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Pole Day at Indy – Saturday should have been Sunday

The Saturday qualifications for the 2016 Indianapolis 500 were fantastic, fabulous, superb, scintillating, tense, and whatever other words can be found in a thesaurus.  It’s just too bad they didn’t count.  Let’s just pretend they didn’t happen and do it all over for television.  What did Sunday bring? The wind made it edgy for spots 10-33, but the drama of making the race was missing, as were all of those great adjectives.  Sunday qualification was perfunctory with a little bit of mystery.  They had to take a risk for no other reason than TV.  James Hinchcliffe, coming back from life-threatening injuries here last year, edged Josef Newgarden for the pole in the feel good story of the month, but the day could have been even better.

ABC wanted a show that fit neatly into its Sunday afternoon time slot and got what it wanted: nice images of cars going fast without the drama of making the race.  Real risk without only one real reward.

For a while on Saturday, it seemed that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had its mojo back.  Cars were on the edge and drivers were hanging it out.  Teams had to make the risky choice to get in the “Fast Lane” to qualify and withdraw their times or sit tight with their times.  Real drama in real time was finally happening again at Indy in May.  But other than for the Fast Nine, it was meaningless.

IMS has spent the last decade tinkering with the qualification format, confusing fans, media, and teams in the process.  The current format would be so much more dramatic if there were more than 33 cars available to qualify.  Truthfully, IndyCar fans should be thankful that 33 cars even entered the race.  When the series struggles to have 21 or 22 cars at every other venue, it is unrealistic to expect teams, cars, and engines to magically appear in May.  How much better would the day one show have been with the bottom of the grid trying to make the show while the top of the grid was trying to make the Fast Nine?

If there were more cars than spots, it would be like the English Premier League soccer table.  The teams at the top try to qualify for the Champions League while the ones at the bottom try to avoid being relegated to a lower league.  The concept works because of the drama at both ends of the table.  With only 33 cars, the only drama is at the top.  Other than the top 15 or so cars, there is no incentive to have another go at it if you are at the bottom.  The pathos is the heartbreak of missing the race, not missing the top nine.  Somehow, it is difficult to feel too sorry for a Marco Andretti or an Alexander Rossi missing out on the Fast Nine Shootout.  Exciting, yes.  Entertaining, yes.  Heartbreaking, no.

All props should go to Honda, though.  With five of the first six spots, Honda teams can smile and not worry about strakes and domed skids.  The sandbagger sobriquet for Chevy can be forgotten.  Honda is back.

So on Sunday, cars moved up or down on the grid, motors expired, gearboxes proved recalcitrant, trash bags blew out of cars, and Alex Tagliani found the end of the pit wall.  And for what?  To move up a couple of spots after surviving the four toughest laps in motor sports the day before.  The Fast Nine went by quickly, with SPM’s James Hinchcliffe holding off ECR’s Josef Newgarden for pole position for the 2016 Indianapolis 500.  Getting the pole is a big deal.  It is emotional.  The Fast Nine was exciting, no doubt about that. The cars were on the edge, and the drivers were hanging it out…again.  But let us see everybody hang it out with the clock ticking down to 6:00 PM, not just counting down the cars left to go.  Let decisions be made and hearts be broken.  Saturday should have been Sunday.

 

 

 

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A Good Race is Hard to Find.

Flannery O’Conn0r wrote the Southern Gothic short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” about an old woman whose manipulative behavior and selfishness led to her family’s destruction.  Luckily, there was very little destruction at Barber Motorsports Park for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.  Sometimes though, fans of the Verizon IndyCar Series think that in 2016, a good race is hard to find.

Quite obviously, I sometimes reach for my comparisons.  This may be one of those times since Flannery O’Connor and her stories are not exactly household names.  Of course, neither is the Verizon IndyCar Series.  While many race fans love the verdant vistas of Barber Motorsports Park, they sometimes miss the fact that the racing is very good at this facility.  On site at any road or street course, a fan only sees what is in front of them.  Video boards help keep track of the action, but the view is most certainly limited.  On television, the viewer is often left wondering what happened with any driver beyond the top five.  That’s the nature of the beast.  A good race is hard to find.

