A Quick Look At The Texas Twins

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Having just watched the two Twin 275’s from Texas Motor Speedway; I wanted to offer up a couple of quick thoughts for now, and then have a more thorough wrap-up here on Monday.

First of all, congratulations to Will Power for winning his first oval race. That cannot give his competitors a lot of confidence to see that he has finally crossed that hurdle. Please note the intentional avoidance of use of the “monkey off his back” cliché. I’ve also purposely not ever used the overused term “Texas Two-Step” to describe the Firestone Twin 275’s.

Although I’m an admitted longtime fan of Team Penske, I’ve got to agree with Dario Franchitti on the lack of fairness of the blind draw that set the grid for the second race. Although I considered it somewhat of a gimmick that would be better suited for NASCAR’s All-Star race, I never really thought much how it could impact the championship. As it turned out; Will Power, who was leading the championship by only seven points after Franchitti won the first race of the evening, drew the third starting spot while Franchitti drew the twenty-eighth spot on the grid. In the end, Power only had to pass two cars to take the win, while Dario passed twenty-one to earn a seventh place finish. By the end of the night, Power had a twenty-one point bulge in the point standings.

Had Franchitti qualified poorly, he would have accepted the team not performing well enough and the consequences were a poor starting spot. But his twenty-eighth starting position was simply the result of bad luck in a hokey game-show atmosphere. It will be very unfortunate if this one-time gimmick determines the fate of the championship.

I’ll be back Monday with more thoughts and comments on this and other race-related topics.

George Phillips

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25 Responses to “A Quick Look At The Texas Twins”

  1. The draw is not fair, and I’d rather see an invert, but there’s a lot of things not fair in racing. Ride Buying, Red Car Domination, Check Bumping and questionable officiating. One random draw is a lot more forgivable than any of these things. Plus, it’s Texas, passing is possible..

  2. No Name Says:

    Finally karma is kicking in. To para-phrase Kevin Harvick, Ganassi and Fagchitti have had a golden horse shoe up their asses.

  3. The format is interesting and I give Gossage and Bernard credit for trying something (sorta) new. But there were some problems. The random draw/game show was cheesy and took too long. It is–as Dario whined–unfair in terms of the championship points, which should be on merit, not luck. Inverting the field is not without problems either, mainly would drivers slow to draw a better starting position. I think the points awarded for each race should be adjusted so it’s not two “half-races.” And I start earlier–the second race ended pretty late.

  4. Sorry to go again, but something went haywire during that last sentence. Wanted to comment on the commercials. Seems like all we saw last year was Apex Brasil, Izod and Firestone. This year there were all kinds, including Nascar at Pocono, Lowe’s, Shell, Mazda, Gander Mtn, Ritz Crackers and Craftsman Tools. So I guess that’s good, huh?

  5. indygrrrl Says:

    Half of racing or any sport is dumb luck–or life for that matter. I thought it kept what was going to be a dull night interesting. I liked seeing the driver’s eyes for a change as I saw no one in those gargantuan sunglasses. They really do have eyes….

  6. Ron Ford Says:

    It was evident to many before the race that the hokey game show draw for the race 2 starting positions could have a negative effect on the championship points race. Dario Franchitti, COME ON DOWN!! And so, Murphy’s Law kicked in of course. Inverting the field would have been better if the promoters and IndyCar felt the need to spice things up. Dario never seems to lack motivation, but he has plenty now and that does not bode well for Power and the others.

    I prefer one long race. Leave the gimmicks to the boogity boogity guys.

    • I wonder if enjoyment of this race will come down to a debate between “entertainment” and “pure racing?”

  7. JHall14 Says:

    If Dario loses the championship by a few points, don’;t blame it on the “draw”. Blame it on your team for running out of gas on qualification day or your race day gaffe with fuel lileage, at end of the race. Those big tears last night will only wilt your Wheaties.

  8. Was it gimmicky to have a game show blind draw? Aure, but as others have said it was great to see each driver get air time (w/o big sunglasses). If Indycar is ever going to rival NASCAR they need to help viewers connect with the drivers. It was great to get a glimpse of their personalities. I’d like to see them find a way to keep the “entertainment” w/o adveresly impacting the points race.

    And if Dario keeps using all his airtime to whine and complain, we may finally have a “villian” in this series. He spent all of May bitching about the restarts, now he’s spending June complaining about the draw. Not doing much for his “brand”.

    • Ron Ford Says:

      If you can go home and enjoy life in the hills of Tennessee with Ashley Judd, do you really need a “brand”?

