LiveBlog: Surfer's Paradise 2008

Posted by Iannucci | 10/25/2008 | 23 comments »
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Welcome to Australia, mates, where the IndyCar series hosts it's first ever meaningless race. At least in terms of the championship standings. It's still a race, and someone will still win, and that's all that really matters.

I gotta be honest with you, friends; I have no idea what to expect. As further evidence that your humble host is a bona fide IRL snob this is in fact my first time watching a race at this venue in a long, long time. Judging from what I've seen in qualifications it looks a lot like a race through a giant tunnel, as the track seems extremely narrow for these Dallaras.

No worries, though, as yesterday I heard Scott Goodyear say "these drivers race completely hard all the way around the track." Ahem.

And on that note, please welcome back Mr Judd himself, Mr Dario Franchitti!

OK, let's get locked and loaded here. As our good buddy Bash told me, "Vegemite - check. Foster's - check. (okay, so it's crap and I don't drink it.) Roos and koalas - check. Miss Indy poster - uh, no. 10s of thousands of drunk Aussie race fans - check. Let's go racing, mates!"

And with that, it's time to start.

0: Our crew today is Bob Jenkins, Goodyear, and Jon Beekhuis. Like Jack Arute at Motegi, Jan is the only one actually at the race. Unlike Jack, Jon will likely not provide us any moments of unintentional humor. Pity.

0: Unless of course you count Jon's hair. Bringing Chia back.

1: And we're green. Much short-cutting of chicanes. Moraes gets spun but he's quickly on his way. Just did a little donut in preparation for his first victory some day.

2: Will Power is pulling ahead of the field like he's got some sort of proprietary turbo installed. Fellow Aussie Ryan Briscoe is now in second. Because I'm such a wet blanket I'll note no Australian has ever won this event.

3: Vitor Meira is being shown in last place. Even on a different continent with a new team, it's still Poor Vitor.

4: It's Power (by 4 seconds), Briscoe, Dixon, Hunter-Reay (Babe), Helio. Today's underdog will be Tags in sixth.

6: Much of the telecast right now has featured an on-board camera on Briscoe Inferno's Dallara. I'd like to take a moment to say that while I don't think these cars are hideous, these "cattle guard" front wings with the vertical plates have GOT to go.

7: Judging by the graphic of the layout, this circuit looks approximately like a femur.

8: Justin Wilson passes Andretti 3.0 for 13th, on camera. Marco had previously been invisible for the last three or four races.

8: Yellow for Mario Moraes who is stalled on the course. Looks like he hit the wall and bent the left rear suspension. Hos off-season

10: Still yellow, and a few of the non-leaders pit. Meanwhile here's some lovely footage of Moraes running over your living room.

10: Fanicas, your girl is in 20th. She started 23rd so she's making like the Jeffersons and movin' on up. I can't believe I haven't said that before.

11: Back to green and Ryan Briscoe falls asleep as Power hits the throttle way early.

11: Oopsie. On the restart Helio clipped Danica attempting a pass. We'll need some new tires for Helio, new nose for Danica. Or for her car, rather.

13: EJ Viso has gone from 10th to 7th today. If you asked me to pick just one driver to follow on a street course, he's the guy. And yes, I realize that sounds like something Larry King would say.

14: It's all Power, all the time. He still hasn't made a pit stop though.

16: Holy storming Americans! From starting in the last few rows we now have Rahal in 10th, Carpenter 12th, Rice in 13th, Quattro in 14th.

17: And Will Power just clips the wall, damages his front wings and possibly his suspension, and slows to a crawl. Crikey! No yellow flag though, as Briscoe gladly takes the lead.

18: Briscoe, Dixon, Babe, Tags, Mr Judd. Viso in 6th, waiting to pounce.

20: And the Inferno pits, surrendering the lead to the world's leading fuel conservationist, Mr Scott Dixon.

21: And the Iceman pits, but he comes out behind the pace car because we have a full-course caution for...what?

21: OK, it's for an incident in turn 8 involving Ed Carpenter, Graham Rahal, and Foyt IV. Other than wing damage to the Son of Stache it appears the cars are undamaged.

22: Danica appears to be stopped somewhere else as well. Hand puppet show! Looks like she didn't hit anything, just stalled it.

