Random Thoughts On Texas

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Apparently, the divide within the Verizon IndyCar Series is much deeper than I thought. Either that or my definition of a good race has veered from that of most IndyCar fans of today. Last week, I was slammed for being negative in my description of the races at Belle Isle and double-headers in general.

Saturday night, I watched the Firestone 600 from Texas Motor Speedway. I was very entertained and was thinking to myself that this is more like it; only to get on social media after the race and see that most considered the race a snoozer.

How could that be? Did we all watch the same race? Do I now live in the bizarro world, where up is down and George Costanza says the opposite of whatever comes to his mind?

I saw where one person said that “Detroit in the rain was more entertaining than Texas” and “tire management just doesn’t do it for me” and that if “this is TMS, give us COTA (Circuit of the Americas in Austin)”. Another said, “Typical IndyCar. Take a great race like Texas and ruin it. I’m done”.

Then there was one that was apparently unhappy that Scott Dixon won by saying “Boring driver wins boring race”.

Finally, there was the wrap-up of “IndyCar at Texas Motor Speedway today is a NASCAR race without contact and way more extreme tire drop-off. Either you’re entertained by that, or you get flamed by the faithful.”

I’m not pointing out these quotes to flame anyone. In fact, the majority of them were made by someone, whose opinion I respect and I consider him a friend. And to be fair – he was one of the few that didn’t flame me for stating my opinions of the Detroit races last weekend.

I’m merely doing it to demonstrate the divide that exists today among what fans are looking for in a race.

To me, Saturday night’s race was pretty close to what I like in motorsports. There was an array of downforce choices that teams and drivers had to make. Tire management did play a major part in planning their strategy. Some drivers were overruled by their teams in what they thought would be the best choice – including winning driver Scott Dixon, who would have preferred a lower downforce setting.

Why is tire management so boring? It’s part of the overall strategy. Those that went with less downforce saw their tires go away in the latter portions of their stint. That explains how pole-sitter Will Power was four laps down at the end of the race. Of course, this was greatly exaggerated by the fact there was only one caution period for the night – for debris on Lap 84.

That brings up another point that I found so appealing about Saturday night’s race – there were no crashes, nor pack racing. There was just good, hard racing. As close as some of the racing was, the drivers raced each other cleanly. During the post-race show, they all emphasized how much respect they all have for each other – even Juan Montoya, who is not known for being warm-and-fuzzy with his fellow competitors.

If you were looking for spectacular crashes that were worthy for SportsCenter, you were watching the wrong race. If you wanted to see hard, but clean, racing all around the track throughout the night – this was the race for you.

It started out with Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves running side-by-side for several laps. Many times, I held my breath as they looked like they may touch. They didn’t. It was the same with Charlie Kimball and Ryan Briscoe later in the race. There were battles like that all around the track throughout the night.

Two or three times, Kanaan made bold passes for the lead. Although it wasn’t like the record-setting multiple lead changes we saw at Indianapolis a couple of years ago; there were fourteen lead changes among nine drivers. Most of the leaders were actual contenders and did not lead simply as a result of the cycling of pit stops.

Towards the end, things stabilized up front. The only late-race drama that had the potential to unfold never materialized. Marco Andretti was on a fuel-saving strategy to make one less stop than Dixon would have to make. It didn’t pan out, because Marco used up his tires in the process. Marco finished fifth and was lucky to remain on the lead lap.

Scott Dixon won comfortably over teammate Tony Kanaan, who came in second – 7.8 seconds behind. Helio Castroneves came in third, in front of points-leader Juan Montoya. Andretti’s fifth place finish was the highest for a Honda; who did manage to place five cars in the Top-Ten, albeit mostly in the bottom half.

TV Coverage: I thought that NBCSN’s pre-race coverage was outstanding. There weren’t cheerleading segments for the series, but some very insightful interviews instead.

