LiveBlog: Iowa 2008

Posted by Iannucci | 6/22/2008 | 16 comments »
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Turning on the TV this morning revealed a 30-minute pre-race show on ABC, which is darn near astounding. I am feeling the love.

Also feeling the love are Iowa and Indiana, who after suffering through biblical-level flooding are finding all sorts of charitable contributions related to the Indy Racing League. I'll try to list them all in a later post, but suffice it so say you will see and hear about this throughout the broadcast.

And speaking of love, here's a little for Ryan Briscoe. After starting the season like a missile looking for a target he locked it in at Milwaukee and Texas, going from 19th to 5th in the points. Roger probably took him out for ice cream on the off week.

And now, it's time to start.

1: As we go green Helio jumps to the lead. Mutoh looks like he skipped a gear or soething, causing a huge bottleneck. Fortunately these guys are professionals and everyone brakes accordingly.

9: Man, these laps go fast. Dixon and his snappy blue Commit are off the pace a bit as Kanaan comes up to Helio.

12: Side by side and Kanaan can’t quite get around Helio. No, there’s nothing wrong with this aero package. Dixon, Marco, Wheldon trail them.

17: Kanaan finally gets around Helio but it should be tight racing between these two for a while.

22: Marco is up to third and Wheldon is closing in on his teammate.

30: Nevermind. Kanaan has opened up a lead of nearly a second. Hunyter-Reay is the big mover going from 14th to 7th.

35: Buddy Rice is currently 23rd. Never mind the Cheat Sheet.

37: Our first mention of Danica, as she is battling Foyt IV for 9th.

39: Yellow for the yellow car as Ed has gone into the wall. He’s out and walking around.

42: Pit stop fiesta, and the new leaders are Kanaan, Helio, Marco, Wheldon, Briscoe. Dixon drops to sixth.

44: Danicker on RaceControl complaining of a push. Sounding substantially less than angry though. Must be the calming influence of pressdog this weekend.

52: Restart and Kanaan seems to be slowing. Helio around him and Marco darn near bump drafting his teammate. Of note, Vitor Meira was penalized for a pit infraction and has been moved to the back of the pack. He was in 10th.

56: Quatro started in 18th but is now up to 7th. Hook ‘em horns!

59: Arute is at the cutaway car discussing push rods and weight jackers. My viewing is EXTREMELY enhanced.

62: Wheldon divebombs Marco and takes over third. Helio continues to lead as Kanaan has settled into 2nd.

72: We have been informed the Roger Penske is not at the track, recuperating from “a medical procedure”. What’s the part of the brain that allows someone to express emotion? Just askin’.

82: Wheldon is up on Kanaan’s bumper as the Top 3 bunch up for racing. Meanwhile Buddy Rice’s car is in the pits ON FIRE. So much for that streak of Top 10 finishes.

86: Scott Dixon is in 8th, hating life, right ahead of John Andretti. Meanwhile Quattro is up to 6th.

97: Not much happening up front. This lack of racing excitement has been brought to you by the makers of fuel conservation.

102: Yellow for a verrrrrry slow Jamie Camara. Doesn’t look like he hit anything, except possibly the “E” on the fuel gauge.

105: Pit fiesta and it's Kanaan, Wheldon, Marco, Helio, Briscoe. Say hello to Justin Wilson who jumps up to 8th. Foyt IV drops to 9th, but on the positive side he didn't catch fire.

112: Back to green flag racing and Wheldon drops like a stone! Back to 9th or 10th, hanging with John Andretti. Replay shows Wheldon banging wheels with John, gesturing with one hand while he does it. Multi-tasking the rage.

122: Meanwhile, Marco is in second. Remember, he followed Franchitti around to finish second here last year so he's done this dance before.

126: Oh by the way, Darren Manning is out. Both he and Rice have dropped out with handling issues. Pigs in Iowa.

130: Quattro moves around Dixon for 6th. Check for locusts.

134: Quattro around Briscoe for 5th as Marco takes the lead from Kanaan.

143: Marco, Kanaan, Helio, Hunter, Quattro. Justin Wilson is hanging in there in 10th.

147: John Andretti in a Roth Car has just gone around Briscoe in a Penske car for 7th. The end is near.

156: Yellow for Mario Moraes, stalled sideways at the pit entry. Mmmm, Bar-B-Que sounds great right about now.

158: Much pitting as the leaderboard now reads Kanaan, Helio, Marco, Hunter, Wheldon. Quattro's pit stop drops him back to 7th and John Andretti is no longer in the top 10. In fact he's in 15th after have a fuel hose issue.

159: Vitor is stuck in the pits losing laps but eventually exits. Same story for Oriol Servia. Bummer for them.

