Random Thoughts On Texas

If creating a buzz was the shared goal of Randy Bernard and Eddie Gossage, when they announced that this year’s Texas race would be divided in to separate but equal “twin” races – then I’d say they got their wish. It’s too bad that the buzz came after the race and not before it. On Sunday, the internet was certainly buzzing with opinions ranging from saying this was the greatest to worst idea ever. I think it falls somewhere in between.

I’ll give Randy Bernard credit for trying. No one can accuse the man with sitting still. In his fifteen months on the job, he has definitely had more hits than misses – but I’m not sure he connected with this one.

By the looks of the crowd on Saturday night, I’m not sure that the attendance increased at all. In fact, I’d venture to guess that the crowd might have actually been down a little from previous years. If that was indeed the case, it’s a shame given that this was the first IZOD IndyCar Series race since the monumental Indianapolis 500.

Apparently, the locals didn’t feel that their race needed to be jazzed up. With this being the second-most attended race of the season, I might want to agree. Perhaps they should have tried to spice up Kansas or Chicago last season, but not Texas. The show on the track has been the selling point at Texas Motor Speedway.

I always look forward to the Texas race. Now that it’s over, I almost feel a little bit cheated. Looking back, the entire evening felt just a little disjointed to me. There was no flow. I found the first race to be a little boring after things settled down following the frenzy of the first few laps. The second race was predictably more exciting, since drivers weren’t being so careful to make sure they were around for the second race. With that being the case, I found it odd that the second race ran caution-free.

Of course, the low-light came during the “halftime” game show atmosphere of the blind draw. I’ve read several comments from people saying they thought this was great because every driver was interviewed. I merely found it awkward as thirty drivers came on stage, muttered the same sponsor mentions and told how they hoped to improve in Race 2. I felt embarrassed for Bob Jenkins and Kevin Lee as they reluctantly took part in this way too cheesy exercise. About halfway through, I could almost hear the TV sets of casual observers that may have tuned in following the Indianapolis 500, clicking away in droves.

And then there was the draw itself. I’ll admit that when the idea of “Twin” races was first announced, I didn’t give much thought to the idea of a blind draw to set the grid for the second race. I guess I was too perplexed with why they would try to change the premise of what was already a great event. Even during the day Saturday, I never really gave much thought to how a blind draw could affect the championship. But when I saw that Dario Franchitti drew the twenty-eighth starting spot after Will Power picked third on the grid, the systematic flaw suddenly became clear to me.

Sunday, I read comments that said Dario was needlessly whining and simply needed to shut-up, because this was just part of racing. Well, no it’s not. There are many examples of how blind luck plays a part in racing. A car randomly spinning in front of a driver is part of racing. Running over a wheel assembly from a car that just crashed in front of you is part of racing. Having just pitted under green before a yellow allows the rest of the field to pit under caution is part of racing. But setting up a blind draw to set the starting grid for a race is an unnecessary and artificially induced variable that exists for the sole purpose to mix things up.

If they wanted to properly mix things up, the field should have been inverted. There are arguments that a driver may sandbag in order to get a better starting position for the second race. With equal points paid for both races, that’s not a likely scenario. If a driver did choose to do that, it would be his or her choice. In the case of Saturday night’s draw, Dario Franchitti had no choice. His worse case scenario played out in that Wheel Of Fortune environment when Will Power, the person Dario is chasing for the championship, chose the third spot from the front and Dario was stuck with the third spot from the rear.

Suddenly, the rules were different for both. Power would have to pass two cars to win, while Dario would have to pass twenty-seven. To make matters worse, he would have to do it in only 114 laps without the advantage of any yellows or re-starts. Dario earned his place for the first race by qualifying second. Inverting the field would have put both drivers at or near the back and they would have to battle through the field together in order to win. Team Penske has always been about having the “unfair advantage”, but that is more about preparation, hard work and superior engineering – not dumb luck. This was a completely unfair advantage. To his credit, Will Power agreed with Dario that it was unfair, but he’ll still take his twenty-one point lead into Milwaukee this weekend.

