-We probably need to start with Mike Conway, who simply ran away with the first race and drove for an absolutely brilliant podium in the second. We're pretty clearly to the point that if I'm an IndyCar owner and I need a fill-in for a road/street event, Conway is at the top of my list. He looked as if he were an IndyCar among Lights cars at some points on the weekend, which is just incredible when you consider the current DW-12 machine and how it's raced.
-Simon Pagenaud is one of the truly nice guys in racing, and it's great to see a guy who's had such a long and winding road to this point make good. The closing laps, where Pagenaud, James Jakes, and Conway were all just driving their tails off on Sunday, was what IndyCar should be all about. Let's not forget Davey Hamilton in all this, who is a great guy, as well, and garnered a well-deserved win as part-owner.
-Big kudos to James Jakes as well. Even before the Indy 500 last month, I was chatting with several other blogger and journalist types about how it seems as if he's really grown a lot since joining this series. When you think of the times last year when it seemed as if he was likely on his way out of his ride and/or the series, it's a pretty tremendous transformation. One podium does not a career make, but I like how he's driving right now. If we also take Conway into account, the British have apparently decided to take vengeance for 1776 by kicking the crap out of the field in IndyCar.
-Let's face it: the first half of Sunday's race was an absolute mess. We hadn't seen a wrecking crew out there like that in some time, and perhaps we've become a bit spoiled. I saw some folks on social media absolutely flipping out over it, as if it were the new normal, or we haven't had a season of amazing racing so far this year. Hey, if you're a race fan for any amount of time, you're going to run into some races that are total duds. That wasn't one of them, as the second half of the racing was full of really excellent action--just a great fight that kept you in suspense. Hopefully, no one burned their 500 programs in anger and penned an indignant blog post around Lap 30, because the rest of the race was pretty spiffy.
|Behold the Coyne/Conway juggernaut.|
(Courtesy IndyCar Media. Image by Chris Jones)
-Unfortunately, the ABC broadcast crew in the booth didn't seem to key in on the fact they were watching some great racing, because they again failed to have much excitement in their voices. I don't necessarily need my race announcers to sound like the booth guy at a Mexican soccer game, but there has to be some inflection and situational awareness of what's happening in the race. You got the idea that Godzilla could have rampaged through Turn 3 and all we would have got from the announcers was a comment on how it would impact driver fatigue. Guys, this is the best racing going right now. Let's act like it.
-Marco Andretti wasn't contending for the victory in either race this weekend, but he grabbed two Top 10s and remained in the championship lead (well, tied, at least). That was absolutely huge, especially on a Sunday that saw so much attrition. By the way, teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay is looking good points-wise, especially after a Saturday podium and being able to mitigate some of the damage on Sunday by getting back out there.
-Will Power's "champ to chump" comment in regards to Sebastien Bourdais was absolutely hilarious. I also liked his explanation on the IMS Radio Network about "showing the Frenchman [his] displeasure with him". Not sure I'm down with the glove throwing, but either way, a tough season just got tougher for the once-dominant driver.
-The parity this year is absolutely amazing. Six winners in seven races. No Penske or Ganassi winners?
-I'll save the aerokit discussion and planned lifecycle of DW-12 development for another day--way too much to discuss on top of everything else. Plus, it's good to remember this is still "big picture" discussion--let's see how the fine details play out.
-Other Notes: I will again try to have fantasy points updated by Tuesday or Wednesday. This quick turnaround is making things chaotic!...Helio Castroneves is also remaining a strong candidate for the championship with another Top 10 finish Sunday after a P5 Saturday. He is tied with Marco now atop the standings...Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti also had a great weekend--could Ganassi be finding their feet this season after a wild start?...Sebastian Saavedra's P10 Sunday was the first Top 10 all season for Dragon Racing...It's tough to imagine that race weekend going much worse for AJ Allemdinger. I still hope we see him back soon...I think I like the doubleheader formats, but I'm curious to see if there are any tweaks at the others this year...If you didn't catch it, Alex Tagliani sounded irritated at the double-file restarts after his crash Sunday, implying they were the cause of much of the carnage...Seeing who will fill in at Dale Coyne's 2nd car for the rest of the season should be interesting--you'd have to think some sort of Mike Conway/Ana Beatriz/Pippa Mann combo would make a nice slice of the fan base happy one way or the other (and I'm still holding out hope for Stefan Wilson, too).