Random Thoughts On Texas

Some of the words coming from the drivers immediately after the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 at Texas Motor Speedway were “Crazy”, “Wild”, “Fun”, “Close” and “Fast”. There were other words coming from the driver’s mouths that I’ve chosen not to print. After all, this is a family site. But the most dreaded term in the minds of many fans of the Verizon IndyCar Series that came from Saturday night’s race was “pack-racing”.

I’ll admit that I am torn on this. There is one side of me that loves seeing the side-by-side racing that defines the old IRL style of racing at the various 1.5-mile ovals that the series frequented a decade ago. Unlike Belle Isle a week ago when I fell asleep in the middle of the race, there was no dozing off on Saturday night. My heart rate was up as I watched one close call after another. The problem was that there were too few close calls, because what looked like might be a close call ended up being another crash.

The logical side of me however, says that pack-racing needs to go away and never come back. It was pack-racing at Las Vegas in 2011 that ultimately led to Dan Wheldon being fatally injured. Pack-racing also led to the frightening crashes by Kenny Bräck and Davey Hamilton at Texas and Ryan Briscoe at Chicago in the 2000’s – all of which suffered devastating career-threatening injuries. Each would eventually drive again, but Briscoe is the only one that returned to their previous form.

Although there appeared to be no injuries from Saturday night’s multitude of crashes, the repair bill incurred by many teams is likely to be astronomical. Dale Coyne Racing presumably operates on the smallest budget in the paddock among the full-time teams. His repair bill for crashed cars since the middle of May is likely more than he has budgeted for. I’m assuming that the car that Sébastien Bourdais crashed during his qualifying attempt for the Indianapolis 500 is a complete write-off. Add to that the crashed car of James Davison in the latter stages of the race and two wrecked cars from Saturday night and Dale Coyne’s wallet is much lighter than planned today.

He wasn’t the only one. Ed Carpenter racing limped out of Texas with both race cars damaged, and AJ Foyt had one of his two cars badly damaged in one of the many on-track melees.

The damage wasn’t limited to the smaller teams. Andretti Autosport had three of their four cars sustain heavy crash damage, while Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske lost two of their four cars to the heavy attrition. All in all, there were only nine cars on track when the checkered flag flew, and only six of those were on the lead lap.

Oh, and by the way – Will Power won the crash-fest, mostly by staying out front and guarding the bottom of the race track for 180 of the 248 laps. By doing so, he picked up fifty-three much-needed points and moved up to fifth in a championship battle he had no part of just a few weeks ago.

Scott Dixon was in a battle with Power late in the race. You figured he was good for at least second-place, even if he could not get by Power. But Takuma Sato lost control when he dropped his front-wheel off into the grass and took out an unsuspecting Dixon, as he was trying to regain control. But with so much attrition, crashing out three laps before the finish was still good enough for ninth place and to keep Dixon in the points lead – partially due to the retirements of Sato and Helio Castroneves.

There has to be a happy medium for racing at Texas. Races at Texas in 2009 and 2013 were rendered very boring by changes made by the series in an attempt to eliminate pack-racing. They ended up being just unwatchable parades. I did not consider last year’s Texas race that was completed in August to be pack-racing. Instead, it was close racing – there’s a difference.

Saturday night’s race was pack-racing, plain and simple. When it is pulled off successfully, it’s great for fans, great for ratings and creates a buzz over the next week like nothing else. But things can go wrong in a hurry and when they do, they can go terribly wrong. We got lucky Saturday night. Everyone walked away. Some walked away mad, but they still walked away.

I liked the white-knuckle feeling I had in the safety of my den. I was exhausted, yet exhilarated when the race was over on Saturday night. While I don’t like crashes, I know that they are part of the sport. I also know that death and injuries are part of the sport, but all steps need to be taken to avoid them from happening. Safety measures on the track and in the cockpit are why we still have Sébastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon with us after their crashes in May. A plan needs to be developed for Texas to provide great racing while separating the cars. Is that possible? I don’t know. But that’s why those in their respective positions are paid the big bucks. Here’s another case where they will earn their money.

TV Coverage: Kevin Lee was in the booth at Texas for the second time since August, filling in for Leigh Diffey who was busy this weekend with his Formula One duties for the Canadian Grand Prix. Diffey is away a lot with similar conflicts, and IndyCar is given substitutes like Lee, Brian Till or Rick Allen. All of them are capable fill-ins, but I think the time has come for NBCSN to name a permanent anchor. For years, Paul Page did every Indy car race we watched. We grew so accustomed to his voice, style and delivery we felt like we knew him. We need that familiarity today.

