A Good Race From This Perspective

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For those that have been to a race, you know what I mean when I say that I’m not quite sure what all just happened. If you watched the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on television, you probably have a much greater grasp of what all happened than I do. This much I know – from my perspective, this looked to be the second straight exciting race from Barber Motorsports Park. Our friend Pressdog pointed out on Twitter this morning that it’s funny that the “gorgeous facility” references have been minimized since the racing has improved at this track. He has a point. The DW12 seems much more suited to this track than the previous Dallara.

We spent almost the entire race in the areas of Turn Two and Turn Three. We were able to see quite a bit of action as several drivers got off track on the start. We also had a bird-eye view of one incident that may or may not have made television. About two-thirds through the race, Tristan Vautier had an off-track excursion in Turn one. He hit a piece of debris lying in a runoff area and promptly went airborne. He got control of the car, went through two advertising signs and never lost a spot.

But other than that, I don’t really know much about what happened. That’s what DVR’s are for. We had a great time and it looked to be a great race. We saw several consecutive laps with eventual winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power and Helio Castroneves right together. The order jumbled a lot between those three, throughout the second half of the race. That’s what makes a good race.

With about fifteen laps to go, we left our hillside perch and headed back to take our spots in victory lane. It has become a running joke that I always manage to get my mug on camera from victory lane at Barber. When we got there and saw that there was a new procedure and all photography would be from a grandstand, I figured this was the end of my streak. Fortunately, someone e-mailed a screenshot of us seated snapping pictures from the victory lane celebration. Our streak is intact.

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We are about to pack up and head back. There have been four IZOD IndyCar Series races here at the “beautiful facility” and we have had the privilege of covering every one of them. At my ripe age, not many things overwhelm me. But I still consider it a pinch-me moment to be standing on the grid of a race as the National Anthem is being sung. It is nothing I take for granted and I consider myself to be leading a charmed life to be able to attend races in this fashion. A special thanks goes to Amy Konrath and Arni Shribhen from IndyCar and to the local staff at Barber Motorsports Park for making us feel so welcome.

There will be more of a recap here tomorrow. In the meantime, here is a picture from the victory lane celebration. Thanks for following Oilpressure.com throughout the entire race weekend.

George Phillips

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6 Responses to “A Good Race From This Perspective”

  1. Steve K Says:

    Looked great on the TV side. I love road courses with few cautions and lots of strategies. RHR and Dixie were going hard that last stint. Thank you for the coverage you guys.

  2. These guys are showing at every race that they can compete with anyone. I can’t remeber a race with less caution than today’s race at Barber. RHR is now on a run, but so is Dixon and Helio. We will see a comeback by Hench, but I think Dario has some real work ahead of him and his team. Barber is gorgeous.

  3. Mrs. Oilpressure Says:

    The Vautier incident was spectacular. He made it between those billboards with mere inches to spare. I hope someone captured that on film. It was a great weekend, am grateful to all our friends and IndyCar. In case you had trouble picking out George from the screen shot–he is the one beside the giant turquoise mass (me)–the camera really does add 10 pounds.

  4. billytheskink Says:

    A good race from my perspective (back straight) as well, George. I had a blast. Tire strategies, passes for the lead, guys who got everything right and advanced, and guys who couldn’t do anything right and fell back through the field.

    Big kudos to Bourdais for keeping his car running after skidding into the gravel with less than 10 laps to go. A caution there would have made things needlessly interesting, and probably a bit messy.

    It’s a stretch to call this a complaint, but the only thing I wish I could get a better view of at Barber is pit row. From what I gathered, quite a lot happened in the pits today, and I didn’t know about a lot of it. Also, I never heard mention of why Rahal slowed in the last few turns; Graham’s twitter says he ran out of fuel. Rough.

  5. Awesome race. I can’t remember the last time that with <20 laps to go the Top 3 cars were from the "Big Three" teams, and separated by less than a few seconds. For a race without cautions, you don't expect the finish to be so tightly contested. Great mix of fuel and tire strategies kept things interesting right to the end.

  6. Randy Holbrook Says:

    I really enjoyed the weekend. Awesome race. I hope the Vautier incident made the telecast as I missed that completely. I watched from the hill overlooking pit entrance with a great view of one of the jumbotrons but didn’t see it during the race. I had a scanner with me and felt terrible for Hinch having his early problem but the banter back and forth from him and the team was very entertaining to say the least.

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