LiveBlog: Edmonton 2008

Posted by Iannucci | 7/26/2008 | 40 comments »
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Welcome to Canada, eh?

Here at My Name Is IRL World Headquarters we will be eagerly awaiting the start of the Rexall Edmonton Indy since this is a street course featuring a dreaded First Turn of Infinite Doom. Heightening the tension is the fact that not only is the Chrome Horn (seriously, his web site even claims the name) back in action, but he's starting next to The Princess herself.

Remember, the sponsor's name sounds like "Wrecks All". Just saying.

0: Gene Simmons will give the command. Loudly. Meanwhile P2 just asked "Who's Gene Simmons?" Why, Jeff Simmons's dad, of course.

0: There's no Race Control feature this weekend. Bummer. I was looking forward to hearing Danica's first ever Paul Tracy commentary.

1: And we are green...and Graham Rahal is in the grass. Not good for the car carrying the same sponsorship as the race. Looks like the suspension is toast after getting together with some unknown red and white car.

2: Same top 5 as when we started. Briscoe, Helio, Servia, Dixon, Power. Highest AGR car is Marco in 12th.

4: Briscoe makes a mistake and gets passed by Helio, who hasn't won in like 16 months. Let's all beat that horse to death.

5: Paul Tracy is up to 11th after starting 16th. Somewhere at the track Meesh is smiling proudly.

7: Will Power had dropped back to 13th and now he's pitting. I apologize for jinxing him with the "favorite" tag.

8: And Power is back in the pits. Turns out he's got a bent wishbone on his Dallara. Eight laps in and this race for him has indeed been "the pits".

11: This race is 95 laps. How odd. I guess we lost 5 laps in the Canadian exchange.

13: Lots of coverage of Paul Tracy, now in 10th. Interview package. More coverage. He's the new Danica.

14: Speaking of Danica, she's up to 12th. I know this because I'm following with the IndyCar.com Timing & Scoring, not because ESPN has mentioned it. Yes, things are definitely done differently up North.

18: Townsend Bell hits a bump and slides but somehow keeps the car from stalling. Nice work there!

19: Full course yellow (ugh!) as Vitor has introduced the front of his car to a tire barrier. Speaking of the front of the car, those vertical flaps on the front wings do indeed look like cattle guards on a train. Those need to go along with the fuel setting knob. Please.

20: Helio, Briscoe, Servia, Dixon, Wilson. Of note, Tony Kanaan is up to 17th after starting at the back due to an engine replacement.

21: Free Canadian Bacon in the pits, so there go most of the competitors. Looks like Helio, Briscoe, Dixon, Servia and Wilson lead the way out. Camara seems to have lost a tire on exit. Tony Kanaan tried that move at Homestead, and he is Camara's mentor.

22: "Link" says Paul Tracy's car looks like his sponsor should be John Deere. Interesting observations.

23: Marco, Kanaan and Rice are leading since they didn't pit. We'll see how that strategy works out.

24: We're still yellow. Stop the insanity!

25: Finally back to green. Mercifully. Helio quickly goes around Buddy for third. Apparently Helio is the only driver capable of passing others while on camera.

28: Eminem has some bent suspension, or as Scott Goodyear says "That's what we call Canadian discombobulation". Check out Scotty getting witty!

29: Full course yellow again as Hideki Mutoh spins and seriously damages his car on impact with a tire barrier. Yes, his car is damaged (damaged) damaged (damaged) ... So how they gonna fix it, fix it, fix it?

30: Kanaan and Buddy pit but Marco does not. He's using the force.

34: We go green and Helio busts out his own Jedi in passing Marco to reclaim first place in the first turn.

38: And now Briscoe goes around Marco, who still has not made a pit stop. He may be trying to make this race on one pit stop, so we'll see what happens.

40: Nevermind. Marco finally pits, moving Dixon to third. Helio, Briscoe Inferno, Dixon, Servia, Wilson. Wheldon sneaks up to 6th.

41: P1 asks "Does Dixon have a blue car today? Why are they showing his '9' with blue?" Nothing gets past her. She's ready to call production for ESPN.

43: Bernoldi is in 7th, Paul Tracy has climbed to 8th. Meesh is probably getting silly.

