Edmonton - the Good, the Bad, the Ugly (eh)

Posted by Dale Nixon | 7/27/2009 | , , , | 13 comments »
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Okay with all apologies to Meesh (the Patriot Act prevented our MNIIRL work visas from being processed in time for the LiveBlog), here is Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo on the Rexall Edmonton Indy.

The Good:

- Will Power drove his snappy looking yellow car to a dominant victory, fending off all challenges from his own teammates and the CGR duo, along with staying well clear of the Conweasel, Mario Moraes and Rafa "the Pinball" Matos. If I was Ryan Briscoe, I'd be looking over my shoulder, mate.
- The title chase is thrown into disarray with Dario's lead deeded over to Mr. Consistency, Dixon.
- Back to 23 cars on the grid.
- Attendance looked solid once again; Edmonton might very well be the biggest stop on the schedule this side of 16th and Georgetown.
- According to the Edmonton Journal the future of the race is "promising" as the upcoming airport closure may result in a permanent racing facility on the site. The IRL's Terry Angstadt proved that he does in fact speak in marketing doublespeak 24/7 with his quote:

"What I think is still a bit of an unknown is the destiny of this specific venue," he said. "They(Northlands) seem reasonably optimistic with the information they've been given so far that we'll be able to find more of a permanent venue here. It would need to be tweaked a bit, but not only remain here, but put in certain aspects of permanently that would allow us to put a stake in the ground and be here for a long time."
In other words, a permanent IndyCar facility is a better investment for Edmonton than Dustin Penner.
- Paul Tracy (sixth, highest finishing non-Penske/CGR car) love or hate him, I'm now convinced he needs to be in a car, if only for his superior blogging and name-calling. Tracy gives the series attitude and swagger, along with a Canadian driver of note, and the occasional villain.
- For once, the IRL had the proper time zone to start completely after a N***** race ended (I'm sure it wasn't planned).
- Versus coverage was excellent, with Bob Jenkins a welcome relief after too many weeks of tedium with Marty Reid (who has hopped over to N****** Busch series).
- Rookie Richard Antinucci qualified 18th in what should probably be an engineless showcar.
The Bad:
- When the best battle in the closing laps of a race is Justin Wilson and Robert Doornbos fighting for eighth...
- Rafa Matos - There is no way a car 11 laps down should be dicing for position with lead lap cars. Barnhart should have parked him.
- Mario Moraes and Mike Conway - Unless you have Dallara stock or are cashing checks from their daddies, there's no reason to see them on the track again.
- The shotgun marraige of Ryan Hunter-Reay and AJ Foyt Racing continues to flounder. Hunter-Reay has a rep as a fast driver in a perfect car, but is not as impressive in a work in progress.
- Dreyer & Reinbold Racing overall - Tomas Scheckter put the car on a hook, Conway was umpteen laps down after more first-lap contact.
- Finishing a race under yellow is as exciting as leaving a hockey overtime tie. The IRL needs to adopt a shootout format, now that broadcast time is no longer a constraint.
- Did anyone see Dan Wheldon this weekend except Danica?

The Ugly:
- A complete lack of competition for cars that aren't rolled off the Penske or Ganassi trucks. Even slipping Dario in a blue Vaseline Car couldn't break up the 1-5 train.
- This season has gone from bad to impossibly worse for Tony Kanaan, who was passed AJIV's role as the human torch of the IRL. All joking aside, TK's quick thinking saved a major incident on pit road. One wonders if the rumored reassignment of longtime Kanaan car chief before the race Jeff Simon had anything to do with the grizzly splash and light.
- AGR overall - The inmates are clearly running the asylum. Hope Barry Green doesn't have VS on his boat, because the team is a shell of it's former glory. Not exactly presenting a compelling case for Danica (11th) to return, either.


  1. pressdog // July 27, 2009 7:42 AM  

    Well done, although your "good" list was longer than mine: "At least it was only a couple of hours wasted, not three." Fugly race, IMO, barely beating out many other things competing for my time.

  2. CurlingRacer // July 27, 2009 10:17 AM  

    Love the Dustin Penner comment. Could be better than Dany Heatley too...

