Still trying to figure out Texas!

As many of you know we are currently on vacation. We traveled to Phoenix, visited the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park before flying home from Vegas. We are staying in a rental home near Zion but unfortunately they did not have NBCSN as part of their cable package. I watched on my NBCSN app but at least three times it completely froze up and I had to restart it which took forever. I was also watching from my iPad so not my preferred way to watch. However, I was able to watch so I’m thankful because I never would have believed that race if I had not seen it. I’m still shaking my head over it. 

So you all know what happened so I will just give my two cents on a couple of things and you can let me know if you agree or disagree. One thing I know we can all agree on-Texas is always interesting. 

Tristan Vautier- wow!  Tristan qualified well (5th) and was so fun to watch race. He led laps and held his own With the full time drivers. I’m so glad he was able to fill in for Bourdais and hope we see more of him. Unfortunately, he was caught up in “the big one” and that ended his day. Dale Coyne Racing didn’t need that accident which took out both their cars but they are super impressive.  I can’t understand why sponsors aren’t calling them begging to be on their cars. Love this team. 

Helio Castroneves- Helio hit the wall but it didn’t look too bad to me. A hard hit of course but like most others. Then it took a long time for him to get out of the car. He was fine, checked and cleared by medical and tweeting later in the race from his hotel but I think that was a bigger impact than most. 

Ryan Hunter-Reay- RHR was also caught up in “the big one”. He was fine but in his post crash interview he said too many inexperienced drivers were making stupid moves and he couldn’t trust them enough to pass them. WHO IS HE TALKING ABOUT?  I know I don’t see all that is going on and don’t understand all the intricacies of racing but i didn’t see anything out of the norm. Who had him freaked out?  

The Big One- Around lap 150 Tony Kanaan (inside), James Hinchcliffe (middle) and Mikhail Aleshin (outside) were three wide. TK went high giving Hinchcliffe no where to go with Mikhail on his outside.  Hinchcliffe ping ponged between the two cars before spinning taking many others with him- both Coyne Cars, RHR, Aleshin, Ed Carpenter, JR Hildebrand, Carlos Munoz and perhaps others I’m forgetting. Twitter immediately exploded placing blame- Hinchcliffe caused it, no Aleshin he was the last to join the three wide he should have backed out and TK was blamed too for not holding a lower line. There was so much carnage that a red flag was thrown- that was the right call. Dale Coyne immediately went down to the cars on pit lane and began yelling at Tony Kanaan. I understand he was upset. Twitter and the broadcast kept rehashing who was at fault. Chip Ganassi when asked if TK was at fault defended his driver. That drove Twitter even more nuts. I honestly thought Chip had a fine response. You don’t want to incriminate your driver especially at that time when the accident was still under review. However, Chip did not need to throw Hinchcliffe under the bus saying Hinchcliffe has been trying to get in an accident all race.  When Hinchcliffe was told of Chips comments Hinchcliffe replied, “that’s adorable”. I think IndyCar fans will be using that term for years to come. Hinchcliffe was much more kind saying he is sure TK did not do that on purpose and in post race interviews TK apologized and said of course he never means to take anyone out. Wow! A lot of drama over a race accident. Cmon people it was Tony Kanaan. He’s been racing in IndyCar for 20 years. He was racing and you have to go for it when racing or else there is no point in being there. He obviously did not get info from his spotters or did not understand that he had two cars on the outside. Yes I think Tony caused the accident and perhaps he deserved the penalty- he had to stop in his pit box for 20 seconds but he didn’t do it on purpose and we all know he doesn’t race reckless. As I said a lot of drama. 

Mandatory cautions- Seriously what in the world is this? Sometime after the accident or during the red flag Firestone and Race Control decided that because the tires were blistering and were possibly unsafe there would be a mandatory caution after every 30 laps of green flag racing. Okay I don’t always agree with calls that IndyCar makes but this one was ridiculous. I want the drivers to be safe. I don’t want to push things when we know we have unsafe conditions but there is a much easier way to solve this– change your tires within thirty laps or be penalized.  How is this different than needing gas. There is no caution because the cars will eventually run out of gas- the teams and drivers just know they need to come in and do so under green flag conditions. They could have pit to change tires and done so when they wanted as long as it was within a thirty lap window. Why? Why did it have to be under a caution?  I will never understand that or agree with it. Hopefully Curt and Kevin can offer some insight but I think it was ridiculous. So the cautions came out and there was still some confusion about them and everyone was required to stop but somehow through other yellows I suppose TK was able to get back on the lead lap.  I think the stupid mandatory cautions actually ended up helping him make up the penalty he was given Hmm? Such a weird race. 