Although some considered it morbid, I thought that Robin Miller’s interview with AJ Foyt regarding his mortality was frank and refreshingly candid. Instead of tearing up when discussing his brush with death, AJ was his typical self in bluntly saying none of us have a say-so in when it’s time to go. He laughed it off. He also revealed that he is still very weak, but would still lay somebody out if he had to. Foyt also did not mince words when he said that Honda was out to lunch with their aero-package.

I was not as thrilled about NBCSN during their race-coverage. It’s not their fault, but Brian Till and Townsend Bell sound too much alike. I can’t tell who is saying what. I’m not sure that really matters, so long as it’s getting said, but I found it a little confusing. I did think that the “bet” between Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy got a little tiresome. Tracy had predicted the choice for higher downforce would be the correct one, while Bell said he would opt for less downforce had he been driving. Tracy ended up with the correct call, but they carried their little private contest to the point of being almost important as the race itself. That’s what happens when announcers think they are as big as the event itself – as in the case of Darrell Waltrip.

Unless I missed it, the NBCSN crew failed to ever mention what the lone caution of the night was for. I had to look it up on Twitter for the Official IndyCar page to tell me that it was for debris on the front stretch.

I also wish that Kelli Stavast and Marty Snider would lose the NASCAR jargon. In IndyCar, understeer is referred to as “push”. NASCAR calls the same condition as the car being “tight”. Whenever I hear the word “tight” I always have to stop and think what that means. When I hear “push”, it’s automatic. It’s the same thing with the trucks that carry the cars. IndyCar has transporters. NASCAR has haulers. Leave “tight” and “hauler” for the NASCAR side of their motorsports coverage.

They had a lot of time to fill at the end of their coverage window. I thought they did a good job of giving us insightful interviews and timely replays during the twenty minutes or so of down time.

All in all, I would give their complete coverage a B, but only because of their pre-race and post-race coverage.

Surprise Appearance: Apparently, we at home were not the only one surprised by the person chosen to give the command to start engines. Teams and drivers seemed genuinely shocked at a video of James Hinchcliffe standing in his home. He talked freely and openly about his accident and the support he has gotten; even joking that he hasn’t been getting a lot of action lately, before saying “Drivers, Start Your Engines!” It was a very neat moment and was a good way to start things off.

Why the Delay? Not only did NBCSN never tell us the reason for the caution on Lap 84 (debris), they also failed to mention why it took thirteen laps to go back to green. A random shot of a sweeper in Turn Three told me they were taking the opportunity to sweep the track, but nothing was mentioned about that ever. Does it really take thirteen laps to sweep the turns?

Pippa Performance: Was Pippa Mann really in this race? She was, but you’d never know it by NBCSN. Other than a shot of Tony Kanaan putting her a lap down early in the race, there was not a single mention of her all night.

From what I could see following the scroll at the top of my screen, she drove a very solid race. She started twenty-second and finished seventeenth. I saw her as high as fourteenth, but that could have been a result of pit stop cycling. She did sit as high as a legitimate sixteenth for most of the race.

Most importantly, she finished and brought the car home in one piece. Although she technically started at Texas in 2013, her car caught fire at the end of the first lap and her evening was done. She tweeted after the race that she had learned a ton throughout the night and she hoped for another chance later in the season. I would hope that Dale Coyne could put her in the car for some or all of the upcoming ovals at Fontana, Iowa, Milwaukee and Pocono. I think she’s earned a couple of more shots.

Super-sub Tandem: It looks like Sam Schmidt may have found a good one-two punch until James Hinchcliffe is fit to return. Conor Daly performed well at Detroit last weekend and Ryan Briscoe has done an outstanding job at Indianapolis and Texas, where he finished eighth after starting nineteenth. Briscoe was very racy throughout the night.

Daly has already been confirmed for this weekend at Toronto, while Briscoe will be at Le Mans driving for Corvette. I don’t know if it will work out where Briscoe drives the ovals and Daly drives street and road courses, or if Briscoe’s sports cars commitments limit him too much. But between the two of them, the No.5 car of James Hinchcliffe has been in good hands.