I will reiterate what I said immediately after the race. I am an unabashed fan of Team Penske, and I am not a fan at all of Chip Ganassi. I respect and like both of their drivers, but root against them anytime when up against Team Penske. This is not about “my driver got screwed” or a social commentary about how the big teams should always be punished just for being big. This is about an unfair, illegitimate and not-so-credible way for the IZOD IndyCar Series to decide their champion.

My hope is they will do away with the twin format at Texas. It is strong enough to stand on its on. If they still feel the need to spice up an oval, maybe they should try it at New Hampshire or some place like that. If and when they do try this again, they need to look at doing away with the blind draw for the second race.

TV Coverage: First of all, I thought that Dan Wheldon did a superb job as a guest analyst in the booth. He brought a fresh, candid and current perspective to the broadcast. Normally, a former-driver analyst is a decade or two removed from the track and doesn’t bring any real current insight. They can only relate stories and experiences that involve other retired drivers. When Dan Wheldon says that E.J. Viso is highly unpredictable on the track or that Marco Andretti is usually good at the beginning of a stint – you know it is a current assessment from someone used to running side-by-side with this group of drivers.

Wheldon also showed his strength as the ultimate pitchman. He did a good job of referring to different driver’s sponsors several times throughout the broadcast. Going in, I thought that Wheldon might be tempted to talk too much or over-analyze, but it was just the right amount of each. Bob Jenkins did a good job of setting up questions for Wheldon and letting him go in whichever direction he chose. If I were Versus, I’d try to set him up for more appearances.

Where I thought that Versus dropped the ball was when they missed a golden opportunity in the second race. They chose to follow the lead pack of cars almost exclusively. They had a great opportunity to focus on the Target cars as they tried to carve their way up through the field from the eighteenth and twenty-eighth starting spots respectively. Instead, they gave periodic mentions that “Dario Franchitti is now in twenty-first”. They didn’t follow Dixon until he had already made it to the lead pack. This would have made for some high-drama following Franchitti’s comments immediately after the draw.

I think I’ve already made my case about the awkwardness of the blind draw. I don’t fault Bob Jenkins or Kevin Lee – they were just following orders. But one thing that made it worse was the annoying Top-40 music being piped in as each driver was being interviewed. That just made an already bad situation that much worse.

Wither Kevin Lee: Apparently the suits at NBC have decided that the Versus crew was way too casual in their attire over the last couple of years. Maybe it was Jack Arute sweating through his blue buttoned-down shirt. Whatever the case, all of the on-air talent (except for Robin Miller) was apparently given a memo that suits and sport coats would be required apparel for all shows in 2011. How else would you explain Kevin Lee sitting on the outdoor stage prior to the race in near 100-degree heat? With sweat pouring off of his forehead, he looked like he was about to melt. His usually well-coiffed hair was soaking wet as he looked like he had just finished an afternoon of pick-up basketball. He was his usual professional self and never once alluded to the fact that he was burning up underneath all those clothes. Someone needs to tell the fashion police at NBC to lighten up on the dress code. This is a race they’re covering, not a state funeral.

Enough with the sunglasses, already: One of the few bright spots to come out of the embarrassing halftime game show, was that none of the drivers could justify wearing their ridiculous looking, oversized sunglasses in the dark. For once, we were actually able to see what the driver’s eyes looked like. I know I sound old saying this, especially to a generation of texters who generally hide behind keyboards – but seeing a person’s eyes is important.

If I were Randy Bernard, I would mandate that unless a driver has sunglass sponsorship, they should be required to remove sunglasses for all television interviews. I’m surprised their handlers don’t have them do it. Randy Bernard is a huge proponent of marketing these stars. It’s really hard to market someone who seemingly hides behind outrageously oversized sunglasses. You can get a much better feel for a personality when you can actually see their eyes. It’s a small thing, but to an old coot like me – it’s important.

