LiveBlog: Motegi 2008, the sequel

Posted by Iannucci | 4/19/2008 | 35 comments »
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Well here we again. After yesterday's weep-out (or possibly this morning's, depending on your time zone) the IndyCar series will be once again taking to the grid at Twin Ring Motegi.

This time however your humble host will be following all of the action live here online. It seems the race is on ESPN Classics, and I don't have that. So we're all gathered' 'round the 17" monitor for all of the low-res racing and Mike King we can handle.

0: Yay! Race Director Tony Kanaan has decided the track is fit so the command to start engines has been given.

0: King says this race has a hydrogen-powered prototype for a pace car. They should have those over inthe N-Word in about 30 years.

1: We are green...and right away Marco has spun and wrecked in turn two. Ugh! Just got a little high spun it. He's out, and walking around.

15: Sorry for the delay. We are back to green and holding station with Castroneves, Dixon, Wheldon, Kanaan, Patrick. Still on DanCon2 alert.

20: We are lock step, of course Mike King doesn't say Lock Step. The exception being Briscoe Inferno who has worked up 3 spots to 12th.

24: Roth and Yasukawa have just been lapped. Sayonara, guys!

43: The race keeps moving along as Dixon, Wheldon and Kanaan have used traffic to close in on Castroneves. Meanwhile Briscoe is up to P11.

48: Hideki Mutoh gets wacky and almost takes out the pace car after Marty Roth has an accident. Mutoh has to put and get a nose job.

50: Pitting by a bunch of others before the accident has benefited Penske. Castroneves is first and Briscoe is up to second. Believe it or not Townsend Bell is now scored as 6th.

57: We are green, and Dixon wastes little time in moving back into second.

60: Castroneves, Dixon, Briscoe, Wheldon, Kanaan. Try to act shocked. Darren Manning around Bell for 6th, though.

66: Mike King is doing his best Jack Arute, talking extensively about the shape of eggs.

70: Helio is in cruise control, having opened up a lead of nearly a second over Dixon. Wheldon in third is three seconds back. Briscoe has slid back to fifth.

80: The Target Twins have halved the difference to .5 and 1.5 seconds for Dixon and Wheldon respectively. However, still not much passing.

90: AGR can't be happy today. Kanaan in 5th (5 seconds back), Patrick in 8th (12 seconds back), Mutoh in 13th (1 lap down) and Marco off and dead last.

92: Racing excitement is saved by the debris yellow!

93: Let's take this as a chance to point out that other than the top 5 only Manning, Bell, Carpenter, Hunter-Reay and Meira are on the lead lap. Keep hope alive, Vitor.

94: Alright I jinxed him. Vitor grazes the wall and damages his right rear suspension...And now Vision teammates collide lightly in the pits! Oh, the humanity!

96: Ed makes a few long pit stops under yellow but stays on the lead lap. Meanwhile Vitor gets pushed behind the wall. Sorrow.

97: Back to green and Danica jumps up to P7.

98: Danica passes Briscoe, moves into 5th and is closing in on Wheldon. Feel the love, Dan.

102: Dixon now has the lead. No one on the radio broadcast seems to have noticed. Scott's stealth like that.

105: Dixon, Castroneves, Kanaan, Wheldon, Patrick.

106: Howard makes contact with the wall but it's not yellow-worthy. He has it checked in the pits then returns.

110: Howard chops in front of Danica and Briscoe has gotten around Mrs Hospenthal to reclaim 5th. Also, Foyt has just parked so there are only 14 cars on the track.

117: Mutoh has passed Buddy Rice for P11, a.k.a. "best driver two laps down".

120: Dixon has stretched his lead out to a 2.5 second lead over Helio. Castroneves, Kanaan, Wheldon and Briscoe are all within a second of each other.

126: Dixon now up by over 4 seconds. We all stayed up for this?

132: Dixon by 5.5 seconds as Helio and Kanaan battle for second right behind Buddy Rice.

136: Kanaan got a little loose trying to pass Helio and ended up falling back to fifth. Dixon is now up tp a 6.5 second lead. Yawn.

141: Yellow for a "Roger Yasukawa brake fire". Say what? Well, now everyone will probably make their final pit stop and bunch back up.