No Answers: It seems that the biggest losers in the transitions to oval kits have been CFH Racing and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden both had bad crashes at Indianapolis and were completely lost this weekend at Texas. I’m no engineer, but they are the only Chevy team that has struggled with their oval package. Some would say KV has, but their drivers are not exactly suited for ovals, so it’s hard to judge them. They need to figure out something fast, because there are four more ovals coming up in the next two months.

Although Andretti Autosport has lagged behind the Rahal and Schmidt teams in their development of the Honda aero kit; Ryan Hunter-Reay has lagged behind even his fellow Andretti teammates. He is having a horrible season that looks to only get worse. One thing I’ve noticed about Hunter-Reay is that when things aren’t going well, he can become his own worst enemy. Remember his legendary brooding in a Vision or Foyt car? That’s the RHR we are seeing now. Most things in life improve with an attitude adjustment. I would think that racing is no different.

Was That a Joke? If you watched Saturday night’s race live, you probably saw the ad for Sunoco’s new fragrance Burnt Rubber. I actually Googled it, to learn that it s a fragrance that has been advertised in NASCAR. I guess that shows how much I watch NASCAR.

This ad featured Graham Rahal and a blonde woman who may or may not be his fiancée Courtney Force – it was hard to tell. Whoever it was seemed to enjoy sniffing Graham Rahal’s driving suit, while snooping around in his motor coach. She looked happy to see Graham get out of the shower.

The whole thing seemed a little creepy and I wasn’t sure if this was an actual product or some type of spoof marketing for IndyCar. Whatever the case, I sort of scratched my head every time I saw it.

All in All: One of the things that make the Verizon IndyCar Series so appealing is the diversity of its tracks. Temporary street circuits, natural terrain road courses, giant superspeedways, intermediate ovals and short ovals make up the schedule. There is something there for everyone. While many loved what we saw at Detroit last week, Saturday night’s race was more of my cup of tea.

Unless you were looking for death-defying crashes or pack racing, this race had it all. There was magnificent driving skill on display that made outstanding look ordinary. Multiple strategies were implemented and it was interesting to see which one would work. No matter what strategy was tried, tire management had to be taken into account before anything else would work.

In the end, the Ganassi team made all the right calls, as their full-time drivers finished first, second and seventh. The points race of those chasing Juan Montoya also tightened up, setting the stage for an interesting summer.

George Phillips

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38 Responses to “Random Thoughts On Texas”

  1. madtad1 Says:

    Boring? I think it was IndyCar that released the stat that there were 1100 (!) passes made during the race!

  2. I loved the race. I can’t understand those who thought it was boring and/or want Texas gone from the schedule.

    I knew the reason for the caution because I was listening to driver radio and I heard Marco tell Michael there was debris on the track right before it went yellow. I also wondered why they never gave the reason on TV.

    And I’m SO glad I’m not the only one who was creeped out by that commercial!

  3. Scott Dixon is really never a popular winner, he is dreadfully dull to listen to but a master behind the wheel. Helio is the other way, I think he is overbearing to listen to after a win.

    I think the presentation of the race is what made it boring to some, NASCAR has the same problem. People talk about the old days, well in those days the announcers were better at making a race a story, a presentation. Now, they seem to just go through the motions searching for controversy instead of selling the drivers as risk seekers. Remember in the 80’s, how the drivers were sold as being so brace and tough to battle Michigan Speedway or the Brickyard? I feel like that is the part that is watered down now.

    Also though, I agree on Pippa, for a series struggling with sponsors and a leading up 10 seconds on the field, you have some time to show each and every car out there and talk a bit about the drivers!

  4. I’m with you, George, I thought it was a very exciting race. Lots of good wheel to wheel racing, especially with Helio and TK, and then Briscoe and Charlie. Great stuff!

    NBCSN does a much better job than ABC, but like you and everyone else, I never heard an explanation for the yellow. I also got a bit tired of the overexposure of Munoz. How many times has he been interviewed since last week? Geez, the guy won his first race, that doesn’t make him the world’s greatest. Give it a rest. And, have to agree also on the stupid bet between Tracy and Bell. Enough, already.

