LiveBlog: Texas 2009

Posted by Iannucci | 6/06/2009 | 30 comments »
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Welcome to Texas, where everything is bigger. Allegedly. I can't confirm that, but I can attest that this race is one of the most anticipated races every year because it features three-wide racing unlike any other track. And that, my friends, gets us fire up!

Woo-hoo! Yeah! Something about it just makes me wanna inexplicably yell "Sne-va!"

Amid the excitement try to pay attention to Dario Franchitti tonight. He's driving the blue and black "Energizer Bunny" scheme that Scott Dixon has sported each of the last three seasons. '07 at Watkins Glen, '08 and '09 at Nashville - all three races Dixon won. Dario is a lock. You can't deny the power of the bunny.

No further facts are necessary. It's time to start.

0: Tony Kanaan is being interviewed by Jack Arute.

0: Congratulations to the Carpenters and the Lloyds on their new additions. Ed just deadpanned "We'd all go out on a date, go home and do our thing..."

0: Arute in the Sky Lair introducing footage of Shaq changing the tire on and IndyCar. He's veeeeeerrrrrry ssssllloooowwww. This is why the Suns didn't make the playoffs. Can Phoenix please have Shawn Marion back now?

0: Arute is now in the truck interviewing Helio. In the stands, in the Sky Lair, on the truck - ye gods, they've cloned the man!

0: Footage of Tomas Scheckter throwing his gloves at Marco. That NEVER gets old.

0: NostraBeekhuis is explaining the rear wing additions that help make the racing at Texas so awesome. And he did it in such a way that I actually understood it. Excuse me, I need to go retake my SATs right now.

0: Shaq says "Texas Motor Speedway, are you ready? I said, TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, ARE YOU READY? Ladies and gentlemen, START YOUR ENGINES!!!!!"

0: Jack Arute back in the pits.

1: And we are green. And the Big Two Penske and Ganassi cars jet beyond everyone else.

2: On board with Rafa Matos as he's passing people very few hundred yards.

2: Yellow! Milka and Graham Rahal sliding against the inside wall. Both cars are shedding parts. P1 and P2 have a little disappointment here as they had Moraes and Conway in "first out" here.

3: Looks like EJ got into this as well. Oh, no - not again. Replays show Graham Rahal's car went EVIL, snapped into EJ and collected Milka as well.

5: Replay also shows Ed Carpenter had a BIG moment as well. Great save by Ed in the retina-burning #20.

8: Jaques Lazier is in the pits. Fixing any number of things on that Team 3G car.

11: AAnd we're finally back to green.

12: Briscoe and Franchitti, side-by-side, nearly banging tires. SNE-VA!!!!

17: Marco and Kanaan are battling for 8th. Kanaan started 16th, and he's had just about enough of bad luck these last two races.

25: Briscoe, Franchitti, Helio, Dixon, Danica are your leaders. Marco is closing in on Mrs Hospenthal though.

35: Been lots of passing through the field, athough the front three of Briscoe, Franchiti and Dixon seem to be pulling away. Helio 4th, Wheldon 5th.

42: Jack Arute interviewing Milka Duno. I have no idea what Milka said. Could have been insulting Jack for calling her a "Chihuahua" last year for all I know.

46: Mike Conway is now in the pits, but for one of those extended stops where they take the cowling off the motor. Don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon, son. Beats being the wall, I guess.

50: I'll be honest with you: 50 laps in and all I can think is where did the three-wide racing at Texas go?

54: Racers are starting to pit. I'm guessing the Ganassi cars will pit last.

56: Briscoe, Dario and Dixon all pit. All leave in the same order.

57: Helio is the last to pit.

58: Check that: Ed Carpenter and Sarah Fisher will be the last to pit.

62: Saving fuel didn't seem to help Ed much. He's in 14th and about to be lapped by Briscoe.

70: Briscoe, Franchitti, Dixon, Helio...everyone else racing for 5th, which happens to be Marco.

80: Nothing is happening. This is Texas and the cars have separated and the four Ganassi and Penske cars are running away. Briscoe is in the front and Dixon, Helio and Dario are battling occasionally behind him. How shocking.

90: The Briscoe Inferno is leading by 6 seconds. Maybe my mind has gone fuzzy but I can't remember the last time someone led by 6 seconds at Texas.