For my money, NBCSN could not go wrong handing the entire gig over to Kevin Lee. Those of us that have listened to Trackside on a weekly basis over the years feel like we know him. He is knowledgeable and passionate about our sport. Most importantly, he is one of us – a fan, who wants to see this series succeed. What I like most about Kevin Lee sounds simple and stupid, but carries a lot of weight – he smiles during his broadcasts. A smile can come through over the phone or on a broadcast. On the few times they showed him Saturday night, Lee had a genuine smile on his face, probably because he was doing something he was genuinely excited about.

I also thought he meshed well with his broadcast partners, Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell. While I was critical of Katie Hargitt early in the season, she was on top of her game Saturday night and had an excellent interview with Chip Ganassi, where she got to the point and asked if Tony Kanaan was at fault in the accident that took out a slew of cars. She didn’t beat around the bush and lead off with a series of soft balls. She got right into it.

Overall, I thought NBCSN had an excellent kickoff to their stretch run of covering the remainder of the Verizon IndyCar Series races for the season. Here’s hoping they continue to remain strong.

Blame Tony: Saturday night and Sunday morning on social media, it seemed to be a popular theme to blame Tony Kanaan for all that is wrong in the world today. From initiating the crash that took out Alexander Rossi and the crash that started when Kanaan came up into James Hinchcliffe, to global warming and world hunger – Tony Kanaan seemed to be the focal point for all.

Of course, I exaggerate – but he caught a massive amount of grief for his role in a couple of incidents. For the record, while I put a lot of the Rossi crash on Scott Dixon, I consider Kanaan at fault in the Hinchcliffe crash – partially. But I also put some blame on Hinchcliffe’s teammate, Mikhail Aleshin for making it three-wide going into Turn Three and not backing off. It cost both Schmidt Peterson cars the race, along with several of their competitors. I don’t know if Kanaan’s spotter alerted him to Hinch being to his right or if Kanaan just misjudged things.

But this much I do know – Tony Kanaan is a clean racer and has been in situations like this in the past where he didn’t put a wheel wrong. Without being a racer myself, I’d bet that before Saturday night – if you went up and down the paddock and asked who was the cleanest racer out there, most would say Tony Kanaan. I know some accuse me of being a TK apologist because I’m a big fan of his. Well, I’m a fan of a lot of drivers out there but I’m also a realist. If I see that someone screwed up, I say it.

Tony Kanaan has admitted to his role in the Lap 152 crash that took out eight cars. He also served a twenty-second stop-and-hold penalty under green that put him two laps down. Still he managed to work his way back to the front and finished second.

But the sensationalism of social media didn’t care that Kanaan admitted blame and apologized to Hinchcliffe. Nor did they care that Kanaan was served a penalty. It was decided that he must pay the price by being the Target of the Day on Twitter. Marshall Pruett tweeted that “…somewhere between ‘alternative facts’ and guilt lies the truth”. Come on, Marshall. You’re better than that. A motorsports executive came out on Twitter to call out Kanaan’s age (42) and suggest that IndyCar should take away the licenses of all old drivers.

In both cases, neither of those writing the tweets had the guts or decency to tag Kanaan. I know Kanaan saw the one about the age and responded accordingly. I feel sure he also saw the Marshall Pruett tweet, but I never saw a response. He probably considered the source.

I love Twitter. It’s where I get IndyCar news and rumors quickly. I can learn something on Twitter which may take hours to hit mainstream sites. But I also hate Twitter. It is where faceless cowards empowered with anonymity and a keyboard, go to spread their misery. It is an electronic version of the world’s largest bathroom wall.

For those of you under thirty, Tony Kanaan is not a liability out there. He is vastly experienced and still on top of his game. He is not the only one who put a wheel wrong Saturday night due to bad judgment. He is just the focal point because his mistake took out so many cars.

It’s a shame that manning up, being accountable and admitting a mistake is no longer enough. Jay Howard’s inexperience and poor judgment put Scott Dixon’s life at risk in the Indianapolis 500. Yet immediately afterwards, he tried to blame it all on Ryan Hunter-Reay and caught very little flak about it. In my book, Tony Kanaan is the far-better example on how a driver should conduct themselves.

