IndyCar Group Bag Breathing — The IndyCar faithful are in a froth today over the street race in Brazil over the weekend. Lots of superlative flying around and much join in open-wheelland. James Hinchcliffe won by overtaking the leader, Takuma Sato, on the last corner of the last lap.
Seven yellows in this race, some due to brain locks by various drivers, but the last 15 laps featuring a knife fight between Sato and Joseph Newgarden and then Hinch were pretty epic, in fact they were about as good as it gets on a road and street course. Check the race notes and video highlights here.
I think it was a block and if it’s a block that should be called on lap 4 then it’s a bock that should be called on the last lap too. I’ve never been a fan of the “let ‘em play” school of thought that says call it one way early in the game and another way late. But, again, I’m just one guy and there are many opinions out there.
I don’t mind the debate at all. In fact, it only serves to draw more attention to the series. But I don’t get the “QUIT YOU WHINING YOU NEVER-SATISFIED BASTARDS” reaction that inevitably comes out if people have differing opinions on this kind of thing. It’s like this kind of debate offends people, or somehow damages the sport, or costs someone money or something. I don’t get it, frankly. I think it was a block, you don’t … so what’s the problem? Ultimately race steward Beaux Barfield makes the call/non-call, because he’s the referee here, and that’s that. Virtually every other sport there are ongoing debates over ref calls every week and nobody seems to come along and say “YOU’RE RUINING THE NFL WITH THIS WHINING!!”
Dude, ease up. One percent of the fans who watched the race are debating the call. The other 99% moved on about 10 minutes after the race broadcast was over. Debate, controversy, animosity, drivers tweeting shit at other drivers ... all buzz is good buzz for IndyCar. If anything we need MORE of that, not less.
The resulting race had a lot of people saying it was super-terrific, but not just the people who always say that. The AP's Jenna Fryer was fired up about it and tweeting out video highights during the NASCAR rain delay. Jalopnik pretty much peed themselves saying YOU MUST WATCH THIS.
The TV ratings for Brazil will likely be low. In 2012 the rating was 0.33 with 348,000 viewers. Being tucked away on NBC Sports Network is a hard hurdle to overcome, but that's the reality for the next five or six years due to the current contract. Best thing IndyCar can do is continue to stack up good races like Brazil and do what they can to get the buzz out.Talladega Randomness — Not much to say about Talladega except that the randomness of the race is both its strength and weakness. If you’re a fan of the underdog, as I am, you’re happy David Ragan survived the Big Ones and won in a green-white-checker finish as daylight was running out. Story from USA Today here.
That’s the good news about Talladega: the randomness of a wreck taking people out or not taking people out means anyone can win. The winner is usually in doubt until the last turn of the last lap. The weakness of Talladega is also that randomness of a wreck taking people out or not taking people out means anyone can win.
So if you’re real into seeing drivers work their way into position and making that final charge as part of a strategy, Talladega is probably a little hollow for you. From what I can tell the strategy is to be in the lead three-wide, five-deep section of cars, in the best lane, with about 10 to go and then hope the crash that’s coming doesn’t take you out.
That doesn’t mean I think Talladega sucks or shouldn’t be on the schedule or anything like that. Plate races are part of the diversity of NASCAR, and a dose of randomness at Daytona and Talladega isn’t such a bad thing. If EVERY race was a plate race, that would be an issue with me, but since they are the minority of races, it’s just part of the diversity of NASCAR ovals. If you don’t like plate races, find something else to occupy yourself when they run, or tune in for the last 10 laps. Simple.
And, a win is a win is a win in racing. Whether you win by lapping everyone or the top five crash out on the last lap and P6 finishes P1, that’s racing. You run the race within its parameters and how it comes out is how it comes out. The winner of a plate race gets just as much respect from me as the winner of a short track or road course or whatever. Win is a win, the end.
Compounding the craziness at Talladega was a big rain delay. Rain delays suck for everyone involved. It’s a tough call whether or not you restart the race, but NASCAR did the right thing by restarting it since they were able to get the track dry and had some daylight and the radar looked pretty clear. I’d estimate most everybody besides David Ragan was happy to get the hell out of Talladega.
That’s it. Better earn some cash now. Next weekend F1 returns and NASCAR is in Darlington, S.C. for a night race. IndyCar practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway starts this weekend as well. Festival of viewing options, which is how we like it in MERCIA! pdog … out.