LiveBlog: Kansas 2010

Posted by Iannucci | 5/01/2010 | , , | 8 comments »
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Welcome to Kansas where your humble host is glad to not be. Not because I'd rather be at home than at a track - oh, heavens no - but because Kansas seems to be always be place where Mother Nature has her huge hissy fits or meteorological fury.

Last year there were tornadoes all around the track, and this week there's been lots of rain. Might even be a little on the chilly side according to the braintrust at TrackSide Online. Hopefully the track will stay dry for today's race, as the qualifications

(Meanwhile, here in Arizona it's Chamber of Commerce weather. Sunny, clear, high in the 70s. If anyone wants to have an IndyCar race here instead...I know, I'm beating dead horse here.)

But the weather right now looks clear in Kansas, and if qualifications are any indication we might have a fun race, since cars from Panther, Newman-Haas-no Lanigan, and FAZZT (yes, FAZZT) were all qualifying in the front rows. Wheldon however was penalized for going below the white line in quals so he gets to start in the back fully enraged.

But Briscoe is on the pole, Milka is starting in the back, and somewhere Nicole Manske is getting her "#parkmilka" ready for today today. And with that, it's time to start.

0: Marty Reid just said "It is the Month of May". Technically, yes, but "The Month of May" proper doesn't start until Donald Davidson's "Talk of Gasoline Alley" is back on the airwaves. I'm calling today April 31st.

0: Ryan Hunter-Reay is being interviewed. He has some issues about something (contract? car?) but I can't focus because the ubiquitous IZOD Girl is standing behind him smiling encouragingly at me. Yes, me. And I'm suddenly feeling very calm.

0: I miss Jack Arute on these ESPN/ABC broadcasts. Rick DeBruhl just doesn't have the same level of passion or the probability for unintentional comedy. Might was well have a robot out there.

0: Marty Reid just said he was going to introduce us to "Silvester de Simona". Oh, COLOSSAL FAIL!

0: Obligatory Danica interview. ESPN loves the Danicker. However, the interview serves as a transition to a package on...Simona. Har!

0: Vintage Indy 500 footage breaks out. Unsers, Andretti, Wheldon. This is even more re-assuring than the IZOD Girl.

0: Some anonymous woman (to me) commands "Drivers! Start Your Engines!" Nice job, except for the shoulder shrug afterwards.

0: Dan Wheldon is the "in-car commentator". Dan starts talking about the great car and...he stalls it. Note: "in-car commentator" is rarely a good idea.

0: First oval in an IndyCar for Sato, Simona, Baguette and Romancini, although Mario Romancini has race in the Indy Lights. Then again, he also put the car in the wall in practice.

0: John Andretti, sporting classic Petty colors, gets air. Meanwhile Briscoe and Dixon lead them to the line.

1: And we are GREEN! And cars are moving around going three-wide and life is worth living again.

2: Marco Andretti, who started in 26th, ais already up to 19th. Must be that Venom Energy Drink sponsor.

4: Conway and Mutoh are shown battling for 6th. On ESPN. There's nothing real in the world anymore.

5: It's Briscoe, Dixon, Dario, Helio, Vitor. Meira is already winless in 101 races

8: Hyphen-Reay started near the back but he's already up to 13th. Marco is up to 15th. It's a festival of overtaking!

12: Just noticed KVRT teammates Moraes and Viso are 8th and 9th respectively. Wonder if ESPN will mention them.

13: Dixon gets a little lose and loses 2nd to Dario. Franchitti has the Suave sponsorship this week to celebrate his glorious locks.

18: Danica is in 14th with Rafa Matos and John Andretti chasing her for position. How do I say that without making it sound like a double entendre?

21: Dixon gets back around Dario. Meanwhile that Top 5 of Briscoe, Dixon, Dario, Vitor, and Helio have about a two second lead on everyone else. Vitor, hanging with the big boys!

24: Ryan Hunter-Reay is up to 10th. Marco up to 11th. Kanaan in 7th. Andretti Autosport brigade is blaring trumpets and are on the charge.

28: Dixon is trying to go two-wide for the lead while trying to lap Romancini. Racing excitement engaged.

34: Back from commercial and Scott Dixon is now leading. Pass for the lead has to be shown on tape delay. Not quite as exciting.