Extended Yellows: There were sixty-six laps of caution and one thirty-minute red flag period for cleanup. Maybe I’m just impatient, but it seemed to me that each caution period was longer than it needed to be. The worst example was when Ed Carpenter spun on a restart on Lap 103. He hit nothing and no debris flew off of his car, yet there were four laps of caution. That gave Carpenter time to pit and change all four tires. Why four laps for nothing, unless they wanted to give him time to rejoin the race?

Good for Gabby:  One of the quieter successes dealt with a driver who did not crash. In fact, for the second race in a row, he kept his nose clean and had a strong finish. Gabby Chaves may be one of the most underrated drivers in the paddock. At Indianapolis, he drove the car for the new team built from scratch – Harding Racing, to a ninth place finish. Saturday night, he managed to stay out of harm’s way and bring the car home in fifth. The team run by Larry Curry plans to run at Pocono later this season, before going full-time in 2018. I’d say they are off to a nice start.

Adorable:  The best one-liner of the night, and perhaps the season came from James Hinchcliffe in his interview after being released from the infield care center. When told that Chip Ganassi suggested that the eight-car pileup may be Hinchcliffe’s fault instead of Tony Kanaan, Hinchcliffe deadpanned with "That’s adorable" and went right into his defense of why it wasn’t. As you can imagine, social media exploded Saturday night and all day Sunday with the word adorable.

Competition Cautions: With continued blistering of the tires, late in the race Firestone decided that they would make mandatory competition cautions, forcing the field to come into the pits and change all four tires after thirty laps of green-flag running. Somewhere, something got lost in the translation. Team Penske decided to pit Josef Newgarden one lap prior to the competition caution. That didn’t satisfy series officials even though the word caution was left out of the memo. Newgarden was brought back in.

Team Penske was not the only ones confused. What if a caution came out and teams wanted to pit then? Did they still have to come in at the thirty-lap mark? Apparently so. It seems to me that such a provision needs to already be in the rulebook, instead of making it up onsite on the fly. Maybe one already exists. But it sure didn’t seem like it Saturday night.

In keeping with my Get off my lawn! theme, I agreed with Paul Tracy. They should have advised the teams that there was a problem with blistering on the tires and let them manage the problem as they saw fit. We saw what competition cautions did for the Brickyard 400. Fans hate them. They should be avoided at all costs.

Welcome Back: While Dale Coyne Racing’s Ed Jones has been in the headlines for what he didn’t win in May, it was his substitute teammate that was stealing the spotlight Saturday night. Tristan Vautier turned heads and dropped jaws as he was the first to successfully make the high-groove work and rode it to the front of the field. His team even tried slowing him down, as they were afraid he would eventually get into trouble in the high lane.

Vautier ended up leading fifteen laps, before getting collected in the Kanaan-Hinchcliffe crash. That is even more impressive when you consider that he had not stepped into an IndyCar since the season-finale at Sonoma in 2015 – almost two years ago.

After the race, Vautier hinted that Dale Coyne had made his decision for the full-time replacement for Sébastien Bourdais and it would not be him – more than likely, Esteban Gutiérrez. If that’s the case, Vautier had one heck of an interview for other potential openings by other teams, later this season. He acquitted himself very nicely.

All in All: Saturday night’s Rainguard Waters Sealer 600 at Texas Motor Speedway was a strange race. Although a few predicted it, including race- winner Will Power – most of the so-called experts thought that the reconfiguration of Turns One and Two would make it a one-groove race track and that the race would be a boring parade. But the high-groove began working after it got rubbered in and the event ended up being a pack-race.

With nine cautions, sixty-six laps of yellow and one red-flag, the race was very disjointed and had no rhythm to it – sort of like the Indianapolis 500 last month. Of course, the big difference in those two races was the ending. The final twelve laps at Indianapolis were thrilling and the last five laps at Texas on Saturday night were run under caution – which was probably a fitting way to finish it.

Much will be discussed in the coming days on how to avoid pack-racing at Texas, while making it still watchable. But since there were no injuries to anyone except to a few egos, I’d have to say that, looking back – Saturday night’s race was a blast!

