Barber Sunday Wrap-Up

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For the second weekend in a row, the Verizon IndyCar series tried to put on a snoozer of a race. That was before Graham Rahal and Simon Pagenaud decided to spice things up. After a rocky start to the race, Simon Pagenaud checked out. With no yellows after the aborted attempts, Pagenaud extended his lead. It was boring up front, but Graham Rahal, who started sixth, kept working his way up to the front.

With twelve laps to go, Rahal began stalking Pagenaud in earnest. Then on Lap 81, Rahal made his move. The two cars touched heading into Turn Eight and Pagenaud went heading into the gravel trap. Fortunately for him, he was able to keep it relatively straight and he kept going but fell in line behind Rahal. Race control reviewed the incident, but rightly chose to take no further action. But five laps later, Pagenaud retook the lead on the front straightaway. From there on, Pagenaud led to take his second win in as many weeks.

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It’s a good thing there was that five-lap battle near the end, otherwise this may have been one of the more boring races I’ve ever attended in person. More on that tomorrow.

Rahal finished second for the second year in a row at Barber, while last year’s winner, Josef Newgarden, finished third.

There is no denying that Simon Pagenaud is on a tear. In the first four races, he has two second-place finishes and two wins. And to think I was wondering if his job at Penske might be in jeopardy at the end of the season.

Thanks to everyone that followed us here and on Twitter throughout the weekend. We got to see a lot of old friends and met some new ones also. In particular, it was nice to finally meet longtime reader Alex Cain, who is a transplant to Tennessee but is an avid lifelong IndyCar fan.

I’ll be back here tomorrow with my usual “Random Thoughts” post.

George Phillips

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5 Responses to “Barber Sunday Wrap-Up”

  1. Ron Ford Says:

    After 65 years of watching racing I don’t get caught up in the boring/not boring deal. Some are, some aren’t. You can’t script the things. Anyway, I am still bubbling with excitement (and bourbon) over the last 20 laps. 5 seconds, 4 seconds, 3 seconds, 2 seconds, 1 second, 1/2 second, then some bangin’ and scrapin’ and Rahal is in first. Wow! Then Graham guesses wrong on JackHawk and Simon regains the lead. (sand usually will add grip to a hot tire) Newgarden drove a fine race and had good pit stops. And you never want to see JPM driving angry in your rear view mirror, do you? Graham’s in-car comment about Daly being in the way was hilarious.

  2. billytheskink Says:

    I’m with Ron on this. Some races are more exciting than others, but we watch because we never truly know what will happen. That is exciting in itself, at least to me.

  3. Thank you George and Susan for the trackside coverage of this event here on the blog.

    This was the first race I watched since the untimely passing of Justin Wilson (RIP) at Pocono last year. Barber this year turned out to be just the right kind of race to remind me of why I have been watching auto racing in the 1st place. So I have to ask you: has this been the best race of the season so far? If so, I guess there are still better things to come.

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