Not a true carbon copy of Milwaukee, but close enough for Ryan Hunter-Reay. It's clear Andretti Autosport has its act together on short ovals; too bad Iowa was the last one this year. And also too bad that's the last oval (presumably) until the end of the season (also presumably).
That’s three in a row for Hunter-Reay on such tracks, and each has had an element of rain. I guess RHR is IndyCar’s “mudder.”
I suppose Will Power has had enough of ovals for a while. Yes, E.J. Viso motioning for Power to look where he’s going is akin to Lindsay Lohan telling another starlet to get her life under control, but that’s twice Power has driven down on someone (a KV driver in both instances) on an oval. He’s not going to win any championships – or friends – doing that.
With title nemesis Dario Franchitti going out before the start of the race, Power missed a golden opportunity to build his points lead. He still has it, but just barely as both James Hinchcliffe (crash) and Scott Dixon (faded at end) saw their opportunities fade.
Although the pole car finishing last on an oval without completing a lap is not an unknown occurrence (Roberto Guerrero in 1992 and Scott Sharp in 2001 at Indianapolis come to mind), I’m not sure when the last time it’s happened due to a mechanical failure. Jerry Grant at Ontario in 1972? It’s probably happened since then, but my memory is foggy.
It was nice of Ryan Briscoe to take the high road on his wreck with Josef Newgarden. Then Newgarden intimated that Briscoe should have taken an even higher road – or lane – on the track. That’s at least twice this season that a dive-bomb move has blown up on the talented rookie.
Couple of other thoughts:
When does Simon Pagenaud get a call from a power team (like, say, Penske)?
When does NASCAR get wise to the fact that IndyCar has a good thing going in Iowa, come in and wave a Cup date under the noses of the owners/promoters so they drop IndyCar like a hot exhaust manifold? Precedent was set at Kentucky, which had strong crowds (even in the pre-unified IRL days) when the race had a consistent date in August. Then a Cup date materialized, and IndyCar was shoved around and eventually out.
I like Saturday night races, but … Even without the rain, Iowa was supposed to start around 10 p.m. Eastern. Which guarantees no coverage in Sunday papers in the Eastern time zone (and probably in the Central time zone, outside of Iowa) and (maybe more importantly) no highlights on the 11 p.m. SportsCenter.
For all you Danica Patrick fans, SportsCenter did have quite a bit on her Nationwide race at Road America. Said race was won by Nelson Piquet Jr., who is sixth in the trucks series. Patrick was spun by Jacques Villeneuve, who was fighting with Max Papis. Sam Hornish Jr. finished fifth. So to be clear, Patrick, Piquet, Papis, Villeneuve and Hornish were all in a minor-league NASCAR race instead of at Iowa.
Here’s a crazy thought: Why not have a race on July 4 on the IMS road course to fill out the schedule? Call it the Indy-Pendence 50, making it a 50-lap race. Give free tickets to all who bought tickets to this year’s Indianapolis 500 or who have renewed for next year’s event.
Photo credit: Jim Haines/Indianapolis Motor Speedway