LiveBlog: Long Beach 2009

Posted by Iannucci | 4/19/2009 | 7 comments »
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Welcome to Long Beach (LITERALLY!) where...blah blah blah, I've already said enough this weekend.

Now, it's time to start.

0: Four T-38s conduct the flyover, and I love my country.

0: "Drivers...start...your...ENGINES!" And just like that we have no audio in the media center. Dead silence on the feed. Maybe I need to switch to MIKE KING and IMS Radio on the laptop.

0: Before we start, here's a brief note of congratulations to JR Hilldebrand, just to excite the reader who complained about how I am not tape-delayed.

0: God help them in Turn One.

1: And here we go with one of the most messed up formations ever. Clean through the first turns, although Dario dropped a bit.

2: Alex Tagliani, dirt-tracking through the hairpin. We've got Power, Matos, Wilson, Franchitti, Dixon so far.

3: And we're in parade mode. We'll see how long it takes for a pass.

4: OVERTAKING ALERT! Franchitti sets up Justin Wilson and passes him to take third.

5: Apparently Mario Moraes has moved up two spots to 11th but I didn't see it. If no one sees a pass, did it actually happen?

10: Well, Will Power is running well. Otherwise, I'm gonna snag some coffee. Hang on a sec.

12: OK, I'm back. Did I miss anything? No?

15: OVERTAKING ALERT! Franchitti around Matos and into second.

16: Mike Conway taps the wall and is stalled, but might not be damaged much. Second week in a row with an early incident for the quiet rookie.

17: After regaining second place Dario is in for his first pit stop. Reds off, blacks on.

17: Something is wrong with Will Power as he's slowed and drops position. BOOM! Dixon tries to avoid Power and punts Viso, bringing out a full course caution.

17: Rahal all up in Viso's business. Moraes nose-to-tail behind Kanaan. Neither able to pass yet. At least it's a relatively tight parade.

18: It appears Viso has "no power". Might also have a busted suspension. His day looks to be done. Guess I picked the wrong week to have EJ in my TSO Fantasy league.

20: Festival of pitting. Will Power leaves first, but not everyone made a stop. Leaders are now Kanaan, Briscoe, Hunter-Reay, Doornbos, Marco.

21: Back to green. Top three are really tight looking for opportunities to overtake. Nothing doing yet.

23: OVERTAKING ALERT! Robert Doornbos around the Izod poster boy for third.

24: What the? Mutoh, Moraes, Manning, Marco, Wilson, Wheldon have turned the hairpin into a parking lot. One little bump and it's time for 'accordion effect'. Ugh!

25: Good to see they have a shortcut before the hairpin to employ so they don't have to red-flag the race. Pits are closed though as we roll around under yellow.

26: Justin Wilson got refired but had to come in after his right-rear suspension collapsed rolling around the track. In the immortal words of Chef Gordon Ramsay, "SHUT IT DOWN!!!"

28: Back to green and your leader is...Marco Andretti! Dario, Danica, Ed Carpenter(!) and Power follow.

29: OVERTAKING ALERT! Mike Conway around Tagliani for...whoops, false alarm. Conway's a lap down so that wasn't for position.

30: Stuntman/Driver Stanton Barrett is dropping like a rock. The IHJ is likely searching for that black flag.

31: Here's a little sympathy for the little guy. One car teams HVM and Dale Coyne were set to finish well but both of their drivers are done as a result of someone else's mistake. Just shows it takes skill, but it also takes some luck.

34: Marco and Ed pit, Dario is your new leader. Danica still 2nd, Power, Matos and Helio now behind her.

37: Barrett is in the runoff area for a local yellow. He was in 15th before that.

40: No local yellow here as Ed Carpenter goes into a tire barrier. Minimal damage and he's re-fired and back out on the track. Nearly gave a hand puppet show before restarting.

41: Under yellow it's Dario, Danica, Power, Helio, Graham Rahal. First time in the Top 5 for the Son of 'Stache today.

42: And we're back to green. About halfway done with the race in under an hour.

44: About a second between Dario and Danica as well as Danica and Power.

45: Back in the field Conway is battling Ryan Hunter-Reay for no apparent reason. Mike, you're down a lap. Don't get carried away today.

47: It appears Dan Wheldon has made only one pit stop and has worked his way up to 8th. Meanwhile Matos has made 3 and is back to 14th.

50: Memo to Arute: That's not "push to pass". It's just full rich and drivers aren't limited to 30 seconds or whatever per race.

51: Everyone should spend "a day with Viso".

52: Holy Ironic Indy Flashback! Danica and Power pit and Danica nearly swerves out and takes out a Penske car on exit.

53: Dario, Helio, Graham, Dixon, Tagliani(!) now make up the Top 5.

53: OVERTAKING ALERT! Will Power around Danica on the track for 13th position.