    One other thing on the TV coverage. I like to watch pit stops that might have an effect on the race, i.e., the leaders. No need to show me the pit stops of every car. At one point, I mentioned to my wife that maybe they might want to show a little of the racing along with their extensive pit stop coverage. Again, enough, already.

    On Pippa, if you’ll notice, when one of the stars like Helio, Power, Dixon, et al are way down, you never hear mention of them either. Pippa is basically a back marker, so unless she’s having a great race, I wouldn’t expect to hear her name.

    I’m ready for Toronto! More racing!

  5. I thought the race was super boring. If you either like all races, or super technical races I can see how a person would have enjoyed it. But I must be missing something because I don’t see how Texas could be seen as much better than the lackluster racing seen at Montreal or Pocono. Or Monaco or the Coke 600. They were pretty much the same race. Besides pack racing and crashes the race also lacked parity, close racing, a close finish, and more than 5 cars on the lead lap. You basically knew from the start it would be a Penske or Ganassi car winning, and I can’t say that is very exciting to me. I miss having Carpenter in contention to win.

    What I think is really unfortunate is that had the tires not worn as quickly the race probably would have been pretty good. The start and lone restart were exciting.

    Super boring race won by a super boring driver… that’s a pretty good way to sum it up.

    • sejarzo Says:

      Why is Dixon a “super boring driver”? What drivers in other series do you think Indycar drivers should emulate, and why would that in and of itself increase the numbers of fans in the stands and/or viewers on TV?

      If you miss having Carpenter in contention to win…maybe you ought to get hired on as an engineer for CHFR. Ed clearly has all the skills needed to win on these sorts of tracks and was out to lunch with the same engine, aerokit, and tires as Penske and Ganassi, right?

      The most likely way to get closer racing with this car would be to go back to mandate wing angles and thus handicap the better drivers and teams. And that’s not real competition.

      • Why is Dixon boring? Well, he wins a lot and has no describable personality. Contrast that to Valentino Rossi or even Lewis Hamilton. NASCAR at Pocono was about the same race, but having Truex win vs. Dixon is night and day. I could care less about “real” competition, I’m not that into watching 2 teams win the race before it even starts, especially when they have a lot of less than compelling drivers. It doesn’t have to be pack racing, but the racing needs to be a bit closer than what we just saw at Texas. Indy’s been a good compromise. I don’t watch racing to see the crashes, but when you only have one caution it causes the race to really spread out and that’s not good. Personally, it makes me more sympathetic towards NASCAR’s debris caution issue. There’s probably real debris, but it’s not harming anyone…. yet… it kind of makes sense now to pick it up. Didn’t used to feel that way, but the Dw-12 era of oval races makes me understand that, whether I think it’s a good thing or not.

        • Ron Ford Says:

          Well, Emma likes him. That’s good enough for me. Do you have a describable personality?

          • Perhaps… I did get quoted in this article which is pretty cool! But I’m probably the Bush Bros. of the racing blogging community…..

        • sejarzo Says:

          I think your comment that “I [sic] could care less about ‘real’ competition” says it all, Dylan. You want a manufactured show that handicaps the best talent so as to generate a more random outcome. That’s just sad.

          • I was unaware that the criteria upon which one is judged to be a good or bad fan is how much they enjoy boring races…

  6. Br!an McKay Says:

    As usual, I can’t say anything that hasn’t already been written by George or commenters. I agree, agree, agree, agree.
    I enjoyed the race broadcast insofar as there was no predictable runaway win, no crashes, no dangerous pack racing … “just good, hard racing … cleanly” aside from the usual suspects blocking.

    I also wondered why the caution period was so idiotically long after NO car wreckage. The talking heads wouldn’t tell us.
    I don’t care for T. Bell, but I do like Brian Till and ABC’s Alan Bestwick at the helm, and I like Paul Tracy’s insights.

    I (and perhaps Meesh) did not need all the pre-race rehashing of the Indy 500 and Detroit races. But NBCSN IndyCar is leagues ahead of Always Bad Coverage.

