You might think the Big Winner this weekend was Tony Kanaan, who deftly maneuvered and muscled for rank with fuel burning fast on an empty tank en route to victory at Twin Ring Motegi this weekend. You might think it might the Big Winner is Andretti Green Racing, who placed two drivers on the podium of a superspeedway race for the first time in a looooooong time. You might even think the Big Winner was you or me, who were treated to a race with several lead changes culminating with a victory by a car not painted red.
No friends, the Big Winner was MoneyCJ who returned to his own personal Victory Lane and has now picked 5 of the last 6 winners in the ICS. Two words: offshore casino.
The patience of El Nariz paid off, but let's give some credit to his racing team who properly calculated his fuel mileage and gave him faultless pit stops.
After a dismal start at Homestead, Mr Judd has driven rather impressively in the last two races. Despite all the hype about the Prom King and Queen of AGR, it's been these other two drivers who have been getting it done.
The radio-free head slaps made for some fun television, but Well Done showed he's always a contender on ovals. Four races at Motegi and never worse than 2nd. Well Done, indeed.
Rahal Letterman Racing played the fuel conservation game and won, slotting Scott Sharp in 6th and Jeff Simmons in 8th. That was certainly a pleasant surprise considering their performances thusfar this season.
Andretti 3.0 struggled to tame the Motegi beast, and it pretty much shot down any 2007 championship hopes he had. Not that anyone around hear was smoking that stuff.
Danica, schmanica. For the second race in a row she underperformed compared to her teammates.
Penske Perfect became an oxymoron, as Spiderman smacked the wall and dinged what may have been the best car of the day. Later Uncle Sam appeared to run out of fuel on his last pit entry, costing himself several positions. These are the kind of mistakes that cost both TCGR drivers a shot at the title.
It's a long way from Homestead, and the three Vision Racing cars that looked competitive in Miami were decidedly less in Motegi. On the one hand they avoided accidents, but when the best car is 9th and leaving parts on the back of the track it's not a good sign.
Watching Sukiyaki totally lose it at the start of the race reminded me of Scott Sharp's Indy 2001 performance. Sharp was a favorite, won the pole, then lost control in the first turn and crashed for a DFL finish. Matsuura was racing in his homeland, making all sorts of appearances, even testing as high as second-fastest this week, and then goes and drives perhaps the final nail in the coffin of his ICS career. Hideki Mutoh on line one, Mr Aguri.
Matsuura's misfortune wore off on his teammate, as the Mirror Man struggled mightily with his car before parking it and taking himself silently to the trailer or tent or whatever they had there. Panther Racing's comeback is currently on hold.
Maybe this wasn't ESPN's fault, but someone fell asleep as Matsuura got loose on camera about a half lap before the race crew figured out what was going on. Pay no attention to the spinning car, folks.
Speaking of losing control, Jack Arute appeared to antagonize Matsuura. This driver just got fined for saying he was So Effing Disappointed, so of course after his mishap this week Arute asks him to "Tell us about your disappointment." That's just mean, Jack, and if Kosuke send out holiday cars you are so off the list for that.
Next up is Kansas, featuring the debut of the Milkalicious One...maybe. Hurry up and say Sayonara to Japan because the next race is this coming weekend. Woo-hoo!
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