So I know its part of the DREADED Price ‘O COMMERCIALISM… In order to bring us “Live” racing action. But what in the HELL is up with the OVERSATURATED COMMERCIAL FEST on ABC’s Family ‘O Network’s coverage of Pole Day from Indianapolis. (Quick it’s been 6 1 /2 minutes since our last break… And we all know that Americans have really short attention spans…)
I mean is this the sordid state of affairs, when the “Deuce” (ESPN2) hosts the opening two hours of Indy qualifying sponsored by Go Daddy. (Although I know who that is. How many of you know who they are?) And I wonder how much it cost them to have Danica on their “team.”
Yet I’d have to say that the classiest move of the whole day came early during qualifying when TV Announcer Marty Reid paid homage to Tom Carnegie by having him call AJ Foyt IV’s qualifying attempt. It was really nice to hear the REAL voice of Indy once again. You may recall that “Baritone Tom” was the official track announcer for 61 years! (Yet Mr. Carnegie is suffering health-wise lately)
Today finally marks the first time in three years that Indy gets to try out its much vaunted “New” qualifying format of having only the fastest eleven cars “locked” into the starting grid. As in desperation over the LACK of entrants making the much ballyhooed Bump Day into “BOOMP Day.” Now each car has three qualifying attempts per day… Which as Robin Miller pointed out, assures EVERYBODY of making the field…
And it was pretty funny to see the #12 Luczo Dragon “Penske B Team” entry driven by Ryan Briscoe sitting on Pole briefly while “The Captain” (Roger Penske) elected to pull both of his entries out of the qualifying line during the early heat of the day.
Briscoe’s time was faster then both of Chip Ganassi’s first attempts with Scott Dixon 4th and Dan Wheldon 6th. While the only female taking a shot at qualifying was Danica Patrick who wound up 8th. (Ahead of both Andretti’s) As all five of the Andretti Green entries squeaked thru first day qualifying with the “Boss” (Michael) holding onto 11th place.
After the fury of initial qualifying during the first hour and twenty minutes, Dario “REO Speedwagon” Franchitti sat atop the Indianapolis scoring pylon, with Briscoe in P3.
And then the doldrums of the waiting game set in as the track went silent during the hottest portion of the day. Upon switching networks after a 1hr break, the first hour of ABC’s coverage was just recaps of the day’s action before going to a live interview with Milka duno in street clothes. Duno stated that her team would now focus upon practice on Wednesday, before going for second week qualifying. And I found it funny how they had to go immediately to Danica after talking with Duno.
Then another “filler” interview with Billy Jean King who really laid into the gender issue… Before Jack Arute cut her off!
And then finally the action picked up, as there’s some added drama about how your car goes into a “Parc Ferme” involuntary impound condition with 1hour 45 minutes remaining in the days action.
Helio Castroneves made his first qualifying attempt at 4:15PM, (EDT) yet wasn’t quick enough to bump Dario off of pole. And then Sam Hornish Jr. took not one but two shots at Dario. On both runs Hornish was ahead of Dario’s time before making one minor mistake in each run to end up with a slower 4 lap average.
And then the ultimate “Chinese Checkers” game began when Dixon put his #9 into the tech inspection line with 37 minutes left.
This opened the proverbial “floodgates” on the minuscule amount of last minute qualifiers, as everybody left standing took one last shot at Franchitti. I mean the pole position pays $100,000 as well as short lived bragging rights.
And I enjoyed Reid’s comment, claiming it was a “Maalox Moment” for Dario as Castroneves “stole” the ple away with 10 minutes left. The gun was fired to signal the end of qualifying as Tony Kanaan started his last gasp effort… Falling just short of Castroneves on the final lap…
And what the HELL was the deal with interviewing Danica at the end of qualifying? As I’m getting really tired of hearing her “Hissy Fit” interviews. (Because she didn’t get another chance at the Pole…)
And was the outcome of Pole Day overly surprising to anyone? With ten of the top eleven grid positions being captured by Ganassi, Penske and Andretti Green. As Tomas Scheckter of Tony George’s “Vision” Racing was the lone interloper.
(Perhaps its just me, but I believe that the Indy Racing League needs to go back to the drawing board as 6 hours for qualifying is simply TOO LONG!)
So did the new format work? Was the “New” Indy qualifying format akin to Formula 1’s “Knock-Out” qualifying. Or was it simply a way too long stringing out of too few entrants vs. WAY TOO MANY Commercials!
You make the call…
Top 11 INdy Grid Positions