If you sat on one of the grassy viewing areas at Barber Motorsports Park, you would have witnessed Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon coming from last to 10th after an early lap dust-up with  KVSH Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais left him at the back of the pack.  Lap after lap you would have seen him weave though traffic, passing his way back to an acceptable placing.  Afterwards, Mike Hull, Dixon’s strategist, said that was how championships were won.  True that.  Those same in-person fans would have seen Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya shred the field going from last to 5th.  Both of these drivers put on a show that was seen by the patrons.  Truly, it was edge of the lawn chair racing.  Since these passes were not at the front, television didn’t show them.  A good race is hard to find.

That’s the essence of the title reference.  Sometimes the actual racing is hard to find during the broadcast.  The limitation of live television is so clear on road and street courses.  There is just too much to see.  If you want constant excitement, follow the race on the IMS Radio Network.  You may not hear every pass, but you are always hearing one somewhere.  Sometimes telling is better than showing.

What was shown was certainly worth seeing, though.  Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal carried the tattered Honda flag to a runner-up finish while driving most of the race with a damaged front wing and the end of the race without half of it.  Plain and simple, Rahal can wheel a race car.  His stalking and passing of Penke Racing’s Simon Pagenaud was epic, and I am not using the word loosely.  This is what the current iteration of IndyCar racing is all about.  A single car team challenges the big multi-car team for the top of the podium with skill and guts.  And Pagenaud got him right back .  It was worth waiting for.  Even after Rahal lost his wing after bumping Jack Hawksworth, his manhandling the car to second place was legendary.  And again, that word is not used loosely.

Every form of viewing a race has limitations.  At the track you can’t see everything, on radio you can’t see anything, and television, well, let’s just say that we don’t see everything, even though we could certainly see much more than we do.  The truth is in the Verizon IndyCar Series a good race is easy to find if you know where to look.  The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama proved that at Barber Motorsports Park.

 

2015 Indy 500: postcards from the NE Vista

Another Indianapolis 500 has come and gone, and besides torched Port-O-Lets and the general detritus left by a sunburned and slightly inebriated humanity, the race was what we all have come to expect.  In other words, the inexplicable combined with the sublime.  I took the time to pen a few thoughts on post cards that have just arrived from the NE Vista.  They tell a story.

  • Greetings from the North 40, the parking lot that last year had no rules.  I know I gigged IMS last year regarding the total lack of parking acumen and the inability to honor a paid parking pass.  All is forgiven.  We rolled from the corner of Moller and 30th to our parking spot in the North 40 in less than five minutes, and that included taking a few moments to gawk at the sights of the Coke Lot on our way past.  It was reassuring to see all the Yellow Shirts in their natural habitat, performing their May rites of being petty tyrants and martinets.  They scowled and whistled and pointed and screamed.  I was home.  I might suggest that the planners in their cubicles not route traffic directly past the doors of the Port-O-Lets. You are supposed to use the lavatory when you go in, not on your way out as a car hurtles past, missing you by inches.

 

  • Hello again.  I have entered the track alone, unaccompanied by friends or family.  For some reason, they prefer to stand in a grassy parking lot with others, drinking Bloody Marys and slurping Jell-O shots while listening to loud music.  The radio should be tuned to a station reporting on the goings-on inside the track.  I am bereft and rent a chair back to make myself feel better.  I sit moodily in the early morning sun, watching celebrities and 500 Princesses drive past on the track, pretending they are waving at me.  I long for new family and friends.

 

  • Aloha from sunny Indianapolis.  The pace quickens as the pre-race activities roll on.  Terrifying skydivers buzz the Snake Pit and land on the golf course.  The PA announcer tells us to look to the sky minutes after their landing.  The new video boards work as advertised.  Florence Henderson warbles “God Bless America.”  Judging by the looks of all those under 50, The Brady Bunch has been forgotten.  Two A-10 Warthogs do the flyover.  I hope they strafe my family and friends with their depleted uranium cannons.  They deserve it for abandoning me.  Straight No Chaser sings “Back Home Again in Indiana.”  I weep and shake my fist in the direction of Kentucky.  Our song is better, even when sung acapella by someone other than Jim Nabors.  The balloons are released as an awkward struggle ensues on the video screen during “Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines.”  The inexplicable has arrived.

 

  • Salutations from the top of the NE Vista.  The race starts, stops, almost starts, and continues under yellow.  Finally, the race begins.  Passing is constant.  It soon becomes apparent that the winning car will be owned by a man named either Penske or Ganassi.  All is right with the world of the top dogs.  The small teams scramble for a top ten finish as God intended.  Parity is no more.  At the next yellow, I hurry to grab a tenderloin, but the lines are enormous.  The reason is simple: two remodeled concessions stands are closed.  We are outliers in the NE Vista, forgotten and despised by our political masters.  I do not get a tenderloin.  Scenes from Lord of the Flies run through my brain.  We are a true Turn 3 dystopia.

