasted 10 laps. I doubt there was any debris. With that said, if there was debris, it shouldn't take 10 laps to clean up. Realize the amount of laps under yellow has something to do with the pace and they were doing 100 MPH under caution. That's pretty quick. Maybe slow the caution pace to 50 MPH, especially if they want to sweep the track. Other than that, race control did... well. There wasn't much they could have screwed up tonight.

12. Good news, no accidents. A few "mechanical" failures but those are much cheaper fixes.

13. I thought this was a decent race. Once again, Texas is different than it once was. One slip up and you are out of contention for the victory. I hope Texas returns to the schedule next year but we will have to wait and see. If it doesn't, it doesn't and we will have to move on. If it does, than great. 

14. And now IndyCar heads north to Toronto. The good news is there will only be one race at Toronto this year so the teams get a little bit of a break before actually getting a week off. Remember those IndyCar teams and drivers? Do you remember what a week off is? They all deserve it.