George Phillips

36 Responses to “Random Thoughts On Texas”

  1. another good blog post. George
    I’ve been a proponent of Kevin Lee – quite capable of helming a broadcast ( as is Bob Varsha).
    I have no problem with oval-racing veteran Kanaan.
    I abhor the artificial ‘competition cautions’ and was amazed that Newgarden was penalized.
    And Bryan Herta was enthused about Gabby Chaves a couple of years ago and would have liked to continue to develop him as a racer.

  2. I think on the Kanaan deal, I was in between the sides, I noted that if Tony was going to make it a habit of racing like this, he needed to hang it up. But he gets a pass on this one at least for his service as a clean driver. IF this becomes a habit though, he needs to go.

    I like Hinch a lot but it seemed like he got a free pass in everything he did, the stupid pit crash and then being in the Tony mess, some of this falls on him also and he didn’t have much of an apologetic tone over the pit crash that was completely his doing, more upset that he got a penalty for that stupid move.

    The competition caution, ugh, the announcers were clueless on it and I don’t blame them at all. Twitter lit up about how “NASCAR” it was. I agree, NASCAR had 3 races in a row end under confusing gimmicks recently, including a completely disputed finish at Texas the night before where the wrong car was given the win. I hate competition cautions, it takes strategy out of the race and that takes excitement away. Let the teams manage it!

    Pack racing, well I know it is scary but I think it is needed. Detroit is not going to win over fans, celebs weren’t tweeting about Detroit but I do think many people watched Texas. I don’t want anyone hurt but some it can happen. We can’t blame pack racing for Justin Wilson’s fatal crash or Jeff Krosnoff, Greg Moore died in the CART era where it wasn’t packs but just a strong draft, etc.

    • “more upset that he got a penalty for that stupid move” I meant to say Hinch was more upset that he got a well-deserved penalty for his actions.

  3. Ron Ford Says:

    I did not watch the race so I have no opinion regarding the crash TK was involved in. I listened to the radio broadcast while driving back from a dirt track race in northern Wisconsin. The IndyCar radio announcers gave no reason for the “competition” yellows. So, just based on what I listened to, I think the fans at the Texas race were short changed.

    As for Twitter, I have made no secret here that I hate Tweets including those from our chief White House twit. George has correctly described them as little more than bathroom wall scribbling, the content hardly worth reporting IMHO. These days no day goes by without someone having to apologize for a tweet.

    The next race at the National Park of Speed should be a good one. I think I can say with confidence that it will be free of competition(?) yellows.

    • Ron, this is a racing site, not a political one, and you should try to remember that half of the people on here don’t agree with your sentiments about our president (and he IS our president whether you like it or not), so try to keep it to racing here, okay old buddy?

      One question though: how can one call whatever you’re calling the “National Park of Speed” (I think you mean Road America?) when one has to slow down to less than 30 mph to negotiate some turns there? I can ride my bicycle faster than that!

      “National Park of Speed,” honestly. We just saw the “National Park of Speed” on Memorial Day at the track with the large National Register of Historic Places sign in front of its Museum. The only place a car goes 30 mph there is in the final few feet before it pits!

      “National Park of Speed,” good one Ron! LOL!

      Phil Kaiser
      Home of the REAL National Park of Speed

      • In defense of Ron (not that he needs my defense), he did not coin the phrase “National Park of Speed” – Road America did. I’ve been to both tracks. As you know, I love IMS and hold it in reverence. But Road America has a feel to it that is hard to explain.

        I’m sure the National Park reference refers to the wilderness aspect. Nowhere else do Indy cars race through a forest. Hurry Downs leading to Canada Corner gives me the impression of what Hockenheim might be like.

        Susan and I loved it so much last year, we are making the nine-hour trek north again next weekend. – GP

      • Olderfan Says:

        I guess if one has to brake, turn left and right, and navigate both high and low speed turns it doesn’t qualify as a real racetrack because, in your estimation, it isn’t Indy. Only left turn, foot flat to the floor, no lift makes it worthy to you, right?

        • Hey old guy, you can try all you want to put words into my mouth but it won’t fly because that’s not what I said. It’s called “racing,” not “speed up to slow down.”

          If you really think Indianapolis is the only oval out there, well, your age is getting to your brain. I have seen your idiotic “only (boring) road courses are real tracks with real drivers” drivel over on RACER.com as well as here, and to me RACING by definition has nothing to do with slowing down to “negotiate” anything! Ever seen a Sprint Car race? Probably not, as they go real fast all the time and it is very dangerous too! Don’t want to keep you on the edge of your seat or anything, right? You might get nervous and have to leave….

