The inagural Iowa Corn Indy 250 is done and I don't think anyone would color this event a screaming success. Oh sure, the stands were packed and there were no raindrops, tornadoes or flying monkeys on Sunday, but the carnage...oh, the carnage. Oh, the humanity!
Before I start acting like My Name Is IRL Hater, I want to congratulate Dario Franchitti on surviving the ordeal. At the end of the race he had the best car and he took it to Victory Lane.
But just as putting a microphone in front of Ashley Judd's face is largely a bad idea ("Oh is he doing a Zanardi?") something seems to have gone sideways with all the hype of flat-out, three-wide racing that was promised. Instead, it was demolition derby on a Sunday afternoon that ended with a parade.
Maybe it was the tires, which were so hard the winner raced around a hundred miles on the same set. Maybe it was the newness of the track, and drivers were still figuring out where there were four grooves and where there were two. Maybe they were all ticked off they didn't get down to Knoxville.
Or maybe a couple of Vision teammates made a joke about a "Danica sandwich" that went to far. I dunno. Whatever the reason, the Rusty Wallace Extravaganza was a horrifying display of what Indy Racing is generally NOT. The marquee names we crashing early and often, the side-by-side racing wasn't promoting much passing, and when it was all said and done we were left with two teammates who were clearly not going to pass each other.
Come on, you didn't think Marco was going to try to overtake the points leader, did ya?
Hey Marco - 2nd place! Look at the good things that happen when you stay on the track. Now you know how Dario felt following you around the last few laps at Sonoma last year.
Scott Sharp stayed clear and finished in third, although that was largely due to the Block Parties he was throwing for Ed Carpenter and others. It occurred to me this is likely why Patron tequila is his sponsor. Synergy.
The Mirror Man was looking very strong - until someone broke out the voodoo doll on his suspension. What was that? Is Kosuke behind this?
At least it was a good day for Foyt Racing and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. When was the last time there were post race interviews with Buddy Rice, Darren Manning and Sarah Fisher? I bet folks almost forgot they actually spoke.
OK - raise your hand if you want to see 10 cars racing at the end. Anyone? I mean other than you Foyt and D&R folks.
Apparently the weatherman and the Firestone people were not on the same page, as the participants all had tires ready for the heat while the forecast turned substantially less than heat-filled. Evidently they are not familiar with that saying about weather in the Midwest - if you don't like it stick around a few hours and it'll change.
From the best I can tell you'd have to go back to the '05 Indy 500 to find a race on an oval that no Penske or Ganassi car finished higher than Helio's 8th. Normally watching so many others compete with and surpass the standard bearers is good, but with two wrecks, a mechanical problem and a stalled car sidelining the red and white brigade...not so much.
Milka quietly pulled off after completing only 60 laps. How ironic it is that with all of the carnage she was neither the victim nor the cause of any wreckage. She might have broken the Top 10 if she could have managed some speed and hung around. Pity for Hugo.
I'll leave this to Pressdog, who truly needs your sympathy. Someone give this fine fella some tix to Chicagoland as compensation, please.
I left my house at 9:30 and got to the track at 1 p.m. It takes 45 minutes to drive to the track. Sat in a stop and start line of traffic for TWO AND A HALF HOURS. Mad props to the Iowa Speedway for such an effective traffic plan. Really. What you want to do is charge fans $50 a seat, talk up how super neat the racing facility is, then make them sit and wait for two and a half hours to get in.
Also, thanks for making me look like a total asshole for highly recommending everyone I know go to the race. I got to my seat on lap 89, but only after I walked by a few thousand totally pissed fans. The biggest professional sporting event ever held in Iowa was apparently too big for the Iowa Speedway.
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