Ten Worthless Opinions – Honda Indy Toronto Edition
It’s hard for me to see Canada as a foreign country. Most of the citizens speak English (except those militant Quebecers and the taxi drivers) and the social, political, and economic issues parallel ours. The Canadians I have met seem downright nice. And that’s what I thought of the Honda Indy Toronto race. It was nice. So in a departure from my normal left-handed compliments, I will try to be nice in my “Ten Worthless Opinions.” The operative word here is “try.”
1. A recurring commentary in blogs and on Twitter relates to the various renditions of the “Star Spangled Banner” that we are subjected to in most pre-race programs. American artists love to make the song theirs. They slow it down, add guitar riffs, or try to jazz it up in some way. Of course, that’s what you get when you use the tune from a British drinking song with the relatively nonsensical lyrics from the Francis Scott Key poem. It’s open to interpretation. With that in mind, I was so looking forward to hearing “O Canada,” one of the nicest national anthems in the world. Apparently, ABC/ESPN felt that the singing of any other country’s national anthem would rile up those Tea Party folks or something, so no “O Canada” for us. With that in mind, allow me to present a truly inspiring version of “O Canada” performed with a truly Canadian twist: click HERE for “O Canada” played using nothing but instruments made from Molson Canadian bottles and cans.
2. I regularly show great disrespect for ABC/ESPN’s coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series. They seem to go through the motions. But this week’s coverage in Montreal was, well, nice. They didn’t knock it out of the park, but they didn’t drop the ball, either. Yes, they missed passes, but they came back and showed them to us. They focused on the racing in the middle of the pack as Ryan Hunter-Reay was running away at the front. Novel approach showing us action instead of a lock-step front-of-the-pack view. Keep it up, ABC/ESPN.
3. While having a split screen for viewing is nice, the waving flag background is distracting and stupid. Don’t take my word for it, ABC/ESPN. Do a focus group. They will tell you the same thing. Change it, PLEASE.
4. It was nice of INDYCAR to change the rules to allow push-to-pass. I like them spicing things up. But I am still a little confused on why they took an already underpowered car and decreased power only to give it back in the form of push-to-pass. Now, I have been traveling and off the grid for the past week and may have missed what is a very clear and obvious explanation as to why they did this and what the benefits are. Still waiting…
5. It was nicely explained to me that on-board starters cannot be used because they weigh too much and the car already has a front-to-back balance problem. Thanks for the epic design, Dallara. One thing this series needs is either an anti-stall system that works or on-board starters so a simple spin or nose-in wall touch is not a race-ender for teams. As it sits now, a corner issue with two or three cars becomes a lottery on who gets help from the Holmatro Safety Team first. I am tired of watching a driver gesture for help getting his car refired. Sometimes that is the ONLY issue a driver has. Fix this…now.
6. I do like the side-by-side commercial and racing. It’s a nice concept, but I’m not sure ABC/ESPN sees it from the viewer’s perspective. It’s still a commercial, gang. We are not really still watching the race. With that said, you should try not to have commercials within two minutes of each other. “Going side-by-side” is not the same as watching the race. We are not stupid. Quit treating us like we are.
7. Interesting comments after the race from the drivers about the pits being closed during the caution. Will Power was agitated. Beaux Barfield did say they would try to open the pits in a timely manner during caution periods, didn’t he? Power had a lead, managed his fuel and tires, and got screwed by the pits being closed. Didn’t Simon Pagenaud suffer the same thing? Please keep IndyCar racing different from other series. If I want a nice vanilla serving of racing, I’ll watch NASCAR.
8. How can you not like Sebastian Bourdais? When Rick DeBruhl asked him if there were too many marbles during the restart, he said there were “too many idiots, that’s for sure.” And that might have been the nicest thing he could say. Oriel Servia also used the word “idiots” when describing his fellow drivers. They make me smile. The right kind of controversy is good for racing. These rascals bad mouthing each other is good for the sport. We need some delinquents in the sport. Choir boys are boring.
9. Poor SFHR. Joseph Newgarden is finally ready to climb the podium if he doesn’t screw it up. Even Scott Goodyear got it right when he said all Newgarden had to do was be patient because Pagenaud had to pit. That’s all he had to do. I’m reminded of the two vultures sitting on a limb. One turns to the other and says, “Patience my ass, I’m going to kill something.” Newgarden decided to force a pass. Pagenaud decided to block. Sarah Fisher decided to go all A.J. in the pit box. By the way, can anyone read lips? What was that Sarah said? I don’t think it was very nice.
10. Here’s my WO’s (worthless opinions) on what IndyCar needs to do to make it the most diverse and exciting form of racing in the world:
- Work to keep a nice balance between road, street, and oval courses.
- Use a three wide start for Indy, a two wide start for other ovals, a two wide start for some road and street races, and a standing start for some road and street races.
- More power, less downforce. That separates the racers from the drivers. This has worked! To be diverse, we need differences on the track.
- Anti-stall that works or on-board starters. Cars should start and/or keep running.
- Continue to make this an international series with international stars. Run where the money is.
- Add races. It’s hard to stay in the headlines when nothing happens.
That’s it for this week. It’s hard to believe that only five races remain on the schedule. But with IndyCar’s recent skill at staying in the news cycle for all the wrong reasons, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of things to write about…and that’s nice.