44: Brienne Pedigo tells us Danica's pit crew is "yelling at her to let Tony Kanaan by." Danicker is having none of that. Feeling the AGR love.

49: Another full course yellow as Townsend Bell goes wide and finds himself a tire barrier. The Delphi Safety team is there to help, and might I point out those orange uniforms complement the William Rast car quite nicely.

51: Who's thirsty for Ethanol? The leaders all pit but several others stay out.

51: Mario Dominguez, you have a tire in Turn Two. Three-wheeled driving is not allowed, senor.

52: This just in: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is not interested in owning an IndyCar team.

55: We finally restart and Kanaan leads with AJ Foyt IV in second. Quattro in second on a street course. Believe it.

56: "We hear that Ryan Briscoe apparently spun and dropped back". Replay shows Wheldon dive-bombs Ed Carpenter, who nudged over into Briscoe. The Inferno is now in 17th but still running.

57: Meanwhile, Kanaan also spins and loses position so that means Quattro is leading. A street race. There's nothing real in the world anymore. Does it even matter who is behind him? It's Kanaan, Dixon, Rice, Helio trailing Foyt.

58: We go to commercial, but when we come back Foyt is now in third. Order is restored to the universe.

60: Full course yellow for Rahal, sponsored by "Wrecks All". Replay shows Viso brutally sideswiped him into a tire barrier. EJ continues to win friends and influence people.

62: Kanaan and Foyt pit, probably for the last time today. Now it's Iceman, Helio, Nariz, Well Done, and (drumroll) the Chrome Horn. Meesh is gasping for air.

64: Son of 'Stache is saying "Viso and Moraes don't even belong here. They're out of control." Vitor Meira would buy Rahal a beer, but he's not old enough to consume alcoholic beverages. Jenkins follows up the interview by telling us Viso will re-acquire the mumps be held in the pits for 15 seconds by the IHJ.

65: Back to green and Bernoldi spins. Excellent choice of drinking term if I do say so myself. Up at the front Tracy moves into 4th.

78: Not much happening...until Marco drives into the rear tire of Mrs Hospenthal, sending her spinning and damaging his front wing. What!?! So much for teamwork. Marco pits and Danica gets refired. Indeed.

80: Meanwhile, Helio continues to trail Dixon by less than a second. Can't pass him though, and whoever is in third (Wheldon?) is way way back.

81: Looks like Wheldon had to brake to not hit Marco, and Servia ran right into the back of him damaging his wing. What looked to be a good day for KV will be anything but.

82: We are timed, with 8 mintues to go, so why show racing when you can go to commercial. Ack! Is it me or does that guy stalking the woman in the Edmonton commercial look like that creepy Brad Dourif dude?

84: No offense to Dixon, but is there anyone NOT hoping Helio can pass him in the remaining 6 minutes?

85: Well if there is you'll be pleased to know Helio just had to brake hard after losing it going into Turn One. He's still racing in 2nd but he drops way back behind Dixon.

87: Dixon, Helio, Wilson, Servia (still out there with the damaged wing), Tracy. Probably not going to be much of a change there in the next 3 minutes.

89: Oh, Canada! With 15 seconds left Marty Roth spins out and stalls in his homeland. He was thisclose to finishing a road/street race.

91: Dixon takes the checkered flag, and everyone here at the World Headquarters comments using the word "boring" towards another win. No love for the Iceman here today. P1 even asks "Is Dixon cheating?" Hush, child.

Congratulations to Dixon for his 216th win of the year. Helio finishes second again. Wilson will join them for his first podium. And lo and behold Tracy gets around Servia late for fourth. Meesh is unconscious.

Servia finishes 5th and moves ahead of Marco for 8th in the points. Highest position of any non-"Big Three" driver. Also Darren Manning is 10th, so that's four straight Top 10s for Danger Mouse.

Danica finishes in 18th, one spot behind Marco. If she wants to have a talk with him after the race she doesn't have far to stomp.

Thanks again to Bob Jenkins for showing us how it's done. He even did the impossible today by getting Scott Goodyear to lighten up a bit. In fact, I didn't hear a single "enough downforce to fly upside down" or "one thing to catch but another to pass" or "just a passenger" today. Hooray!

That's it from here, so have a nice weekend. Thank you very much, and good night.