 

  • Howdy friends.  All is saved by the tremendous passing we see lap after lap entering Turn 3.  Plus we have craft beer in addition to salt and vinegar potato chips.  The Verizon IndyCar 15 app not only works, but works well.  I have phone, text, and Twitter for the whole race.  Maybe the NE Vista is not completely forgotten.  Hope springs eternal in the human breast.  We stand the last 30 laps, grabbing strangers, pointing at cars, adding our own body English to help these steely-eyed missile men at the front of the pack maneuver through the turn.  Juan Pablo Montoya wins, proving once again that he is a wheelman extraordinaire.  We are sated and slowly exit the NE Vista.  As we leave, we see Rick Mears as he leaves his Turn 3 spotters’ platform.  He waves a greeting, and we do likewise.  A smile curls my lips.  He is one of us.

 

 

Spending at the Speedway

The band ’63 Burnout has a song called “Trouble at the Speedway,” a very Dick Dale-ish surf guitar instrumental.  Good stuff.  The title made me ponder some of the current troubles at the Speedway.  Money was one that came to mind immediately.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am all for free enterprise and charging whatever the traffic will bear.  The object of business is, and always has been, profit.  I applaud IMS for finally monetizing everything in sight.  It’s the American way.

For years, IMS was the best value of any major sporting event in the world.  They could afford to be.  The track made money every year by having massive crowds for both Pole Day and Race Day.  Limited and very reasonably priced concession offerings sold well.  The corporation did not own a money-hemorrhaging racing series and simply mowed, painted, and repaired the facility until the next May.  Life was good.  All of the Hulman family had some folding money in their pockets and seats in a convertible for the parade as well as being Midwestern royalty reigning over a rather provincial outpost.  Who could ask for more?

Well, it seems the Speedway tired of being a once a year monument to speed, so they spent money like the lottery winners they were to make IMS a world class venue for other racing.  They erected the Tower Terrace Suites, made a goat ranch into a world class Pete Dye golf course, built a new Pagoda and garages, and added a road course in the middle of the once sacrosanct oval.  With all this building came NASCAR, F1, and the PGA.  The money train was on the tracks and rolling.  At least it was until F1, as it always does, found a better offer, until the golfers moved on, until the blush was off the NASCAR rose and the crowds dwindled, and until the formation of the IRL killed the popularity and profitability of the series and, to some degree, the Indianapolis 500.

There are a couple of different ways to deal with the loss of profitability.  The easiest way is to cut costs as IMS did.  Defer maintenance.  Sell your private jet.  Hire a skeleton crew to run your money-sucking series.  Deny requests to add much needed personnel.  Another way is to apply modern sports business knowledge to the idea of making more money.  Promote the product.  Hire the right people and let them work.  Add events.  Start charging for everything that has value.  This is Indy today.

Want to glamp? It will cost you.  Need preferred parking?  Pay up.  Need video boards?  The tickets cost more.  Hungry for a new cuisine or thirsty for a craft beer?  Pull out your wallet.  Want to watch practice?  Peel off a fin and a sawbuck ($15) for the privilege.  IMS should have marked everything up years ago but held onto the outdated notion of Tony Hulman that the facility and the race were public trusts.  While it is true that the track is on the National Register of Historic Places, it is still a business that needs to profit.  Do you really want to see the patrons howl?  Wait until the Speedway decrees that coolers are no longer welcome as a safety decision.  Talk about a new revenue stream!  And it is right for both safety and profit.  Nothing makes a capitalist happier than being able to justify profit in the name of Homeland Security.  The customers cannot argue.  I’m holding out hope that IMS uses a sponsor to offer a spectacular beer and cooler deal to the fans when the time comes, though.

Get used to it.  The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is going to get deep into your pocket for all the right reasons: profit and sustainability.  The old FRAM Oil Filter commercial used to have a mechanic saying, “You can pay me now, or pay me later.”  For fans of the Indianapolis 500, later is now.  Pay up.

 

 

Why Indy is more than a race

After winning the Indy 500 in 1992, Al Unser, Jr. said, “You just don’t know what Indy means.”  He was right.  Somehow, words cannot always convey the emotional connection that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 has on its fans.

