LiveBlog: Homestead 2008

Posted by Iannucci | 3/29/2008 | 12 comments »
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It's here - it's finally here! Six months (or 12 years depending upon your point of view) of wandering in the open-wheel wilderness and now we are back to racing! And look, we've brought lots of exclamation points!!

Welcome friends to the historic season opener of the once-and-for-all series, where the goal du jour is simply put on a good show without anyone getting the car or the driver irreparably harmed. Two words that would apply to the refugees' week were they not so insensitively correct: crash course. Let's hope for everyone's sake that we keep that simply a figure of speech.

With the announcements of Vision Racing's infractions that send them to the back of the bus we will now raise the threat level to DanCon Two. She's fast and in the front row, but history is still against here.

Also, before we drop the green flag we need to go to the mailbag.

Hey IndyCar fans, I just wanted to clarify for everyone that my little mishap yesterday was entirely intentional. I hated seeing my fellow Brits Jay, Darren and Justin in the back, and I got to thinking on the warmup that maybe I'd be a more compelling story if I started a bit further back. Chip disagrees, but what's he gonna do - fire me? See you in 300 miles! - D. Wheldon, Emberton, England

And now, it's time to start.

0: FYI, this is the XM Indy 300, not the Gainsco whatever. No wonder I have such trouble finding sponsorship for this site.

1: Start waved off. Completely lacking formation. Actual start is worse. Oh well.

4: Dixon and Kanaan battling for the lead, Wheldon already up to 15th. Sha!

8: Dixon, Kanaan...Marco, Briscoe! Danicker, dropping back to 6th.

9: Wheldon 10th, Quattro up to 14th. Beware.

14: Yikes! Kanaan and Dixon side-by-side, then they split to fly past Mario Moraes. Lapping has ensued at Lap 14.

15: Kanaan now leads Dixon, Andretti, Castroneves, Briscoe...Hunter-Reay!

17: Debris yellow, waiting for proof...and it's Budy Rice's mirror. On RaceControl audio Wheldon - now in 9th - says his "rear is a little loose". That's what she said.

20: Pit stops for everyone! Dixon noses past Kanaan to reclaim the lead, but Mutoh appears to have missed his pit or stalled. What's Japanese for "Son of a..."?

25: Restart and Power and Wilson get closer than friends. Looks like Wilson's got some damage to the left-front wheel but he's rolling off track so no yellow.

28: Power and Wilson both in pits. Day is over for both. Thank you very much, good night!

30: Wheldon in 8th behind Patrick in 7th. Yeah, baby!

31: Bye Danica. Hugs and kisses.

34: Dixon, Castroneves, Kanaan, Briscoe, Andretti. Act shocked.

39: Kanaan and Castroneves are already rubbing tires. Nothing ever changes with these two "friends".

45: Forget what I said, as Wilson is back on track getting lapped. Wheldon passes Briscoe for FIFTH.

47: Dixon, Castroneves, Kanaan, Andretti, Wheldon. Big mover now is Foyt up to 9th.

48: High refugee is Servia in 17th, just ahead of...Milka?

54: Junqueira is out. All I can make out is "REEEALLY REALLLY LOOOOOSE". Otherwise...can we get subtitles with this guy?

57: Dixon, Andretti, Kanaan, Castroneves, Wheldon, Briscoe, Hunter-Reay, Patrick. Nearly lock-stepping.

66: Marco contesting Dixon for the lead. Lifts because of lapped traffic. Meanwhile, Duno has passed Carpenter for 15th. You read that right - she's moving up!

69: Rice 11th, Servia 12th, Perera 13th. You needed to know because Marty wasn't telling you.

72: Andretti gets held up by Mutoh - his teammate - on an extremely slow pit in. Others pitting, lead is changing furiously.

75: Mutoh can not stop Andretti, as he races out and passes Dixon while both were wiggling around. Hairiness as Marco gets about an inch from the wall going around Iceman. Andretti's first lead in over year, with Dixon and Wheldon on his heels.