40: Leaders are lapping plenty of drivers. Wilson, Milka, Simona, Lloyd and Romancini are all a lap down. Next up is Wheldon, who clearly doesn't have the same car he had yesterday.

42: And there goes Dixon by Wheldon.

43: Dixon is starting to make this less than interesting. He leads Briscoe and Dario by over 4 seconds. Helio 8 seconds back. Vitor 9 seconds back.

49: Pit stops for Briscoe, Kanaan, Helio, Dixon. Without incident.

50: Now Dario comes in. Must be saving a wee bit more fuel than the other leaders.

50: Will Power comes in and has an extended stay pit stop. Too far from the middle of the pit stall to get the fuel hose in completely. Crikey!

55: After all the stops it's Dixon, Dario, Briscoe, Helio, Vitor. Kanaan 6th. Hunter-Reay 7th.

58: Penalty of some sort for Viso on the pit stop. Now he's back to 18th. Dammit. So much for that interesting run.

65: Good news - Vitor is getting airtime in 5th. Bad news - he's 14 seconds back of the lead.

68: Mutoh and Sato battling for 11th. And here I am caught without any Godzilla references at the ready.

69: Danica, in 14th, about to be lapped by Dixon.

71: Down goes Danica. Next up is Marco.

72: Scott Dixon is the opposite of racing excitement. There, I said it.

73: YELLOW! Viso, clearly desperate for TV time, gets a little high and scrapes the wall. Manages to get the car into the pits though.

75: Pit stops for everyone. In and out and the leaders are now Dixon, Dario, Briscoe, Helio, Vitor. Hunter-Reay now up to 6th in a demonstrable plea for additional sponsorship to run the full season.

75: Chaos at the back of the field as Duno and Sato touch and drive each other into the grass. No wall contact though so they might be able to continue.

76: Ryan Briscoe is missing a wheel. That ain't gonna work. Has to come in get a fourth, dropping for 11th.

80: Interview with EJ. Poor guy.

82: Something must have happened to Vitor. Dixon, Dario, Helio, Kanaan and Hunter-Reay now lead the field.

84: Back to GREEN!

85: 16 cars on the lead lap. Danica is not one of them. But she's still getting airtime. Go figure.

89: Tagliani in 6th, Vitor right behind him. Hope springs eternal for the underdogs.

96: John Andretti is 9th. He's...not too bad at this IndyCar thing.

98: Hunter-Reay keeps looking to get a run on Kanaan but he can't. So we are lock-steppin' up at the front.

103: Danica, a lap down, throwing a big 'ol block party for Helio all around the track. Even Scott Goodyear calls that "bad etiquette".

108: Helio still struggling to get around Danica. Goodyear says "When he gets beside her he's got to hold her down..." Oh my!

109: Danica finally lets Helio by. And Kanaan as well for good measure. Must have heard from the Iron Hand of Justice.

113: Something must have happened to Hunter-Reay, as he's dropped back behind Tagliani and Mutoh. What it was, nobody knows.

114: And here's Danica making a pit stop. Really ESPN, this is embarrassing. Let go of the Danicker already.

119: YELLOW! Debris on the track. Looks like an endplate on the track so it's legit. Might have been thrown by Brian Barnhart himself, though. Just to keep things remotely interesting.

122: Pit stops for everyone. And on pit exit it's Dixon, Dario, Kanaan, Mutoh, Helio. Mutoh Mania rises to a near fever pitch.

127: So, exactly how long does it take to pick up an endplate on the track? It's been 8 laps, for crying out loud!

128: Finally, back to GREEN!

135: Lots of racing but not much passing, if that makes any sense. The Ganassi cars have already pulled away by almost a second from Kanaan. Try to act shocked.

143: And now it's two seconds between the Dixon-Dario combo and Kanaan. Meanwhile Briscoe is on the charge and working on Mutoh for 4th.

146: P1 just walked out of the room saying "Yeah for races that are boring". I would guess many of you watching this feel the same way.

151: Takuma Sato, reported "road course specialist", is up to 7th. Mutoh still in 4th. Japan is well represented this week.

155: Dixon-Dario ahead of Kanaan by 3.5 seconds. 45 laps to go and it's all over but the crying.

