Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dario Takes Long Beach - 3 Weeks to Indy

Congratulations to Dario Franchitti for winning at Long Beach this past weekend. He was my sleeper pick for the win and things certainly fell his way with the timing of full course cautions and his pit stops. But he was also quick and untouchable. Too bad my first choice, Will Power, had radio problems or he would probably have won and put Penske in a tough spot for Kansas this weekend. Give the guy another shot and a chance to roll into Indianapolis with some momentum! He seems to have done everything asked of him while keeping the seat warm for Helio so I would think it would be tough to keep him out of a car this weekend in the final tuneup for the 500. And welcome back Helio! I'll bet his arms were ready to fall off once the race was over, but his appearance on Wind Tunnel belied any fatigue he might have felt. Adrenalin goes a long way to help a comeback!

The entry list for the 500 came out today and there are a solid 40 entries with 28 drivers listed. Even the King Richard Petty has a car and John Andretti will give it a good run if the crew is up to it. And boy was I wrong about Andretti Green for Long Beach - the AGR contingent will surely be strong with 4 cars at Indy. Penske should have three cars, and with Dixon and Franchitti leading Target Ganassi, I would expect these teams will dominate Pole Day May 9th.

The big story for May will probably be Paul Tracy's return to IMS with KV as a "former winner" - at least in his mind. I don't blame him for being a tad bitter the way that whole appeal was handled yet Indy owes no one anything so he'll have to earn whatever he gets after 7 years away from the Brickyard. How many times over the next month will we see the disputed video from the finish that year? Probably a thousand or ten. I was shooting in Turn 3 that year and it was total chaos as I couldn't hear what was going on and PT came by in front of Helio even though the sign boards still showed Castroneves in P1.

And I am SO disappointed that Milka Duno wasn't on the Indy entry list for Newman Haas Lanigan! NOT!

But Scott Sharp is, teaming with Wheldon at Panther. And Davey Hamilton with Dreyer & Reinbold. Sentimental entries to be sure, but I think we're assured of having some bump day drama this year again and it will be good to see. The person who most wants to get in the show this year? Probably Foyt IV, after his fiery crash on bump day last year kept him off the grid. Gramps is giving him another shot since Vision only had room for Carpenter and Hunter-Reay. Roth Racing, Bryan Herta, Hemlegarn and Conquest Racing all have entries with drivers TBA, and Sarah Fisher has an extra car, so that gives us 33 starters with the possibility of others coming out for the second week of qualifying. I'm sure we'll see guys with helmet in hand trolling Gasoline Alley for a shot at qualifying, so it should be highly competitive.

Now if the weather will just cooperate. See you at the Speedway!

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