All in all: Most know me as being a person who doesn’t like change. There’s a good reason for that. I don’t. Still, I’ll look at certain situations and embrace the change if I think it is warranted – like double-file re-starts. I was not happy when that change was first introduced, but now I’m all in favor of them.

Such was not the case with the Firestone Twin 275’s. I hate being the old curmudgeon, but I was not an overall fan of the twin race concept. I was willing to give it a try going in, but I ultimately found it to be a night of distractions, with no flow to the racing. They took a good race and messed it up. Texas does not need spicing up. If you want to introduce a new format, do it at a race that needs it.

Fortunately, the IZOD IndyCar Series is now headed to a track that needs no spicing up – The Milwaukee Mile. This is a track that de-emphasizes the engineer and puts the results in the hands of the driver. No twins will be needed there.

George Phillips


31 Responses to “Random Thoughts On Texas”

  1. Bent Wickerbill Says:

    Do not like the twins at all… If I wanted to watch the WWF or napcar I would tune in…
    Good luck trying to get the drivers to lose the sunglasses, nearly all, if not all of them have sponsorships…
    Also agree that whether it is Versus or ABC, that it might be nice to begin covering the positions on the track where there is actual overtaking and racing ongoing, regardless of where it is taking place. Sometimes I get the impression that the folks producing these races are doing so with a guide dog and a red and white collapsible stick.

    • Whanica has a deal with William Rast eyewear, Tagliani has a deal with Gatorz, Briscoe has a deal (see ads in magazines) yet doesn’t, like the other Penske racers, wear shades unnecessarily in interviews. Either the Penske trio has been coached or they have good sense. I thought it ridiculous for so many to wear shades in the shade in the evening inside the TMS bowl.
      Versus’s booth crew & reporters, pre-race show and race commentary, were good. But camera direction was dumb and long-distance, surveillance photography, hunting for focus, and unfocused pit stop views were miserable. I want to see everything focused and in high-definition.

  2. I liked the drawing portion with the drivers because we got to see their personalities. A drawing might not be fair and an inverted field would be ok with me, but seeing the drivers, ALL of the drivers, was pretty cool. If RB and Eddie Gossage want more personality then they got it with the drawing portion of the night.

  3. George, I agree with you about the sunglasses. We need to see the eyes of others to connect with them.
    What I noticed most from this race is even more proof that the Law of Attraction ALWAYS works.
    In the week before the race Dario was quite vocal about how unfair the blind draw was, and Dan Wheldon frequently mentioned his concern that something would happen to the car in which he had just won the 500.
    The driver who lost the most in the blind draw was Dario and the only car seriously damaged was the one that had just won the 500.
    We always attract what most occupies our mind.

    • You’re the only person whom I’ve read point out what I also had known: that Dario had objected to the chance/luck LONG before the tire-turning time.

  4. So now you hate Japan AND Texas…

    I’m completely against twin races, but I can’t believe Eddie Gossage didn’t think of this. You don’t invert the field based on race #1, you invert them based on the points standings. Then he can promote a Championship 1st/2nd place last row in the two weeks after the Indy 500.

    As for the argument that the draw gave facetime to drivers, com’on Versus was on the air for 270 minutes, give or take 10 minutes, and they only had 341 miles of racing with one caution period. If you can’t figure out how to get every driver facetime in that wide of broadcast window, then you need some help with your broadcast.

    • I asked myself on race night if Carpenter’s car, Wilson’s car, Hinch’s car, Servia’s car, Simona’s car, Tracy’s car, etcetera were going to get any air time!
      Sponsors want to see “Motegi Racing” and “Dollar General” and “Telemundo” on TV!
      Versus’s direction is sorely lacking.

      • Somebody check their DVR to see how many minutes of their 4.5 hour broadcast the drivers were in the cars.