Last yellow- With just a few more laps and only a handful of cars on track- 11 I believe, we had one more accident. Sato went into the grass and ended up losing control and taking himself and another car or two out with him. I honestly don’t remember who all was caught up in it but I thought to myself that we only had a couple laps left so surely they will throw the red flag so we can finish under green flag conditions. I don’t necessarily agree with a red flag towards the end of the race but it seems to be the new norm and Will Power was leading and I was hoping Tony Kanaan would win so I guess I was hoping/ expecting the red flag. It never came and the race ended under yellow. Will Power won and Tony Kanaan finished second. Everything I expected to happen did not and things I never thought would happen did. It was just a weird race. I’m sure it’s one we will be talking about for a long time. 

Overall I enjoyed it. I like good fast racing and we saw that. I do like some unpredictability although this might have been a bit too much. I do like accidents and engine failures because it mixes things up. No not misunderstand- I never want to see drivers hurt and realize it is expensive for the teams and exhausting for the crews when accidents happen but it also greatly changes the course of the race and I enjoy that part. However, I don’t like a manufactured race and the cautions went too far. I hope we never see them again. I also would have preferred more cars still racing at the end. It was really a wild night. What were your thoughts? Agree? Disagree?  Guess we will have two weeks to debate about it as IndyCar has a week off before Road America. 

Summer vacation 2017 – Grand Canyon Bryce National Park

Just a small break from my IndyCar blog so I can journal about our vacation. It’s mostly a photo journal with brief descriptions of our day. 

Monday morning we flew to Phoenix to begin our vacation. We met my cousin, Jeff and his daughter Maddie, at the airport. I haven’t seen Jeff in nearly thirty years. We had lunch and it was great to catch up a bit. We needed more time but I’m thankful for the time we did have. 

After lunch we drove to Flagstaff. We spent the night there.

Tuesday Morning- Woke up, enjoyed free breakfast at hotel and then drove to the Grand Canyon. Steve and I had been before but Zach and Matthew were amazed by how large it is. I had more fun watching Zach’s expression than the Canyon when we first arrived. We took pictures, walked along the rim and finally got the boys to walk back to the car for sunscreen and a snack.

  We then planned our day and decided on a hike. Zach was desperate to go down into the canyon. We told him we didn’t have time for that but we could venture down a bit for a different viewpoint. We walked down for about an hour- longer back up of course. I’m glad we did it and we all were wishing we did have more time so we could have gone even farther. 


We found some lunch for the boys. Steve and I had packed a lunch for us and we rested from the hike. Then we drove to a couple more lookouts before driving to Marble Canyon for the night. 


Once we arrived at Marble Canyon Lodge all I heard were complaints. I had warned everyone it was a small motel but when they learned there was no pool and even worse no internet they were not happy. The motel was just a block from the Colorado river and there were Condors nesting nearby so I thought it was perfect. It had a restaurant so we were good. We drove to the river and walked the bridge and spotted the Condors. Some women had spotting scopes set up and you could view the nest but the baby was under the parent at the time. 

We had grabbed a bite on the road so after our walk the boys and I stopped at the restaurant for ice cream for them and a glass of wine for me. 

Wednesday- I woke up early and walked to grab a coffee and then to the river. The Condors were in the same place as last night. Steve went for a run and we packed up to head to Bryce Canyon. 

On the drive we were following a river and I told Steve it reminded my of the Sevier river which we followed on our last trip out west. Sure enough it was. It surprised me when I saw the sign. We were quite far from where we drove on our previous trip. 

We arrived at Bryce and enjoyed the park for a couple hours before checking into our hotel. The boys were happy because we once again had a pool and wifi. 