40 comments

  1. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // July 26, 2008 2:14 PM  

    this is the first time all season that I felt like i was watching champ car.

  2. J E Clerk // July 26, 2008 2:25 PM  

    yeah, what's up with no race control today?

  3. will-isitmayyet.com // July 26, 2008 2:26 PM  

    Apparently the normal director for television and 80% of their cameras are off with Marty Reid at IRP. This coverage is rather poor, even by ESPN standards.

  4. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // July 26, 2008 2:30 PM  

    dang it vitor!

  5. Carrie // July 26, 2008 2:36 PM  

    I'm liking this track!

  6. Greg and Sheryl // July 26, 2008 2:44 PM  

    Gozilla's been snakebitten all weekend long, so we should have anticipated his meeting with the tire barrier.

  7. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // July 26, 2008 2:48 PM  

    tell p2 i'm sorry about mutoh

  8. Greg and Sheryl // July 26, 2008 3:03 PM  

    Ever get the feeling that the drivers for AGR are NOT one big happy family right now?

  9. will-isitmayyet.com // July 26, 2008 3:14 PM  

    Ed and AJ IV stay out to slow the leaders down for PT?

  10. J E Clerk // July 26, 2008 3:16 PM  

    isitmayyet:

    not hardly. geeze.

  11. Demond Sanders // July 26, 2008 3:22 PM  

    PT is driving his ass off.

  12. will-isitmayyet.com // July 26, 2008 3:32 PM  

    Graham is so awesome. He's 19 and he talks about these youngins like my grandfather.

  13. Anonymous // July 26, 2008 3:49 PM  

    WOOOOOO! I knew Andretti 3.0 was good for something! He takes out the evil one, adda boy. Now we need to give Graham Rahal the good AGR car that Andretti 3.0 has, give the dinosaur underdeveloped Newman/Haas/Lanigan car that Son of 'Stache uses and we are in business.

  14. Demond Sanders // July 26, 2008 3:55 PM  

    Timed races are garbage. I am less likely to waste my time watching road courses if they keep pulling this crap.

  15. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // July 26, 2008 3:59 PM  

    well good on ya, paul tracy

  16. Carrie // July 26, 2008 4:01 PM  

    Funny how the AGR love-in just happened to end with the arrival of Mrs. Hospenthal.

    Just sayin'...

  17. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // July 26, 2008 4:05 PM  

    am i the only one who wonders if there is actually water in those diet pepsi cans dixon is always drinking out of on camera post-race? i just can't imagine that's the first thing he [a lean athlete] wants to drink after a race.

  18. Tabernerus // July 26, 2008 4:10 PM  

    I thought that was entertaining. :-)

    Umm, think the AGR meeting tonight will be tense?

    Yeah, times races are annoying. Had it gone the distance, the fuel strategies would have become a factor, with some drivers not making it the whole way. The only way to stop that is to become a big enough series to force the broadcaster to not require timed races when events run long. I think this will be brought up when discussing the next TV package.

    Man, this is gonna be a fun press week. Radio problems? Oh boy ...

  19. Jeff Iannucci // July 26, 2008 4:10 PM  

    I don't think they actually drink that stuff, Jennifer. I mean, they get hydrated during the race.

    The real question is what are they drinking in the car.

  20. faniqeric // July 26, 2008 4:11 PM  

    I still like Dixon, but damn that was a depressing outcome in relation to the rest of the season. Thanks to a pit stop, the lead is 65 points with four to go. It's still possible Helio can catch up, but the door is very close to slamming shut now.

  21. Anonymous // July 26, 2008 4:14 PM  

    Depends on the driver. I know some guys who have water, sports drink, anything. I've heard rumors that back in the day the Red Bull drivers actually had to drink Red Bull, but I think that was merely big-talk from a wannabe insider. To think that this road course race was this exciting with the horrible technical package currently in use in the Indycars I can't WAIT for when they have chassis and engines worth driving.

  22. Demond Sanders // July 26, 2008 4:18 PM  

    Actually I thought the racing was great, don't get me wrong. Very psyched about Tracy's performance. I'm just pissed that the sport gets treated by ESPN like an exhibition.