        Absolutely no way you should have to use a draw to talk to everyone with as much time they had in that broadcast. Hell, they should have had time to interview the guy who made Mike Conway breakfast.

  5. Solution to organizing the field for the second race: cage match. 30 drivers enter, one pole position leaves. Or let’s roll out the old “the car qualifies, not the driver,” and when they draw for position, the cars stay, but the driver’s move???

    I agree George, there’s something about the format that makes me feel like I missed the real race. Maybe with tweaks, it’ll work better for all next year.

  6. Couple of pretty boring races with a game show in the middle. Couldn’t watch live, didn’t watch on DVR.

  7. Agree with you on just about all points, George. Sunglasses: ridiculous and should probably be banned from TV interviews. Random draw: hadn’t thought about the potential championship implications until Dario started talking about it, and I have to agree with you there; allowing a contrived (there’s what differentiates this piece of inequity from all of the other stuff that people are throwing out there as things that “unlevel” the playing field) piece of randomness to potentially play a part in the championship ain’t good. That needs to be fixed for next year (I like JB’s idea a couple comments above of inverting the field based on championship positions better than anything else I’ve heard so far). Twin format: not bad, and I actually liked the short races, but there’s gotta be a better way to set the second lineup. Wheldon on VS: perfect. That guy is going to have a long career in the booth, if he wants one.

    Gotta say that I’m glad that the “basically 100% full throttle, all the time” ovals go back into hibernation for 3 1/2 months now. Bring on the short ovals, please.

  8. Mike Silver Says:

    I agree. Texas is usually one of the best races of the year, but splitting it up made for a really dull evening. It took out a lot of startegy. A better way to line up for race 2? Invert the top 10 and 11 on back draw for positions. That way the leaders can chase each other and if one of them had a bad race 1 we can see some drama as they charge up the field.

  9. Simona Fan Says:

    One of the other regular commenters asked me to leave my thoughts about my first IndyCar race on Saturday. Since this isn’t my blog, I’ll just leave a few points about actually being at the race. I could write pages and pages, but I’ll try to limit it to bullet points.

    1. Judging by audience applause at driver introductions (which were very anti-climatic in person, by the way), Danica is the obvious favorite, with Helio a close second. JR HIldebrand got an applause about as loud as Tony Kanaan. Not too many other drivers got more than polite applause.

    2. I was surprised that 90% of the fans were not wearing race related clothing. Of those 10% in racing gear, Easily 90% were Danica shirts. The remaining 10% can be broken down into 5% Marco, 5% everyone else (mostly TK 7-11, and a few target shirts). This series has a long way to go to build driver loyalty amongst fans, and when Danica leaves, it’s going to be a much bigger loss than I ever imagined.

    3. I went with four friends who were not race fans. The twin-race format was perfect for them. They watched the races with interest for about an hour, then we could take off the headsets and talk about what we saw during the break. Ran down to get food, get set for the second race. My wife thought the two races were the perfect length. I would have preferred longer races.

    4. For me the races were disappointments. When I heard Simona’s spotter tell her “Your most important responsibility is to take care of your car” before the first race, I wondered if we’d see the desperation in driving we were supposed to get. We didn’t. I think there were a lot of drivers just trying to survive the night and we didn’t get the racing I’d hoped for. One caution and one lead change between the two races were disappointing. The fact that I drove 12 hours round trip for less than 2 hours of racing was also disappointing. However, my non-racing friends and wife were thrilled with the races. They were surprised how much they liked it and will be watching the next race. So I guess in that respect it was a success for IndyCar.

    5. It’s time for big video screens at Texas. The three tiny screens they had weren’t enough for me to catch any replays and after a while I forgot they were there. If Charlotte can do it, so can Eddie.

    6. The blind draw was actually pretty engaging in the stands. It went a little long, but seeing TK pick first or Dario end up with 28th was actually pretty fun.