The boys and Steve went for a swim and I relaxed in the room. We had dinner at a diner. Burgers and chicken sandwiches before heading back into the park for sunset. 

Thursday- We got started a bit later than we planned. We hiked the Queen’s/ Navajo combination loop with a 600 foot elevation change. I was worried about going back up but the switchbacks were actually fairly easy and I was much happier going up than down there because the gravel was quite loose. We definitely picked the right direction. The views were amazing. 

After our hike we returned to the hotel for lunch and to rest before venturing on another hike. 

We chose an easier hike for the afternoon.  It follows a creek and ends at a waterfall and a mossy cave. Steve and the boys ventured passed the waterfall but I sat at the waterfall and waited for them. Unfortunately their were small black flies that flew in my face and they were very annoying. The boys could have played by the water all day. They loved hopping over the small river and finding new trails. The river is there because in 1890 the settlers hand dug a 10 mile canal to divert water from the Sevier River to the town ensuring a steady water supply. 


We had dinner at the buffet at our hotel. It was good. After dinner we took a short drive to see the end of the sunset. The sky was just beautiful. We also put the boys in jail at the small stores across the street. 

2017 Indianapolis 500

This years race did not disappoint, I was on the edge of my seat and there are many story lines to write about. Let’s start at the beginning. 

Pre- Race Show- I stated in my previous post that one thing we knew about the Indianapolis 500 was that while ABC doesn’t always do a good job covering the race they do put on a good pre-race show. Well I guess I was wrong. It was okay but not what I was expecting.  They didn’t cover the singing of God Bless America, which is a race tradition and I heard was wonderfully sung. Then they had a fun driver introduction piece that I would have really enjoyed if it didn’t take the place of the actual driver introductions. I enjoy watching those live. Very disappointing. At one point I wasn’t even sure they were going to cover the singing of Back Home Again in Indiana.  Thankfully they did and it was amazing. Jim Cornelison is the perfect replacement for Jim Nabors and I hope to see him back for many years to come. From his tweets I think he feels the same way and would like to continue singing it each May. Then Tony George comes out to give the command to start engines. Good! Mary Hulman-George struggled last year and Tony is a good replacement. Well he should have been but then he messed it all up. Cmon Tony it’s easy- Lady and Gentleman, Start your engines!  For whatever reason Tony said, “Drivers, Start your engines.”  WRONG. Just a little thing but so incredibly disappointing.  Hopefully it is remedied next year. 

Green Flag- The race had a beautiful start. Nice rows and everyone made it through turn one without incident and continued for the first quarter of the race. However, just when you began to wonder how long could this go on the craziest accident I’ve ever seen happened. Jay Howard got loose and hit the wall. Scott Dixon had no where to go as Howard’s car drifted in front of his.  Dixon’s car went airborne, flew over Helio Castroneves car and hit the fencing and wall tearing Dixon’s car into too many pieces to count. I really feel this was one of the worst crashes I’ve seen and yet miraculously Scott Dixon walked away.  I had heard that he was originally cleared but returned to the medical center to get a walking boot. Still not sure how his foot is doing. Apparently Emma tweeted a picture saying fractured but I haven’t heard any confirmation. I’m assuming Dixon will be driving at Detroit. 

As the saying goes- Yellow breeds yellow. There was no shortage of them for the remainder of the race.  I believe 50 laps were ran under yellow.  Some of those were due to the Honda engine failures. The Honda teams were given a choice if they would like more power, However the extra power might mean less reliable engines. It was a chance teams were willing to take. Unfortunately, three drivers were the victims of engine failure. Charlie Kimball, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Fernando Alonso all experienced engine failure. 

At the end it came down to Helio Castroneves and Takuma Sato. I cheered when Helio took the lead- we could see history made when Helio became the next four time winner but I might have cheered even louder when Takuma took and kept the lead. Takuma came so close to winning in 2012 and I’ve always been a fan. It was awesome watching him win the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. Congratulations Takuma. 

