Monday, April 21, 2008

Danica Makes History In Japan; Champ Car Finale at the Beach

OK Danica. Now you've gone and done it. Tired of the "when will you win question"? Just wait until you get to Indy in less than two weeks. Everyone's going to want a piece of you and they'll want to know when you'll Indy. You almost did it on your first try so why not now, with some laps behind you and AGR's team savvy keeping you calm? It could happen. I'm looking forward to Pole Day as that should be one heckuva shootout for P1.
I'm beginning to feel like a rain magnet so far this racing season, but you can't blame me for the weather at Motegi! First, Eldora was washed out 2 weeks ago. Then last weekend at Salem the ARCA show was delayed. Now yesterday the USAC Sprint Cars and CRA Super Series at Winchester had to be postponed to next Sunday just as the USAC gang was hitting the track for practice. No big surprise as I keep saying, but I'm glad I was prepared.

As a result, I got to get back to Indy early, and even though the old ELO song lyric "It's raining all over the world" was going through my head, I got home in time to watch part of the Nationwide Series from Mexico City (c'mon Boris - please tell us how you really feel about Ambrose, will ya?) but then I just had to watch the Japan Indycar race on DVD, as I had just enough time to watch it before the Long Beach telecast came on. I knew early in the day that Danica had won her first race, since the local TV morning sports guy spoiled the surprise as soon as I turned on the tube. I wanted to see how she managed a longer fuel run than anyone else (can't say it's a weight advantage anymore boys) and was excited to see how everyone reacted. They know good and well what a boost her win is going to be for Indycars. Not surprisingly, the conspiracy theorists were weighing in on Wind Tunnel later that night by suggesting that Danica was gifted the win by Helio and Team Penske. Since when does Penske give away wins to anybody? Get real.

The same theory had Graham Rahal being handed the win at St. Pete. Did they even watch the race? That kid was flat fast, and he had the best car at the end. So I was anxious to see how the Long Beach Grand Prix would pan out as an IRL event. Rahal made a couple of rookie mistakes and I must say I was very pleased with how the IRL and ESPN handled the whole show. The race wasn't all that interesting for me once Power jumped everyone at the start and Wilson fell out, but the fact that Tony George, Helio and Danica made it there from Japan was a great marketing move. The season is starting off with some great momentum leading up to Indy, where many of the new teams will get the first three days of track time to themselves for their rookie orientations with everyone's eyes on Pole Day May 10th. It will come down to the 6 o'clock gun again this year, of that I am certain, just like last year.

As for me, I will head back to Winchester again this Sunday and probably have to record the Kansas IRL event which should be very interesting to see how much ground the former Champ Car teams have made up since Homestead. My American Motor Journal deadline will loom that evening so I will have my work cut out for me, especially if the weather intervenes once again. By then, the Countdown to Indy will be in single digits. I can almost hear them saying "We are Green!"

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