23: Finally, Danicker get her car fired up. The hand puppet show was epic, though. Truly, it was.

24: Dario pits. Briscoe, Dixon, Tags, Babe and Kanaan are your new leaders. 56 laps to the podium, Alex!

25: Townsend Bell is shown in 23rd. What happened? I have no idea.

27: No change up front. We're entering a parade portion of the program. If you personally need to make a pit stop, go right ahead.

28: All right, hurry back! Dario got wrong in a turn and has spun without contact to a stop near turn five. Sadly, there are no corresponding shots of Ashley and her lovely hat collection. Full course yellow.

32: And we're back to green. Hunter-Reay all up in Tagliani's business for third.

33: Here's our first mention of Helio's tax issues. The broadcast team can't pretend this doesn't exist, but personally my viewing is not enhanced. Suddenly "I drove it like I stole it!" has lost it's charm.

35: Tony Kanaan has slowed into his pit box and exited the vehicle. Jon tells us it's right rear suspension damage due to the "concrete confines". Channeling his inner Arute there.

36: Servia is fearlessly contesting Viso for 5th, occasionally going two-wide. I guess he didn't get the memo about EJ.

40: Briscoe pits. Dixon pits. Tagliani leads with Babe right behind him Viso, and Mutoh right behind them.

42: Tags and Babe both pit, but Ryan ran into Alex entering pit lane. Minor but noticeable damage to the Ethanol car but he beats Tagliani out. Viso leads.

43: Viso pits. Now it's Briscoe, Dixon, Hunter-Reay, Viso, Tagliani. Rahal now in 6th, Mutoh back to 10th.

44: The IHJ exercises his authori-tay and orders Viso to let Tagliani by. Viso was blocking.

46: We do not anticipate anymore pit stops so this is now Briscoe's race to loses. He leads Dixon by just over a second, Hunter-Reay by 7 seconds, Tagliani by 14 seconds.

49: Viso was ordered to surrender another position, this time to Servia because he cut a corner. He's now back to 6th. When I said there was one guy I'd watch I didn't realize it would be the same guy Mr Barnhart would be watching intently.

50: The Inferno now leads the Iceman by over two seconds. Fire and Ice, haha...OK, that was exceptionally lame. Sorry. If you're still awake on the East Coast you deserve better. You probably won't find it here, though.

51: Dan Wheldon is 60 seconds back, a non-factor in 12th. I'm noting this because I can't imagine going an entire IndyCar race without mentioning "Wheldon".

53: It's looking like the podium will be Briscoe, Dixon, Hunter-Reay.

54: The leaders go around Ed Carpenter, who's sporting a black and green livery this weekend. He wants to be like Viso.

55: Dixon has managed to close the gap, now just a few car lengths behind Briscoe. If you're still awake, you may get to see a race here.

56: And now..."The Ocho" cuts to commercial. You gotta be kidding me! We've got side-by-side, but come on people. Dear Versus, please don't do this next year.

57: Dixon has ceased gaining on Briscoe. Maybe he doesn't have enough car, or maybe he's going to let Briscoe win because he feels so bad about spinning and taking him out during The Brain Freeze at The Glen earlier this year.

58: Looks like both of the leaders hit some debris, but are both continuing on.

59: Ed Carpenter has spun out on the last lap. This wouldn't be the first time he's made that move to get some late air time.

60: It's Briscoe for the win, the first native to take the checkers at Surfer's Paradise. Pop open a Foster's, mate! Dixon, Hunter-Reay, Tagliani and Servia round out the Top 5.

Briscoe proceeds to do donuts in just about every turn on this track. He's feeling the Australian love. Good on him.

And just like that, that's the end. Of the race, of the show, of the season. Possibly even this event. Not much else to say except congrats to Ryan and Team Penske for the win, and to the entire IRL for a memorable season. It's late, so thank you all very much - good night!


  1. Anonymous // October 25, 2008 7:56 PM  

    Apparently it's just you and I

  2. Carrie // October 25, 2008 8:06 PM  

    I'm so mad! No video at all. My cable company doesn't offer The Ocho and, for some reason, doesn't team with ESPN360 either. *sigh*

  3. Anonymous // October 25, 2008 8:07 PM  

    IV from 24th to 14th ...

