Monday, August 6, 2007

Kanaan Escapes Wet & Wild Michigan with IRL Win

As someone once sang, "What a long strange trip it's been." When the team haulers were blitzing past me on I69 coming back to Indy last night, I couldn't help but think about all that has happened with open wheel racing at Michigan over the years. And just as I wrote the other day, anything can happen up there and often does. Sunday was no exception, as the scariest moment of the day involved Dario Franchitti in a blow-over style flip on the backstretch that decimated the IRL field, leaving mainly his AGR teammates to fight it out. Once Danica had to make an extra late pit stop to change her right rear tire, it was just down to TK and Marco to sort out. After hours and hours of rain and waiting, Tony was able to claim the trophy, but judging from his comments in the post-race media conference room, he was not a happy camper.

Winning at Michigan still means something, and there's a special chutzpah that IRL drivers have to have at that place. Tony made several comments after the race about lack of respect being shown for fellow drivers but from my viewpoint it was a typical Michigan day. Lots of two- and three-wide, sometimes four-wide racing. Slicing and dicing up and down the field. Too many close calls to count. Car carnage. Thank goodness the rain gods stayed away finally and that no one was hurt in Dario's mess. When he came back to the pits after the accident, he looked shaken to me, and there were hugs all around from teammates and AGR crew members.

Let's hope they come to their senses before Kentucky this weekend. I want to see a tight battle for the season championship, not cars going airborne and taking out a third of the pack in one fell swoop. They will say that it was just racing, and from my experience at Michigan, that is probably true, but yesterday was a perfect example of how open wheel, and especially Indycars, require nerve and skill unmatched by any other racing series.

But that's just my opinion, and I'm just a photographer. Blame it on too much time in the sun this summer. Michigan Indycars - we will miss ye.


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