Qualifying A Wash – Literally
After a curious delay for lightening, the Verizon IndyCar Series attempted to qualify for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park. They got partially through the second group of the first round before a huge clap of thunder shook the whole place. The on-board camera from Charlie Kimball’s car caught it. That pretty much brought things to a halt. We waited about thirty minutes before IndyCar officials determined that the giant red and yellow cell was here to stay.
There was quite a bit of controversy, however. First, there was concern among all the drivers and crews as to why they weren’t running. There were lightening strikes in the area, but none nearby. I’m mixed on that call. One side of me says to not mess around with lightening, but another side tells me that more than likely – they could have run without incident at that early stage. The lightening was still several miles away at that point. I think IndyCar was looking at the situation from a lawyer’s point of view.
But when the call was made to red-flag the second group and to cancel qualifying altogether, I felt it was completely justified.
But in the short time they ran, that allowed enough time for some on-track controversy. Sébastien Bourdais spun at one point and got off-track. When he re-entered, it was determined by Race Control that he impeded Tony Kanaan. Before the call, Bourdais was first in the session and Kanaan was second. After the call was made, he was not to advance to the second round. Bourdais’s car owner, Jimmy Vasser, went ballistic on television in reaction to the call. My personal opinion? It should have been a no-call. Instead, it brought the Brian Barnhart haters out in full-force on social media. With qualifying cancelled, Kanaan will start third and Bourdaus sixth.
That will pretty much do it for us tonight. We’re going into town tonight to dine well and spend money that we shouldn’t be spending. But please check back early tomorrow. I promise to be here at a decent hour on Race Day. But we will bring an umbrella.