So that just leaves- 

Rookie of the Year- ROY honors went to Fernando Alonso but I felt Ed Jones should have been given the honor. I understand that it doesn’t matter how much racing experience you have and that it’s all about it being your rookie year at Indy but I’m much more impressed by Ed’s accomplishments than World Champion Alonso. Ed was also racing for a smaller team so I feel his accomplishments are greater. And personally because Ed is full time I want him to receive the honor. I understand why Alonso was awarded the honor and he is definitely the more popular name but if I had a vote it would have been for Ed Jones without a doubt. 

Final Thoughts– It was a super entertaining 500. 

ABC needs to go. I sure hope NBC takes over coverage for the whole season.

 I’d still like to see Helio win his fourth 500.

I’m already counting the days till next May. Thank goodness for a double header in Detroit to give us something to look forward to. 

Three things I know-

Good morning race fans, or rather Merry Christmas!  Today is the day we have been waiting for all year and it’s going to be a great day. The weather had been looking like rain was going to play a major role but sweetly that forecast has changed and it should be a beautiful day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

There are many unknowns about today. Will Jim Cornelison please the fans when he sings the iconic Back Home Again in Indiana? Will the cars back it safely through turn one, lap one? Will the Honda engines be reliable enough to make it through all 500 miles? And most importantly who will drink the milk and kiss the bricks? However, there are three things I already know-

1. Today will be an emotional roller coaster.  I will laugh, scream, clap, shout and very likely cry.  Usually hearing Back Home Again in Indiana will bring tears to my eyes, sometimes it’s the pre-race stories (If they show Alexander Rossi visiting a sweet boy in the hospital I will lose it).  Maybe I will cry when my favorite doesn’t win and I definitely will cry if my favorite driver drinks the milk. Family beware, it’s going to be an emotional day for me. 

2. The ABC broadcast is going to start off great. They have an amazing pre show and I always love their openings. Don’t let it fool you though once the race gets going Twitter will explode with comments about just how awful the guys in the booth are, specifically Eddie Cheever and Scott Goodyear. I used to not really notice but as the years go on it’s getting harder and harder to listen to the same comments which lack any real insight. Thankfully we have Allen Bestwick. He does his homework and I appreciate the job he does.  

3. Regardless of what happens during the race tomorrow is going to be a depressing day. If we watch an amazing race, one filled with unneeded cations or one filled with surprises the end result will be a bunch of depressed IndyCar fans tomorrow. I’ve noticed this feeling for years and was surprised when I learned that many race fans experience the same thing. I’m not sure if there is a name for it but after all the hype and buildup for the race the day after is always depressing and IndyCar fans immediately start the count down until next years race. Definitely a downside to such an amazing day but one I’m willing to take because today is our Christmas and today we get to watch THE GREATEST SPECTACLE IN RACING!  I can’t wait. It’s going to be a good day. Merry Christmas race fans. 
My picks- I’m happy with anyone who wins with the exception of about three drivers but I’d really love to see Marco break the curse. I’d be happy watching Helio climb the fence or TK kiss the bricks among many others. 

I think Dixon and Power will be ones to watch and if I was putting money on it I would want them on my list. 

2017 GP of Indy

Every time I attend a race I wonder if it will be as much fun as the last or just be a regular kinda weekend and yet somehow every trip seems to have something extra cool and extraordinary happen. This weekend was no different. 

I pulled my boys out of school on Friday so we could be to IMS in time for qualifying.  We arrived around noon and I texted my friend Lisa to meet up with her.  Lisa is a friend I met on Twitter and it is so fun to get to know my Twitter friends better.  We watched practice and the boys got some lunch and then joined us. It is so much easier having the boys with me now that they are older. I love that they can wander a bit on their own. That will be especially helpful as the weekend goes on.  After the practice we all went to visit the Driven to Save Lives Garage.  There we met up with Mike Silver and all chatted some more. The boys were anxious to go explore and check out the kids zone so we parted ways with our friends and set out. The kids zone is really geared for smaller children and had less activities than last year but we were told kids 14 and under could participate and Matthew is 14 so they did. 

We also ran into Curt Cavin, who thanks to Facebook and Twitter remembers me and we had a nice time catching up with him and discussing his new job with IndyCar. 

