FIRST IMPRESSIONS: 2013 Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT

First Impressions, IndyCar, IndyCar commentary — By on September 2, 2013 8:23 am

Following a carnage-filled race at the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT, the More Front Wing team offers our first impressions of how it all transpired.


Entertaining?  I suppose.  I’m just glad I was watching at home and not sweltering in the grandstands as the cars paraded by lap after lap after lap under caution because the Clown Car Grand Prix, aka the Grand Prix of Baltimore, just couldn’t find a rhythm and looked like amateur hour on I-57 to Chicago.

When the race was actually under green and running at full song, it was a pretty good and entertaining race, especially the last 20 laps or so as all the gloves came off and drivers were actually able to make passes without causing more caution periods.  The aggressive driving finally started to work in a way that all the drivers weren’t spinning each other time and time again.  That part was definitely entertaining and fun to watch.

This really was a race of attrition and simply surviving.  Several drivers that seemed completely out to lunch all weekend long somehow found their way to decent finishes simply by staying alive.  Marco Andretti and James Hinchcliffe come to mind in this category.  It was also great to see Simona de Silvestro soldier home to a nice top-5 finish, though it didn’t come easily as a result of a late-race battle with her teammate, Tony Kanaan.

This day really belonged to Simon Pagenaud though.  He didn’t win simply because he survived.  He had a great car from the time they unloaded on Friday, and it stayed strong all weekend long.  It is said that getting the second win is even more difficult than the first, but Simon and his SHM/HP team had a wonderful weekend that truly had him as the class of the field.


What we saw today:

  • Scott Dixon’s slim title hopes dashed
  • Helio Castroneves effectively locking up the title after wrecking on the first lap
  • A double file restart that actually got waved off
  • More punts than a Jacksonville Jaguars game

What we didn’t see today:

  • Decent driving standards from the vast majority of the field
  • Even enforcement of the IndyCar rule book in regards to the aforementioned punts

Absolutely crazy day. Race was close to being ruined with 25 to go with all of the carnage (and may still have been to some). But the last few laps of that race had some epic racing, so I’m going to choose and think about that over the next few weeks.

On to Houston…


Well…that was eventful. There were a number of storylines that developed into this race. Luckily for us, there will be plenty of time to go over all of them with a fine tooth comb, as we have 34 days until the next race. That race had divebombing, bumper cars, bonehead moves, and some exciting battles. Great race for Pagenaud, Newgarden, Bourdais, and Simona, who came from 17th starting position to get her first top 5 finish on her 25th birthday. It was another tough break for Andretti Autosport, who started the year out so hot. Ryan Hunter-Reay took a major hit in the championship, dropping from 3rd to 5th with just 3 races left in the season. After Dixon and Helio Castroneves had their issues, Marco Andretti wasn’t able to capitalize in the final laps.
As if the Ganassi/Penske teams needed anything else to get the blood pumping, that move by Power is sure to add fuel to the fire. Even though Will admitted he didn’t see Scott coming, that’s even more of a reason for Dixon to be upset. I actually think Dixon would be less upset if Power had just said he deliberately put him into the wall. Dixon’s frustration was only increased when IndyCar told him they would not bring his car back out so they could pick up some valuable points. After all of that, Helio finished in 9th and was able to tack on another 10 points to his lead. We have all of this momentum and exciting action, only to see it be shoved into the freezer, where it will develop icicles and mostly be forgotten by the time it’s set out to thaw in Houston. Wake me up when September ends.


Folks, I’m going to lob this one right down the middle. Not everyone is going to like it, but it needs to be said.

I was working this weekend at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (better known as Mosport).

Remember, this is NASCAR’s third-tier series we’re talking about here — the open-wheel equivalent is Pro Mazda.

The field was full of 17-18 year olds and older guys winding down their careers. The trucks haven’t raced on a road course of any kind in 13 years.

Chase Elliott’s last-turn punt for the win notwithstanding — that series put on the more professional-looking show this weekend.

Get it together, IndyCar.