Scotland Forever

Posted by Iannucci | 9/10/2007 | 2 comments »
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It’s a day late, but like Scott Dixon I flat out ran out of gas on Sunday. What a race and what a day. If those folks in Illinois didn’t enjoy the two finishes they saw in person on Sunday then there isn’t a defibrillator in the world that can help them.

All congratulations to Dario Franchitti, for being not only both skillful and lucky this year but also being an incredible representative of IndyCar racing. Unfortunately, now that Dario has taken the checkers for the race and the season we are left to wonder what becomes of the IRL if indeed the last two Indy 500 and ICS series winners are transitioning to tin tops.

On the one hand this isn’t exactly a death knell: These guys are tremendous drivers but they weren’t necessarily THE most popular ones. Danica, Helio, Wheldon, Kanaan, Andretti, et al can carry the series for a while if need be. Heck, NAPCAR lost Dale Earnhardt a few years ago and became even MORE popular, so anything is possible.

On the other hand these are two very significant drivers – champions, no less. Sam is undisputedly the best American competitor in the series, and Dario has literally become the most interviewed star between his victory at Indy and his flips elsewhere. Shudder to think, but it won’t be good if come next year there are more winners of the Indianapolis 500 at Daytona in February (Hornish, Franchitti, Montoya, Villeneuve) than at the Brickyard in May (Wheldon, Rice, Castroneves).

Ack! I can’t be hypothesizing about that right now. Gotta keep the tingly feeling from yesterday until we are officially told otherwise.

The Good

The Iceman deserves credit as well, putting applying the heat (is that irony?) to Franchitti all race just as he the last few weeks. Dixon was thoroughly composed in his post-race interview, speaking as if he enjoyed the race despite losing in such a dramatic fashion. Good news, friends – he ain’t going to NAPCAR.

Mu-toh! Mu-toh! Mu-toh! Not only did this year’s runner up in the Indy Pro series finished in 8th – ahead of both of his Panther Racing teammates – but Godzilla recorded the FASTEST LAP OF THE RACE. Holy shiitake mushrooms!

RLR had a fantastic day. Not only did Scott Sharp having an outstanding run by finishing 5th, Ryan Hunter-Reay kept pace as well with a quiet 7th place performance. Two months ago he wasn’t in the league and now he’s Rookie of the Year. Wow. Don’t spend that money all in one place, Ryan.

Four top 10s in the final five races for Quattro. That’s an amazing improvement for a guy who had ONE Top 10 in the first 12 races. It never hurts to have a driver named “Foyt” performing well.

With Buddy Rice in 9th and Sarah Fisher in 12th, Dreyer and Reinbold had to be pleased. Relatively speaking, of course. Best wishes on the pending nuptials for Ms Fisher, even if she changes her name to “Sarah O’Gara”.

The Bad

Many are betting that Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti are the future of this league, but folks the future is not now. Danica had her THIRD pit entry/exit miscue of the year (and that isn’t even counting Kansas), while Marco has his 10th DNF. We’ve seen them both improve this year in different ways, but with problems like this the wins won’t happen. Should be a fun winter around the AGR stable.

ABC/ESPN decided there was NOTHING to cover except the two drivers at the front. Here’s a memo to the four-letter-network: feel free to take 5 seconds every now and then to explain what happened to a driver who pulled off the track. You’ve got THREE pit reporters, so surely someone has and idea.

Somebody in charge needs to add a little clarity to the whole yellow flag/pit road policy. How Franchitti could have conserved more fuel but still end up BEHIND Dixon is inexplicable. Even the broadcasters were expecting Dario to be in the lead. As it was, Mr Judd won the race and we got a dramatic finish – but that still doesn’t make it right.

The Ugly

“...Paging Mr Barnhart...Mr Brian Barnhart...Will Mr Brian Barnhart please report to Victory Lane...”

What the...? A spectacular season ends with a spectacular finish, and the guy who became the poster-boy for the 2007 season gets handed the trophy by…Jack Arute? Come on, people. What shall BB be known as now – the Invisible Hand of Apathy?

See, now we have to deal with all kinds of unnecessary speculation. Was Barnhart upset that a guy who’s likely leaving the series gets the trophy? Was he protesting the ceremony because Ashley Judd said he should have parked Milka? Did he trip and fall on the way to stage? Is he in a diabetic coma? Did Tony George fire him on the spot? Was he a victim of alien abduction? Was he even there? Questions, questions, questions.

Ugh. At least the finish was exciting enough that we could laugh at the poor workers furiously trying to change the signage on the stage after during the ceremony. Thanks for the memories, indeed.

2 comments

  1. mikebdot // September 11, 2007 8:07 AM  

    I'm sure if Danica died during a race, it's possible the IRL would become more popular. Point being: NAPCAR didn't "lose" Dale Earnhardt, it's not like he went to race trucks or something, he freakin' died...

  2. Jeff Iannucci // September 11, 2007 8:11 AM  

    Well, yeah, it's not the same - but he didn't race anymore. That was my point, which may have been included a very bad comparison. Total mea culpa.

    (I'm avoiding the obvious with Dale comparison - that morbid curiosity may have actually contributed to furthering the stock car popularity.)