    And I enjoyed seeing and hearing (video of) Hinchcliffe standing – or sitting on a stool, looking and sounding energetic.

  7. Yannick Says:

    First of all, let me thank you for this awesome quote, George:
    “Most things in life improve with an attitude adjustment.”
    Having recently changed a certain attitude, I can tell you this is so spot on.

    Back to racing: having not watched the race live due to conflicting time zones, I first watched the official race summary on IndyCars youtube page which was way too short, as always, and contained in there is some footage of a few awesome overtakes. So I decided to check the race thread on trackforum and couldn’t believe so many forum users were complaining about the race they had been watching. Next, the actual broadcast of the race appeared on youtube, too. And I watched the beginning of the race until it was time to do something else.

    I feel this has been the best race at TMS with the DW-12 car, and was shaking my head in disbelief about how many of the trackforum users could complain about such an exciting race. Helio and TK going round the whole track two-wide for several laps in succession must have gotten the trackside crowd really excited.

    To be honest, it was a much better race than I expected to see.
    CFH Racing having their “Penske 1995 Bump Day Moment” in this race was entertaining, too, to some extent, even though being a bit of a downer, because this story got me curious about what actually happened. Do they need to rebuild their cars again from scratch, having assembled them quickly after the 2 crashes the team had at Indy? Or do they have a setup problem? They should go oval testing at the next possible opening in the calendar, with 3rd driver JR Hildebrand also being present, to help fix this.

  8. It was so nice not hearing Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever commentate that I overlooked the bet Paul and Townsend had going. This group sounds so much more enthusiastic, knowledgeable, the chemistry is better, they sound excited about what they are doing like they actually want to be there. They have a way of not dumbing it down that I appreciate. I actually come away learning something new when this group is in the booth.

    I get really confused with comments like “boring” used to describe Saturday nights race. The first thought that comes to mind for me is people that say the race was boring, either don’t understand what they are watching, or they are trying to compare Texas to Indianapolis or another oval. I don’t get it. My question to all the naysayers out there; what would have made this race more exciting for you? I would really like to hear an answer.

  9. Ron Ford Says:

    Not much for me to add. I also enjoyed the race and found the “Burnt Rubber” ad bizarre and creepy. I was surprised by how badly CFH did.

    What I found to be super boring was the F1 race in Montreal. Even Diffey and his pals could not put lipstick on that pig.

    Sam Schmidt was quoted in a Ft. Worth newspaper as saying that he thinks the millions spent on aero kits was a total waste of money that could have been better spent on marketing.

  10. Bent Wickerbill Says:

    It was definitely an above average race, apparently there are many that are not aware of the many strategic elements involved with teams planning for a race… Track and air temperature at the time of the race and changes to those as the race progresses, associated tire wear, tire pressures, spring rates, down force levels, number of cautions, fuel mileage, when to draft, when to run up front, fuel mixture and when to use push to pass etc, etc, etc. If you thought the race was boring, you just don’t know enough about open wheel racing.
    IC really needs to address reducing the duration of cautions… It is definitely a race killer…

  11. I get both sides – it wasn’t “edge-of-your-seat-I-hope-they-don’t-wad-it-up” racing like the IRL days, but it was fun and entertaining. Maybe I’d call it enjoyable rather than exciting. Different strokes for different folks

  12. I taped the race but have not yet had the opportunity to watch it. But all the comments about it make the race sound pretty much like the Indy car races in the old days used to be. You don’t always have a fight to the finish. That is what makes a particular race memorable and one for the ages. But this race sounds like it was one of the better races at Texas. I am looking forward to watching the race.

    As for the complaints, I think they are of two types. One are the younger people who have become fan of motorsports during the spec racing era. They are used to having half the field on the lead lap at the end. It was not always thus. Second, there are those “F1” fans who want the Indycar series to be F1 Lite. Unfortunately that includes too many involved in the sport in management and as team owners/drivers. Outside of the oval in Indianapolis, these fans are never going to say a positive thing about an Indycar race on an oval.

