A few observations following a great weekend of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500:
-Ed Carpenter on the pole is a fantastic story. It was very popular with the locals, short track enthusiasts, other drivers, most actual fans and the press. He did a wonderful job beating the big boys with his little team. He also has a sponsor that is actively involved. Bitter lunatics still living in a previous century have already been chiding the effort, using such insane rhetoric as ‘the fix is in’ and other such blatant insanity/immaturity. The racing community cannot cleanse itself of such poisonous vermin fast enough for real racing fans. Can you imagine the incoherent howling if he wins the race?
-Those same yelping, obsessed mental patients were wrong again this year. Checking the box scores I see that 33 teams and drivers will start the race again this year.
-Most of us still do not really like the gimmicky qualifying games IndyCar seems insistent on playing. Artificial bumping after 24 get in the first day seems really silly and manufactured. The fast nine is fine, but the way they did it after the rain delay this year should be the template. One shot, slowest to fastest, and line up the first three rows accordingly.
-34 cars for 33 spots is simply not enough. ‘Bump Day’ featured zero bumps. Mark Miles and crew need to figure out a way to attract over 40 teams a year to make it compelling. The limits placed upon capacity by manufacturers, costs, etc., must be resolved this year. Now. I stuck around until 6, but don’t really know why.
-The flirting with 230 this year titillated the thousand in attendance on Friday and Saturday. It’s a big draw.
-IMS needs to expand the racing line and cut the grass between the track and the warm-up lanes in half. That said, once the cars qualified and practiced race setups on Sunday, there was plenty of two-wide through the corners.
-To anyone who actually (and foolishly) believes the month of May should be contracted even more to five days or less: You still do not understand what Indy actually means to the entire sport. You are crazy. Such ignorance can never be tolerated. If anything it should be expanded. Marginalization of Indy and its relative importance is the same type of whacko logic that led IMS to create the IRL in the mid-90’s. Instead of spending so much of their time on mutinous behavior and actions perhaps those who actually believe the sport would be better with just a few days in May should embrace the one institution that gives all of them 100% of their legitimacy. I know that for many sliding down a rusty 50 foot razor blade on their scrotums is preferable to dealing with ‘the family’ and their minions but get past it and try a continuously positive approach. It would be a lot better for the sport in general.
-Kudos to IMS for having E-Stand and parts of B open all weekend.
-Phoenix would certainly make for a really great early May race on the schedule. While they are at it, they really ought to consider re-adding Richmond, Michigan, Chicagoland, Kentucky, Loudon and Pikes Peak. I would also add Memphis and Rockingham. Andy Hillenburg was strolling the garages over the weekend and really I hope someone from the Hulman-George cabal has spoken to him. That track could be another Iowa.
-I feel really bad for Michel Jourdain. He is a better driver who was saddled with a monstrous pile of seemingly undiagnosed dung on wheels.
-Got some fine ladies in the field again. My feeling is that Simona and Ana may run well if they stay out of trouble.
-I am amazed by the amount of affection the fans have for Tony Kanaan. Even though he seems like the Lloyd Ruby of this generation it would be really great to see him punch through for the win.
-Carlos Munoz impressed, and he is in the middle of row one. My fervent hope is that he does not pull a ‘that damned Coogan’ move at the start.
-The Andretti Autosport team had a dream month. Will they squander it in the big show?
-It is easy to remain ambivalent about Dario or Helio reaching four. There are others we would rather see sipping milk. Like Tony Kanaan.
-Dave Calabro gets more grating by the year. He tries too hard. There are no Tom Carnegies waiting in the wings, unfortunately.
See you next weekend. It is going to be great. Again. I am very glad I get it and am going for personal race 49.