Now that I’m home from Nashville and Mid-Ohio, let’s reflect on the past two weekends of Indy Car racing.
Danica, look out: Indy Lights driver, Ana Beatriz, scored her first victory in Nashville. Her showing was not quite as strong at Mid-Ohio, but she drove a solid race on Sunday and posted a 5th place finish amidst all the carnage plaguing the field. This girl is good. If she makes it to Indy Cars, Danica will really have to work to maintain her spot as top female. And, in case you’re wondering, Ana (or Bea, as she’s known through the paddock) is running third in points in Indy Lights.
Weather: Both races these past two weekends have been affected by weather. But the rain is not the problem. It was the heat. Mid-Ohio’s date is fine because pleasant days are possible in Ohio in July.
Nashville, on the other hand, is ridiculous. While Nashville is basically DOA for the ’09 schedule, if by some miracle it does return, the date needs to be changed. Granted, it is a night race but most of the weekend’s activities take place in the afternoon and Nashville in July is way too hot. I was there from July 10th to the 17th and the coolest day was 88 degrees with 60% humidity. It is nothing short of remarkable that one of those Tennessee Indy Car fans did not collapse from heat stroke. Nashville is an interesting track with its concrete surface and Indy Car gets more attendance than Nashville’s Nationwide and truck race, but if it comes back; please, change the date to a cooler month.
On Danica and Milka: I’ve seen enough of it already. All sports programs, please stop looping the footage. It’s giving me a headache.
(Just wishful thinking. I know, I know… publicity for the series.)
On Rahal: I must admit, I was surprised Graham Rahal did not have a stronger showing at Mid-Ohio. The 2.4- mile course is Graham’s home track, and with the changing conditions at the beginning of the race, I figured he would burst through the field. Instead the Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver only managed a 16th place finish. Oh well, Edmonton’s next. And Graham has had some good luck on street circuits adjoining with airports.
History repeats itself: AFS-Andretti/Green Indy Lights driver, Raphael Matos, has won the first race of every Indy Lights double-header. This weekend was no different. Last year’s Atlantic champion led from the pole on Saturday, and never let it go. If Kanaan were to leave AGR next year, Matos will almost certainly replace him. Matos is second in Indy Lights points, only one point behind.
What the…?: In case you haven’t already heard, Sunday’s Indy Lights race was chaotic, to put it mildly. Most noteworthy is Johnny Reid and James Davison.
For a little background, Davison was running second at Nashville when Reid moved up on Davison on the backstraight. The two made contact, and the incident ended both of their races.
In race 2 at Mid-Ohio, Reid was leading when the yellow came out towards the end of the race. The race was going to end under caution, and it looked to be Reid’s win. However, water got into Reid’s radio before the race even started. He had no contact with his team. As they were coming to take the checkers with Reid in first and Davison in second, Reid pulled in to pitlane expecting the others to follow him. They did not.
Davison went on to take the win. Reid would wind up ninth.
Later on, Davison remarked how he wondered if this was Reid’s way of making Nashville up to him.
Red Domination: Once again this weekend, the podium was basked in red driving suits. Briscoe, Castroneves, and Dixon claimed the top three spots. Chances are it will continue again next weekend.
Will it ever change? Of course. But probably not until the new chassis arrives.
Up next is the Rexall Edmonton Indy. This will be the first and only race with Atlantics as a supporting event. Hopefully, in ’09 they will have a prominent presence at Indy Car races, but don’t hold your breath.