    7. More than driver introductions, the one crash, or the close racing, what got the crowd the most excited was the firehawk with the t-shirt cannon and the prospect for a free T-shirt. 🙂

    • “More than driver introductions, the one crash, or the close racing, what got the crowd the most excited was the firehawk with the t-shirt cannon and the prospect for a free T-shirt” with advertising.

      ~ That’s sad/pathetic ~

  10. Actually, now that I’ve done a little clicking around this morning (work tends to not grab me much on Monday mornings…), I gotta put in a plug for a good blog post on today’s subject:


    In there, Rick puts forth the idea of forming the second grid based on fastest laps from Race 1. Had that happened, here’s your grid for Race 2:

    Row 1 – Viso / Danica
    Row 2 – Briscoe / Carpenter
    Row 3 – Tags / TK
    Row 4 – Marco / Taku
    Row 5 – Power / Graham

    Helio would have been 14th Dixon would have been 16th, and Dario would have started 22nd (penalized somewhat because he spent all of Race 1 up front and out of the draft). Now the random draw still winds up being a little bit of a random draw depending on peoples’ success in the draft, but at least it’s tempered by actual on-track results instead of being totally based on a gameshow. Thoughts, anybody?

    • yeah, thanks s-fan, that was me. I was just curious as to how Indycar came across in person for a first-timer at this stage in the series. interesting that the non-fans liked the format. speaking of simona–is anyone concerned? I don’t think she’s too thrilled about ovals anymore due to the accident. then I read her twitter about what an awesome race F1 staged in Canada…so?

      • oops. sorry s-geek, was trying to reply to s-fan. but that’s an interesting possibility.

      • Simona Fan Says:

        The race is great in person. If I didn’t say that, I meant to. Despite the lack of crashes (usually what a non-racing fan wants to see), the close racing and the drama up front held our interest. The sheer speed of the cars is exhilarating.

        Simona has two things working against her right now. One is fear and the fact that she doesn’t really like the fast ovals. But more importantly, I don’t know that her team wants to buy another car for her since it’ll be scrap at the end of the season. I think they’re trying to get as many races out of this back-up car as possible. So she’s just out there running around with a safe handling car. I fear that will become more prevalent with the smaller teams as the season goes on.

    • I don’t know that we want 30 drivers at TMS trying to drop a fast qualifying lap for Race #2 in the middle/end of Race #1. Seems like a recipe for wrecking a few people’s night when someone pushes a qualifying lap in the middle of a race.

  11. Bravo, George, for a great post. Contrived race gimmicks are fine for Saturday night short track racing, but really bother me when they’re applied to professionals racing for a championship.

    I’m not ready to dismiss the Twin concept, but I’d welcome some changes.

    Re: Sunglasses-I’m reminded of Andy Granatelli’s “nose and lips” comment on last month’s Trackside. Didn’t the NBA institute a dress code recently? It would at least give precedent for a “remove sunglasses” mandate.

    The “halftime show” dragged, but that might be a function of the blind draw. Set the field differently, and the show could be shortened and/or jazzed up.

    Really, George, you made so many good points I can’t hope to cover all of them…

    Speedgeek, first let me reiterate that the fastest lap idea was not mine. I don’t want to take credit for it, but I like it as probably the best idea. As your excellent analysis shows, it might have produced the most interesting scenario possible for the second race.

  12. “There are many examples of how blind luck plays a part in racing. A car randomly spinning in front of a driver is part of racing. Running over a wheel assembly from a car that just crashed in front of you is part of racing. Having just pitted under green before a yellow allows the rest of the field to pit under caution is part of racing. But setting up a blind draw to set the starting grid for a race is an unnecessary and artificially induced variable that exists for the sole purpose to mix things up.”

    I agree with every word.

    But I’m against random or inverted grids, at least in points-paying races. I want the best driver to win, on own merits. Let’s have double qualifying or use the fastest laps from heat 1 for the heat 2 grid.

