2018 Season Finale at Sonoma

As I prepared to watch the Verizon IndyCar Series finale I had some important decisions to make. My fantasy picks, even though I was out of the championship and which wine I should drink, Andretti or Foyt. I chose the Foyt Chardonnay and picked Marco for the win on one league and Marco, Josef, Rossi and Pato O’Ward for my other. Then I searched twitter as I often do for news on Robert Wickens. No new updates. I sat down with my glass of wine and waited for the race to start. Then I got a text from Lisa asking, “OMG! Did you see Robbie’s video?! I’m in tears.”

I flipped right over to Twitter and sure enough there is an amazing video from Robbie! It shows Robbie from his bed at rehab and he says he is working hard to recover as fast as he can and that he wants to get back to racing. He also admits that he doesn’t know what the future holds but he has a smile on his face, he looks good and he is moving his arms. No word was said about his legs but the video was hopeful. I continue to pray he is doing well physically and emotionally. Obviously he still has a long road in front of him but hearing from him was absolutely wonderful.

Many people have said that Robert doesn’t owe the fans a single thing and if he wants to keep silent that’s his choice. I don’t necessarily agree. When you chose to follow a certain career there will be aspects of it you might not like. For anyone with a fan base you have to accept that fans will want to know what is going on and have access to you. I’m not talking in his face 24/7 but some updates. IndyCar would not exist if fans weren’t there to watch. I was glad to see Robbie reach out with more than just a tweet. The video was perfect. I don’t need every last detail about his recovery. I understand some things he is not yet willing to share. I also believe the teams and drivers have a responsibility to keep us up to date on a drivers progress. I was so thankful for the video update and for the prior updates from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Okay happy tears have been shed and now it’s time to race! Or is it? Stupid NASCAR is still on and has over 17 laps to go. We won’t have any pre-show and it was already an abbreviated one at that. Then the NASCAR amateurs crash. NBCSN does cut over to IndyCar for a bit of pre-race coverage and then back to NASCAR. Twitter was saying IndyCar wouldn’t take the green flag until NASCAR was over but I didn’t hear that mentioned on the coverage. I tuned in to IndyCar Radio and listened there. NASCAR went back to green and then crashed again bringing out a red flag this time. So ridiculous. On the IndyCar side the call to start engines has been made and I’m watching stopped NASCAR cars and commercials. The green flag flies on IndyCar and about half a lap in the NBCSN coverage switches to the IndyCar race but it’s too late we’ve missed the start. Leigh Diffey is announcing and let’s the NASCAR fans know that they will return to NASCAR as soon as they go back to green. Then he tells the IndyCar viewers that CNBC is airing the IndyCar race. What the ??? Couldn’t we have been told this from the start. The program alert that runs in the bottom of the screen could have easily stated that IndyCar is available on CNBC. Instead it just said that IndyCar would air as soon as the checkered flag waved on the NASCAR race. I switched to CNBC but spent the first 20 laps being frustrated about the coverage. I love NBCSN but we need a better plan for when this happens in the future. This was the IndyCar finale. It cannot happen again. Especially when CNBC was just showing Shark Tank reruns. I understand the need to switch stations and that it is also important to cover the NASCAR race but it needs to be handled better in the future.

Ok now as I said we are 20 laps in before I can really get into the race.

Takuma Sato had a ton of smoke coming from the back of his car. No yellow. Alexander Rossi had got into the back of Marco Andretti on lap one and broke his front wing. Rossi needed the yellow to catch back up. I have mixed feelings on race control always waiting to throw a yellow. Sometimes I like them because they really mix things up. I don’t want gimmicks in IndyCar so it is a fine line but I was hoping for a yellow when we saw all that smoke from Sato.

Oh well this day was already amazing because we heard from Robert, who cares what happens in the race. Speaking of Robert has NBCSN said anything about the video? Lap 29 and not a word. I was just taking note of that when they did finally on lap 30 show the video from Robbie.

We did eventually get a yellow when Graham Rahal went off course and some oil was on the track. The yellow did help Rossi move up a bit as he had pitted just before the caution. Alexander Rossi was the car to watch. He continued to pass cars and climbed his way to 7th position by the checkered flag. However, it wasn’t enough as Scott Dixon stayed well ahead of Rossi finishing second and winning the championship title. Ryan Hunter-Reay lead the entire race. He started on the Pole and never looked back, only shortly giving up the lead when he made pit stops. Will Power completed the podium with his third place finish. Simon Pagenaud and Marco Andretti rounded out the top five. If not for Rossi the race would have been quite dull but watching and pulling for Rossi made it fairly exciting. There was always hope that a yellow would change things or if anything did happen to RHR or Dixon, Rossi would be right there ready to pounce. Sadly for Alexander that did not happen. Scott Dixon won his fifth championship only AJ Foyt has won more. Scott is so quiet and reserved sometimes that we forget we are watching one of the best make history. He truly is a legend.

Couple things to note-

Roger Penske won his 500 race. That man is unstoppable and also a legend.

I noticed during practice the cameras had something blocking our view on the drivers cockpits. Was that the first time they did that or had I just not noticed before!

Honda finally won the manufacturer championship. I haven’t double checked but I heard it said that every Honda team won a race during the 2018 season. Quite impressive.

So while I was rooting for Rossi it’s hard to be disappointed when Scott Dixon wins the championship. He could continue to do this for years to come. But watch out Dixie, Alexander Rossi will be there fighting you for it every year. It’s just a matter of time before Rossi is also a champion.

I can’t believe the season is over. It went way too fast. I’m already making plans for next season.

Check back here from time to time while I won’t post as much during the off season I will still have thoughts as we learn more during Silly Season or we hear news on Robbie etc. I also have a trip planned to Indy this fall that will include a trip to IMS and I’m sure I will blog about that. I also plan to have a 2018 highlights post with favorite parts of the season both personal and on track action.