100: Not content with destroying Texas, General Briscoe is now burning Atlanta. Also lapping Tony Kanaan in 9th.

110: Briscoe ahead by 9 seconds. Has lapped the field up to Marco in 5th. Four cars left on the lead lap as Briscoe is rolling the field like tanks through Sudetenland.

117: Helio and Dixon were briefly wheel-to-wheel battling for 2nd. Helio pulls ahead to make it Penske, Penske, Ganassi, Ganassi...it's like a cure for insomnia.

125: Briscoe still ahead by 8.7 seconds. Blowing the trumpet and knocking down the walls of Jericho.

128: Marco around Franchitti for 4th. Huzzah! Also, it seems Wheldon and Danica in 6th and 7th are still hanging on the lead lap. Everyone else has succumbed to Briscoe the Hun's invasion.

136: Marco gets past Helio for 3rd. Come on Marco - let's, break up this party.

141: Marco around Dixon for 2nd. Woo-hoo! SNE-VA!!! Only Briscoe ahead of him...by over 10 seconds. *slamming head on keyboard*

149: Here's Ryan Briscoe driving all by himself. It's like he's not even on the same track. I don't think Marco is even in the same time zone. 11.

151: Yellow! Total I've never been so happy to see a phantom debris yellow. I could hug Brian Barnhart right now.

153: Pitstops for everyone. No mix ups, but Briscoe tries to throw a block on Tony Kanaan who short-filled and beat everyone out to get his lap back. Leaders are still Briscoe, Andretti, Castroneves, Dixon, Franchitti.


157: Hideki Mutoh is in the pits. Looks like his day his done. Maybe he's got a hot date.

159: Back to green!

160: And Helio begins battling Marco for second....and he's around him, Penske back in 1st and 2nd.

162: And Dixon's around Marco. Dario on Andretti's rear wing now.

166: Helio has caught Briscoe, and now the Penske cars may soon batle to see who gets to kick the most butt. Or they may fall into formation.

168: Marco's hanging in 4th and Dan Wheldon is now challenging Dario for 5th. Come on Dan! I'm in full support of anyone ready to break up this Big Two stranglehold.

174: Yellow! Looks like AJ Foyt IV may be in the wall. Like the wreck on lap two, it's not a very camera-friendly incident.

176: Looks like Quattro is out an walking around. Everyone is going in for their final pit stops. On the exit it's...Helio, Briscoe, Dixon, Dario, Marco. Penske, Penske, Ganassi, Ganassi. Oh well, Wheldon right behind Marco.

178: VERSUS shows a package with Johnny Rutherford discussing the 1976 Indy 500. That was probably one of the more interesting moments tonight.

181: Dan Wheldon radio's in that he wants to do what Helio did at Kentucky last year. Presumably that means conserve fuel.

183: We go green and Marco, who's been running the high line most of the day, tries to go low on Dario. Can't get it done.

185: Well it only took 185 laps but we've finally got 8 cars running within a second of each other. Hope you're still awake. The guy in 8th: Tony Kanaan.

190: Marco is going backwards as Dan and Danica have both gotten around him.

191: Now Kanaan is around Marco. Now Danica is around Dan. Now Marco is back around Tony and Wheldon. SNEEEEEE-VAAAA!!!!! Helio, Briscoe, Dixon, Dario ahead of them.

195: Robbie Buhl just said "Danica needs to get up there and get on the gearbox of Dario Franchitti." Pretty sure that's on her to-do list, Robbie.

200: Penske, Penske, Ganassi, Ganassi, Danica. The first three are close but Dario and the rest are dropping back a bit.

207: Bob Jenkins informs us "By the way, AJ Foyt IV is OK. He thinks something broke on the car and by the looks of things he's right." *rimshot*

213: Battling for 5th, Danica just threw a HUGE block on Marco. To quote one of her commercials, "You think this is wring? This is just teamwork."

215: With TEN laps to go we're watching commercials.

216: We're back and we have no more crawl. Just footage of the two Penske cars pulling away, so maybe it doesn't matter.

224: White flag for Helio.

225: Helio wins, and you know a guy like Eddie Gossage won't stop him from climbing his fence.

Briscoe, who had such a strong car and lead 160 laps tonight, takes second. It's gonna be Prime Rib tonight for Team Penske. Dixon is third, Dario is...wait, Marco got around Dario for fourth! Golf lap in the My Name Is IRL World HQ as Andretti 3.0 breaks up the stranglehold. Danicker sixth for her fifth consecutive Top 10.

