LiveBlog: Mid Ohio 2008

Posted by Iannucci | 7/20/2008 | 9 comments »
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Right now you're tuning in to watch an IndyCar race, hoping for a fun show of speed and racing. After an exciting opening act featuring wins by Danica Patrick and Graham Rahal, you've probably felt a bit down at the last few races because things like crashes, yellow flags, and crashes during yellow flags have meant the last few events have left you with a below-average in entertainment value.

Well, today might be the equivalent of "you ain't seen nothing yet".

While a parade was initially aniticpated at Mid Ohio today, we may in fact be wtinessing something different. The Indy Lights race this morning had a forceful but brief shower before the start, and the result was the most ridulous race your humble host has ever witnessed. There may not have been an entire lap completed without a local yellow due to spinning, as every driver had at least one incedent going off the track. Spin spin sugar.

And topping it off, the last lap was under a full course yellow and the winner inexplicably brain locked and drove into the pits before taking the checkered flag. But you can read about that elsewhere.

The point being, a similar burst of showers that let loose before the start of the IndyCar series event today could prove to be a great equalizer. With the possiblity of sliding all over the place existing at every turn, this may be another day that we see another first time winner.

So break out your rain slicks and water repellent, because it's time to start.

0: But first, we have to crown a champion for the British Open golf tournament. Savvy move by the IRL to boost ratings, because everyone knows a certain percentage of viewers doze off during these whisper-fests. Sleep well and leave those TVs on, golf fans.

0: Per suggestion, today's Drinking Term has been changed to "Local Yellow". Please drink responsibly.

0: And we're still waiting, as Padraig Harrington personally thanks everyone in England in his acceptance speech. Try to stay awake, friends.

0: Gonna be a quick start because Race Control is already showing drivers on warm up laps. We've got Dixon, Rahal, Helio and "Babe" today.

1: Well, we're green on Race Control but there's still commercials on ABC. Ugh!.

2: ABC has finally gone live as Justin Wilson has worked his way up to second. Helio is still leading but Will Power has already pitted to change tires.

3: Marco is up to 4th as Briscoe drops back into fifth. Still green though so everyone is behaving.

4: Lots of pitting for tire switching, but on the track Justin Wilson has taken the lead.

5: And Mario Moraes gives us our first spin for a local yellow. Yay for local yellows!

6: Justin Wilson just pitted for slicks and promptly goes off the track. No spinning though as he ponly looses position. The leaders are now Briscoe, Meira, Manning, Power, Helio.

7: Penske cars pit and now it's Meira, Manning and Power. You probably didn't pick that as your podium.

7: And Mario Dominguez is into the kitty litter. That's really a nasty term if you think about it.

8: Babe just dive bombed Bernoldi, and around they both go off the track. What in the world was Hunter-Reay thinking there? This one requires a full course yellow.

9: Excellent view of the truck hauling away Hunter's car on Race Control. Now we see the Delphi Safety team inspecting his car. And firing him up.

10: Footage of the Great Danica and Milka Debate! That's ratings gold, friends. It will be all over SportsCenter tonight. Danicker looks rather calm despite having the towel thrown in her face TWICE, and Milka doesn't want "the show". Oh, you're getting the show, Milka.

13: Bernoldi is "retired", possibly in more ways than one. Next out poll: P1 says Rahal, P2 takes Roth, Humble Host is going with Moraes. Feel free to play along with us.

14: Back to green and it's Meira, Manning, Power, Marco, Helio. Briscoe is all the way back in 16th.

20: No changes up front. Assuming parade formation behind Mr 0 for 87.

24: And if you picked Mario Dominguez in the "next out" pool then you were correct. Dominguez had a rear wing failure in a straight away and then was no longer on the straight away. Didn't touch anything other than dirt but he is stalled. Replay shows the wing was probably damaged when Dominguez took his first excursion off the track. The net result is another full course yellow.

26: Free slurpees in the pits so here come most drivers. Looks like Power edges Helio by inches off the line, followed by Dixon, Meira, Manning. Meanwhile Quattro is stalled with a hose hanging from his car. DOH!

27: Some folks did not pit so the new leader is the Cajun Sheff. I guar-on-tee! Then Wheldon, Camara(!), Briscoe, Carpenter. It's like every few laps they're drawing numbers out of a hat to determine position.

30: Dominguez has already reached his pit to have his wing fixed, so why are we still under yellow?

31: Back to green as Wilson shows us how it's done. No foot dragging here as he launches immediately to a significant lead.

32: Marco is off the track in the carousel (love the turn names on road courses), but since he didn't stall it he pulls back behind everyone else and continues in 20 something-th but still on the lead lap.

35: While Wilson does his best SeaBass impersonation by pulling ahead by 5 seconds, let's take a moment to note that Danica is 18th and Milka is 23rd. Safely separated.

36: It's Wilson, Wheldon, Briscoe (8 seconds back), Moraes (12 seconds), Camara (18 seconds). WOW!

38: And Milka spins and stalls on the track, bringing out a full course yellow. So much for that huge lead by Wilson. Wheldon has to get a "safety splash" so he doesn't run out of Ethanol and consequently drops a few positions.

40: Wilson pits and falls all the way back to 16th. New leaders are Briscoe, Moraes, Power, Helio, Dixon. Over/under on turns it takes Power to pass (get it?) Moraes is TWO.

