Suppose you had just decided to introduce a friend to IndyCar racing on Sunday. Your friend would have seen a race with a gloomy forecast that started under yellow, featured lots of sliding by otherwise professional drivers, had hardly any recognizable names running near the front, and eventually ended because time was called. That’s not exactly an event anyone would hold up as the great standard of open-wheel racing. In fact, a ridiculous event like that seems like it should be forgotten as quickly as possible.
But one thing happened that made it extremely memorable: Graham Rahal won. A 19-year-old won. The son of a former Indy 500 champion won. The first Champ Car refugee has won. The first non Big Three team win in 38 races. It’s Graham’s first IndyCar series win. In his first IndyCar series race. He won! Holy Flying American Teenagers, Batman!
So yeah, the end result was more than a little significant.
The streak is OVER! We may see a new streak reborn starting in Motegi (well, not counting Long Beach the same weekend) but for now hope springs eternal once again for all teams not named Penske, Ganassi or Andretti Green. Then again, maybe it’s now the Big Four.
The rivalry has now officially been born. Marco and Graham each have a win (on non-ovals, no less) coming at 19-years of age, and despite the fact they both would rather be driving in F1 for the time being we can all bask in the glow of seeing the offspring of our affection go forth into the world serving as proud testament to our union...sorry, got carried away with the Firestone Ad there for a moment.
Less than a month ago Paul Stoddart said his Minardi team was done, but partner Keith Wiggins managed to pick up the pieces and form the one car HVM racing. On Sunday that team and their driver EJ “Don’t call me Ernesto” Viso raced near the front most of the day, finishing just off the podium in fourth. Somebody find Stoddart and see if he needs a hanky.
Did you know Hideki Mutoh finished sixth? Of course you didn’t, because his name was hardly mentioned during the entire broadcast. ESPN better straighten that out for the next race because he’s going to be HUGE at Motegi no matter where he finishes.
Six of the Top 10 drivers were from refugee teams racing in just their second IndyCar series event. Clearly there is a new set of favorites for the road/street course events this year, which begs the question: Who absorbed whom?
Rain sucks, but not racing on a street course because of rain sucks even more. Puddles, schmuddles, next time put the grooved tires on and get on with it so we don’t have this timed race garbage.
He may be telling Brian Barnhart when to start the race, but Tony Kanaan was on the podium but without a win for the fourth straight year at St Pete. Here’s a word for the new Director of Race Operations: Karma.
Even though one of them was not his fault, Ryan Briscoe has now failed to finish in both of his races for Team Penske. You could tell Briscoe was feeling nervous because he was somehow blaming Jay Howard for this week’s crash, even though the reply showed Briscoe smacked two walls all by himself. The line for that ride leads out the door, and he knows it.
It’s been a while since Townsend Bell raced in the IndyCar series, so maybe he’s unfamiliar with the concept of slowing and not passing in an area that has a “local yellow”. Perhaps that should be said in the past tense, because after slamming into a parked Vitor Meira he’s definitely familiar with the concept now.
Finishing on the lead lap for a race like this should be considered respectable, but once again on a non-oval Dan Wheldon was never a threat. If memory serves me correctly this is the last year of his well-compensated contract with TCGR, and if memory serves me correctly again they have already signed Alex Lloyd to drive something. With more road and street courses being added every year, we can all read the writing on the wall here.
This was a fantastic win for both Graham Rahal and the Indy Racing League for numerous reasons stated in the second paragraph of this post. Even in post-race interviews other drivers were praising the Son of ‘Stache for his victory and noting how it’s a good thing for everyone. So why on Earth did Marty Reid feel the need to add absurdity to the warm and fuzzy moment by going on and on about Earl and Tiger Woods?
Rahal's win was a noteworthy victory for a driver with a recognizable name, but let’s all be honest about this: Graham won that race largely because his team had a superior fuel strategy. He drove very well, sure, but he was also the greatest beneficiary of the late yellow flags that allowed him to remain out while other drivers had to pit. That’s largely what won the race for him and his team.
So to compare Graham and his victory in a goofy and random race like this to a guy like Woods who is arguably the greatest ever in his sport is on par with Todd Harris comparing Danica Patrick to Amelia Earhart. I can buy the angle of a father being proud of his son, but that’s more like Michael and Marco Andretti than the Woods family. Tiger? Come on! Maybe if Graham wins six or seven races this year Marty’s words will prove prophetic, but right now they’re simply exaggerated buffoonery.
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