Dan, you’re such a bore

Posted by Iannucci | 4/30/2007 | 6 comments »
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Well Done, Dan, on annihilating the field in Kansas on Sunday for your third straight win on a 1.5-mile oval, but in the process you have begun to make these superspeedway races unwatchable. It’s darn near preening out there the way you dominate the field. Oh sure, your teammate tried to make it interesting, but then Barnhart flagged him for his improper pit entry and it was all she wrote.

Seriously friends, this was a case of the best driver in the best car having everything go his way. Iceman gets the penalty, Tony Kanaan had his pole winner taken down in a crew-faulted collision with his teammate, and Penske is suddenly lost on the ovals. It appears the Vision Racing team swapped oval setups with Penske Racing, but I have no direct evidence other than what I see on race day.

But Dan, really. Try to mix in a little drama for the people, will ya? Just because MoneyCJ picks you doesn’t mean you can’t make it interesting.


The Good

Well Done is looking like the class of the field, and certainly the favorite to win at Indy. Throw out St Pete and he’s led 482 of 600 laps! Good heavens, man!

Tomas Scheckter continues to get the most out of his Vision Racing equipment by snagging a Top 5 at Kansas. He’s finished no worse than 9th all year, turning in one solid performance after another.

Mr Judd landed on the podium for the second race in a row, and is now the highest AGR driver at 4th in championship points. 7th, 5th, 3rd, 2nd – that’s a nice progression leading into Indy.

Milkalicious did what she had to, which was finish the race and not wreck – thank you! That alone moved here up to 14th, where she stands alone in Bombardier Rookie of the Year standings. Hey, it’s a major award.

The Bad
With so little drama at the front, it was exciting to see Iceman pushing his teammate...until Barnhart called the illegal pit entry and threw that drama out the window. Big Chip said they told race control it was fuel-related, but they didn’t buy it. Bummer for those of us who wanted to see a close finish, even among teammates.

Sukiyaki had to park his car early. I’m sure he was disappointed, even though Jack Arute didn’t go ask him. He has not finished higher than 16th in any race this year. Ouch.

Seeing Uncle Sam sitting in the pits while his team was struggling with his setup during a race was surreal. A top driver on a top team on a track that’s been raced before in a chassis that’s been around a few years – problems don’t happen in this scenario.

I said this at the beginning of the year (and kudos to the ESPN crew was asking the teams on Sunday about this as well) but the decision to eliminate final practice seemed like a snap judgment as a result of heavy promotion by Rusty Wallace. With the Month of May upon us it might seem like a good time to review this policy for the remaining oval races, since at least half a dozen cars were encountering handling issues at the start of the race. From what I can tell the teams want some rubber on the road before the race starts, and the fans don't want to see their drivers parking their cars on race day.

The Ugly
If you worked for AGR and weren’t named Franchitti, you had a bad day. El Nariz had his day and possibly his championship hopes ruined by the pit miscue, and was unavailable for comment after the race. Even worse, Jack Arute reported that Kanaan had told his team “If this ever happens again I will never drive for you!” Heat of the moment stuff, but still unexpected from the AGR standard bearer.

Danica! also lost position in the fracas and seemed to be fighting her car the rest of the day. From what the in-car camera showed she did an admirable job fighting to stay off the wall and out of the way. Despite all this she gave a level-headed interview after the race, and although she was adamant in explaining it wasn’t her fault she was careful not to throw her crew under the proverbial bus.

And Marco, oh man. Are we done with the championship talk for Andretti 3.0 now? Once again he was quickly off the track at the super speedway, talking afterwards about feeling like the wings were upside down and the front of his car had no grip. This doesn’t bode well for his chances at the brickyard, but at least his setup appeared sound there last year.


Next up: Indy. Oh yeah!

6 comments

  1. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // April 30, 2007 10:22 AM  

    Other than the cautions it was pretty boring event. But hey, I got a lot of knitting done.

    If Dan wins the 500 I am hunting Mari Hulman-George down and asking for my money back.

  2. pressdog // April 30, 2007 10:58 AM  

    Marco may be fine at the 500. They have a zillion practices to tweak everything out, so it's not like a regular race. He was in a world of hurt Sunday, though.

  3. John G // April 30, 2007 12:16 PM  

    That laps-led stat on Wheldon says it all. IndyPro might be worth a look-see.

  4. Anonymous // April 30, 2007 12:19 PM  

    Milka surprised me she seemed like a nice person and she lasted the whole race.

    I don't think I heard "lock step" once too

  5. Anonymous // April 30, 2007 4:58 PM  

    Yeah, there was one lock-step. I agree, Milka did do a surprisingly nice job.

  6. Jahuti Rhys // April 30, 2007 7:10 PM  

    Don't underestimate Milka. With her personality, financial backing and political connections, she has the potential to be a very dangerous woman. Tony better not make Milka angry...