We’ve now seen what a full IndyCar doubleheader weekend looks like. Below, the More Front Wing crew presents our thoughts on race 2 of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans.
So, all that stuff I said yesterday about Detroit not producing exciting racing? I take it back — based on the second half of the race, at least. Sadly, the first half was a complete and utter circus. I desperately hope enough people stuck it out to see the end because once everyone got their heads screwed back on this race became one of the best shows this track has ever seen.
My biggest beef with the whole deal was that Will Power got angry enough with Sebastien Bourdais to be restrained by track workers and throw his gloves at Bourdais’s passing car, yet once the cameras were on him the best Power could come up with to express himself was to call Bourdais a “chump.” Come on, guys — one of the main reasons we tune in at home is to experience the thrill and emotion of racing vicariously through you. If you want people to care about what you’re doing, you need to do a better job of appearing publicly as though you care a little yourselves.
All that aside, though, I feel like we endured one and a half sub-par races this weekend, and then for the second half of today we got our season back. First IndyCar win for Simon Pagenaud. First IndyCar win for Sam Schmidt. First IndyCar win for Davey Hamilton, as a team owner or otherwise. Three different teams represented on the podium and not a Penske, Ganassi, or Andretti car in sight. Oh, and through seven races, we’ve had six different winners representing six nationalities and five different teams. Now that’s what I’m talking about!
It’s almost enough to make you want to ignore some of the political stories that were festering in the background all weekend.
Now, time to move on to Texas Motor Speedway for a four-race stretch on ovals. (Good thing the teams will be using the superspeedway kits at Texas. The Dallara factory is going to be working extra shifts after this one.)
Yesterday I saved some words for today, and for the most part I don’t really have use for them. This race was an embarrassment of crashes, but it ended with a satisfying first win for Simon Pagenaud. This win has been brewing for a while, and it’s great to see it happen for this terrific competitor on this day, bringing something good out of all the carnage.
As for Belle Isle – widen the track? Single-file restarts? I get the importance of racing in Detroit, but we need a better product at this facility.
Well, we got that out of the way. There’s no question that Saturday’s race was the better of the two this weekend, but that’s not to say today wasn’t eventful. The first half was frustrating and, at times, embarrassing. Of the first 36 laps, 22 of them ran under yellow. It made you want to poke yourself in the eye with a fork.
Now, lets get to the good part. The second half of the race was very good. There were a lot of things going on at once, and while the ABC booth wasn’t very helpful plenty of situations were playing themselves out right before our eyes. Great work by Pagenaud’s crew, and what a great drive from James Jakes. He’s been outperforming teammate Graham Rahal every weekend, and that should be brought to the forefront.
It was also not a bad weekend for Mr. Conway, grabbing two podium finishes including his win yesterday. I suspect we will be seeing plenty of him this year after these next four oval races. Seven of the last eight races are road/street courses.
The two drivers everyone thought would notch their first wins this year (Hinch and Pagenaud) have done it. The six cars for Penske/Ganassi are still looking for their first this season. None of them have even recorded a podium finish in the last five races.
What a strange, disjointed race. It looked like it was Mike Conway’s to win all the way up until the very end. I will be interested to find out more in the coming days as to just how Simon Pagenaud and crew pulled this one off. This race was just more proof positive that the talent level in the IndyCar series is unbelievable right now.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the field shakes out at Texas Motor Speedway next weekend. I’ll be there, so stay tuned to my Twitter account (@jdlingle) and here at morefrontwing.com for live updates.