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

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2 thoughts on “Phoenix Grand Prix

    • Actually I forgot to mention the commentating. I usually love NBCSN but the guys in the booth weren’t having their best day. And the yellows were weird as I did mention so yes it was definitely an interesting race.
      Thanks for the retweet on Twitter- appreciate it.

      Like

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