          I really don’t care who coined the phrase Road America apparently uses as a slogan, it’s still not a very apt or descriptive slogan for a place where one must slow down to less than 30 mph to “negotiate” something. “Negotiate” in the boardroom and go real racing on an oval.

          • Olderfan Says:

            So basically anything that requires the driver to lose significant speed doesn’t measure up to your standard of “real drivers”. Only Sprint car drivers ever go fast enough to suit you. Nice to know your thought process.

            Good thing the real world doesn’t emulate the Sprint Car/Indycar oval methodolgy for transportation. Only making left turns, and barely using the brakes would make getting somewhere challenging.

            Your statement/quote that “I have seen your idiotic “only (boring) road courses are real tracks with real drivers” drivel over on RACER.com” only shows me that you’re as delusional as you are full of yourself. I’ve never said that, never implied it, and I simply ask you to provide proof. You can’t, because there isn’t any. This is unlike yourself, who apparently doesn’t have any issues with denigrating drivers that DON’T only turn left.

            My respect for the DRIVERS is unlimited. They can do things in a car that you and I can only dream about, and you’ll NEVER see me disparage them. They’re doing what they know how to do, and they are doing it as well as they can. And the fact that in Indycar, they are doing it in front of miniscule attendance (save for one day in May), and “infomercial” levels of TV ratings, makes me respect their dedication even more.

            So go back to playing (badly) in that group you call a band, and the next time you want to debate or argue, here’s a thought: HAVE A POINT! It makes it so much more interesting fpr the reader!


            George: thanks for your efforts with this page. Nice to know someone gets the attraction of ovals AND road racing.

      • tonelok Says:

        Thank you Phil! Well said. I tried to drop the hint on him last seaso and he completely denied that he ever made political references. He lives in Wisconsin and still can’t get over that his state had a huge influence on the election in the other direction. He just can’t help himself. Ron is of the camp that politics should infiltrate everything, proof- see above. I can’t think of anything that chaps my ass more than someone bringing politics to IndyCar racing. One would think this would be one last place to escape it. But no, unfortunately, its here too. Politics ruins everything.

        As for twitter: I know people think its great but I hate it. It emboldens people to say stupid things in the safety of their mothers basements with no consequences other than releasing to the world the morons they are.

        I wanted to comment on the race but now I’m so steamed I can’t remember what I was going to say.

        • Ron Ford Says:

          Sheesh Dan. Perhaps you should have one less bowl of grumpy flakes each morning. All the things you have said about me here are not true. I will simply respond to your remarks as I just did to Phil: I am an independent voter. Always have been, so my comment was meant to refer to my disdain for dumb tweets. I don’t like dumb Democrat tweets, dumb GOP tweets, or dumb racing tweets. Like you I hate Twitter. And perhaps you are right. No need for me to comment on the quality of ol’ what’s his name’s tweets here or anywhere, since his supporters have already begged him to quit. C’mon up to Road America where the air is pure, the beer is good, and independent voters abound.

          • tonelok Says:

            No Ron, I should be able to read about the race I watched independent of your politics. It’s really that simple. Go ahead and make me the bad guy if you want but no one wants to read about what you think about the President of the USA.

          • Ron Ford Says:

            Hey, no intent here Dan to make you the bad guy, particularly someone as sensitive as you. I would agree with you, but then we would both be wrong. And since America is now great again, one of the many benefits of that is that you are again free to skip reading any remarks that you don’t agree with.

      • Bruce Waine Says:

        Since the word ‘our” was brought to the front in print Phil ……………. “Our” is open for discussion.

        “The” is accordingly more appropriate since the comulative popular vote loss was conclusive .

        “Our” is all encompassing: while the popular vote historically indicates otherwise………….

      • Ron Ford Says:

        Phil, I think George did a good job of explaining why Road America management refers to their site as the “The National Park of Speed.”. I think it is pretty obvious to most folks that the reference is to scenery that rivals a national park. And for the record, I love and appreciate Indy as much as the next person having attended 33 races there since 1950. As for political stuff, my comment was related to the quality of tweets messages or the lack thereof. I am now and always have been an independent voter. I hate dumb Democratic tweets as much as dumb GOP tweets and dumb racing tweets.