84: If the drinking term had been "transition" I'd already be passed out.

85: Roth 21st, Howard 22nd, both out. As the late Doug Henning would say, "It was all an illuuuusion."

94: Andretti, Dixon, Wheldon, Castroneves, Kanaan. We are lock-stepping but Marty ain't saying "lock-step". Maybe someone had a word with him about this.

100: Kanaan charges past Helio for 4th. Patrick in 8th is last car on the lead lap. Not much gonna happen until the next pit stop festival.

105: Dixon is now a couple of seconds back in second. You think he's conserving fuel? I mean he lost the championship by what he called "a half a beer can of fuel".

111: The only non-Big Three driver on the lead lap is Hunter-Reay in 7th.

114: About Dixon - Wheldon is around him for second. So no, Scott's not conserving squat.

118: Marco pits, Wheldon and his new teeth now lead. What took you so long, Dan!

123: After eveveryone pits everyone on the lead lap maintains position (mostly). Andretti, Wheldon, Dixon, Kanaan, Briscoe, Castroneves, Hunter-Reay, Patrick. Marty is dying to say "lock-step"!

127: Milka and Briscoe got together, and not in a good way. They are out of their cars and done. Replay shows her losing it and collecting Briscoe. I had Briscoe in my TSO Fantasy League today, so...I'm not pleased with Milkalicious.

129: Listening again on RaceControl, Helio says he wants to "Peet" for fuel only, as well as "remind me to reset the fuel counter, I always forget." This is why I paid the $39. Meanwhile, the #6 is finally on the hook.

132: "Peets" are still closed, so we get to see lots of commercials. Firestone has made another solid prentation. Much Mario, so my viewing is greatly enhanced.

137: Servia 12th, Perera 14th, Wilson 15th, Viso 16th, Moraes 18th, Bernoldi 19th. As Winston Churchill said "When you're going through hell, keep going."

139: Danica employs the tactic of NOT pitting when the leaders pit...and goes a lap down. Excellent strategy there.

142: Green flag and Marco is off to a nearly two-second lead over Wheldon. Dixon, Kanaan, Castroneves are all that are left on the lead lap.

146: Scott Goodyear just used the phrase "lucky dog". Clearly Rusty Wallace has infected his brain.

153: Marty finally breaks out a "lock-step" but he does it as Kanaan and Dixon are side-by-side right behind Wheldon. Uh, that is SO NOT lock-step, pal.

158: Castroneves drops over six seconds back. Perhaps he needed those new Firehawks. This is now a four-horse race with two AGRs and two TCGRs within two seconds of each other.

160: Kanaan goes low and passes Marco for the lead. Yoda busts out some Jedi moves on the Young Skywalker.

164: Arute just called Kanaan's son "Lorenzo". I thought the boy's name was "Leonardo".

166: Marty just called the Target Twins "the dark Ganassi squad". So much for being on Big Chip's Christmas Card list.

170: Still Kanaan, Andretti, Wheldon, Dixon, 17 cars on the track. Just a few more laps and almost everyone rolls it back on the truck.

173: Kanaan pitting for the final splash, Marco and Wheldon dodging traffic.

174: Now Marco comes in. Safely. And out.

177: Wheldon in. Safely. And out. Total radio silence from Dan these last few laps. Focused like a laser, and now Castroneves is leading.

181: Helio pits, Kanaan leads, Patrick in second but she hasn't pit yet. Thank goodness we have computers to keep track of all of this.

187: Brie says "Danica is in her pit box". Hello! Meanwhile Kanaan is up over Marco, Dixon, Wheldon by a couple of seconds. Darren Manning is in 13th. I hadn't mentioned him yet but my beer somehow reminded me to.

192: Viso into the wall...and Kanaan looks like he got collected with a bent front right. Ouch! Viso climbing out safely. Sadly, no RaceControl audio of Kanaan.

194: Kanaan is still leading, under yellow, with only three wheels on the ground. Not a picture the league would market actively.

198: Kanaan peels off, we are green, Scott Dixon takes the lead over Marco and Wheldon.

