Grand Prix Wrap-Up

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The second annual Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis is now in the books. Was it a classic? No. Was it the most boring parade of cars I’ve ever seen? Not really, but it was closer to that than a classic. At least from the Tower Terrace stands where we sat for the entire race. Maybe it looked better on television.

The start was not good. I could see from our seats that things were not going well. They showed a couple of distant replays on the video boards, but I really don’t know exactly what happened. Most of you reading this probably know, but I don’t – not yet anyway.

But this much I do know – the first two-thirds of the race were dull. Pole sitter Will Power dominated from the start. Fortunately, the weather was nice so it was good to sit out there and watch race cars go by. But there was no real drama to get into.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed that Graham Rahal was running up front and staying there. Around Lap Sixty, I realized that not only was Rahal staying in second, but he was cutting into Will Power’s lead. With twenty-two laps remaining, things suddenly got very interesting.

The new video boards do a good job of keeping fans up to date on the intervals. I watched as Rahal closed the gap from 3.6 seconds to 3.4, the 2.1 and all the way down to 2.1 seconds. It may have gone lower than that, but that’s what I saw.

Although it made for some interesting final laps, it was not to be. Will Power won leading wire to wire, except for pit stops. Rahal finished a well-deserved second, with Juan Montoya third.

The first-turn melee took Scott dixon, Josef Newgarden and Jack hawksworth out of contention for the win. They all got going again, but were never factors. Dixon did well to finish tenth. Newgarden finished twentieth and Hawksworth was twenty-third.

But Honda should be proud that Graham Rahal has proven that they can be relevant on road courses. Takuma Sato was the only other Honda in the Top-Ten at ninth.

The crowd was not as big as the last year, but I think the weather forecast scared away some of the potential walk-up crowd. I heard Robin Miller estimate the crowd at barely twenty-thousand. I think it was bigger than that, but obviously smaller than the estimated fifty thousand they had last year. If I had to guess, I would say there were probably thirty to thirty-five thousand on hand today. As you can see from this shot of Stand J, it was not that sparse in spots.

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That’s going to do it for now. Susan will have a post up here in the morning (Sunday) that will be interesting, then I will have my usual “Random Thoughts” here on Monday morning. IMS weekend No. 2 of 4 is now behind us. We’ll be back up here next Friday for fast Friday and all of Qualifying weekend.  Thanks for following along this weekend and be sure and check out Susan’s post tomorrow.

George Phillips

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16 Responses to “Grand Prix Wrap-Up”

  1. As you know there was a time when Indy would draw 150k on Pole day. No race, no rock/country bands, no pit walk, no gimmicks; just diverse cars, drivers with personalities and desires, 60-80 cars going for 33 spots, and many memorable stories. This type of predictable, boring show will never incite the enthusiasm of past years.

  2. billytheskink Says:

    Take Will Power out of this race and it becomes much more interesting. Crowd and cars looked nice enough on television. The shot of the cars coming toward the camera on the main straight looks very good on television.

    Honda is surely happy with Rahal’s continued competitiveness, but they must be wondering why (outside of Hawksworth at St. Pete) he is the only Honda driver who has shown anything close to the pace necessary to contend for a win this season.

    Miller probably underestimated this year’s crowd by the same percentage he did last year’s crowd.

    What happened to Hildebrand? He was running a very nice 6th and all of the sudden was several laps down. No mention of why on the television broadcast.

  3. Wasn’t any better on TV. Whole thing had a B Team vibe to it. Plus TK said people who cut the chicane on the first turn were just allowed to keep positions, so whatevs …

    • There was no cutting the chicanes, they were missing the turn and then had to travel into oval Turn 4 where they made a hard right (just at the exit of 4) to go straight for 50 yards or so to reenter the track at GP Turn 3. Everyone I saw do it (like Hildebrand) lost several spots in the process so I’m sure they decided it was penalty enough.

  4. Ron Ford Says:

    I could not care less how a race looks on the almighty TV. Some are extremely exciting, most are not. Just one of them racin’ deals. If every race needs to look good on TV, hire a movie director to run them.

    HCN ruined the day for a lot of drivers.

  5. Chris Lukens Says:

    I agree with you George, the first part of the race was just so-so, but the last part was pretty good. I’m really glad to see Rahal doing what a lot of us thought he was capable of doing.

    And I have to say two good things about the TV broadcast. First, Jon Beekhius, good to see him reporting. I wish they would move him off pit road and into the booth. He makes watching the race much more enjoyable. Second, during the first half of the race the engine noise was so loud I could not hear Cheever and Goodyear. That, also, made watching the race much more enjoyable.

    • Any day that you don’t have to hear Cheever and Goodyear is a good day in my book.

      • I fiddled with the sound to see if it was my TV. Alas no, but I wasn’t too troubled by it. They just seemed so off this weekend. I am counting the weekends until NBCSN takes control again.

  6. madtad1 Says:

    I don’t understand why Helio hot no penalty.

  7. Trust me, the race was not very exciting for fans on TV either. Another dull Indycar strategy race.

  8. Literally fell asleep watching this one. I’m fine with signage and improvements to the track, but how can the on-track product be more engaging and more competitive? Ugh. I guess that’s the same question we’ve been asking for years. Thanks for all the info from Mr. and Mrs. Oilpressure.

  9. Montoya asks (paraphrasing) “they put a slow turn at the end of the fastest straightaway–what do they expect us to do?” My answer is to drive smartly and skillfully and not wreck into each other.

    And I know these are no quick-fixes to a troubled sport but I still want: no fuel knobs, on-board starters, more hp, less downforce and drivers who are marketed and paid. Just had to say it…

  10. Cheever and Goodyear’s time is long past need new blood in the booth

  11. James Legault Says:

    It’s a road race George. For God’s sake, get out of the Tower Terrace and watch the race from a vantage point where you can see what is going on. My seats in J stand, section 17, row GG, were outstanding. I was thoroughly absorbed and entertained throughout the race.

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