  13. Saturday’s race, to me, looked an awful lot like…a motor race. I enjoyed it.

  14. If you’re going to quote me directly, George, go ahead and put my name by them, I can take it. I said all of these: “Detroit in the rain was more entertaining than Texas” and “tire management just doesn’t do it for me” and that if “this is TMS, give us COTA (Circuit of the Americas in Austin)”. And the “write up” you refer to for this one is my Facebook page: “IndyCar at Texas Motor Speedway today is a NASCAR race without contact and way more extreme tire drop-off. Either you’re entertained by that, or you get flamed by the faithful.” Now that we’re on the record, I stand by them. What I don’t get is why those opinions bothered you so much? It didn’t bother me even slightly when you greatly disliked Detroit and I found it entertaining. That’s just difference of opinion, not sign of some “divide.” It’s not necessary to love every race in the schedule, is it? Just wondering what’s the big deal? You can’t please all the people all the time. I get that. I’m okay with it. How about you?

  15. Chris Lukens Says:

    As far as the “Buirnt Roo-bear” ( in my best Inspector Cloueau voice ) commercial, I don’t know who the blond is either. I just hope that isn’t Patricia Discoll snooping around in Graham’s motorhome.

    • billytheskink Says:

      The blonde in that Sunoco ad is definitely not Courtney Force, which is becomes doubly weird when you see that Sunoco runs an ad from the same “Burnt Rubber” campaign during NHRA broadcasts that features Courtney Force and a dark-haired man who is definitely not Graham Rahal. There is also one featuring Jimmie Johnson.

      Of course, the first thing I thought when I saw the Force Sunoco ad was “the NHRA doesn’t use VP anymore?”

      The whole ad campaign is a pretty obvious parody of oft-black and white and always nonsensical cologne and perfume ads. I thought it was funny the first couple of times, less so now, but certainly can’t complain that Sunoco wants to dump money into motorsports.

  16. SOCSeven Says:

    The good:
    The D-Day fly-by was excellent.
    The national anthem was excellent & not butchered
    The announcing team were outstanding
    The TV coverage was excellent and didn’t just focus on the leaders
    AND, an outstanding, entertianing race.

    The bad:
    Penske & Ganassi again and again.

    The perplexing:
    On the British pre-race F1 TV coverage, Eddie Jordan interviewed Michael Douglas and his son Dylan (who was at his first F1 race).
    Michael, who attends a lot of F1 races, said he liked it because “The end is totally unpredictable”.
    Dylan (who looked to be about 13) said he liked F1 because “Here in America we just have Indycar which is just about going around and around in a circle”.
    Lots of education needed here……..

  17. SkipinSC Says:

    Maybe this wasn’t the most exciting race in terms of the front of the field, but let’s remember, Team Ganassi made almost every critical decision RIGHT. Dixon and Kanaan basically had everyone covered all night. It happens. Doesn’t mean it’s a BAD race, it just means one team hit a proverbial home run with their setup and no one else was really close. When someone has it all going their way, everyone else can look pretty bad.

    Sure, a few cautions would have maybe made things a little more exciting, but after all the “excitement” we had at Indy, seeing everyone get along and share space is not a bad thing. It speaks very highly of the skill of the drivers involved in wheel to wheel action that no one touched, banged, or even “de-winged” their fellow competitors.

    One thing DID surprise me. Maybe I haven’t been paying as much attention as usual, but I had no idea that Firestone had been told how to make their tires perform (or perform less-well) as was inferred during the broadcast.

  18. hey George. I agree with you on this race. it was fun and entertaining to watch. 90% of the people whinning about this race are the same old cart fans who wont be happy until they go back to the days of cart with one oval indy and the rest will be road or street races. they want to be f-one which will never be. look at wat happened to cart and champ car. that should say to them it failed twice why go for the third strike and your out? please just enjoy the racing and take your seat.

  19. billytheskink Says:

    This is a great race to watch in person because you can see everything and with the tires falling off the way they do, something interesting is usually happening somewhere on track. I think that is somewhat difficult to translate on television, but it is part of what brings me back to TMS year-after-year and will bring me back again to the race next year.