199: White flag, Dixon. Marco not really close.

200: The Iceman Winith! (Sorry) Andretti, Wheldon, Castroneves, Carpenter(!), Patrick, Hunter-Reay. Kanaan in 8th, 2 laps down, lamenting in the pits.

Well, all things considered the we had a clean race, although I'm positive.. Nariz and the Briscoe Inferno would disagree. At least there was more than one car in the race in the late laps, and the winner was not named "Wheldon". Blame the teeth.

Congratulations to the refugees for hanging in and taking their beatings like men. At St Pete, they may have their vengence. As for your humble host - thank you very much! Good night, Miami!!


  1. Dale Nixon // March 29, 2008 6:09 PM  

    I nominate Breanne Pedigo's official nickname to be "Deer in the Camera Lights"

  2. Cate and Ryan // March 29, 2008 6:24 PM  

    Does the IRL want cross over fans or not?
    If so, I would recommend they do something about the tv coverage of those Champ Car vets that have made "the change".

  3. Anonymous // March 29, 2008 6:54 PM  

    I can't get the IndyCar Race Control to work.

  4. flyingpiano // March 29, 2008 7:11 PM  

    as far as deer in the headlights did you see the dixon pre race interview very shoddy camera work.

  5. LA // March 29, 2008 7:23 PM  

    so glad the first race of the season finally got here. pretty good one. would have been nice to see the newbies get a little more camera time, etc. i couldn't stand the 2-3 views at the beginning of the race. at one point there were three different views of the same thing. it was driving me crazy. that's my only complaint. i was sad to see TK go out the way he did. he's my fave. looking forward to a GREAT 2008!

  6. Andy Marquis // March 29, 2008 8:05 PM  

    What a solid season opening IndyCar race.

    'cate and ryan,' I agree with that. Even though these are new drivers to the Series, although I've never liked or watch Champ Car, they are out there.

    Who was the highest finishing Champ Car World Series regular anyway? Man, it's unfortunate, but it looks to me like this season is going to be like the NASCAR Nationwide Series on ESPN2 is.

    Dale, I never thought of it that was but you're right. Brieanne Pedigo is pretty hot though.

  7. faniqeric // March 29, 2008 9:10 PM  

    Not a bad race by any means, but I'm concerned how even the non-refugees that weren't from the big three finished multiple laps down. That's not a good omen.

  8. llilly // March 30, 2008 9:42 AM  

    Briscoe gets some kudo's for not trashing Milka and giving the champ guys credit for trying.

    I paid for the Race Director and was disappointed with the telemetry and moderately disappointed with the video.

    Nothing worked at all until half the race was over and then only some of it worked. You could only hear the conversation and video of four drivers (their choice of drivers) for the race. I thought it would any driver I wanted to see/hear but no.

    They shouldn't charge a fee until they have all the bugs worked out, IMHO.

    Loved the race. Great job moving up for the IVth. Does anyone know what the exact "technical violation" was for Hammer and Quattro?

  9. SandWedge // March 30, 2008 10:08 AM  

    don't put too much stock into the amoutn of people laps down from the leaders, homestead is like that every year... I think last year Dan lapped the entire field or something likewise... with being first everyones setups have yet to be established.

  10. Megan // March 30, 2008 9:28 PM  

    Milk n donuts is baaaacccckkkkk!

  11. Megan // March 30, 2008 9:30 PM  

    I almost forgot Ryan Briscoe is the perfect hire for Penske racing! He doesn't put his foot in his mouth and he can drive! I think Michael Andretti should take pointers from Penske and lose the blame game. JMO

  12. R.A. Porter // March 31, 2008 2:39 PM  

    Couldn't follow your live blog because we had to start the race late to catch the end of the late tourney semifinal on Saturday. Hope to be watching live for the foreseeable future.

    Could I recommend this tool for live-blogging? I've only played around with it a little, but it seems pretty decent and has a lot of nice features. They've been using it at Storming the Floor for live-blogging the tourney.