144: The leaders all pit and come out Dixon, Briscoe, Kanaan, Wheldon, Castroneves, Patrick, Carpenter. These are shown as the only remaining cars on the lead lap.

149: Stillyellow so Patrick, Carpenter and Castroneves all pit to top off and Danica comes out first. Hmmm. Should we elevate to DanCon1?

150: Uh, no. We go back to green and Ed and Helio go right around Danica.

153: Kanaan around Briscoe for second. Ryan is running bit higher line here, which usually doesn't end well.

157: I stand corrected, as Hunter-Reay passes Danica for 7th. The Hunter, Manning and Bell are all still on the lead lap.

163: Dixon is only ahead of Kanaan by about .7 seconds. We may finally see some racing here.

170: Dixon, Kanaan, Wheldon, Briscoe...Hunter-Reay noses past Carpenter for 5th!

172: Danicker has dropped back to 9th, 12 seconds back. Either she's conserving A LOT of fuel or something has gone very, very wrong.

176: Wheldon is around Kanaan and TCGR claims the top 2 spots.

178: Briscoe has eventually gotten high enough to whitewall the car in turn two, dropping back to 7th. Did I or did I not say he was running a dangerously high groove? Forgive me, but as P2 would say, "Told ja!" Briscoe's adventure doesn't bring out a yellow but it does put Hunter-Reay in 4th.

190: Hunter-Reay comes in for fuel. Here comes the drama.

191: Manning and Bell pit, Danica up to 6th.

194: Carpenter pits, Danica into 5th.

195: Dixon pits, Danica into 4th. This race is on ESPN Classic, right?

197: Wheldon and Kanaan pit. Helio leads, Danica right behind him.


200: SHE! HAS! DONE! IT!

P1 is is FIRED UP! Danica is clearly choked up in the post race interview. This woman is not climbing a fence, instead weeping tears of relief. Jack Arute just asked here "When are you going to win again?" - he's gonna regret that.

TJ Patrick just said "It's the best day of my life." Mr Hospenthal says "I'm so happy for her, just trying to hold it back myself." Danica comes over and gives him a moment.

Danica is now driving around waving to the fans, ALL standing. She can barely crack a smile, though. Hopefully after tonight she can start to enjoy racing as we get closer to The Month of May. Graham, Danica both winning - WOW!

Folks there's nothing left to say. This is just EPIC! We've heard about this forever and now IndyCar race fans NEVER EVER have to hear the K-Word again. Oh Lordy, I need to figure out how to get P1 to calm down. Congratulations Mrs Hospenthal on making history, thank you all very much, and good night!


  1. Anonymous // April 19, 2008 7:01 PM  

    Let's light this candle.

  2. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // April 19, 2008 7:15 PM  

    I'm watching on-line, too.

  3. Anonymous // April 19, 2008 7:25 PM  

    You're missing Marty call Helio "Hell-io." Beautiful.

  4. John Edward // April 19, 2008 7:40 PM  

    this would be a lot more fun if the IMS network feed and the mediazone race control worked...

    "other than that, mrs. lincoln, how was the play?"

  5. Anonymous // April 19, 2008 8:18 PM  

    what was up with Foyt I just stepped away and missed his interview with arute....

  6. Jeff Iannucci // April 19, 2008 8:20 PM  

    Foyt's car was damaged when he collided with Carpenter in the pits.

  7. SS Minnow // April 19, 2008 8:22 PM  

    Foyt said he was "pissed off" about the contact with Ed in the pits and "pancaked" the wall. Arute asked if it was his fault or ed's and he was fairly diplomatic. Marty and Scott commented about how it's the first time they have seen quatro show a flash of his grandfather. Those of you watching online are actually catching lots more action. We keep getting commercials about every 5 laps from ESPN.

  8. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // April 19, 2008 8:25 PM  

    this race is really giving me a better appreciation of the addition of the "transition" drivers.

  9. Tabernerus // April 19, 2008 8:30 PM  

    Nobody ever gets to complain about street racing again. Ever.

  10. Bash // April 19, 2008 9:01 PM  

    I'm sobbing... awww, she is too...

  11. John Edward // April 19, 2008 9:03 PM  



  12. Tabernerus // April 19, 2008 9:04 PM  

    That was just awesome.

  13. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // April 19, 2008 9:05 PM  

    wow. wow. this does not feel real. wow.

