I was excited to watch this race, after all the cautions for debris at St. Pete and the rain at NOLA, I was ready for something closer to the norm. Well that is what we got. For the race itself not too much stands out for me. It was a good clean race. The guys kept their cool and we had a good race. Maybe I am missing some of the drama of the previous races after all. Well perhaps the race itself doesn’t stand out but there were a few things from race weekend that sure did. Let’s take a look at those.
1- Disappointed to hear that both Sage Karam and Simona DeSilvestro would be sitting this race out. Sage would be replaced with Sebastian Saavedra. Saavedra did really well. He was never a favorite but after his ability to get back in the car and be on pace I was cheering for him. I always love seeing a one off do well. Which brings us to Conor Daly.
2- Carlos Huertas was replaced by Rocky Moran Jr. This was so confusing. It was my understanding that Huertas was a full time driver. I would understand replacing Francesco Dracone but why Huertas? I honestly have no clue how Dale Coyne operates his team. Unfortunately, Moran broke his thumb during practice late Friday afternoon. Conor Daly, who is at every race with helmet in hand, was asked to fill the seat. Woo Hoo! Conor is one of those drivers that every IndyCar fan wants to see in a full time ride. To make things even better, Conor did awesome. He moved up from his 21 starting position to finish 17th. He brought the car home in one piece. He finally gave Dale Coyne a driver fans could cheer for. I sincerely hope we see him in a car again soon.
3- Will Power did not advance in qualifying. He started in 18th position. Bad luck for Power but love when the big guys get knocked down a bit.
4- Scott Dixon won! I believe it was a tweet from Curt Cavin that said when Dixon struggles for two races he wins the third. It was very prophetic. Dixon started strong and didn’t make a mistake.
5- Josef Newgarden had a great weekend. Josef made it to the top six in qualifying. He also had a good finish in 7th position. After the last stop for pits we saw Juan Pablo Montoya pull out on his cold tires just in front of Newgarden. Since Newgarden had his tires warmed up it seemed he might be able to pass JPM. Unfortunately Newgarden did not make the pass and the cameras did not keep on them. Next time I noticed Newgarden had faded back quite a bit and was no longer a threat. Man I would have loved to see him get in front of JPM.
1- NBCSN is greatly preferred to ABC- we all know that. Where is Leigh Diffey? Brian Till makes a good stand in but I want Diffey back. I understand he has other commitments but I am ready to hear his voice and his enthusiasm.
2- Always thankful when we can watch qualifying. This is especially important for catching up on the news when drivers have been replaced as they were this weekend.
3- being able to both listen and watch practice sessions from race control has been great. It’s so much easier to keep up on the event.
1- What was up with the fluorescent sunglasses. Dixon looks like he had the Golden Arches on his red cap. I didn’t care for the look. He wasn’t the only one. At least three drivers were sporting them. Looks like they got them from a vending machine. Perhaps people cooler than me would disagree but that is one style I don’t care for.
2- I enjoy seeing the opening ceremonies, including the prayer. I am a strong Christian and always pray for the safety of those at the race. I love seeing/hearing the prayer televised. It’s becoming more the norm to not do anything that might offend someone else. So glad NBCSN and IndyCar and willing to televise and continue the tradition of praying before a race. That coupled with our National Anthem should make every American proud.
3- Sir Patrick Stewart gave one of the best calls to start engines that I’ve heard. Loved the emphasis he put on it.
4- Saving the best for last–Sam Schmidt! Wow! How cool is it seeing Sam drive a car around the track. Loved seeing him do it at Indy and loved it even more at Long Beach. He is such an inspiration. With James Hinchcliffe’s win last week and driving the following week, Sam is having a good month. Hope May is kind to him also.
So I guess that sums it up. Not the most spectacular race but still an interesting weekend. Can’t wait to see how things play out at Barber.