I am trying to gather my thoughts after witnessing an insanely awesome Indianapolis 500. My view of the race in the Southwest Vista of Turn 1 proved the be the #1 hot spot on the track. Needless to say, my ticket will be renewed for next year because it doesn’t get much better than what I saw.
Through the race I didn’t have cell service, so I if I had a thought I wrote a note or a tweet that I knew wouldn’t send. Rather than do this by a lap-by-lap type analysis, this is going to be a free-for-all, so bare with me. I also had a track scanner, so I will fill you in on some bits and pieces that I heard from the radio. Prepare yourself for curse words. You’ve been warned.
First off, I tweeted before the Month of May started that Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing was taking a huge risk by running 2 rookies in the Indy 500. Although both Newgarden and Clauson were both fast all month, Clauson crashed in practice. I wasn’t ready to say, “I told you so” just yet. However, after watching Clauson’s entries into Turn 1 and watching him as he was too high and finally the track bit him, I can now say it. Sarah Fisher…”I told you so.” I will give him props for keeping the car off the wall. His pirouette’s would’ve made a drag queen proud.
Clauson’s spin in front of me was followed by Conway pulling the same move. Conway, was too high, spun, then collected Will Power. The crash happened right in front of me (like they all did), and it was quite scary. It was great to see both drivers were ok. Conway does not have very good luck at all here at Indianapolis. If you recall, he had a horrible crash in the closing laps in 2010 sustaining injuries, and last year he did not qualify. (Note: Conway struck crew members on his pit stop which broke one of his endplates. This caused the handling issue resulting in the crash.)
Around lap 142 I started listening to Dario Franchitti’s frequency. Dario says, “These tires are fucking horrible…every fucking set.” He is another guy that doesn’t keep calm when things aren’t going their way. I’m shocked that he still performs as well as he does when he gets so frustrated so easily. I will say it, he whines a lot. But, we all know this.
On lap 150, I have the track scanner on “scan” mode. I stop at Marco Andretti’s frequency. Boy, he’s not very nice on his radio at all. He yells a LOT. He was very frantic, and when the team got somewhat off sequence he was bombarding the team with questions:
“WHAT POSITION ARE WE IN?!”
“ARE WE GOING GREEN…WHEN ARE WE GOING GREEN?!”
“WE ARE AT A BIG RISK WITH THIS!”
He didn’t seem to fully grasp the fact that the Honda’s were getting much better gas mileage and he needed to pit to get back on a similar pit sequence as the Honda engines. I commend the crew for keeping calm, but I can’t imagine I would be able to do the same. I hope that Marco calms down or reigns in all that emotion. It just comes across all wrong. He certainly gets the “Drama Queen” award for the race. Drama. Queen. Actually, he should be dubbed Princess Sparkle Drama Mamma.
Switching from Dario and Macro, I tune in to Takuma Sato’s radio. Bobby Rahal was very calm and collected with Sato. He kept telling him to work his tools and be patient. I was very impressed. It showed me that Takuma was very focused. It was a stark contrast to the frantic nature of Marco, and the cursing of Dario.
I would like to interject that it was hotter than a goat in a pepper patch outside. Luckily there was a little bit of a breeze, but not much. There are few times you will hear me say, “I don’t care what I look like”, but today I didn’t care. I was a hot, sweaty mess. 7 bottles of water later, I was still sweating like a whore in church. As I write this all I can think about is having a cool shower.
On lap 176, I notice Ed Carpenter is driving into Turn 1 very deep. He would gain ground in 1 and lose it through 2. He looked like a man on a mission. I was impressed with his drive at that point. But, ugh oh, on lap 180 Carpenter drove it in too deep and spun. The crowd around me was quite disappointed. You can’t dislike Carpenter whether you like him or not.
On lap 187, Marco Andretti smacks the wall. The “crown prince” choked. Marco says that Oriol Servia was running the high line around him which contributed to him running so low and losing control. But, Marco had a very low, aggressive line before dicing with Servia. Either way, he lost it. It’s been years guys, despite the fact he won a race last year, can we move on yet? The inconsistency is maddening. Question: Do you think he would still have a ride if his team owner wasn’t his dad?
Whoa, so Kanaan is in the lead. Cue the massive cheers from the crowd! His restart skills are impeccable. The man has balls of steel. He would have to to ride a bicycle as long as he did in the IronMan Kona. Is there an exercise video to get those and where can I buy it?
Fast forward, Dario is leading Takuma on the last lap heading into 1. Takuma takes a late run, Dario doesn’t give much room, and Takuma ends up in the wall. Once again, it’s a “Is it Dario’s fault?” type situation, but I think it was a little of both. Takuma’s move was bold, and a little ill timed. If he would’ve stayed close and pulled out on the back stretch, he probably could’ve completed the pass. Nevertheless, it is the Indy 500…checkers or wreckers. If I were Takuma I would’ve done the same thing. Major props to him for driving a fine race until that point. He has really come into his own this season and is impressing me. He will win a race soon.
To recap, the race was amazing. The whole experience was amazing. I got to chat a good bit with Pippa Mann. I got to meet a lot of great people from Twitter. I experienced some of the best people watching ever. I walked the grid before the start of the race. I saw a great race from a perfect seat (an Indianapolis 500 record 35 lead changes). Despite the fact it was hotter than hell, it was great fun. It really is something to experience. I got misty eyed during the Dan Wheldon memorial video, taps, Bryan Herta’s tribute lap, and when Martina McBride was singing the National Anthem. It was a great to be a part of something so special and amazing.
Ok, I’ve rambled enough. Wow.