    “Seeing a person’s eyes is important. You can get a much better feel for a personality when you can actually see their eyes.

    If I were Randy Bernard, I would mandate that unless a driver has sunglass sponsorship, they should be required to remove sunglasses for all television interviews.”

    if they have glasses sponsors, let’s make them wear them before and after. When the journalist is making the first quiestion, the drivers takes the glasses out and pockets them in the chest or moves them to the top of their head. After the last answer, during the outro, the driver puts them back on ther nose.

  13. carburetor Says:

    At first, I thought I’d enjoy the twin race format–and at a 1-mile oval, I think it might be more interesting. At a race or track that tends not to have many cautions during the race, it severely limits strategies for working your way through the field. It all but guarantees the two big teams will dominate–and that was proven in both races; thus if you are a fan of the underdog–forget it, you had little to no hope in either of these events. When Dario drew the back starting position for the second race, you pretty well knew he was screwed of any hope of actually winning. That pretty well makes for boring racing.

    While I think the lottery draw for the second race line-up is all wrong for a championship race series, I did enjoy the interviews of the drivers. It went a little long–and I did worry about losing viewers–but let’s face it, casual viewers are not watching Versus anyway. What I enjoyed was that you got a glimpse of the driver’s personalities (way too bad that Ed Carpenter chose to be a grump) and that many of the drivers seemed to try and interact with the crowd that was there. Kudos to Randy Bernard for trying something to get the fans to get to know the drivers of the series. Faced with the competition of NASCAR talk shows–there must be dozens of those senseless yakking heads talk shows–talking about Kyle Busch’s latest fist-fight every week on Speed, TNT, Fox, etc, We need to try something to get fans to get to know these drivers…..

  14. My recollections of “twin” races is foggy at best, (possibly as a result of the substances I was using back in those days.) I vaguely remember they used to run “twin 125’s at Trenton, (or maybe Langhorne,) when I was just a kid, but I have ZERO memory of ever paying attention to one in Atlanta.

    I completely agree with the premise that this did NOT need to be tried at Texas where the series has historically drawn well. Still, I give Randy Bernard and Eddie Gossage a big, “nice try.”

    And, while I understand the championship implications, this was not news to anyone paying attention to the series until Saturday night, when the situation developed the way it did. I may have been a little tough on Dario in telling him (and other complaining drivers) to “Just shut up,” when whining about the draw. It was, however, on paper from the get-go, and it wasn’t until it played out so radically that anyone spoke up about it.

    The draw itself was about 15 minutes too long and while it was nice to get a “hot minute” with each of the drivers, it did not seem to matter much to those in attendance.

    On the issue of sunglasses, this is NOT the NFL. We NEED stars that have some recognizability. I make no apology for that fact that I am a Danica fan; yet, I can’t STAND the “Atom Ant” sunglasses!

  15. billytheskink Says:

    Agreed on the sunglasses (despite them being great fodder for unintentional humor) and poor Kevin Lee. Can’t comment on the TV coverage because I was sweating at the track.

    The racing action was good but not great; we haven’t seen a real thrilling race at Texas since 2008. Rahal and Viso were probably the most entertaining drivers in race one, while I’d give that title to Dixon in race two. I was happy to see that chop blocking, which was absurdly out of hand at last year’s race, was not much of a problem in either twin. Worst I saw was guys squeezing the car attempting a pass on the outside going into turns 1 and 3. This hurt Power in race one, as he struggled running the high line. If they continue with the twins, I’d like to see longer races (maybe that’ll convince the series to award full points for each), though it might pose a problem with the TV window.

    The crowd was maybe a tick larger than it was last year. I think the local consciousness being focused decidedly on the NBA Finals hurt the walk-up crowd.

    I can imagine how the blind draw up on stage came across as a little awkward (and way too long) on television, but I thought it worked very well in person. The crowd seemed to enjoy it, anyways.