  4. madtad1 Says:

    I don’t apologize for anyone. I’m a TK fan and I think all three drivers were at fault in that wreck, as well as TK’s spotter. Hinch had his front wheel on TKs rear wheel. He saw TK was drifting up, but didn’t back off. Then Aloshin joined the party late, tried to take the super high line, then drifted down into Hinch. All the while Hinch, who’s spotter also appears to have been asleep, kept making the move on TK.

    Since TK had position and was ahead, with Hinch or Aloshin (pardon my spelling), with the third spotter who was on coffee break, obviously not able to cleanly complete a pass, either one of those two should have backed out. To my thinking, all three were at fault, but Aloshin was the greatest contributor to the wreck, because he eliminated Hinch’s escape route, and actually pinched Hinch off and hit him. Even Hinch was forced to admit that Aloshin was a huge contributing factor to the wreck by trying to make it three wide.

    And let’s not forget Hinch’s sunshine and rainbows out his butt about how he couldn’t believe he was given a penalty just because he wrecked two cars and almost hit a pitcrewman. 😡 Please.

    As for TK’s penalty? I’m not sure that deserved a park and hold. I realize that they only have so long to review things, but they had that long Red Flag to look it over and it was clearly all three drivers’ fault. I think he should have only gotten a drive through. Alonshin was wrecked out and couldn’t be penalized, as he is the other driver who should have received a penalty if he could have continued. I won’t call Hinch totally innocent, in the wreck, but at least he wasn’t deserving of a penalty, had he been able to continue.

    And kudos to TK for manning up and admitting he was at fault and being willing to apologize to all concerned. I’m sure Hinch rushed right over to Helio and Sato and did the same.*

    *Yes, that last sentence is sarcasm, for those of you who are sarcasm impaired.

  5. The problem is not really pack racing as described (Daytona and Talladega are major pack races). Texas had close racing but we saw this at Indy too. The problem was reckless driving by drivers who should know better, and inexperience. Just a few quotes I heard during the race that I think says it all.

    Ryan Hunter-Reay
    ..guys making too many moves like that out there in the corner…….I like it when races really come down to handling, not this stuff where you have guys who have never seen or driven in pack racing, and they get out there and the make just crazy moves……………..it’s not the same cast of characters its always been.

    James Hinchcliffe
    A lot of guys in the field do not have a lot of experience with that kind of racing, they weren’t around back in the old CART days when we raced like that and it showed today.

    Robin Miller
    This reminds me of Sprint car drivers

    Dale Coyne mechanic
    One car totaled and another one crashed all because of one guy driving like an idiot

    You have Sato clipping the grass and spinning. Not the fault of “pack racing.” I just hope they don’t overreact again. The problem is not competitive racing.

    • billytheskink Says:

      Well put, reckless driving was an enormous factor. If no one tries to run completely through turns 3 and 4 at three wide, there are far fewer wrecked cars in this race (barring what may have happened with blistered tires on longer green flag runs). Running three wide through 3 and 4 at any point during the race was fool’s errand. I saw it happen only three times, and each time it resulted in a wreck. The Rossi wreck early in the race should have put drivers and those speaking on their radios on notice.

      I thought Gabby Chaves had the drive of the race at least partially because he found himself heading into turn 3 in a three wide situation on multiple occasions and wisely backed out each time, deciding to fight on another part of the track. And he did just that, Chaves was far from timid on track, but he wasn’t stupid. I was happy to see him finish well.

  6. Gurney Eagle Says:

    Once again, kudos to Dallara that no one was hurt is this fiasco. I’ll be interested to see if the new chassis will improve this race next year.

  7. I absolutely agree about Kevin Lee. I really like Leigh Diffey but he so seldom is able to call a race that it seems silly to me that he does. I too am a big fan of Trackside and would love to see Kevin land the full time job.
    Tony Kanaan does not deserve all the crap being said. He is one of the best in the field. Sometimes things happen- it’s called racing.

  8. James T Suel Says:

    Well where to start. TK did have some of the daughter in the big crash. Hincciffe also was not clean. He caused pit road mess and his teammate was pushing him down as Tk was inching up.CRASH! So Saturday was pack racing and last year’s race was not pack racing? I did not see much difference. With all the cars being speck what do you except. I don’t know the answer but we just don’t seem to be able hit a happy medium. It make me long for the 1960s and 70s.