  23. Jenna // July 26, 2008 4:20 PM  

    Sorry, I thought the coverage of the race was pretty terrible. Not a fan of Jenkins. However, I'm so happy Justin Wilson FINALLY made it onto the podium.

  24. Anonymous // July 26, 2008 4:26 PM  

    What will it take for ESPN to put in commentators worth listening to? I immediately switched on the IMS Radio coverage when the race started knowing the most boring commentators on Earth would be at work.

  25. The American Mutt // July 26, 2008 4:51 PM  

    ESPN doesn't want a quality broadcast. It's a self fulfilling prophesy that gives them a better position when negotiating next years tv package. It's simply...they do a s hit job, ratings don't get better, they can say look we're paying you to much for this Tony. Lets talk revenue sharing.

    Barnhart is a fucking joke and needs to be replaced. Punish Viso (fairly), but not WHeldon for hitting Ed making a stupid pass. Some drivers are more equal than others. Also how about making Dixon actually have to turn out of his pit box. It's like giving him a second over every other driver on yellow flag pit stops, and is the main reason he's winning the champisonship.

  26. Demond Sanders // July 26, 2008 5:03 PM  

    "Also how about making Dixon actually have to turn out of his pit box. It's like giving him a second over every other driver on yellow flag pit stops, and is the main reason he's winning the champisonship."

    I've watched every race and that is the God's honest truth. His pit location is the biggest difference between him and Helio. Helio had to peel out and turn like a madman today. If they want to increase competition they'll reverse the pit box order to create some parity.

  27. Jeff Iannucci // July 26, 2008 5:21 PM  

    I agree on the pit boxes, Mutt. A little randomization in that area could only improve the level of competition.

    And yes, Helio did some serious half-donuts to get out of his pits this weekend. Impressive.

    By the way - maybe my expectations were low but I personally didn't think it was a boring race. It was boring at the end, but over the last few weeks we've seen worse.

    Thank goodness Kentucky is just around the bend.

  28. Anonymous // July 26, 2008 5:52 PM  

    Haha, the Dixon hate has grown even more funny. It used to be that he couldn't win a race unless they were going "all out" or "full throttle", but now it's his pit box that's magically making him better than everyone else. So the next time he has a pit box not in the front (which looks like it'll be 2009 at the earliest) what are we going to blame his success on then? Maybe his undeniable talent? That'd be a start. He's the most talented driver on the circuit, and it's really not close at this point. What other driver is a legitimate threat to win each week? Everyone tells me Helio, yet he continues to find reasons not to win. His teammate Ryan Briscoe, a much less experienced racer, already has two wins and Helio can't get one? I love Kanaan, but there's a reason Dixon is 116 points ahead of him...and it's not his pit box location. Goodness, people; get serious.

  29. Bob // July 26, 2008 7:48 PM  

    Timed races blow. I don't know about the rest of you, but I thought it might shape up to be an interesting finish given fuel strategy and all and then they call it a timed event and it kills all possibility of a good ending. I liked the course, I liked the speed, I hated the ending. Why not just finish the 4 more laps and skip the interviews. At just over 1 minute a lap, they coulda done it.

  30. Anonymous // July 26, 2008 8:27 PM  

    Omigod that was funny stuff. After picking myself off the floor at "Wrecks All" I cracked up out loud here #11, here #13, here #49, and here #64.

  31. yaumb // July 26, 2008 9:25 PM  

    Brilliant as always, Jeff. Remind me to invite you to a Coyotes game this season. Beer's on me.

  32. Robert // July 27, 2008 4:46 AM  

    Timed race- yawn...it's a good thing becuase I didn't want to miss SPortsCenters update on who A-Rod is doing this week....

    I've said it before and I'll say it again- Target was talking about leaving at the start of the year and now Dixon is handed another win. How can you call a timed race when you have 1/3 of the field on a different fuel run? ESPN was making such a big deal about 3.0 and TK off cycle- then they call IRL and say we are leaving at the top of the hour to update about Farve and A-Rod. Lifetime or The Woman Network could have put on a better broadcast of this snoozer. Makes Richmond look like a good race!

  33. meeshbeer // July 27, 2008 8:53 AM  

    Bwahaha! Oh crap! I wasn't expecting all of those shout outs! Too funny!

    I was indeed "smiling proudly", "getting silly", and "gasping for air" though I never lost consciousness.