    Its effect on the race or its perceived fairness/unfairness didn’t bother me one bit. To Dario’s credit, he was griping about the blind draw before it bit him. I don’t feel like complaining, though, when he had as good a chance as any driver of drawing the pole for race two. I’m not going to complain if they change it for next year, but I liked the blind draw.

    Dario was as unlucky to not see a caution in race two as he was in the blind draw. Considering that he was unable to work his way past drivers like Mike Conway until the end of the first stint while Dixon was rocketing by everyone in the middle pack, I don’t think a straight-up field inversion gets Dario a much better finish in race two. With Power finally getting the high line working for him in the second race, I also don’t think he would finish much worse in that scenario.

  16. Jim in Wilmington Says:

    While the format left a lot to be desired, I’d still like to congratulate Will Power on his first oval win. The dive to the left to avoid the out of gas Graham Rahal was masterful.


  17. Agree about the sunglasses. Disagree about the twin format itself, but very much agree that there should be inversion of something rather than a blind draw. As far as the staged thing for the draw, I reckon it’s an attempt to replicate what goes on at Daytona for the Cup drivers in their shootout thing. Bad part is the points-paying-race part (versus a show without championship repercussions). If they want the draw, then they should draw by finish in groups, i.e. the top six finishers draw for the last six starting spots on the grid…they’ll be mixed among themselves at the back…then continue that format up through the field. Or just straight inverting. But Dario (who I’m no particular fan of) did get shanked on that deal.

  18. Firstly, a semi-apology for some of what I wrote last week. Not for the part that INDYCAR fans can be myopic-as we saw this week, so are drivers and team owners as well-but for the vehemence which didnt’ need to be said here. However…

    To Bent Wickerbill: You may have been trying to be funny with your blind person comments, but as someone who knows several blind people-including my ex, who is a Licensed Master Social Worker-I didn’t find your comments funny at all. I can also tell you that the visually impaired people I know are just as capable-if not more so-than many of the sighted people I know. Next time, try making your point without resorting to cheap denigration of the physically impaired. Now, on to more pleasant-somewhat-stuff.

    I did find the races exciting. Beacause I understand racing and it’s nuances, I tend to find most, if not all racing exciting.

    On Saturday night, I was okay with the random draw, but as time has gone on, I’m liking it less and less. It felt like instead of Bob Jenkins and Kevin Lee, Pat Sajak and Vanna White should have been on stage because to me, the whole thing looked like “Wheel of Fortune”, no pun intended. I understand that racing is entertainment and I do give credit to Randy Bernard and Eddie Gossage for trying this, but like you, George, and others who have commented here, I’m not sure it worked. I’m not sure what the answer is, I just don’t believe that what happened Saturday was the answer.

    One more slightly negative comment. While I do understand Dario Franchitti & Chip Ganassi’s views on the draw, I didnt’ feel it was necessary to bring it up over and over again. It didn’t change anything. Just put your head down and get it done.

    On another positive note, I did like Dan Wheldon as an analyst and do think he has a future if he wants it, but I did feel like he did talk a little too much. You’ve got three people in the booth.Give everyone a chance to speak and you’ll be better off. The biggest surpise to me was Takuma Sato and E.J. Viso with top 10 finishes, Viso with two of them! I’m not sure what’s more surprising, their finishing in the top 10 or their finishing at all!

    • indygrrl Says:

      I think KV is going to see an increase in the “wholeness” of their vehicles as TK lends his experience and wisdom to the team.

  19. I look forward to the Texas race every year – it’s easily my favorite. This year, the racing just wasn’t very good (although, I’ll admit we TV-viewers didn’t get to see the Target cars cut up through the field).

    I agree with George and the others that Texas wasn’t the place to try this. New Hampshire, Richmond, Nashville – those smaller tracks may play better to this format. Texas deserves to be a longer race (and, apparently that draws a better crowd!)

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