  9. Shyam Cherupalla Says:

    Indycar is too trigger happy with yellows, a 1/4 of the race worth of Yellow laps, thats not worth the money for paying customers or for anyone. They don’t seem to understand that action on track is why people watch Indycars not to watch cars running under yellow. Wasted laps for Ed Carpenter spin and few other situations like that, I hope Brian Barnhart gets a clue about fans’ feelings in these matters

  10. billytheskink Says:

    “Pack racing” does not have a Webster definition, so I will not say whether what we saw on Saturday night definitively was or was not pack racing. I will say that the action was pretty similar to last year’s race, which saw close side-by-side racing on starts and restarts sort itself out into a single-file race with occasional side-by-side battles during extended green flag running. The big difference between last year and this was, of course, the limited amount of extended green flag periods. Last year had a 139 lap green flag run until a series of late cautions set up the late wheel-to-wheel racing, this year’s longest green flag run was 43 laps. There were no green flag pit sequences in this race, something that would have further served to break the cars up on track.

    I have never cared for competition cautions on principle, but after seeing photos of the blistered tires I think the decision was defensible. It was a challenging situation, as both failing tires and side-by-side racing on new tires after caution are both quite dangerous.

    I will also say this, I have never seen a crowd respond to a yellow flag finish as positively as they did Saturday night. I was there, and those in attendance appeared to enjoy what they saw quite a bit. I winced at the dicey moves and prayed after the wrecks, but I have to say I ultimately enjoyed it right along with them. If nothing else, Indycar provided a thrill on Saturday night… and had us all talking on Sunday and Monday.

    • Ron Ford Says:

      Hi Billy. Good to hear from someone who was at the race. As I stated above, I had to listen to the race on IndyCar radio while driving back from up north. On the broadcast the race came across as really disjointed, particularly because the announcers did not tell listeners that it was Firestone that recommended the competition yellows due to excessive tire blistering as you mentioned.

  11. I don’t have access to live TV or streaming of live TV so I listened to the radio broadcast and watched Twitter. There were several former and current NASCAR drivers tweeting about the amazing action and encouraging others to tune in and watch. And there were tweets about Fernando Alonzo calling in to the the TV broadcast and saying he was open to a full-time ride in Indycar.
    Phoenix, and both Detroit races were short on excitement. This series needed this race, even if the owners, especially Dale Coyne didn’t.

  12. Ed Emmitt Says:

    I did buy a cotton t-shirt last year at RA with National Park of Speed on it if only for the fact it was funny.
    I don’t get it most people come here on Monday after a street or road course and say it’s boring. Saturday we had an oval race that had me on the edge of my couch because of the race.The accidents happened because of stupid racing moves. You don’t win a race half way thru and I saw many drivers not giving that a 2nd thought.

  13. Ed Emmitt Says:

    One last item anyone that missed Yellow Yellow Yellow featuring the safety team that travels with IndyCar needs to find it on YouTube.Just a great hour program on these special people and how safety is such a big part of IndyCar.

  14. Didn’t care for the competitive yellows. I think it was Tracy who said let the teams manage their tires. I agree.

    Loved Lee on play by play. Leigh is the voice of F1. IndyCar deserves their own voice.

    TK screwed up. He admitted it. I’m the same age as Tony, and I think I’ve seen nearly all of his races in 20 seasons of IndyCar. I feel safe in saying I could count on one hand how many times that guy has turned a bad wheel in 20 years! I’m with you George, folks on social media need to cool their jets on Kansan.

    I read where Ed said drivers were more to blame than pack racing for the carnage. I agree. Other than Tristian, who was driving for a job, why was everyone driving like it was the last lap all night long? Settle down boys. It’s a long race!

    All and all, very entertaining and as you said, so grateful everyone walked away

  15. I have to hand it to Ganassi. He can get a driver from a catastrophic moment to a win, or a possible win, better than anyone other than Penske. Franchitti’s 2012 500 win is a great example as is Kanaan coming in second this past Saturday night.

  16. Ed Emmitt Says:

    Up date on Yellow Yellow Yellow it will be on a few more times on M

  17. Ed Emmitt Says:

    I set my tablet down and it posted before I wanted.It will run a few more times on NBCSN before it goes on YouTube.Suggest you watch your local programming for times.
    For IndyCar fans it’s a must watch program.I learned a lot in just one hour. Special people.

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