Growing up in central Indiana, it was easy to fall in love with the month of May.  The peonies and lilacs bloomed, the weather warmed, checkered flags appeared in all the newspaper ads, and the Indy 500 took place on Memorial Day.  The topics of conversation were how the rain was affecting the farmers and who was going fast at the track.  And it was always “the track.”  No more needed to be said.

The Indy 500 was the only race that registered on the national consciousness. Sorry, Daytona.  You are a more recent icon.  Some of the long-time Indy 500 fans’ bitterness toward stock car nation is how it has eclipsed not IndyCar racing, but the Indy 500 itself.  No one wants to see his idol tarnished.  And after the IRL split from CART, the Indy 500 lost some of its luster and has been trying to burnish its image ever since.

Of course, to those of us locals, the image never lost its shine.  The edifice always stood at 16th and Georgetown, and we could visit it anytime.  It dominated the sports scene in Indy.  Much of the world woke up to Indianapolis on Memorial Day, but the true believers celebrated the entire month.  Students skipped school to watch practice.  You always went to at least one of the four days of qualifications even if you did not go to the race.  It was headline news in both local Indianapolis papers all month, and all of the local TV stations devoted coverage to the race.  It seemed that every business had a promotion connected to racing and checkered flags.  Simply put, May in Indy was the 500.  There was no escaping.

The result was that you became a fan of something that was yours in some indefinable way.  Central Indiana, for all of its Chamber of Commerce PR, really had nothing else of note to brag about.  It was always a little stunning to realize that this world class racing event was just down the street.  To be honest, most Indy 500 fans in Indiana cannot tell you the history of IndyCar, the IRL, or CART.  Those are just names.  But ask them about Parnelli Jones, A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, or Helio Castroneves and they will tell you all about where they were and what they were doing while they watched or listened to the race.  The 500 is part of the fabric of Hoosier existence, the warp and the weft of our lives.

In the age of social media with its immediacy of opinions, fans of the 500 often find themselves at odds with out-of-state or series-first fans who object to the hagiography that builds up around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  These fans often allude to to fact that it is just another race.  It is most assuredly not.  It is a time marker, a cultural touchstone, and a crown jewel to its Indiana fans.  All good race fans have their favorite stories about the month, the track, and the race.  Even its detractors have their stories about why they don’t like it.

Hoosiers, despite recent adverse political publicity, are a friendly and accepting lot, and completely understand why people wish, if only for one month, that they could be one of us.  While we cannot always wax poetic about it, we know that Indy is more than a race.  Just ask us.

 

The Honda Indy Toronto: Red Flag Edition

Who knew there would be so much angst over a piece of red fabric.  The red flag flew on Saturday and Sunday at the Honda Indy Toronto multiple times amidst accusations, confusions, rain, wrecks, and A.J. Foyt sarcasm.  It was the current incarnation of IndyCar at its finest.

Red Flag #1: The first attempt at a start on Saturday was simply cars taking a few laps to determine that there was too much spray.  The standing start was aborted and the red flag flew.  So far, so good, other than the fact the fans have been led to believe that the series really does race in the rain.  Keep in mind that it was not a deluge, just steady wetness.  Big question: Is the Firestone rain tire a true full rain tire or is it simply an intermediate tire masquerading as a full rain tire? Just asking.  Does it design create the spray seen at Toronto or does it mitigate it?  Again, just asking.

Red Flag #2: Another attempt is aborted when Ryan Briscoe sticks his nose into the tires.  The question arises again:  Are the Firestone rain tires really full rain tires?  You might even ask about the tires on the Honda Accord safety car* since Arie Luyendyk took it for a slow spin going into Turn 3 on the next lap.  Apparently, it had slicks for better grip.  Oops.  Finally, a start kind of took place with Will Power tagging the wall.  This led to many people seeing red.

The rules are clear: you cannot work on a car under red flag conditions.  After Will Power’s wreck, Team Penske took the car behind the wall and began repairs.  Other teams, according to Michael Andretti, were apparently prevented from working on their cars on pit lane.  What’s the rule?  According to Race Control, the race never started, so repairs could be made.  A.J. Foyt used sarcasm as opposed to profanity to question this by saying he’s not too old to learn new rules.  Classic stuff.