    That said, I admittedly would have liked to have seen a more competitive race. That is not to say that I found the race boring or uncompetitive at all, but further extended periods of competition for the lead and unpredictable closing laps are always welcome. That and a Rahal or Pagenaud that doesn’t whiff on the setup, and probably a couple more cautions to bring the field back together. Without cautions nearly every race gets spread out.

    What has been unpredictable about Texas the past several years is how cars will perform once the race itself begins and, especially, once the sun goes down. Some of this is due to Firestone’s now (in)famous fast-wearing tires, but the fact that the teams get only a single short practice session in anything close to evening race conditions, and no practice under the lights, is a huge factor in that unpredictability.

    Random, kinda racing-related thought from the race weekend: I was far more amused than I ought to have been by viewing a Bernardo Cavallino painting at Fort Worth’s Kimbell art museum on race morning while wearing an RLL Racing t-shirt made by the Cavallino Group…

    • Ron Ford Says:

      It is reaffirming for me to see that IndyCar fans, perhaps even including George, will go to an art museum for reasons other than to use the rest rooms.

      • Mrs. Oilpressure was an art major. She has to endure the IMS Museum on an annual basis, so I’ve always said I would go to an art museum with her for payback. But come to think of it, I’m not sure it’s ever really happened.

  20. jhall14 Says:

    Texas was not what I came home from a Colts game and found my son and wife watching the end of the 1st “Pack Racing” show years ago. I guess I became spoiled with it. When I think IndyCar, I think macho men and heroes, ballsy moves on the track, not off the track.
    I think speed and guts, not how much downforce to place in a car by an engineer. Not asking my tire partner to bring a highly degradable tire after a few laps.

    But that is where IndyCar is now. I do not like watching a corvette race like an impala. Texas needs great tires, with great drivers and less politics of “how” to race.

    That is why Toronto will be a better show, back to purely racing with different strategies with no politics of how to race.

  21. Pack racing is dead and it will never come back. The first Texas race of this style was loved by fans. But that had crashes and a DC car won. I think we know what many people like.

    The Honda’s seemed very competative at Texas. The bigger issue is the two best teams are both in Chevys which run a combined 8 cars.

    This Dixon fan loved the winner! I probably woke the neighbor up.

    Sunoco should have used Ms. Force in that commercial. But she may have her own sponsor clash.

  22. ecurie415 Says:

    The real concern should be the anemic TV ratings for this race. Ratings have steadily declined for each race since the 500, although they’re better than last year. It’s hard to see how those ratings can improve.

    • Ron Ford Says:

      I don’t think I am the only one beginning to question the relevance of TV ratings these days as people’s viewing habits continue to rapidly change. There was a time when I would lock the doors and turn off the phone when an IndyCar race was on TV. Now, not so much because if I am busy or do not want to miss some other event to watch a race, I know that I can watch the race at my convenience on YouTube in a day or two. Free. Cable companies are losing customers in droves for a variety of reasons, but perhaps mostly due to the growing use of internet connected TV for entertainment. I told my cable company to take a hike and have never regretted it. I still watch the races but I am not being counted by the ratings suits. More importantly perhaps, I attend as many races in person that I can afford.

      • ecurie415 Says:

        Hi Ron. While I see your point, my response is that major advertisers still look to TV ratings and that is how media markets still function. Those advertisers could bring adequate funding to our sport, allowing drivers to drive instead of act as one-main funding operations. I sat across a table from Hinch last year and discussed this issue, and the IndyCar Series and its teams would very much like to believe in other metrics aside from ratings. There may be some truth to that but ratings matter in the big suites on Madison Avenue. No one with good TV ratings ever said that they don’t matter.

  23. john of sparta Says:

    here’s how my wife put it regarding Texas….
    it was a “chick flick” race. O.K., and forget about it the next day.
    some races are “Mad Max”, and others are “Driving Miss Daisy”.
    Texas was in the middle…take a nap, won’t miss anything.

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