Random Thoughts On Barber
As I write this, I have still not seen the television broadcast of yesterday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. But from speaking with fans and everyone in the media center, the general consensus was that it was a good race. We always have fun going to Barber, but leaving after a good race makes it even better.
There were seven lead changes among four different drivers. Not bad for a course that everyone used to call boring. Plus the neck-to-neck racing between Will Power, Helio Castroneves and eventual winner Ryan Hunter-Reay in the middle stages was fun to watch even as a spectator that only got a short glimpse of it on every lap.
Helio Castroneves put on a good smile for the cameras when being interviewed and holding up his third-place trophy. But he looked forlorn and dejected in victory lane when the focus was on someone else.
But we shouldn’t feel too bad for Helio for finishing third in this race. He finished second in the first race at St. Petersburg and is the current points leader. My pick to win the race, Scott Dixon, finished second for the fourth time in four races at Barber. He currently sits second in points, while this week’s race winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay, is third. By virtue of finishing seventh yesterday and third two weeks ago, Marco Andretti is fourth in points, while the St. Petersburg winner, James Hinchcliffe rounds out the Top-Five in points.
Dario Franchitti’s nightmarish start continues. He has the distinction of starting the season with two consecutive twenty-fifth place finishes and currently sits dead last in points. Helio Castroneves has a total of seventy-nine points, while Dario has ten. To rub salt in his wounds – Dario has fewer points than AJ Allmendinger, who finished nineteenth and didn’t even run the first race. Ouch!
After a weekend break, the series now heads out west to Long Beach; an event that is second only to the Indianapolis 500 in tradition. That’s sort of hard to believe. After that they head south – way south to São Paulo, before setting up shop for the month of May. So far, the season is off to a very interesting start.
TV Coverage: I normally have an opinion that doesn’t matter much about the TV coverage, but since I haven’t watched the coverage yet, I can’t comment. Sorry.
Name Dropping: It was good to reconnect with acquaintances and outright friends this weekend. Our good friends Tad & Silvia were gracious as usual. It’s always good to catch up with them. I was also able to chat a bit about the Final Four with Curt Cavin on Friday. On Saturday morning, Kevin Lee was kind enough to give us a ride from the parking lot on his golf cart. Sunday morning, Susan and I both had a nice long visit with our good friend Pippa Mann. She couldn’t share much about her plans for the month of May, but suffice it to say she is working feverishly to not be on the sidelines. I’m sure the highlight of her weekend was when she was presented with an Oilpressure.com T-shirt. What could be better?
Nashville Connection: It was good to see Nashville native Josef Newgarden with a top-ten finish. The Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing driver had a rough weekend and started twenty-second. But he moved up and stayed in the top ten for most of the second half of the race and finished ninth. His DNF at St. Petersburg two weeks ago puts him at sixteenth in points. I don’t think he is going to be under the radar much longer.
Thieves: While I’ve always lauded the crowd at Barber for being knowledgeable and very civilized, Susan and I left our blanket and cooler at the top of the hill looking over Turn Two and went down right against the rail to take pictures and be up close and personal with the racing. When we returned to our cooler, there were a few adult beverages missing. Who does that? Stealing another man’s (and woman’s) beer at a race is not done. These were obviously not racing fans, but Auburn fans, instead.
All in all: I thought it was a good race to go along with another fabulous race weekend. It wasn’t as unpredictable as St. Petersburg, but compared to the first two races here – it was very enjoyable. I may sit down tonight to watch the broadcast and have a totally different opinion, but from viewing it as a fan at the track, we really enjoyed it.
Even though the weather could not have been better, I’m not sure there is a better way than spending it at a race track. Susan and I have been lucky in that every race we leave, we say it was even more fun than the last. I’m sure a letdown is coming, but I hope it isn’t anywhere soon.
Perhaps, I’ll bore everyone with more pictures on Wednesday. Thanks for following us all weekend long.