166: Back to green and Hunter and Marco go side by side. This time Marco let's him by, willingly or not. Ahead of them Helio retakes the lead.

175: Hunter is still in third right behind Helio and Kanaan. Marco lurking behind him.

187: Yellow for Bernoldi who spun and stalled in the middle of the track. Desperately seeking airtime for his sponsors.

188: Most cars pit, although Wheldon, Mutoh and Patrick do not.

195: Back to green.

196: Back to yellow as Moraes whitewalls it on the restart. Wheldon, Mutoh, Patrick - conserving - with Kanaan and Dixon behind them.

202: Back to green as Wheldon separates from everyone. We have 18 cars on the track.

210: Hunter getting lose. Nearly hits the wall. Nearly hits Briscoe. Not sure if he hit the lottery.

211: Yellow for Kanaan HARD into the wall. Cue the "Another one bites the dust" song. Like last year Nariz just lost it in the turn, but this time he didn't collect anyone. He’s out but his day is over.

212: Marco on the radio, sharing the love: “He’s f****** blocking me! I don’t care if he is the f****** points leader!”

217: Still yellow with Wheldon, Mutoh and Danica conserving successfully. Followed by Dixon, Marco, Helio, Quattro.

220: Jack Arute, talking about Mutoh's team, just said "they have been battling a car that is good." Anyone have their Arute decoder ring handy?

226: Back to green in the worst restart ever. Danica and Helio dropped back, but I have no idea who is where right now.

229: Helio is losing air in a tire, going backwards in a hurry.

231: HUGE save by Viso as he goes sideways trying to get past the slowing Castroneves. No yellow, and Helio ends the madness by pitting. Thank you, sir.

235: Wheldon, Mutoh, Marco lead the way. Dixon, Foyt and Patrick back a bit.

240: Marco is trying to get around Mutoh, but so far no dice. They’re both just a few car lengths behind Wheldon, who turns 30 today.

245: Marco and Mutoh continue to battle. Somewhere Michael Andretti is covering his eyes. And his check book.

250: Wheldon wins and as announced previous to the race he will be donating his ENTIRE check to the Iowa Red Cross. Very Huge! Mutoh right behind him in 2nd, then Marco, Dixon and Foyt IV(!).

Dan looks happy in Victory Lane, saying he’s “21 again!” Jack Arute kisses him. My eyes are burning.

There were more than a few crashes today but without exception this was a much better race than last year. Congrats to Dan who is closes the gap on his teammate in the championship hunt. Helio’s Top 5 streak breaks with a 14th place finish, and in case you were wondering Danicker finished 9th 6th. That’s it for now, so thank you very much and good night.


  1. Zappatista // June 22, 2008 10:30 AM  

    Yes, I may join along for a little bit. A week off has seemed to be a month!

  2. Zappatista // June 22, 2008 10:32 AM  

    also, if I may, make a recommendation. When you do the live blog/chat of the race; could you turn off the "word verification" to make it easier to "chat"?

  3. Anonymous // June 22, 2008 12:45 PM  

    Slight correction here Jeff - Danica finished 6th - not 9th. I know you would prefer ninth, but that just isn't correct.

  4. Iannucci // June 22, 2008 1:14 PM  

    My bad. I swear the Race Control thing said 9th. Anyhow, fixed.

    And I need to keep the "word verification" on or else we'll have a bunch of casio-related posts. I learned that lesson the hard way.

  5. Zappatista // June 22, 2008 2:34 PM  

    Maybe you could team up with SB Nation (I don't want to same the name) to do it, so it could be a chat like atmosphere?

  6. Anonymous // June 22, 2008 3:57 PM  

    How much did Mr. Wheldon donate? What were his winnings?

  7. Anonymous // June 22, 2008 4:00 PM  

    Perhaps before the next race, Mr Barnhart and his comrads in arms could view some vintage racing films in roder to determine just what constitutes a "good" line-up for a restart. How you can blow off one for some misalignment and then give the green to that farce of a line-up is beyond me. Still...all-in-all a terrific race. Now if ABC could just remember that there are more than 5 or 6 cars racing.......Very nice to see young Foyt showing us what he can do. Next up... for the Vision crew to figure out how to do a pit stop is a manner which is at least close to the "big boys" so Ed and AJ don't have to play catch-up each time following pitting. ...well, then, look out!

  8. The American Mutt // June 22, 2008 5:41 PM  

    Here's a new drinking term: He's driving defensively. It only seems to apply when Dixon is the one doing the blocking. Why do you people like someone who bitches when he has a finish he A: didn't deserve, and then B: proceeded to bitch about Danica for doing the same thing he did ALL DAY LONG? No offense Jeff, but until the ball washing of Dixon ends I'm boycotting this site.