Shortly after we talked with Curt we saw some friends we had met at Road America and while talking with them Stefan Wilson walked by.  I called out to him and ran over to say hello. I hate that he had to give up his ride in the 500 this year for Fernando Alonso and was grateful for the chance to let Stefan know how highly we think of him for being so amazing about the entire situation. I also told him that it was our earnest prayers that this would turn into an even better opportunity for him in the future. Stefan is every bit as awesome as Justin and I hope we see him with a full time ride in IndyCar. That would be amazing. 

We did a little shopping and then it was time for qualifying. Of course the boys wanted to sit in the skyboxes across from the Pagoda and we were no where near there.  Lisa met us there and we missed the first group but caught most of the second group and on.  No surprise when Will Power won the Pole and I knew he would be my fantasy league pick. Lisa made plans to run home and check on her pup before meeting us at 1911 grill for dinner.  

We enjoyed a nice meal. Matthew and Zachary played some shuffleboard while Lisa and I chatted. Pictures with the IndyCar after. 

RACE DAY!

Teenagers- I had a hard time waking up my boys. I finally got them up and on our way to IMS. I wanted to be there in time to watch Sam Schmidt and Mario Andretti race in the semi-autonomous cars.  This is so cool for so many reasons- the new technology that allows a paralyzed person to drive, specifically allows Sam to race again after 17 years and we also get to watch Mario, a legend, race at Indy!  I couldn’t wait to watch.  The race was four laps and while I know they were reaching high speeds they didn’t appear to be going too fast through the turns we were sitting near. Still I enjoyed it immensely.  Mario was fastest on one part of the track and Sam on the other and they each led at different times but Mario was stronger at the start finish line and was declared the race winner.  Sam immediately asked for a rematch and I look forward to seeing that.  Both cars took a victory lap and Sam did some donuts very close to where we were watching from. I can’t imagine what a fun day it was for him. 

We had watched that race with Mark Wilkinson, who has generously offered us spots on his big blue tarp also known as the Blue Tarp Lounge. What a treat to have a nice place to sit and friends to watch with. As always Mark thank you for your hospitality.  

The boys and I went in search of lunch and settled on chicken nuggets for Zach and the new tenderloin for Matthew.  Matthew loved the tenderloin but I hope to find the classic tenderloin for him to try in the near future.  While the boys ate I decided to venture over to the garage area and see if I could see AJ Foyt.  On my way there I ran into Curt Cavin again.  When I told Curt where I was going he asked if I had a garage pass.  I did not.  I planned to go up on the balcony area that overlooks AJ’s garage.  I would have no chance to speak with him but we sometimes see him when we are up there.  Curt said he could get me credentials for the day.  HOW COOL IS THAT!!!  He said he needed about 20 minutes and he would call me when I could get them. Did you read where I said I was thankful the boys are old enough to be left alone for a bit?  This is why!  Within 20 minutes I met back up with Curt and then was on my way to the garages.  I didn’t see AJ but just being able to walk through the garages was such a special treat. I understand the history of the Speedway and was honored to walk where so many others have walked before. Thank you so much Curt!  That was such an amazing part of my weekend.  

I caught back up with my boys and got ready to watch the race.  Okay let’s be honest- this was not the most exciting part of my weekend.  Will Power led from the pole and while Helio led for a stint, Power regained the first position and eventually won the race.  I believe I’ve seen this race before-oh yes two years ago Power won both the pole and the race.  Not very exciting.  The temperature was perfect except while sitting in the direct sun so the boys and I sat under a tree behind the mounds by turn 7 for about half of the race.  I enjoyed hearing the cars but knew that I wasn’t missing any action. Just follow the leader. Sure hope the new cars next year make the race more exciting.  After Power’s victory we thanked Mark and made our way to the track invasion where we laid down in the donut marks made my Sam earlier. This is also becoming a tradition- Zach laid down in Bourdais donut tracks in Milwaukee. 

We then walked towards the Pagoda where the boys grabbed a snack from one of the vendors that remained open and I did a last pass through the garages.  I then returned my credentials to Curt and as we left the boys and I walked on the balcony overlooking the garages.  We saw James Hinchcliffe there as we so often do and said hello.  We’ve met him enough times now that he recognizes us as “the kids up on the balcony”. Perhaps in a different setting he would need a reminder but after a race at Indy he remembers us. Again- How cool is that?  