  14. Anonymous // April 19, 2008 9:06 PM  

    To the : "Nobody ever gets to complain about street racing again. Ever"

    I do !

    Street racing sucks ! Ovals are MUCH BETTER !!!

  15. Bash // April 19, 2008 9:07 PM  

    Unification. Graham winning in race 2. Danica in race 3. Not sure you could script this any better for lighting this series' candle...

  16. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // April 19, 2008 9:09 PM  

    this is going to be an amazing season!

  17. Anonymous // April 19, 2008 9:10 PM  

    now the PRESSURE is ON VITOR !!!!

  18. Zappatista // April 19, 2008 9:13 PM  

    The only thing missing is "the root" asking lil' danny to say "shagolicious".

  19. Tabernerus // April 19, 2008 9:19 PM  

    If Marco or Quattro wins at Kansas, I'll start to buy lottery tickets!

  20. Anonymous // April 19, 2008 9:22 PM  

    Ed Carpenter could win this year !

    no joke, he is really improving.

  21. Mark // April 19, 2008 9:25 PM  

    That puts her in 3rd for driver. We shall see what happens with that tomorrows.

    What a great season so far...

  22. Anonymous // April 19, 2008 9:27 PM  

    I must be a wuss too because her victory actually choked me up. I am so happy for Danica.

  23. Anonymous // April 19, 2008 9:33 PM  

    on tuesday she goes on: the tonight show, late show, today show, good morning america.....

    she then appears on : sports illustrayed, espn the magazine, readers digest, the sporting news...

    the media attention will explode and the internet searches will explode too !

  24. mmack // April 19, 2008 9:38 PM  

    Well, all I have to say is FINALLY!

    Two thumbs up to Danica!, and may this be the first of many more wins. Perhaps there will be one at a little old track at 16th St. and Georgetown Rd.

    And Danica, please win your next race in the good ol' US of A so I don't have to stay up until 11:00 PM to see it! :^)

  25. Carrie // April 19, 2008 9:46 PM  

    Argh... I wanted to be mad but then she started crying. ;-)

    Good job for Danica. She knocked on the door enough times and it finally opened.

  26. faniqeric // April 19, 2008 9:56 PM  

    What a night, and what a season so far!

    Danica > Anna K. I've been waiting to say that for three years.

  27. erika // April 19, 2008 11:35 PM  

    Great job, Danica! What a great year for IndyCar racing and what an awesome time to be an open wheel fan. NASCAR, we're coming for you...

  28. chrisestrada // April 20, 2008 12:55 AM  

    ...Took her long enough:P

    But seriously, congratulations to Danica. She and her team played the fuel strategy like a concerto.


  29. Anonymous // April 20, 2008 1:12 AM  

    Danica Media-Mania will go to the max this week !!!


    GO AGR !
    Go DANICA !

    check oout the japanese broadcast of the end of the race, it puts ABC/ESPN to shame !

  30. John in Speedway // April 20, 2008 7:02 AM  

    Woooo hoooo. Danicamania folks. Thanks to ESPN for keeping the TV coverage going on for 45 minutes after the race. Thanks to the people of Japan too for having a good post race celebration. Did you see the size of that trophy??

  31. llilly // April 20, 2008 8:14 AM  

    And then the sun came out....

    In other news, did you notice how empty the stands were?

  32. The American Mutt // April 20, 2008 8:25 AM  

    As has been stated, friday morning there was an earth quake in the midwest. After it had woken me up I remember thinking to myself, " quake quake here...maybe it's a sign that Danica will win" then dismissing that as foolishness...

  33. Jenna // April 20, 2008 10:33 AM  

    I just watched the replay on ESPN2 (I had avoided the internet and the newspapers until I watched the race) and I am SO thrilled that Danica won! Go Danica! Shame ESPN2 cut it off after the alloted 2hrs, so I didn't really get to see the celebration afterwards:(

  34. Anonymous // April 20, 2008 2:46 PM  

    marco making mistakes was sad last year but this year it is kind of pathetic. soon enough his sponsors are going to drop him.

  35. Dale Nixon // April 21, 2008 8:23 AM  

    I'm praying this is the last of the "fuel strategy" races of the season, the last two have been far too N-wordish for my tastes.