As the IndyCar Series heads north of the border for the second time in as many races, there are some intriguing story lines to consider. Toronto was arguably the most entertaining race of the season. Yes, a member of the “Big Two” won and occupied the first four spots – but there was a lot happening between the green flag and the checkered. Look for more of the same this weekend, yet more so.
This is the second post-unification trip to the racecourse at Edmonton City Centre Airport. Scott Dixon won last year’s race, benefiting from a great pit stop late in the race. Dario Franchitti is now in his seventh different livery this season. Franchitti’s car is a very good-looking blue and black car that looks very similar to Tomas Scheckter’s car. This week’s sponsor holds so much potential for jokes, I won’t even attempt to capitalize. His car is sponsored by Vaseline Lotion For MEN. You fill in the blank. Enough said.
Being an airport course like Cleveland, this track is very wide open and will offer many passing opportunities. Not being surrounded by concrete walls on both sides like Toronto, the drivers can take more chances. The consequence of taking a chance is simply running off track, rather than clouting a concrete wall.
Mike Conway has looked very strong in practice in the Charter sponsored Dreyer & Reinbold car. All of the three Penske cars were strong on both practice sessions on Friday, as Helio Castroneves turned the fastest lap of the day in the second session and Ryan Briscoe was second quickest; while Will Power was third quickest. Graham Rahal was also quick in the N/H/L McDonald’s car.
The Ganassi cars both struggled slightly as both cars were outside of the top ten in the first session. Franchitti was only thirteenth in the afternoon practice, but Scott Dixon finally turned a hot lap at the end of practice to finish fourth quickest. Unfortunately, it could shape up as yet another Penske-Ganassi duel.
The two teams that appear to be having the worst weekends are Andretti-Green and Panther. Tony Kanaan was the fastest AGR driver at eleventh, with Hideki Mutoh at fourteenth and Marco at sixteenth. Dan Wheldon and Danica Patrick both crashed in their first lap. Danica did minor damage but missed the rest of the session. Wheldon reportedly cracked the tub on his car, which isn’t good for a small budget team that has been on a downward slope lately.
A little note to Versus…while watching the second practice over the internet, they had an extended close-up of Lindy Thaxton sans makeup while she was trying to sort something out. She apparently didn’t know anyone could see this. The lack of makeup coupled with a not-so-pleasant expression on her face, was not a good look. It will be forever emblazoned on my brain when I watch her smiling face on Sunday.
While I would love to see that bright yellow car of Will Power make it victory lane this weekend; I’m afraid we are probably looking at the usual four suspects. Helio is pretty well out of the championship but could still steal a win. Briscoe needs it the most to stay in contention of the two Ganassi cars. Something tells me though, that Dario Franchitti may be able to slide the Vaseline car into the winner’s circle…I couldn’t resist.
There won’t be a blog on Sunday morning, but I will update the practice and qualifying order throughout the day on Saturday and post race results on Sunday. I’ll be back on Monday with my random thoughts on Edmonton. Enjoy the race.