No offense to Helio but I'm a little bit stunned. There were moments of actual racing but something went horribly wrong tonight. Where did the three-wide racing go? I expect the pack to separate at Indy, but not here. Even Scott Dixon, who's wearing his sunglasses at night, is complaining that the racing was stunted. He thinks they need to "open up the rules".

I'd rant more, but apparently Marco is even more fired up that Danica was throwing an epic series of block parties. Says he told Danica "We're gonna have to talk...three out of four of us get the camaraderie so we need to have a sit down." I'm sure Michael will be thrilled to hear his son talking like this.

Danica response includes the line "I didn't make it hard when he got next to me." And that pretty much sums it up. Time to give Helio a ten-gallon hat and a couple of six-shooters so we can wrap this event up. Thank you very much folks, and good night.

30 comments

  1. Demond Sanders // June 06, 2009 6:41 PM  

    SWEET. I want Shaq at every race. His energy level just might be the antidote for Briscoe/Dixonitis.

  2. Tom G // June 06, 2009 7:16 PM  

    I don't think Jack had any idea what she was yipping either

  3. TomG // June 06, 2009 7:29 PM  

    Penkse, Gannassi, Gannassi, Penske... time to go into beer saving mode. I have adjusted my bottle to pour position 4. Use the tools, use the tools...

  4. Demond Sanders // June 06, 2009 7:36 PM  

    Briscoe will be the death of this series. Put him in the wall, TK.

  5. Tom G // June 06, 2009 7:45 PM  

    Penske, Penske, Gannassi, Gannassi, now, the excitement is killing me. Using the weight jacker to refill the chip bowl. Hang in there, an IZOD commercial must be just around the corner...

  6. Tom G // June 06, 2009 7:50 PM  

    Andretti up to 4th? Anyone in the booth paying attention? Hello?

  7. Tom G // June 06, 2009 7:52 PM  

    Andretti to 2nd!

    Get back to the coverage!

    Hide the women and children!

  8. Tom G // June 06, 2009 7:56 PM  

    Lap 148 and we are resigned to discussing the intricacies of fuel mileage. Pinch me.

  9. Demond Sanders // June 06, 2009 7:58 PM  

    Hey a fake yellow! How pissed is Roger Penske right now...

  10. Tom G // June 06, 2009 7:58 PM  

    Debris caution.

    Who will get the lucky dog? Where's the digger cam?

    Oh wait, nevermind

  11. klthrock // June 06, 2009 7:59 PM  

    YELLOW! Now everything that Briscoe worked for...is gone. :)

  12. redd carr // June 06, 2009 8:01 PM  

    Is that what they call a "competition yellow?"

  13. llilly // June 06, 2009 8:05 PM  

    The IVth is 13th -- will he finish higher than PT did at Milwaukee?

  14. llilly // June 06, 2009 8:22 PM  

    I guess not.

  15. klthrock // June 06, 2009 8:23 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  16. Tyler // June 06, 2009 8:53 PM  

    Dixon just said the IRL needs to open up the rule book and create a little separation in the cars...and he won the points title last year and is currently 2nd. I like that a lot; a guy who wants better racing even though he's the dominant driver in the series right now.

  17. redd // June 06, 2009 8:54 PM  

    interesting post race comments by dixon on the lack of overtaking because cars are too similar.

  18. meeshbeer // June 06, 2009 11:09 PM  

    NostraBeekhuis for the WIN! bwahaha!

    At one point I almost commented:

    And Briscoe pulls off the track, drives through Dallas, hits the McDonald's drive through on the way back, reenters the track and still has the lead by 10 seconds.

    That was so his win. :sigh:

  19. I.C.vet // June 07, 2009 5:17 AM  

    Danica is doing a great job at improving her public image, while Marco is getting worse.....if that's possible. What an insufferable whiner! Tip to Marco. You get to complain about others AFTER you accomplish SOMETHING yourself. Grow up and stop acting like the spoiled brat we all know you are.

  20. Tom G // June 07, 2009 6:58 AM  

    What happened? I must have nodded off there during the last ten laps. Must have been the sleeper hold the Captain had on me.

    Props to Dixon for calling it like he sees it. When Texas of all places is reduced to a parade there is something horribly wrong with the formula.