  9. the american mutt Says:

    So, to be clear, you’re arguing that a car which has had four times as much funding as most on the grid had to pass most of the drivers on the field isn’t fair? A car which has been allowed to hit tires in the pits without a penalty and which unlike other drivers has been allowed to switch engines without a grid penalty…you know…im incapable of finishing this comment without laughing at the fact that there’s even a discussion about how unfairly darios been treated by one measly race. Here’s another thought, the defending champion should be able to stat last and win a race in a car that’s had so much money spent on it over nine years and to suggest its unfair is laughable.

    • Ron Ford Says:

      So, to be clear, what we have been talking about has nothing to do with what you have added which is largely a rant about Dario.

      The heart of the issue is how something as gimmicky as a blind draw (halftime entertainment) can wind up affecting the championship points race. This race Power and Franchitti were most affected. Next year it could be others.

      Some folks liked the draw, some didn’t, some suggested other approaches, but the discussion is not about the haves vs the have nots.

  10. the american mutt Says:

    What I had to say was in response to the initial post, which suggested the blind draw was unfair because power started third and Dario started nearly last, my point which you apparently missed was big fucking deal Dario, if you’re a champion you should be able to pass the field twice, especially in a ganassi car. He had over one hundred laps to get to the front, so don’t blame your starting spot.

  11. JHall14 Says:

    Hey Ron Ford,sounds like you are from Milwaukee area maybe from previous posts, do you have a great place to dine in the area? Coming up from Indy for the race weekend.

    • Ron Ford Says:

      Well, I’m probably not the best person to ask as I’m kind of a Curt Cavin Burger Bash type of guy. Some of the drivers like to go to Kopps on S. 76th street and Layton Ave. for burgers and custard. Friday night in Wisconsin is traditionally fish fry night with many places featuring fresh perch or trout from Lake Michigan. My initial suggestion for you is to go to the JSonline website (Milwaukee newspaper), click on “entertainment”, then click on “dining”. Among the many helpful tips there you will find the food critic’s list of the 30 best places to eat in the area with a map showing where they are. Have a safe trip and enjoy the racing. The track is a favorite of most drivers and owners. IndyCar did a smart thing by just renting the track for three days because the State Fair Park Board which manages the facility has not done a good job of promoting or choosing a promoter in recent years. I hope I have been of some help to you.

  12. If this was more than one race a year, or if we had fans lined up to buy tickets and watch races on TV, I would agree. Aside from the drawing process taking too long, I can live with it if it adds INTEREST! Even my wife, not the biggest fan of INDYCAR, (other than watching me be intersted,) paid attention to the too-long between-race festivities. Check my post for my take.

  13. I’m sorry, but blind draws to set the field in a race where championships and a lot of money is at stake is just not the right way to go. YES, I’M TALKING TO YOU, RANDY BERNARD. Those who are determined to pursue a flirtation with Lady Luck should go to a casino. In IndyCar, efforts should be made toward minimizing the “luck factor”, rather than promoting it. In this case, I completely agree with Dario: even though not a perfect scenario (no scheme imaginable could or would be free of shortcomings), inverting the field would have made much more sense in terms of fairness to the drivers/teams competing for championship points. I personally would rather see the series dispense with embracing the NASCAR-type gimmicks. However, since such gimmicks to engage fan interest seem to be the trend, if a twin bill is again chosen to be presented (and I do actually like this idea for further consideration, at one, perhaps two, mile-and-a-half super-speedway ovals in a 20-race season), then I suggest setting the field for BOTH races with the previous day’s qualifying runs — thereby maximizing the “merit factor”.

  14. One more thing: Just because a driver …such as Franchitti or Tracy …chooses to publicly state the facts as he sees them, it does not necessarily make him a whiner or a poor sport. It just means he’s not afraid to say what’s on his mind; whereas others might think the same, but are too cowardly to say so.

    • I would like to add the words, “…or disingenuous…” after the word “cowardly”. They allow my point to be completed more accurately.

  15. The impression I’ve gotten of Dario–after Indy and then Texas–is that he comes across as a whiner.

  16. I’m okay with the random draw. There are better ways to do it (fastest lap in race 1, two laps of quali’s, or inversion) but it’s Texas, passing is possible. There are a ton of unfair things in Racing, and the Red Car dario drives is #1 on that list, so he can stop whining. As for the race it wasn’t nearly what I had hoped for but it was alright. If they had just shortened the gap between races it would have been better

  17. Matt B. (Dayton) Says:

    Consider this scenario… Dario wins race number 1 and is feeling pretty good as he did well in the championship because Will had a fuel pickup problem and finished 30th. The field is inverted. Will starts race number 2 from the poll with a fixed car and Dario starts last. Does Dario complain?

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