  3. Unknown // July 27, 2009 1:34 PM  

    Versus was well overrated in this race.

    They completely missed some major passes up front and some dicey events with pitted cars merging back in.

    The commentators ran out of interesting banter to the point that they actually remarked that they had little to discuss.

    They even thought they would have a one lap shootout when the race went yellow with 1.2 laps left!

    Yes, it was better than Marty Reid. No, it wasn't compelling in any way that would attract or retain casual fans.... as you can tell by the ads that were ran during the show.

  4. H. B. Donnelly // July 27, 2009 3:23 PM  

    i'll be nice to the versus guys on this one....they were put into a lose-lose situation where nothing of any consequence was happening. In their pre-season meetings, they were probably thinking they would be occupied for hours with the on-track awesomeness that has never transpired this season -- I'm guessing they simply ran out of material.

    Props to Kevin Lee, even if he didn't have the *ahem* Jack Arute voice

  5. Anonymous // July 27, 2009 9:52 PM  

    What a bore. I watched a ton of racing this weekend. F1, GP2, Cup racing, Busch Racing, a bit of the truck and the Indycar race and the Indy race put me to sleep. They really need to do something to make this more interesting. GIMMICKS!!!

    -Push to pass
    -No Fuel knob
    -Lucky Dog's on the Ovals
    -Avoid Yellow flags as much as possible on a road course (they did this in Edmonton
    -Double File restarts
    -Standing starts on road courses.

    One engine/chasis or not, this would at least make things more fun to watch and most can be changed tomorrow. Naps are are the middle of a NASCAR race, not an Indycar race.

    Steve K

  6. Anonymous // July 27, 2009 9:56 PM  

    And the green white checkered finish like Scott said.

    Steve K

  7. Anonymous // July 27, 2009 10:22 PM  

    A non-descript, no personality, part-time driving Australian winning a "race" on a airport runway, in the AOW hotbed of Edmonton, Alberta, on a TV network nobody gets, on a late Sunday afternoon, with very little (if any) actual racing going on (unless people enjoy one lane processions and pit stop practice at 110 MPH).

    That's Indy Car Racing in 2009, everybody!!!

    And you wonder why its circling the drain and gasping its last breath in this country? Yes, its really hard to figure.

  8. The SpeedGeek // July 28, 2009 11:05 AM  

    Good god, they're not all going to be classics, people. Yes, we've had more crappy races than good ones this season, but the last couple of road course races were good. If all of the rest of 'em from here on out are snoozers, then let's worry, shall we?

  9. Anonymous // July 28, 2009 7:39 PM  

    We now have push to pass! See Indycar.com for the story. Thank you racing gods.

    Steve K

  10. Mike R // July 28, 2009 10:18 PM  

    Agree completely with the Speedgeek. I said in a comment somewhere in the Big 3 circle (MNII, Pressdog, or Meesh), it's not Hollywood, this isn't Days of Thunder. We all want excitment...sometimes you have to find it in the details, i.e. the moments with Helio and Dixon as they came up on Ed...or Will and Helio as they finally showed Marco they'd had enough. A good old-fashioned buttwhippin' of the type that Will put on the field isn't a bad thing, imo.

  11. stand b // July 29, 2009 4:14 PM  

    note: i am not an irl shill will try to refrain from making the same point over and over again but race control is really cool. while there was not a lot of on track passing going on in edmonton
    i had will powers in car called up on indycar.com's race control and had a blast. seeing the steering/throttle inputs on these road courses, from an incar for extended periods, is awesome. who cares what the commentators are saying when you have that incredible ride along and can hear the team radio as well. race control on indycar.com is really really really really really really cool.
    really cool.
    i am not a shill

  12. Gaetano Marano // July 29, 2009 8:32 PM  


    my idea of a better and safer roll-bar may help save the driver's life to avoid accidents like those that have killed Henry Surtees, and injured Felipe Massa



  13. Anonymous // July 29, 2009 8:50 PM  

    Pretty simple if you look at an NHRA Top Fuel car's protection of a driver's head. Carbon Fiber tub aspects notwithstanding, it would be fairly simple to provide complete coverage of the head, though I don't know if that would have stopped the spring from getting to Massa's helmet.