We spent the evening swimming at the hotel and were excited to still be spending one more day in Indy.  

SUNDAY- MOTHER’S DAY

So while there is no track activity at IMS on Sunday we don’t let that keep us away. We just visit the museum. Unfortunately the museum was offering free admission the two days prior to our visit.  I knew I wanted more time than I would have on Friday or Saturday and honestly I have no problem paying admission to the museum so we went on Sunday.  First we had breakfast at Charlie Brown’s. 

When we arrived at the museum there we lots of cameras and it turned out James Hinchcliffe was there in disguise but we didn’t see him or recognize him if we did.  ☹️️

I had my questions printed out from George Phillips trivia contest and set out to enjoy the museum. I walked, read and talked with lots of people included Maggie and Dan and their son. I love meeting new friends.  However, no one knows the answer to the trivia questions I’m asking.  I then stopped to talk with a mother and daughter who we had seen early at Charlie Browns and they said Arie Luyendyk was in the museum. I then went to find him. I tried to act casual but I’m sure he knew I had heard he was there.  I asked for a picture and he noticed my Tony Kanaan shirt and asked if I was a fan.  I responded that I first followed AJ , then Arie and then TK.  I told Arie that I had won some money in my family pool thanks to his wins.  I then said that I thought it was ironic that I went from being an AJ fan to an Arie fan when the two of them were known for the incident at Texas.  I did not know about this until years later because for many years I was an Indy 500 only fan. Arie kinda laughed and said that was years ago and that he and AJ were fine now.  I thanked him for the picture and hoped he had a nice day.  Zach also found him and got an autograph on his hat.  I continued looking around and talking with others.  Turns out a gentleman who was an engineer for Joe Leonard was also visiting the museum. I would have loved to talk with him but didn’t know how to approach him so I didn’t. 

I continued to ask museum workers what the working title for the Borg-Warner trophy was but no one knew the answer. As I talked with some museum workers Arie walked by and we asked him if he knew.  I said your face is on it twice surely you know. He didn’t.  I asked if he knew who the oldest Pole sitter was. He suggested Emerson Fittipaldi and then said he was 43 when he won the pole and that perhaps it was him but he was unsure.  It wasn’t him but it was fun talking with him some more. 

The boys always buy me my Mother’s Day present at IMS per my request but this year they went above and beyond. They bought me a beautiful Justin Wilson print that cost more than they could afford. When I stated that it was too much money they responded- but mom the proceeds go to the Wilson Children’s fund. I couldn’t argue with that. What sweet boys I have. Zach also bought me some wing and wheel earrings. They spent way too much. I didn’t even know they had that much with them but I love their thoughtfulness. We took a couple pictures at the museum and main entrance and then sadly left for home. We had another amazing weekend and one we will never forget.  

Phoenix Grand Prix

Due to the heavy rains in our area on Saturday, I chose to stay at my father-in-laws house rather than head to the families timberland for target practice. When Steve and the boys arrived home they announced we would be having dinner with the cousins. Sigh! Any other night I would enjoy that but I’ve spent the day with my father-in-law, preparing meals for him to store in his freezer and cleaning his house, all I want is to watch my race with a glass of wine. We went to dinner and as dinner ended I kept a close eye on my watch. Steve promised we would be home in time. However, he continued to talk with his cousins and even decided it was a good time to get gas while on the way home. Really!?!? We made it just in time for “Drivers, start your engines!”  He is lucky. 

So I’m all comfy in the newly cleaned family room and ready for a fun race. Green flag and then disaster. Mikhail Aleshin lost control of his car and spun. Drivers caught up in the accident-

    Mikhail Aleshin– as mentioned he was the first to spin and began the mess. His day was over. 

    Marco Andretti- While trying to avoid Mikhail, Marco also spun before Rahul hit him. Seriously though can Marco please catch a break. This Andretti curse is driving me nuts. Marco might not have the same skills as his father and grandfather but he is darn near close and I believe he should be driving in IndyCar, just wish his results showed the skills he has. 

