Saturday Afternoon in Long Beach

Posted by Iannucci | 4/18/2009 | 6 comments »
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"Welcome Back, Helio" Day is now officially in the can. Huzzah! It's a bit strange to see him at the track back in the #3, but it's even more strange to think that 48 hours ago most-many-all of us were strangely grasping the strangeness of not having him around.

Even more strange is how Helio stole the thunder from Will Power twice this weekend. As if bumping Will into the temporary third Penske entry wasn't enough, tonight instead focusing on Power scoring the pole position it seems fans are worried that Helio, despite being determined to NOT have a concussion, is complaining of a headache from his crash today that will need to be re-evaluated in the morning. (I understand the dramatic possibilities, but I'd bet my salary Helio is racing tomorrow. If I had a salary, that is.)

This is Will Power's team. Call them "Men In Black".

At Helio's big IndyCar press conference today, I didn't realize I was standing just a few feet from his family. I've heard a few people say this weekend that Helio's a big fake, but judging from his mom and dad I'd say if he's a complete fake then it's a family tradition. Fake or no fake, it's a boon for the league to have him back racing as opposed to doing time in prison. Period.

The HVM tent is directly opposite Team Penske in the paddock, and at one point EJ was sitting right in the front with no one noticing him while Helio had like 200 people gathering about 15 feet away. Note the bandages on EJ's arms, which he says were the result of skydiving. This guy needs his own reality show.

I managed to make it out to the pits for much of the day. These must be the most narrow pits ever. Look, it's basically the width of a sidewalk, and most troubling there's no rrom to run a Segway though. I mean, if I had a Segway, I would totally empathize with those who do and can't use them to go from the paddock to the pits.

Here is rare footage of an actual @VisionRacing tweet. Look closely and you might even see a scanner, a digital camera, a voice recorder, and a breathalizer also on Ms Caporali.

These folks were in the Vision Racing pits as well. The Beautiful People weren't on twitter though, so we have no idea what they were thinking. Then again, do we really need or care to know?

And here's why we all cheered when Dario came back. That glorious, humongous, the opposite of incognito, lampshade of a hat. It may one day belong in the Speedway Hall of Fame.

Maybe this cigar does as well.

Sunday is race day, and your humble host will be back for posting and tweeting for one last day courtesy of the great folks at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. And if I'm not kicked out of the frozen tundra of the media center, I may even try a LiveBlog for the race. Ah yes, there IS an IndyCar race somewhere in the schedule this weekend.


  1. Billy Coy // April 19, 2009 4:45 AM  

    Love the pictures.

    That's how Indy Car has always been the beautiful cars amd people
    Picture #6 is yummy

  2. pressdog // April 19, 2009 5:20 AM  

    Mark me down for "Helio fatigue." Power on the pole is fun-TASTIC!

  3. redd carr // April 19, 2009 5:55 AM  

    hot chicks laying around on firestones in the pits?

    seems like maybe the vibe is a little different at a street race in california than an oval in kentucky or kansas?

    good pix.

  4. Sarah Fan // April 19, 2009 6:02 AM  

    I'm with you, P-Dog.

  5. Mrs. IRL // April 19, 2009 7:50 AM  

    Can I get a hat like Ashley's?

  6. Ryan // April 19, 2009 8:32 AM  

    Eh, that pitbox is bigger than the one I had at the 24 Hours of Daytona.