Sunday at Infineon

Posted by Iannucci | 8/26/2007 | 6 comments »
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You probably didn't have the benefit that I had. You probably didn't roll across the Golden Gate Bridge en route to the Motorola Indy 300 on Sunday. You probably didn't get to see the masterful driving of Richard Antinucci in the Valley of the Moon 100 Indy Pro prelude to the IndyCar race.

No, you probably nodded off during the first 60 laps of the main event, but hopefully you woke up in time to enjoy the end of the race where everything went sideways.

Before we go any further, I keep forgetting to point out one thing. All these years I have thought of Infineon Raceway as being in wine country. Sonoma Valley certainly makes people think of Chardonnays and Cabernets, but the truth is the track - located on the side of a mountain - is not actually in the wine country portion of Sonoma. It's in cow country.

Not only that, the track plays this up. They have shirts embellished with some cartoonish cow with exhaust pipes that say "Mooooovin'". I am totally not making that up, although I refuse to disgrace the league by showing you a picture of said wardrobe.

The Good

My seats this weekend were in Section 9 which is located immediately in front of "The Chicane". This put me completely across the track from Turn 2, where the race was effectively decided by Marco and Dario getting to be a little closer than friends. I haven't seen the reply so I'll reserve judgement, but until that point Marco had been driving as well as anyone. His crew chief said the car had been damaged early, but you wouldn't know it watching him chase everyone down.

Scott Dixon won the race, largely because he was able to go longer on fuel than his competitors. This wasn't his usual domination on the road course, and late in the race it looked like Helio Castroneves would have passed him had their been any room on the track. But a win is a win, and there are no bad wins.

Speaking of Helio, he's going to win next week. He darn near won this week, although he was easily the most aggressive driver on the track. And by that I mean he dive-bombed about two or three times more than anyone else. Helio seems to be uncomfortable with holding position, and as such is one of the few drivers who can make road races exciting to watch.

Sure, there were lots of fans in NASCAR regalia, but I was lucky enough to sit behind this old school IRL fan. That was comforting.

The Bad

Don't be fooled by Sam Hornish Jr and his 5th place finish. Sam was all over the track a few times, and it was only because of some nice saves that he was able to finish where he did. That and the incredible pit stops his team gave him. His road skills have improved, but he was very fortunate to finish as high as he did.

Danica Patrick and her team have LOTS of pit issues. After all three pit cycles she lost position: twice her team's fault, then lastly her own as she stalled. You can all stop worrying about her getting her head shaved until that gets straightened out...assuming you were worried about this at all.

All weekend I saw Scott Sharp talking with all kinds of people. He had both mechanical and driving problems in practice and still he always had a smile on his face. So it is with the utmost admiration for his skills as an ambassador that I say he was driving like a TOTAL LUNATIC on Sunday. Incidents with Patrick, Hornish, and Foyt have me thinking he's going to having more than a few colorful conversations in the next week.

In case you were thinking of coming out this year - plenty of great seats were still available.

The Ugly

Should I try to debate whether or not Franchitti should have been black-flagged from his broken wing? Or that Kanaan should be chastised for blatantly blocking for almost the entire race? Or that this race had "parade" written all over the the first two acts?

Nah, I'm just bummed this whole weekend is over. Finding my rental car was no easy task (which is inexcusable since I didn't have a single $12 beer) but now it's time to rest up and fly home tomorrow.


  1. pressdog // August 27, 2007 12:12 PM  

    Look at you, Lanyard Boy! Thanks for the color, and the Sarah Fisher T-shirt photo. Priceless. Ah, blocking is illegal in the IRL, Jeffy, you must have been mistaken.

  2. Jennifer Coomer // August 27, 2007 12:29 PM  

    Great reporting! I've enjoyed it. Your photos and posts have really made me want to go to a road race.

    Can't wait until you see the gem I sent your Inbox this morning. I've already written about it on my blog.

  3. Anonymous // August 27, 2007 2:37 PM  

    nice job! how'd you get so lucky to have such a cool gig?!?!

    i admit it. i want your job. lol


  4. Iannucci // August 27, 2007 10:09 PM  

    Very funny. My job is to sit in a cubicle and make computer talk nice to each other. This is my hobby.

    You too can buy a garage pass and take a crappy camera to the track just like me.

    (Although I should disclose Amy K at the IRL was WAY COOL in setting me up with a pit pass as well. It didn't get me in the media center though, so I'm still a rank amateur. No complaints though.)

  5. Anonymous // August 28, 2007 3:05 AM  

    Well, Jeff, I've bought garage passes (bronze badges) the past few years at Indy, and I always take a crappy camera to the track (I'm too tight to buy a DSLR), so far so good, but I can't make it sound interesting to anybody expect me, so I'll leave the blogging to you and the rest who know who to do it.

    I'll be in Chicago this year--for the first time in my 38 year history of going to indy car races. As the kids say these days, "w00t" ... ;)

  6. Anonymous // September 05, 2007 6:57 AM  

    saw some pics of marco and michael with the girls next door? is marco dating one of them?