A few observations after roving between several corners to watch the INDYCAR GP:
- It was a pleasure to take in the race from trackside. There are advantages to watching from the media center, but I think actually watching the race as opposed to watching a broadcast of the race (we get the same feed, unfortunately), is more authentic. It’s always nice to soak up the sun, the sounds, and the reaction of the crowd.
- People will complain that it was a boring race, but at least it wasn’t one of those occasions where a badly timed yellow and INDYCAR’s closed pit rule creates a result not really representative of what happened. There’s no doubt that the fastest car and driver won the race on Saturday.
- “It wasn’t that easy,” said winner Will Power. “We weren’t just cruising at the front. I was always conscious of the gap to Dixon. This is a good track for me, though every track is now. I feel like I can win at every track – oval, road course, whatever. I have a lot of experience now, I know the game so well, that every race, I feel like I have a shot.”
- Power has moved into the top five of the standings, but he’s still in a 46-point hole to teammate Simon Pagenaud. With the exception of his win at Phoenix, Pagenaud has been curiously quiet this year, yet he has finished in the top five in every race.
- Notorious for slow starts to his championship campaigns, Scott Dixon must be thrilled to lie second in the standings, just 10 points behind Pagenaud. The Indianapolis road course was not expected to be a good track for Honda, yet Dixon managed to beat all but one of the five Team Penske entries. “I think we got the most out of it today,” Dixon said. The four-time champion is extremely confident about his chances on what he calls “the big track” when practice starts on the IMS oval on Monday.
- Ryan Hunter-Reay was pleased to earn a trip to the podium after finishing 11th or worse in the last three races. “It feels good to bank a result,” he said. “We’re heading in the right direction and hopefully in the next race we’ll finish two positions better.”
- I thought Graham Rahal produced the drive of the day. Moving from 20th to sixth without the benefit of a full-course caution on a course where passing is considered difficult was quite an achievement. “Good solid day, we passed a lot of cars,” he said. “I felt dialed in. Our car was good but when you start 20th, you’re just kind of crawling out from down under.”
- With early season championship leader Sebastien Bourdais and Charlie Kimball dropping out with mechanical problems, Honda must still have reliability concerns heading into the Indianapolis 500.
- Perhaps helped by ideal weather (sunny and 75!), it looked like attendance was up for the IMS road course race. Not as big as a Carb Day crowd, but certainly better than either of the qualifying days.