  9. Anonymous // June 22, 2008 7:42 PM  

    But Mutt, how will you know if you don't keep reading?

  10. Zappatista // June 23, 2008 5:01 AM  

    ABC actually had the best coverage so far this year, sans the 500. I didn't actually YELL at TV this week! Pre-Race? Are you kidding me!

  11. Anonymous // June 23, 2008 7:32 AM  

    What a difference a year makes!

    Mrs. mmack and I watched and enjoyed this year's installment of the I-o-way race. Compared to the farce that was the end of the N-word race, the IRL came off as more professional by miles.

    American Mutt, I compared Dixon's post race interview with Tony Stewart's post race interview, and Tony made Danica! at her worst look reasoned and composed. I too shuddered at Dixon talking about "points racing" (like most fans I want every driver to give 100%), but he's been around long enough to know championships are won and lost on a day like yesterday: Taking an underperforming car and working on it steadily to get a finish he may not "deserve", and the points that go with it. You may not like the guy, but give him some begrudging credit. :^/

    Praise for yesterday's coverage:

    Props to ABC putting O-Ryan the Hunter, Quattro, and the Senior Andretti (Is John now Andretti V2.5? He's Mikey's generation but not his brother) on TV yesterday. And props to AJ with his top five finish. I especially enjoyed John Andretti going wheel to wheel with Well-done. Now if Marty would just get out of the car and let Jay Howard drive . . . . . .

    I still want Mutoh to put a loudspeaker on the car that plays Godzilla sound effects. I was cheering him on to "stomp" Well-done and get his first win. Congrats to surviving a deadly Code Black (Andretti 3.0 trying to pass for position) scare late in the race.

    A tip of the hat to Andretti 3.0 to a) not driving into his teammates, b) not driving into other team's cars and c) racing Mutoh clean at the end.

    The race reminded me a lot of Milwaukee: The front of the field stabilized, but lots of dicing behind P4 or P5. Also, lots of dicing after restarts.

    Thanks again to ABC for interviewing drivers other than Dixon and Wheldon after the race.

    Brickbats for yesterday's coverage:

    I know Iowa is a major corn producer and is proud of their part in making ethanol for the IRL, but could the "RHR shows us how ethanol is made" piece be played at SOME OTHER TIME than side by side during some actual RACING FOR POSITION?

    Hey, anybody want to tell me why Vitor had to get a new nose for his car? Anybody? Bueller? Anybody?

    Other than that, it was a good show, IMO

    And now, on to Richmond (and some Virgina ham).

  12. Anonymous // June 23, 2008 7:43 AM  

    Vision needs to practice pit stops; it might just put IV on the podium.

    just sayin....

  13. Jennifer Coomer // June 23, 2008 8:40 AM  

    was p2 excited about mutoh podium finish?

  14. Iannucci // June 23, 2008 9:21 AM  

    P2, a.k.a. Mutoh's most unlikely fan, was pleased, but I think he's holding out for the win before he really cuts loose. P1 is still holding Danicker's win over his head, you know.

  15. Anonymous // June 23, 2008 11:33 AM  

    A brief retraction--of sorts--I will not boycott, but I'd like it noted that EVERY blog seems to be written by someone with a shirtless calendar of Dixon next to their computer, and it's getting VERY old. Furthermore, I'd like it if people who call other drivers out for dirty driving would in fact get called out the same.

    Mmack, my point of view on him not deserving that finish has more to do with the fact that AJ should have finished ahead of him had ne NOT been held up by Dixon the same way Dixon complained about Danica driving--which incidentily he did ALL DAY. I don't know if anyone noticed but every time the leaders opened up a gap it was because he was holding other people up. He didn't have a fast car, but made sure a lot of drivers who did didn't get by him.

    He's an arrogant passive aggressive asshole. I'll go back to Sonoma of last year--who goes to the winners circle bitching about drivers doing the same thing he did?

  16. Anonymous // June 23, 2008 7:14 PM  

    the american mutt-I see your point about Dixon. When I saw he had the pole on ESPN's ticker(before I new quals were rained out) I litterly shouted-AGAIN-it's getting old for me at this point in the season. I'm glad he struggled on Sunday-he needs to be reminded he's human. To bitch about it afterwards was sorry at best. As the song says-You have a bad day...

    mmack- as an old fan of John Andretti (he grew up in Brownsburg-my hometown)I was waiting for My Name is IRL to ask for suggestions. I second that John deserves a sidepod nickname and a photo ala Jeff and I vote for Andretti 2.5 as well !