Red Flag #3:  This is a metaphorical red flag.  It was not waved but is there nonetheless.  Toronto exposed a communication issue between the teams and Race Control.  This is not to say that the race should have been run on Saturday, or that the teams should or should not have been able to work on their cars.  The truth is most fans don’t care.  The red flag here is that teams seemingly did not know what the hell was going on.  A paddock is a loose society of equals.  When one team is seen to be given a boon or an exception to rules, everyone else will be angry and loud.  That is when the nit-picking, accusations, and sarcasm finds its way onto the TV and into the paper.

Red Flag #4:  Once again, this is a metaphorical red flag.  Who is in charge of the message at the Verizon IndyCar Series?  Certainly Derrick Walker is in charge of the message to the teams (see above).  Beaux Barfield and his team are in charge of the in-race calls, but Walker is in charge of quelling any insurrections resulting from these calls.  The anger in the pits made good TV, but it did not make the series look like it had control of the situation.

Who is in charge of the message Derrick Walker sends when he gives an impromptu press conference explaining the red flags, the rain, and the reasons behind the decisions?  In his interview Saturday, it seemed like he was speaking in tongues; it sounded like it made sense, but it really didn’t.  At what point is someone from C.J. O’Donnell’s shop in charge of messages that emanate from the series?  Just wondering if the new regime at Hulman Motorsports/IndyCar is still staking out turf.

Red Flag #5:  Real red flag this time.  In race one on Sunday morning, a pile-up on the first lap brought the field to a stop.  Good call since the track was blocked and much clean-up was required.  Teams were not allowed to work on cars this time since the race had actually started, so the red flag rules were followed, but Dale Coyne, the master of the rulebook, found a loophole.  A team working on its car can be penalized a minimum of 20 seconds.  Robin Miller, pit lane reporter/activist/consultant/pot-stirrer, relayed Coyne’s info to Sara Fisher, who decided to take the penalty and use the time to repair Josef Newgarden’s car.  It was a great call as Newgarden advanced to challenge for a top ten finish until a burst of optimism put him off at Turn 3.  The official IndyCar box score shows a drive-through penalty for the 67 for “entering a closed pit,” so I’m not sure whether to believe my eyes or the box score.  In any case, a red flag win for SFHR.

Red Flag #6: Once again, this was a real red flag.  Race Control chose to throw the red flag on lap 51 of what was a timed race.  The red enabled the series to stop the clock.  Yes, I said stop the clock on a timed race.  No problem here with the decision, but teams who were on tire strategies that had them in the lead, such as Dale Coyne Racing with Justin Wilson, certainly had their strategies changed by IndyCar finessing the rulebook to ensure a chance at a green flag finish.  If red flags at the end of races are going to be used to create a green flag finish, then the rule needs to be codified and propagated.  When the series appears to make up rules as it goes, that perception becomes the de facto reality.

The two races at the Honda Indy Toronto once again had small teams on the podium with KV Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais and Ed Carpenter Racing’s Mike Conway hoisting the champions’ trophies.  That’s green flag all the way in my book.  But I have to wave my own red flag at the Verizon IndyCar Series for “failure to communicate with the real race control.”  And all the fans who buy the tickets handle the TV remotes are the real race control.

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*  Okay, before people knee-jerk about whether it’s a “pace car” or a “safety car,” let me explain.  At the Indy 500, it’s an “official pace car.”  People pay to have their car called that.  It’s a big deal.  In the rule book, the term is “safety car.”  Technically, even at the Indy 500, it’s a “safety car.”  I don’t know.  I just write what seems correct at the time.

 

New Track Record’s Ten Worthless Opinions – Sao Paulo Indy 300

What comes to mind when you think of Brazil?  Carnival?  Samba?  Nude beaches?  Crime?  I assume your answer is “yes” to all of those.  Another answer is auto racing.  Brazilians love fast cars.  It’s quicker to get to the nude beaches that way.  Or away from kidnappers.  But I jest.  I have formulated some totally worthless opinions about this week’s race in Brazil.

1.  How can you not love Bitchin’ Bob Jenkins.  For all of his mistakes ( confusing Brazil with Canada TWICE, starting the broadcast by misstating how long until the start,  miscounting the number of Brazilians in the race, and his usual assortment of using the wrong name for people), he is totally self-aware.  He knows he makes the mistakes and takes the ribbing of his booth cohorts with grace and good humor.  I had the opportunity to do TV color commentary for the Indiana state high school softball championships, and I can tell you it is the hardest, most humbling thing I have ever done.  Bob is the guy in the booth that must keep the focus on the race while watching a foreign broadcast from a studio in America.  I liked that he disclaimed the fact a number of times.  Even as I criticize, I realize we are lucky to have a guy like Bob Jenkins in the booth.  He’s sincere and honest, and that goes a long way with me.