    I am still decompressing. I can't wait to get home so I can watch it! LOL! (hard to get a sense of what's going on from pitlane)

  34. llilly // July 27, 2008 10:29 AM  

    Robert --

    Great observations and please include Briscoe in your list of people that were poised to move up had the race gone the distance. Everyone in front of him would probably have needed to pit before the end.

  35. The American Mutt // July 27, 2008 1:23 PM  

    Anon,

    That wasn't a win--it was a gimme. They went to a timed race, and saved the day for Dixon. Take away all the yellow flag pit stops, move Dixon to the back of the pit lane. You'll have a different outcome. His average on not full out races is now sixth. Homestead was a gimme, Texas was a gimme. Indy might as well have been a gimme, apparently they can't pass there anymore so whoevers in the lead will most likely hang onto it the whole race. YOu want to tell me he's good tell me how many times he passed somebody outside the pits yesterday.

    You can disagree with me, but if you want to argue at least use some measure of facts to dispute my point.

    Again, sorry about the language Jeff.

    BTW--if Viso deserved a black flag for trying to get around someone (dangerously I'll admit) who was sixteen laps down, and not yeilding the position, why wasn't Wheldon flagged for hitting Ed? The hypocrisy of the soft velvet glove of justice shows more and more every race.

    Another little interesting fact about Dixon--they slowed the pace car at Nashville so he wouldn't run out of fuel. Why not just watch Napcar if we want to see race control handing out wins?

  36. Robert // July 27, 2008 4:59 PM  

    Hey American Mutt - again I say Target was set to leave Chip high and dry, now the bulls-eye is gifted anything they want!
    The IRL is not stupid- Target has thousands of stores- that is millions of shelf spots with the Indy 500 winner(which I have not seen any myself) and IRL Champ logos and promos.
    Has anyone seen and Indy 500 winner promos in their Target?

  37. the american mutt // July 28, 2008 10:15 AM  

    I can go into a Target and buy all kinds of napcar merchandise, but have yet to find any featuring Dixon or Wheldon. Clearly I wouldn't want to buy either, but the option seems like a no brainer.

  38. Matt // July 28, 2008 10:45 AM  

    I swore I was watching a champ car race on Saturday on Spike TV. Bob Jenkins was just awful as was the coverage. I actually appreciate Marty Reid after Saturday's race. My question is when are they going to bring back Paul Page?

  39. Anonymous // July 28, 2008 2:16 PM  

    Mutt,

    You're asking me to use facts? You're the one calling all of these races "gimmes". Why aren't the races that anyone else wins "gimmes"? Dixon would've won at Watkins Glen had he not spun out, which was 100% driver error. Would that also have been a "gimme"? If you read Dixon's post-race interview from Edmonton, he said that he'd been conserving fuel the whole race and had plenty to finish the race. So I believe that's a fact. He would have won the series championship last year had he not run out of fuel with 1/4 of a lap to go. That's a fact. He won this year's Indy 500 starting from the pole, but apparently that's not allowed because it's so easy now, even though it's only been done 4 times in the IRL era. 3/4 Rick Mears 500 wins came from the pole, do those count? What about 2/3 for Lone Star J.R.? I'm just checking facts here to see what's a "gimme" and what isn't. Thanks for clearing it up.

  40. The American Mutt // July 28, 2008 2:28 PM  

    Anon,

    Ok, this I can argue. First of all--Rahals was a fuel win. Danicas a fuel win. Come to think of it--have any of this years wins not been fuel related? Wheldons. Ryan Hunter Reay, but that was mostly the result of Dixons brain fade. Yeah--you're right--apart from the general coolness of these people winning most of them were more luck than anything. I never said the 500 was easy. I never said winning it (under any circumstances) is easy. However, when you have the first pit box at every event you have a second on everyone else in the pits. It's how he passed Meira for the win at Indy. The man hasn't made a single on track pass for the lead all year except at Nashville (and that should have been Danicas lead, but they don't flag top three teams for blocking anymore). I think RHR or Marco would have gotten Dixon at Texas. I can't for the life of me figure out why Marco decided to run low for the first time that day.

    Incidentily, I don't mean to come across as offensive so if I do I apologize. It's hard to get across tone over the internet.