     Graham Rahal- Graham had no where to go. He tried to thread the needle between spinning cars but clipped Marco’s car and went spinning himself. 

     Sebastian Bourdais – Seb was caught up in the mess and is no longer the championship points leader- well it was fun while it lasted.

     Max Chilton – Max was also involved and his day was over. 

The race should have been red flagged as it took over 20 laps to clean up the debris. According to social media (Twitter) NBCSN had time commitments to keep. After IndyCar, Curling was on so apparently there is a big audience for curling and NBCSN did not want to disappoint 🤔 Laps go by so fast on a short oval it probably would have been a good idea to go to red flag and when they made them up on green flag it would have only been a couple extra minutes but honestly either way would have been fine with me that early in the race. 

The bigger controversy came later.  Well perhaps controversy is not the right word- confusion maybe? Now I don’t even try to keep track of timing and scoring but rely on the TV for that information and when a yellow comes out during the middle of a pit sequence I never know who will be the winner and loser in that situation. So on Lap 133, Alexander Rossi had light contact with the wall but not enough for a yellow flag. However, on Lap 138, Takuma Sato was not as lucky. He hit hard and a yellow was thrown. Will Power, JR Hildebrand, Pole sitter- Helio Castroneves, and Josef Newgarden were in the pits when the yellow came out.  Simon Pagenaud was on track having not pit yet.  Pagenaud was able to pit under yellow and was a lap ahead of those in the pits when the yellow came out and two laps ahead of those who cleared the pits before the yellow?  What!?!?  Like I said I don’t really understand timing and scoring. Fortunately, Power, Helio, JR and Josef were given a wave around so we had five drivers on the lead lap when we went back to green. We had already been watching a “Penske Parade” I would have hated having only one car on the lead lap- especially a Penske. Fortunately, my Fantasy pick for two leagues, JR Hildebrand was there to break up that parade.  The green flag flew but Pagenaud retained his lead. He quickly pulled away and easily won the race. It is his eighth year in IndyCar and his 105th race but his first win on an oval. Power finished second and JR filled the last step on the podium. 

A couple things to note- 

  • This is the second time in three races that all four Andretti cars did not finish the race.  
  • Ed Carpenter started last but finished seventh.
  • AJ Foyt racing has been struggling but Carlos Munoz finished tenth and Conor Daly showed some speed before his gearbox broke.
  • JR had that amazing run with a broken hand–Hmm? Didn’t Josef have a great run at Road America with a broken hand and then won the following race at Iowa?  Perhaps JR will also be my fantasy pick for the Month of May also
  • And speaking of the Month of May- It’s here!  My boys and I will be attending the Grand Prix of Indy and can’t wait to watch the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.

At one point during the race I tweeted that I wasn’t sure if I was enjoying the race or not. I don’t like watching when it’s hard to pass and the Penske’s have a huge lead but there was other story lines to keep us entertained. All in all I enjoyed it but it would have been fantastic if JR had gained two more spots. 

As I wrap this up I want to take a moment to acknowledge Joe Leonard. To be honest a couple weeks ago that name didn’t mean anything to me but as I recently posted I took part in Mike Silvers poll about the 33 greatest non-winners at the 500. I ranked Joe at number 23 and enjoyed reading about his career. He raced motorcycles before moving to cars. He drove for Dan Gurney, AJ Foyt and Parnelli Jones. Leonard had 9 starts at the Indy 500 and 1 pole.  He led 62 laps at the famous race and had two top five finishes and two more in the top ten. 

“He liked to race and he knew how to race and he was one helluva racer.” – AJ Foyt

Joe Leonard died on April 27, 2017 at age 84. The racing world has lost another legend. 