2.  Does anyone else have a love-hate relationship with IndyCar 36?  I love that fact that NBC Sports is publicizing the drivers, but find myself being put to sleep by the narrative.  In my WO (worthless opinion), I would like to see more controversy and conflict.  The drivers are so politically aware.  We need some A.J. injected into the story.  Still, the meaning of Long Beach to Ryan Hunter-Reay and his wife was touching.  Maybe I’m not the demographic they are looking to entertain.

3.  Does anyone else find double file restarts exciting when they are done correctly?  True, the tight first turn in Brazil led to some, as Twitter aptly suggested, monkey/football romance.  But aside from that, I find myself leaning forward on restarts.  That’s good, right?  This has been a positive change.

4.  Speaking of positive changes, Beaux Barfield has been one.  After each accident, we were informed of an investigation and were informed (as well as TV, Brazil, Bob Jenkins, and technology allowed) of the outcome.  The rules seem clear to the drivers and the penalties seem fair and impartially enforced.  Unless you’re Sarah Fisher at Long Beach.  Speaking of which, the prerace had a moment of racing comedy as Kevin Lee questioned Dario Franchitti and referenced his contact with Josef Newgarden in Long Beach.  Tricky, Kevin, tricky.  Dario did not bite on the bait and continued to be blissfully unaware of “feeling” contact, Sarah Fisher’s sidepod evidence to the contrary.  I can only imagine Dario watching every video of the wreck and having a big grin spread over his face as he realized that no evidence existed that proved he punted Newgarden.  Plausible deniability, baby.

5.  Robin Miller was a ghost in the broadcast, which seemed to please some on Twitter.  I missed seeing what new way he could come up with to totally screw up the grid run.  I was hoping NBC Sports would do a hologram like they had of Tupac at the Coachella Festival.  A digital Robin Miller might not be so out of breath during his interviews.  If you can’t do a digital Miller, then at least give him a Segway.

6.  NBC sports, here’s my WO on your broadcast:  just because you have a great segment in the can doesn’t mean you cut away from the race to show it.  How the cam locks on the nose and tail assemblies work is cool information.  I like it.  But how about a side-by-side?

7.  Turbo wars!  You can expect the following press release from Roger Penske:

Since the turbo change resulted in an equalizing of the Chevy and Honda motors, it is COMPLETELY UNFAIR.  Fairness only exists when the equipment used by Penske Racing is superior.  HOW CAN YOU PEOPLE NOT SEE THAT? 

8.  Will Power is an absolute beast.  In all seriousness, he is in a class of one.  Same car, same aero, same motor, different result.

9.  And how about the other racing?  Takuma Sato showed that he really can drive.  What a dive bomb in turn 1 at the end of the race.  How about Ed Carpenter’s day?  His late spin, assisted by Ana Beatriz, kept him out of a possible top ten finish.  His improvement on road/street courses is vital to the success of his program.  It should be noted that this very fast circuit is probably better suited to his emerging road/street course skills than slower venues.  In any case, a nice day for Ed and Fuzzy’s Premium Vodka.  As much as I rag on Dario Franchitti for his it’s-not-my-fault responses to contact initiated by him, he really can drive a race car.  After spinning and being airborne, he steers it back to fifth place.

10.  Twitter responses were interesting today.  It seems that people are made uncomfortable by commercials showing people who have lost limbs, required surgery, or have become incapacitated because of smoking.  I think that’s the idea.  And since they pay for the commercial time no one else wants to buy, I think we will see more of them.  People also seem slightly entertained by the Honda commercial featuring the “Hoodie Ninja” song by MC Chris.  People, have you ever listened to the lyrics of this song?  I’m surprised that Honda uses a song that refers to…well, refers to so many things that probably don’t need to be in a commercial for Honda.[1] You REALLY need to check out the footnote to listen to the song and read the lyrics.

Another set of worthless opinions offered for your perusal.  Don’t forget to check out the “Indy Tenderloin Tour” post coming up later this week.  A good breaded tenderloin is never worthless.

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1.  Entertain yourself with this link that has the music and lyrics to “Hoodie Ninja” bu MC Chris. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8aMumvh9eI

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