Archive for August, 2019

Will Power Wins Again at Pocono

Posted in IndyCar on August 18, 2019 by Oilpressure

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It’s almost fitting that this race was called for rain. It was a strange ending to an equally strange weekend. Not only was the ending strange, so was Victory Lane. Instead of the typical victory celebration in Poconos spacious Victory Lane in front of the fans, it was held in the Media Center – which became suddenly crowded with the multitude of photographers.

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I picked Will Power to win this race. I didn’t do any great analysis of data or anything like that. I just based that pick on the fact that each time I come to Pocono, Will Power wins. It happened again. Three trips to Pocono for me, and three wins for Will Power. That’s my third correct pick this season. I’ve never done that before, but three out of fourteen races is still nothing to brag about.

Of course, Will Power winning on Lap 128 is not the real story of the day. What everyone is talking about is the horrifying crash that took place on the Opening Lap. I always watch the start of Pocono from a media perch overlooking Turn Two, and I always shoot a video of the Parade Lap and the Opening Lap. Until today, it was uneventful.

While it was unfortunate and very scary, I’m glad I was able to get most of it on video at a totally different angle. I think blame has already been assigned and I won’t get into that. I have also heard no further updates on the condition of Felix Rosenqvist, so I won’t speculate.

I’ve never been that close to an IndyCar crash in my life, and I’ve seen a lot of them in person. While it would’ve been smart on my part to duck and take cover, I continued to shoot video on my phone like an idiot. Fortunately, nothing of any size hit any of us on the perch. But my left arm felt like it had gone through a sand storm, as tiny bits from the violent crash showered all of us for a few seconds.

You will see that for a second, I didn’t even realize Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay were just a little past us. And it wasn’t until I put my phone away that I realized that Rosenqvist was involved – although I did recall seeing a blue flash go by. It wasn’t until I saw a replay later that I saw how close Rosenqvist got to us. If you see a replay, I’m the moron in a black polo shooting video while an Indy car is flying by. Anyway, here’s the video I shot and some of the still shots that Susan got of the crash.

01crash start

02rahal out of crash

03rossi crash

04sato air

05rosenqvist crash copy

06Crash

07sato on top

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09Cars on hooks 2

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The race was red-flagged to clean up the mess and repair the fence. Once the race was restarted, it became somewhat processional. After the first round of green-flag pit stops, Spencer Pigot found the wall in Turn One. It was during that caution period that we left our perch in Turn Two and headed to the pits.

Somewhere in there, I think the complexion of the race changed. Pigot hit the wall on Lap 40, and by the time we got out on pit lane, it was Lap 71 and there was a completely different running order. I had to call by brother, who was watching on television to bring me up to date.

Shortly after that I got a text from a friend onsite, who said his weather app was showing a line of storms headed for the track and would be here in about thirty minutes. It was very accurate. By the time they brought the cars onto pit lane for a red flag, it was 5:15 pm. It was pretty obvious that this was not going to go green again. Everyone headed for cover before the rain. I think we got inside about three minutes before the bottom dropped out.

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That’s going to do it for now. I plan on having probably abbreviated Random Thoughts article for tomorrow that I’ll write after we eat dinner. Thanks for following along all weekend. Please check back tomorrow for my ramblings.

George Phillips

Pace Car Morning

Posted in IndyCar on August 18, 2019 by Oilpressure

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By Susan Phillips

I have to say that going into this morning, I was not sure what I really thought of Pocono Raceway. It’s personality had not become evident to me. The shortened track activity was probably a factor and the fact that there was no qualifying definitely added to my puzzlement about why George and other people love it here. It didn’t help that Kanaan had a fast car yesterday and I would have liked to see him get a P1 Award and not have to carve his way through the field—something he does exceptionally well, but starting from the front would have been optimal. My son doesn’t text me much, but I sure heard about that one.

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This morning we got to do one of the “perks” of being in media—a pace car ride. There are other ways to get a pace car ride–you can join IndyCar Nation and sign up—you might get chosen. We’ve met several fans from IndyCar Nation in the Pace Car line. You could also do a 2-seater through IndyCar Nation or go  and buy a two-seater experience. They fill up early in the year for experiences on race weekends—I also think IndyCar Nation offers a discount for it’s members. I may do a two-seater if my wallet allows next year—it is definitely an experience worth repeating. Then if you are lucky, Frank will strap you into the two-seater and off you go (make sure you ask him if he has any Depends to go with the fire suit).

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This morning we arrived at a “normal” hour for our ride—9:15, but if they said it was going to be at 2 am—we would be there! We got to ride in Camaros for this experience and each rider was paired with a driver. I was lucky, I got Gail Truess, who is awesome. She explains how fast we are going (triple-digits) and some of the interesting things about the track and what some of the drivers have said about the track and racing. The smile on George’s face as finished his ride says it all.