“I hate to hear he’s gone, but damn he was a fighter and a tough SOB.  He had a helluva run.” – AJ Foyt

33 Greatest Non-Winners

Do you read Mike Silver’s blog The First Fifty Races are the Hardest? If so you are familiar with his poll he is doing a series of blog posts on about who are the greatest drivers to have never won the Indy 500. I had such a good time compiling my list and just thought I’d share some information about it. 
First, I took the drivers I knew and ordered them. That was fairly easy. Michael Andretti number one- no question. Scott Goodyear followed. Robby Gordon was up there. Teo Fabi- well I’m going to have to research him a bit more before I decide. Danica and Will Power will go somewhere towards the middle.  Once I had the drivers I knew listed in an order I liked I started researching everyone even some of the drivers I knew- like Fabi. The list Mike gave us had 50 drivers so the next part was to narrow my list down to 33. That was fairly easy. Mike gave us a spreadsheet with each driver listed and the number of times they raced, won the pole, led laps and top 5 and top 10 finishes. If a driver didn’t do well on the spreadsheet and I couldn’t find much information about him online he was off my list. 

I took notes and narrowed my list to 33.  Then I wrote down my 33 on individual papers so I could make my list and easily switch driver positions. Michael Andretti was still on top- that was still the easy choice. Johnny Boyd was last- again an easy choice for me. He barely made my list. 

So why am I sharing all this?  To tell you how much fun I had and what I learned. 

My number 2 pick ended up being Harry Hartz. Mike had actually blogged a neat story about meeting Hartz and I had read it but didn’t know who Hartz was so while I enjoyed the story I didn’t remember that he was a non- winner and didn’t know anything about his career. Turns out I was most impressed with Harry Hartz. I hope to research him some more in the future. 
I also really enjoyed learning more about Mel Kenyon. 

Then I circled back to some drivers I knew. Danica Patrick was going to be hard. She ran well at Indy but was she one of the greatest non-winners? Perhaps that was a stretch? In the end I decided she truely was. Other females had attempted the 500. None had lead it or finished as well as Danica.  Danica proved women could run just as well as men and for me that put her on the list. I put her in 17th. 

I put Will Power right behind her however I’m guessing that within a couple years Power won’t be on this list as he will have won the 500. 

Others to note- 

Eddie Sachs- His story breaks my heart. He was so desperate to win the 500. He was a good driver but I might have put my heart above my head a bit in his placement. 

Rex Mays- Another driver I didn’t know much about but was very impressed with. He was high on my list. 

Kevin Cogan- He had some impressive stats but I didn’t think I would have been a fan. He is in the last row. 

Dan Gurney- I originally had him towards the back.  He seemed to be a great driver but I wasn’t impressed with his stats at Indy and I was mostly looking at how they did at Indy and should they have won there and not at how good of a driver they were overall. I wasn’t impressed with Gurney’s Indy 500 stats so I put him in the back. However, during Long Beach weekend there was a lot of coverage on Gurney and his Racing accomplishments and after watching interviews and hearing stories I moved him up closer. Gurney finished 16th on my list. 

Joe Leonard – watched a video on him that made me smile. Here the sweet old song here.

It was also so sad to see how many died in racing accidents. Too many to count. I’m so thankful the sport is so much safer now. 
Here is my list- 

1- Michael Andretti

2- Harry Hartz

3- Scott Goodyear

4- Lloyd Ruby

5- Gary Bettenhausen 

6- Rex Mays

7- Ted Horn

8- Eddie Sachs

9- Marco Andretti

10- Robby Gordon

11- Carlos Munoz

12- Tony Stewart

13- Roberto Guerrero 

14- Vitor Meira

15- Tony Bettenhausen 

16- Dan Gurney 

17- Danica Patrick

18- Will Power

19- Ed Carpenter 

20- Ralph Hepburn

21- Mel Kenyon

22- Paul Tracy

23- Joe Leonard

24- Pancho Carter

25- Eddie Hearne

26- Johnny Thomson

27- Jack McGrath

28- Duke Nalon

29- Tomas Sheckter

30- Danny Ongais 

31- Kevin Cogan

32- Teo Fabi

33- Johnny Boyd

So sorry if I bored you. Just thought I’d share some thoughts. Make sure to check out Mike’s blog. He hopes to have a final list (from all his readers lists) before the GP of Indy. I think it will be fun to see where everyone ends up and how they did compared to my list. Thanks for reading. I promise soon to have more race reviews up and my boys and I will be attending the GP of Indy so there will be posts about our time there.