The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama: Untimely Edition
I understand this post is a little late and not in my usual WO (worthless opinions) format. There are reasons. Good reasons. I could blame it on the fact that I was on vacation last week, and it took a few days to
sober up get back in the swing of things. Certainly, there was yard work to attend to that just could not wait. Of course, there were the usual family obligations, not to mention the day job that provides the money to pursue my writing and racing habit. These are all valid. Those that know me understand my deeply rooted love of procrastination. Add to that the fact that I am the editor-in-chief and sole unpaid employee of this joint, and you could assume that I can post whenever I damn well please since nobody reads this stuff anyway. All true, but not the truth in this case. I am late posting because I had a creative idea.
If you are a regular reader here (thank you both), you know I have an unhealthy attachment to the odd and the quirky. I have connected IndyCar and its denizens to the following over the past year:
- The movies The Shawshank Redemption, Sunset Boulevard, Fever Pitch, Animal House, and Christmas Vacation
- The Warner Brothers cartoons with Bugs Bunny, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, and Porky Pig
- Championship wrestling
- The Mayan apocalypse (twice)
- The Rolling Stones song “Paint It Black”
- The songs of the Beach Boys
- Texas singer/songwriters and their music
- The Delta Wing and the Tanya Tucker song “Delta Dawn”
- The science fiction writer Robert Heinlein and his novel Stranger in a Strange Land.
- Tony Dungy, Bob Knight, and Jesus Christ
I’m proud of the eclectic collection I’ve put together. I feel I have carved out a niche within a niche sport. It suits me. The question, of course, is what does all this have to do with this week’s post being late? Let me explain.
My idea was to use the Master’s golf tournament as the comparison to the Grand Prix of Alabama since so many people gush over the beautiful and verdant scenery of Barber Motorsports Park by comparing it to Augusta National Golf Club, the site of the Masters. Augusta National is pretentious. How pretentious? They name each hole after a tree found on the grounds. They have names like Tea Olive, Juniper, Magnolia, Azalea and the list goes on. My idea was to name each one of my ten WO’s (worthless opinions) after one of the 30 or so pieces of art on the grounds at Barber. All I needed was a picture of ten of the pieces and I would be good to go. In fact, I spent a couple of hours finding pictures of the art works and making up names for them like “Naked Guys on Wheels” and “Guy Pushing a Rock.” Classy stuff, right? But being an English teacher at heart, I wanted to be honest and correct. I needed permission from the photographers to publish their work. This, I found, is simple if you are not writing a piece that is time sensitive (I was) and if you have your idea well ahead of time (I didn’t). So here I sit in the middle of the week after a race has concluded waiting for permission to use photos that may never come, so I can use a cool idea (in my own mind) to make an oddball comparison of a golf course and a race track just so I can offer my rather pedestrian opinions on a race. So…let me now offer my untimely opinions on the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, late because I had a great idea.
- The prerace lap with Townsend Bell behind the wheel and Wally Dallenbach in the passenger seat was comic gold. I loved the Tums going sideways as they missed Wally’s mouth. That’s nuance. The vomit bag might have been low-hanging fruit but it was funny. It’s OK to have flavors other than vanilla. More of this, please.
- NBC Sports seems to have an idea on how they want to present IndyCar. The booth was great, and the camera work stellar. I am not a fan of shit-stirring, though. The pit reporters are still trying to bring up a Will Power-Scott Dixon feud from last year and tried to create drama with a Will Power-James Hinchcliffe qualification episode from Saturday. Just stop it. The feuds will either happen or not. It’s organic. Like pro wrestling, the fans will determine who the heels and faces are. Less of this, please.
- I REALLY like Jon Beekhuis in the pits and look forward to more Professor B episodes. I like it when they teach me something. More of this, please.
- You would think I would tire of mocking Robin Miller’s grid wobble. You would be wrong. It is unintentional comedy at its best. He has no idea when he’s going, where he’s going, or to whom he’s going to talk. Speaking of Robin Miller, did anyone else notice he absolutely disappeared during the broadcast? More of Robin Miller, please.
- The start was a little sloppy but VERY edgy. How you can not sit up on the edge of your seat? IndyCar is GREAT racing. Someone is going to get punted on the start at Long Beach. Then the shit will stir itself. More of the attacking starts, please.
- Other than an accordion of cars playing polka music on the first lap causing Hinchcliffe to drop a wheel, the race was green, green, green. We had tire strategy, fuel strategy, and passes for the lead. That’s road course racing. More passes for the lead, please.
- Hinch was hilarious in defeat. Ryan Hunter-Reay was aggressive in victory. Charlie Kimball was an eye-opener. Scottt Dixon was stalking. Josef Newgarden was finally in the top ten. And Helio Castroneves was back on top of the standings. More of everything like this, please.
Even though I thought I had an entertaining idea to build my column around, the great thing about the race was that I didn’t need it. Sometimes events just speak for themselves. More races like the Grand Prix of Alabama, please.