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Whatever you do, don’t stick your camera up in front of your face so you can record the experience. You won’t get the entire experience if you are viewing it through your phone. The recording will never give you the same feeling as the memory of being in the moment. Thanks again to Chevy, who provided us with this great way to experience the track.

I’m warming up to Pocono.

It’s Race Day at Pocono!

Posted in IndyCar on August 18, 2019 by Oilpressure

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Good morning from Race Day at Pocono Raceway. It’s sunny and steamy here this morning. A heavy thunderstorm went through overnight around 9:00 pm and it was still cloudy and wet when we left our hotel. But by the time we got to the track, the sun had broken through and it is now a beautiful day. However, there is a chance of an isolated thunderstorm going through the area around 1:00 pm today. The green flag is at 2:45 pm EDT. If there is a shower then, it’s possible that the start could be delayed slightly, but we’ll think positive.

If you are on Twitter, you should always follow the IndyCar Weatherman at @IndyCar_Wxman. He tracks weather for all the IndyCar races and is usually very accurate. He predicts that even if a stray shower goes through, that we will not be talking about Monday racing. We will get the race in today. It may or may not be a full five-hundred miles, but we’ll get it in according the IndyCar Weatherman.

Susan and I were lucky enough to get a Pace Car ride here this morning. I think she is currently working on a post about that, so I won’t steal her thunder. But here is a picture I took of her, just as we were waiting for our rides to come back around.

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Afterwards, we went through the paddock. At around 10:00, it was humming with activity almost five hours before the race is scheduled to start. It’s looking like a good crowd here today – probably the best of the three races I’ve been to here. But in all honesty, it wouldn’t take much to improve on 2016-17. Still, t’s refreshing to see the early arriving crowd.

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They have a vintage race car exhibit here and they are actually scheduled to run later this morning. They have mostly sprints and midgets, along with a few replica cars. But they have several roadsters and 1960s rear-engine cars that are presented as genuine. A couple really caught my eye. One was the 1961 car driven by Len Sutton.

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The one that really drew my attention to it was the Travelon Trailer Special driven by Jim Hurtubise, when he got ever-so-close to the 150 mph barrier in 1960.

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Susan will have a post up here a little later and I’ll be back after the race with a quick recap. Then I will have my usual Random Thoughts post tomorrow morning. In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter for photos and videos. Follow me at @Oilpressureblog and Susan at @MrsOilpressure.

Check back for Susan’s article shortly and for my recap after the race. Enjoy the race, everyone.

George Phillips

Pocono Saturday Wrap-Up

Posted in IndyCar on August 17, 2019 by Oilpressure

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Sometimes, you just need to be flexible. There were two IndyCar practices and a qualifying session scheduled for today, but the weatherman had other ideas. A low ceiling prevented the med-evac helicopter from making it to the track. Cars are not allowed to run without the helicopter on the grounds, for obvious reasons. Then the rains came, in massive amounts at about 10:45. But it didn’t last long.

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Welcome to Pocono Raceway!

Posted in IndyCar on August 17, 2019 by Oilpressure

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Welcome to an unusually warm and humid Pocono Raceway. It was actually sprinkling a few raindrops when we left our hotel this morning. I didn’t really think much about it. By the time we got settled at the track, it was time for the 9:30 am practice. Just as we were heading out to catch practice, we were told there would be a slight delay because the med-evac helicopter was not able to land due to the low ceiling – even though the sun was shining directly overhead.

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Pocono Preview

Posted in IndyCar on August 16, 2019 by Oilpressure

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Later today, Susan and I will be boarding a northbound flight for the Poconos to attend this weekend’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. Unlike our grueling flight to Road America, which left Nashville at 5:30 am and routed us through Kansas City before eventually landing us in Milwaukee; our flight today leaves Nashville at a leisurely 1:00 pm and lands in semi-beautiful Newark, NJ at 4:00 (losing an hour). Assuming Friday rush-hour traffic isn’t too bad heading west out of New Jersey, we should get to our hotel around 6:30 or so. We may eat dinner along the way, or after we check in. It really doesn’t matter since there is no scheduled IndyCar track activity until 9:30 tomorrow morning. Leisurely travel days are nice when there are no looming deadlines.

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Jim Ayello Has Proven Himself

Posted in IndyCar on August 14, 2019 by Oilpressure

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Last week, I caught a glimpse of something on Twitter that made me dig a little deeper. As it turned out, Jim Ayello of The Indianapolis Star was announcing that his role at The Star would be changing soon and that he would be moving over from covering IndyCar to covering the Colts as his full-time job.

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