Monday, July 8, 2013

Poconotes; Or, Reign Honda

-What a difference a couple of weeks makes. After a dominant performance by Honda on fuel mileage and a sweep on the podium by the Ganassi crew, you certainly didn't hear any complaints about Honda Performance Development this weekend! It was exactly the sort of weekend HPD and Chip Ganassi Racing needed to have to restore confidence and keep this from being a "lost season". And don't look now, but Scott Dixon has crept to only 65 points behind Helio Castroneves for the title...

-After dominating the early part of the weekend, winning pole position, and leading the most laps, Marco Andretti had to feel absolutely destroyed that the best he could do was hold serve in the championship standings. Fuel strategy shortfalls, and the lack of even a single yellow after the first part of the race meant Marco was lucky to hold on to a Top 10 result. What looked to be a breakthrough sort of week is going to go down as another missed opportunity.

-Charlie Kimball was at his Charlie Kimballest, if that makes sense. He just very quietly, without fanfare, goes about his business, whether it's a Top 15, Top 10, or a podium. I really thought he might have something for Dixon at the end, but he just didn't quite have enough time.

-What a horrible mistake in the pits by Takuma Sato. It was bad enough he ended what was shaping up to be at least a Top 5 finish for Foyt, but he also knocked Ryan Hunter-Reay to 23 points behind Helio Castroneves in the standings. It was a disappointing mental lapse by Taku, and I say that as one of his well-wishers. It was hoped he was beyond such obvious errors, but apparently not. Still, at least he fully owned it when interviewed--not that it's any consolation to RHR.

-It was Honda's day, but you have to wonder how Tony Kanaan would have fared over the last pit windows had he not clipped his nose (note, ABC: not "front nose"; there's just one) when passing Scott Dixon. At least he can still win 2/3 of the Triple Crown if he wins the season finale, and that means a $250,000 bonus. I have a feeling that if the INDYCAR Triple Crown continues, it's going to be a Herculean task for any driver to accomplish in this era.

-I mentioned earlier about manufacturers and teams having the weekend they needed. Well, you can say the same of Carlos Munoz, who finally somewhat slowed Sage Karam's momentum on the ovals by winning the Firestone Indy Lights contest on Saturday going away. Karam still finished P2 after a good fight with Gaby Chaves, but he's now trailing Munoz by a mere four points heading into the Streets of Toronto next weekend. Stay tuned.

-There's just no disputing it: Pocono was made for INDYCAR, in all senses of the expression. It sounded as if everyone was happy with the crowd, and early returns seem favorable indeed. I thought the race was really enjoyable, with some good action and a healthy dollop of strategy and engine competition, and I can't wait to see IndyCar back there once again. Sincere thanks to everyone who had a part in making it happen.

-How awesome was that black bear on the post-race broadcast? If I was the Firestone Firehawk, I'd be careful of wandering too far from the Tricky Triangle.

-Other Notes: Congrats to Pippa Mann on getting the second Coyne car home cleanly, and getting Cyclops Gear some air time in the process...Thanks to ABC Sports for some good post-race coverage. That's the last ABC race of the season; we'll see if there are any changes to the broadcast team on the offseason...I'm sure it wasn't what he had in mind, but it was great to have James Hinchcliffe in the booth after his early crash...Josef Newgarden's Top 5 was relatively quiet, but a fine result for Sarah Fisher's team, and I thought he gave a great interview after the race.

1 comment:

  1. Poconotes, huh? The only reason I mock that title is because I did not think of it. And the nickname of West Virginia's Poca High School athletic teams is the Dots. Yep, the Poca Dots. Just thought you would want to know.