"View From the Flagstand: Indy"
Posted by Gene Haddock on July 27, 2010
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This week's View, from Indy, was partially hindered by the sun reflecting off 100,000 empty seats. Dust and grass blowing across the track didn't help the view much either. When is the last time we saw ten cars have to pit under green due to the grass not being cut low enough?
Indy brings the history, the pageantry, the larger than life exploits of the open wheel daredevils. It just doesn't bring a lot of passing or side-by-side racing in a stock car. Not that Indy is the only track like this.
In the Indy league now they have a boost 'passing' button which drivers can use around 12 times per race. This option allows the engine to get a huge surge of horsepower, momentarily allowing the car to pass, or hold off, another car. There is the way to make the Brickyard 400 exciting... allow the pass button on the Cup cars 12 times during the race.
Jamie McMurray was strong all day, and backed up this year's Daytona 500 win with a big win here. His EGR teammate, Juan Montoya, was the pre-race favorite, but J Mac was the one who allowed owner Chip Ganassi to lay claim to the big three, with McMurrays two, and Dario's Indy 500 victory for Ganassi also.
Second place finisher, Kevin Harvick increased his points lead with a strong, steady run. His RCR teammates Clint Bowyer (4) and Jeff Burton (6) were top-10 runners all day. Greg Biffle (3), Carl Edwards (7), and Matt Kenseth (12) all solidified their Chase hopes. Bill Elliott stayed on the lead lap and came home in 18th place.
On Saturday Kyle Busch told his crew to loosen up his racer. Then he went on to the Nationwide race (which he won) instead of practicing the Cup car. So, on the first lap of the 400 he dicovers that it is now too loose. The resulting melee ruined the hopes of several teams... before even completing one lap!
The groundskeepers at the Speedway. The ankle deep, bright green grass did look good on TV, but, between Busch's slide through the infield, and others dipping their left side tires in it, the grass created problems when the loose blades clogged up radiators and duct work.It did seem as though NASCAR told the teams to stay off the grass eventually, as later in the race, no one was hitting it.
Not one, but two major auto racing series on Sunday grabbed headlines when the wrong driver won their events, and NASCAR wasn't one of them. In the German Grand Prix, Felipe Massa led 49 of 67 laps before his Ferrari team ordered him to let teammate, Fernando Alonso, pass by for the win... and the points. This happens somewhat regularly in F-1.
What happened later in the Edmonton Indy race does not. Leader, Helio Castroneves was black flagged for blocking his teammate, Will Power, on a late restart. I've seen this replay a dozen times and I don't see any blocking... even for those open wheel divas.
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