54: Dario pits...and it's Mike Conway once again into the tires. This time much harder. He's out of the car and done.

56: Fire in the hole! One of Rahal's crewman waved him out while the fuel was still being added. Ethanol everywhere but luckily no fire.

57: And in a bizarre coincidence, Alex Tagliani had a similar problem with the fuel hose being attached. No spilled fuel in the Conquest pits though.

58: Your leaders are now Dario, Power, Kanaan, Patrick and Wheldon.

59: And were back to green.

60: OVERTAKING ALERT! Marco around Helio for 8th. Three of the four Andretti Green cars are now in the Top 10. Hey, what happened to Mutoh? He's 14 laps back.

61: Hunter-Reay nearly knocks Ed Carpenter into the wall. Must be some fun conversations on the Vision Racing scanner.

65: @RyanRacing says "Matos is blocking Ryan over & over again! Ridiculous! Penalty please"

66: Dario has built his lead over Power to four seconds. Checking out.

70: Still the same Top 5 of Dario, Power, Kanaan, Patrick, Wheldon. TSO Joe informs me that Wheldon's crew is telling Dan he doesn't have enough fuel to finish. Don't know about everyone else though.

73: Full course yellow as Moraes goes deep into the tires. Looks like Ed Carpenter is parked next to him. Possible driver error by Ed, or maybe he just felt compelled to help pull Mario's car out of the barrier.

76: It appears Briscoe and Dixon ran into each other under yellow. Scuff marks on the nose and a flat front right on the #6 and Dixon is stalled on the track.

77: Replay shows Briscoe just got into the back of Dixon's car on the front stretch. Kind like Watkins Glen last year, although this time it might have been Briscoe's fault. Just bizarre.

78: Back to green and Briscoe gets called in for a penalty. Marco up to 6th. Three AGR cars up front now.

79: Dario is set to launch as he quickly builds a lead of nearly 2 seconds after going back to green. Not a lot of doubt right now about the best car on the track.

80: Marco nearly side-swipes Wheldon trying to pass him for 5th, but sadly there is no OVERTAKE ALERT.

85: OVERTAKE ALERT! Robert Doornbos around Ryan Hunter-Reay at the last moment to move into 9th.

86: And Dario Franchitti takes the win! And Vitor Meira celebrates goes into the tires elsewhere on the track! Will Power and Tony Kanaan round out the podium, with Danica and Wheldon behind them.

And here is the return of the post-race episode of "Deep Thoughts with Ashley Judd". She's speaks with lots of interesting words, like "masterpiece". It's great to see her back, at least from a standpoint of blog material.

Tony Kanaan has officially lost his bet with his former teammate, and now we get to see him grow out his "afro". In the words of Dario Franchitti, "He's a handsome dude." Big group chuckle at that one in the otherwise library-esque media center.

Remember: No cheering in the media center, except at Tony Kanaan jokes.

And with that the LiveBlog ends. I may load some pictures and quotes for a post later tonight, or I may just get loaded. (Kidding!) My sincerest appreciation to everyone, especially the fine folks at Long Beach. Also to Misters Cavin, Oreovicz, Miller, Olson, and of course the EXTREMELY accommodating braintrust at TSO.

Time for some post-race press conferences. Thank you very much, and good night!


  1. mikebdot // April 19, 2009 1:49 PM  

    Jack Arute just said that Dixon and Dario have a push to pass button? WTF?

  2. H. B. Donnelly // April 19, 2009 3:09 PM  

    Arute also called Stirling Moss "The Late Stirling Moss". Yeah, Sir Stirling is still cranking along just fine

  3. llilly // April 19, 2009 3:23 PM  

    Nooooooooo! Not Ashley!!!

  4. Anonymous // April 19, 2009 5:30 PM  

    Stanton Barret has 2 more championship points than Scott Dixon, and is only 10 points behind in the Rookie of the Year Award.

    He has a brilliant strategy: don't crash. Keep your nose clean and make finishing the goal of the race.

    If he keeps doing this on the road/street courses and puts up semi-respectable numbers at ovals, we could be in for an upset...

  5. pressdog // April 19, 2009 6:59 PM  

    zzzzzzzzzzz I smell a .2 rating coming on.

  6. Anonymous // April 19, 2009 8:44 PM  

    Alirght well I just had to share this one...MSN is set as my homepage and the sports news comes from NASCAR central itself FoxSports...anyways there was a headline about the race today and it so appropriately says "'Mr. Ashley Judd ' takes IndyCar win"...yea...the hoopla is back

  7. Robert // April 20, 2009 6:12 AM  

    Crap, just woke up from yesterdays race nap- late for work can Team Target have push to pass?? I love how they said it and very very few have questioned it? what is it? How does it work? How can they be the only ones with it? They should give Dixon a push not to crash button.