  4. Anonymous // October 25, 2008 8:07 PM  

    bash, apparently anthony heard about your Vegemite threat =)

  5. Carrie // October 25, 2008 8:08 PM  

    I really should go to bed since I can't watch the race. Atlanta kicked my butt today. Good finish to the CTS race, though.

  6. Anonymous // October 25, 2008 8:10 PM  

    Poor Will. :( He totally choked that one.

  7. Carrie // October 25, 2008 8:10 PM  

    Power into the wall!!!! No!

  8. Carrie // October 25, 2008 8:17 PM  

    Bash: I love you.

  9. Carrie // October 25, 2008 8:19 PM  

    Entire track blocked. Danica throwing a fit.

  10. Carrie // October 25, 2008 8:20 PM  

    Danica... *laughing my butt off*

  11. Carrie // October 25, 2008 8:23 PM  

    The radio guys were laughing at her. Ummm... Danica, they have to get to things in order of importance. Of course, Danica thinks they should re-start her stalled butt first.

  12. Carrie // October 25, 2008 8:24 PM  

    Thanks Bash! Yeah, not sure what the deal is with Comcast in my area not having a partnership with them.

    I was nearly ready to throw in the towel and go to bed when you rescued me.

  13. Anonymous // October 25, 2008 8:40 PM  

    Marty Reid gets a bad wrap...

    Jenkins is just as bad these days.

  14. Carrie // October 25, 2008 8:50 PM  

    Awww poor TK. Couldn't have happened to a better guy. *snickers*

  15. Anonymous // October 25, 2008 8:51 PM  

    Today's trivia question: How many drivers have won the Indy 500 and the Series Championship in the same season? I'll give you a hint. The answer is four.

    You're terrible, Jenkins.

  16. Carrie // October 25, 2008 8:59 PM  

    It's deja vu for Tags all over again.

    Captcha Word: EFINGP... because Tags is yelling about EFING RHR right now.

  17. Anonymous // October 25, 2008 9:40 PM  

    Aussie national pride is saved. Good for Ryan!

    Well, that's that. Now for another long, cold winter. Let's all keep in touch now, ya hear?

  18. Anonymous // October 25, 2008 10:08 PM  

    personally, I'd rather see Dixon win...and I can't stand him almost as much as I can't stand Briscoe. Sure hope next year gives us some new faces on the podium...I'm sick of the same o, same o!...what a bore!

  19. Anonymous // October 26, 2008 5:52 AM  

    Just woke up...what'd I miss?

    oh that's right, it was a "street festival", so I didn't miss any passing unless it was ordained by IHJ...

  20. pressdog // October 26, 2008 6:14 AM  

    What a snore. I nearly fell asleep four times. And love those 23,908 commercials rammed in there. ESPN goes out with a horrid performance. Good riddance.

  21. Carrie // October 26, 2008 8:25 AM  

    Good thing I had this place, the chat room at the video place and Primeval episode reviews to keep me awake last night. I may have missed my last chance this year to laugh at Panica. ;-)

  22. The SpeedGeek // October 26, 2008 10:02 AM  

    Not necessarily a classic, but quite a bit of action, as per usual at Surfer's. It was fun to watch Justin yo-yo up and down the standings, even if we basically never got to see him on track. I think he went from 18th up to 11th then down to 16th then back up to 12th all in the last 10-12 laps. Meanwhile, I think we basically just saw Briscoe and Dixon, which wasn't really interesting until 3 laps to go.

    A horrendous job by ESPN. Commercials with 4 laps to go, comatose commentating by Goodyear and Jenkins (who I usually like), and the final coup de gras: cutting the winner's interview short in order to cut to...the 2003 World Series of Poker. Very, very nice.

  23. Anonymous // October 26, 2008 2:11 PM  

    It'll be interesting to actually see it tonight and not just listen and imagine what was going on.

    Sad that ESPN did such a butcher job (if what y'all are saying is any indication) Surfers is usually one of the more exciting events to watch, and usually has great camera angles, including the amazing overhead camera in the zip line in the pits. (which apparently wasn't utilized this year... )

    Talk about going out with a whimper.