42: Again, Milka was refired long ago but we're still under yellow. Maybe it's time to yellow flag the folks in race control.

43: Back to green and BAM! A huge wreck involving Wilson, Wheldon, Marco and Foyt IV. Oh, the humanity! Replay shows Wilson clipped Dominguez trying to go around Mario. Lots of airtime for "Visit Mexico City" today.

45: Marco is done but the others are refired. Reports are that Dominguez was supposed to let Wilson by on the restart and Dominguez has apologized.

47: Back to green so suddenly? OK then. Briscoe leads Moraes, Power, Helio and Dixon. Mirror Man and Danger Mouse are right behind them.

50: Parade formation, but Graham Rahal has a really cool helmet featuring movie posters from Paul Newman's career. It will be auctioned off after the race since Graham's kinda using it right now.

52: Rahal spins and lightly touches the wall. Local yellow only. Puppuet show by Graham. P1 may or may not have won the "first out" contest here. Meanwhile my pick (Eminem) continues in 2nd.

53: Scott Goodyear, speaking of Ryan Briscoe, just uttered something about "... get himself serviced." Nothing about boyfriends though.

54: Briscoe pits to "get himself serviced". Ahem. Say it with me friends, "Mario Moraes is your race leader."

56: Jack Arute is on the cutawy car and Mario Moraes is into the pits. Your latest random leader is Ricky Bobby himself, Mr Will Power. Shake and bake!

57: It took a while but Marty Roth has finally spun. Local yellow.

58: Dixon gives Vitor a nudge and a wave for fourth place. It's an actual on-track pass, sorta, but expect the Panther post race release to say something about it.

59: Power pits so Briscoe leads again. Behind him is Junqueira, 5 seconds back.

61: And now Moraes has spun and stalled in the sand, bringing out a full course yellow. Replay shows he just lost it. With 23 laps remaining that probably guarantees a timed finish.

63: Briscoe, Junky, Helio, Dixon, Power.

64: Marty says that EJ Viso is out with a gearbox issue. Except for the fact that he's on the track right now. Oops. Quick, go to an entertaining package with Helio!

65: Back to green and Briscoe launches away from the field.

70: Briscoe up by 7 seconds. Not much else happening.

73: 12 laps to go, 9 minutes of air time left, and we still don't know if this is timed? Laps take 70 seconds so you do the math.

75: I guess ABC has been cleared to go long because they said we're going the distance. This means that Junky will be short on fuel and not finish in second. Pity.

77: Bruno pits and falls back to 11th. Bummer for him. At least his sponsor got lots of air today. Meanwhile Team Penske has reclaimed the two positions at the front where they started today.

80: If you were Penske, would you consider having Briscoe slow down to let Helio win this race so he could make up more ground in the points standings? Just asking. Because I'm bored.

84: Briscoe takes the white flag and is ahead by nine seconds. I'm so glad we went long to see this single-file excitement.

85: Ryan avoids a Jonny Reid mistake and claims his second win of th year. Helio, Dixon, and the KV duo of Power and Servia round out the Top 5. If you're still awake to see this then you've got some mighty fine coffee.

One positive of this race is we didn't have the carnage that has afflicted the last few races, but beyond that we didn't have much else for people who aren't Penske fans. Congrats to the Inferno who ran as strong as anyone. Thank you very much, and good night.


  1. Anonymous // July 20, 2008 10:50 AM  

    The lights race was the oddest race I've ever watched. Hats off to James Davidson for having the good sense to take the checkered flag... James was long overdue, and definitely deserved it. ... he's a smart kid.

  2. Kohl // July 20, 2008 10:52 AM  

    friggin' golf nascar's bad enough but this is bull c'mon

  3. Anonymous // July 20, 2008 10:58 AM  

    Remember when we used to be delayed by the LPGA, not the PGA. Movin' on up!

  4. Sam Prest // July 20, 2008 11:24 AM  

    I'm watching the live streaming video for the first time since I live in Holland. Watching the entire race in the "honda leader cam" helicopter view really sucks.

  5. Iannucci // July 20, 2008 1:14 PM  

    Holland? Wow! Must be a Luyendyk fan.

  6. Anonymous // July 20, 2008 2:57 PM  

    here's a second dutch indycars fan, but more of a Oriol fan ;) (and Charles Zwolsman if he'd still race)
    but no official livestream here, long live illegal espn livestreams! too bad i had to miss Scott Goodyear tonight :'(

  7. Fred Hurley // July 20, 2008 4:03 PM  

    It wasn't that bad. There was a two-lap battle between Justin Wilson and Danica in the closing stages. She held him off. The broadcast showed some fights further back in the field, for a change, but not enough. Getting better though.

  8. Anonymous // July 20, 2008 5:15 PM  

    Danica held off J Dub? That's news to me. The simply cut away before he flew by her. ;0)

  9. Anonymous // July 21, 2008 5:46 PM  

    Wilson passed Danica with just a couple laps remaining at the first turn at the end of the back straight (the same corner where RHR collided with Domingez(?) ). That was my chosen spot to watch the race, and I figured it would have the most action.

    Wilson got a run on her and pushed her to the outside of the corner to make the pass. Danica briefly locked the wheels up but held it so she didn't end up in the runoff.

    Watching Wilson and Danica each successive lap you could tell it was only a matter of time before he passed her. Danica couldn't catch anyone all day.