  21. Anonymous // June 07, 2009 9:08 AM  

    I hate to say it folks...but I have a feelin' that "other" series might well be putting on much less of a yawner today...Penske/Ganassi...more of the same same ol'/same ol boring crap. And it is so nice to see that Marco continues to carry on the family tradition of whining about everything that befells him...it must be in the genes!...And I thought that now that he was shaving and dating a playmate he might have actually grown up a little...nah!...I was being delusional after napping thru parts of the race.... "Why can't we all just get along?!"

  22. Demond Sanders // June 07, 2009 10:54 AM  

    Want to know something that's really played out? People bitching about Marco being a spoiled brat. His dad is Michael Andretti. Of course Marco's going to be a mouthy punk.

    At least he's not a robot like Briscoe. Get over it.

  23. TJ Pendergast // June 07, 2009 1:15 PM  

    Jeff-

    I've read the blog a long time but never commented until now.

    I posted this over at pressdog but I thought I would post here too. I was in the stands at Texas last night and I was listening to Marco's radio when the "debris" caution came out. I swear I heard him say, "so Briscoe is done right?" and his engineer said, "yes he touched the wall in turn 4." Someone near me also said they thought they saw Briscoe hit the wall (or maybe get really close to it) I switched over to Briscoe and they were not talking about it so I am not really sure what it was about.

    Just thought I would throw that out there. I have not had a chance to go back and watch my DVR of the race so maybe that will shed some light on it. Although after reading everyone's comments it doesn't seem like it will.

  24. indygrrl // June 07, 2009 3:30 PM  

    What is all this crap about Briscoe? He's a good and deserving driver. ROBOT--it's like they are ALL robots now driving the same car? Why pick on Briscoe--he is finally getting some credit, so you are only interested in the "colorful" drivers--those who whine and make scenes. Well Briscoe is too good a sport to get out there and bitch and whine. I hope his time has come.

  25. Demond Sanders // June 07, 2009 4:00 PM  

    Briscoe is a good dude, no doubt about it. So is Dixon. And they are great drivers. But when they win consistently, as they have been, it is bad for the sport. Part of this is their flatline personalities and the other part is because they drive for the Big Two teams.

    I'll debate anyone on this assertion any time any place. The league is so close to extinction that it needs Andretti, Danica, Rahal, and Helio winning consistently. We all know the racing element of the equation is far from perfect of late. IndyCar can't afford to match boring racing with boring winning drivers.

    I laugh when the crapwagoners talk about how the IRL racing is fixed. Because if it was... the young american drivers would actually be winning races...

  26. Anonymous // June 07, 2009 4:33 PM  

    2:32 to 2:36 after Buhl says "yellow" on lap 150 on the left as the cars go by there is a Delphi safety team truck that backs up next to the wall and someone comes out of the passenger side and picks something up off the track and gets back into the passenger side. Whatever it "was" it wasn't big enough to be seen from that camera shot.

  27. pressdog // June 08, 2009 5:46 AM  

    Sofa King lame. If you're OK with a fake yellow, you must be OK with refs making fake offsides calls in hockey to "even it up" and making phantom holding calls in football if one team is too far ahead. It's a violation of the laws of sport to use your officialdom to manipulate the race. I'm completely disgusted.

  28. mtm // June 08, 2009 11:43 AM  

    @ I.C.Vet: I totally agree with your comments about Marco.
    And I do agree with one thing Marco said. He's right, 3 out 4 team members get the cmaraderie thing. He's just not one of the 3. To quote from one of my favorite Eagle's songs "...the big bad world doesn't owe you a thing. Get Over It!"

  29. I.C. vet // June 08, 2009 2:33 PM  

    MTM....Thanks for the back up. I'd be OK with Marco being a brat if he was at least a competent brat. I agree with Sanders about the need for personality....though I think he's off on his assesment of Briscoe....but my issue isn't the whining, it's the old idea that you shouldn't let your mouth write a check that your ass can't cash.

  30. Leigh O'Gorman // June 08, 2009 7:54 PM  

    Only just saw this race tomight. Hmmmm... phantom yellow at lap 150 - over here (UK) we call that race fixing.
    I wonder do the IRL realise that competition cautions do more to turn people away from a sport than most things.

    Regardless of whether people like him or not, that was easily Briscoe's race. As much as I like Helio, he was not the deserving winner.