161: Final round of pit stops starting. Leaders not pitting yet. I know, that's not terribly helpful. Sorry.

165: Mutoh on the Push To Pass but he can't get around Kanaan. Insert Japanese swearing here.

170: Dixon now pulling ahead of Dario by two seconds, or so says Marty Reid. I can't verify it because Timing & Scoring is frozen at Lap 148 for me. Not very helpful.

175: Dixon ahead of Dario by almost 3 seconds now. Ahead of Kanaan by over 10 seconds. *sighs*

177: Kanaan and Mutoh both pit. Come out the same way they went in. Not even passing in the pits for those two.

178: Dixon pits and...YELLOW! Jay Howard has made contact with the wall. He seems OK, making hand gestures to the safety crew, but the car is missing the rear wing.

179: Replay shows Jay was behind teammate/boss Sarah Fisher and got a little too high. Or, based on the result, a lot too high.

180: Somehow in all this the leaders are now Dixon, Helio, Dario, Kanaan, Mutoh. Not sure how Helio snuck into second but there he is.

184: Finally, back to GREEN! And now YELLOW as Sato and Mutoh collide ending the proud run for Japan.

182: Ironically, if we finish under yellow it might actually be a closer margin of victory.

188: Still yellow. Big Jamie Little informs us that with 12 laps to go and Dixon has 18 Push To Pass tries left. Feel the anticipation of racing excitement leaving the building.

190: Only six cars on the lead lap. Dixon, Helio, Dario, Kanaan, Hunter-Reay, Briscoe. Pfffft.

193: And we're back to GREE...no, strike that. Waved it off.

194: And this time we're back to GREEN! Look at that Scott Dixon gooooooo!

196: Dario gets his Push To Pass on and gets around Helio for 2nd.

197: Here comes Kanaan up to Helio. Side-by-side (hooray!)

198: Kanaan got 'em.

199: White flag as Kanaan pulls up on Dario's attenuator.

200: And checkers for Dixon, as Franchitti holds off Kanaan for 2nd.

Congrats to Dixon, not for winning but for having a lovely wife who gleefully shares with us what Scott had for breakfast. Listening to her say "ba-nah-nah" is more exciting than watching him race. But that's just me.

Also, nice runs for Dario, Tony, Helio and the two Ryans. Hunter-Reay in 5th, now hanging in fourth place in the standings. I need to make like Scott Dixon and get moving in a hurry today, so with that I leave you all. Thank you very much, friends, and good night.

8 comments

  1. James // May 01, 2010 10:51 AM  

    The IZOD girl is creeeepy... I didn't know that hott women could be creepy, but she pulls it off!

  2. The American Mutt // May 01, 2010 11:45 AM  

    consider the mutt officially a greater fan of road course racing. Lets give the oval trophy to the engineer instead of the driver. I'm sorry but this sucks, lets leave kansas.

  3. The American Mutt // May 01, 2010 12:29 PM  

    it's about time for another "debris caution isn't it"

  4. The American Mutt // May 01, 2010 12:32 PM  

    well, i guess Howard putting it in the wall will be close enough.

  5. The American Mutt // May 01, 2010 12:44 PM  

    OK, here's a question, what engineer has been with what car the longest?

  6. 19Paige19 // May 01, 2010 1:19 PM  

    I was so bored with the race that towards the end, I was saying every time Matos was in the shot he was doing it on purpose to get TV time.

    Dixon's got a little cutie too. Still LOVE Mikaella Castroneves the most.

  7. Leigh O'Gorman // May 01, 2010 2:27 PM  

    Started really well, but trailed off after the first caution. Shame really.
    Great job by Dixon and his crew.

  8. meira_88 // May 03, 2010 7:35 AM  

    I was at the race and it wasn't all that bad. There was some three wide racing happening on the backstretch, but it usually occurred when two front runners were splitting a slower car. Still, it was pretty intense. Being there really gave me an appreciation of the runs by Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay and John Andretti. I'm a Meira fan myself, and it was sad seeing him run so good on the track, but lose so many positions in the pits. I'll be watching out for him at Indy. As for attendance, it didn't seem as bad as what many fans made it out to be. However, May is finally here and there are only 12 more days until I will be at Indianapolis!!