Josef Newgarden Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Team (SFHR) "Hero" Card obtained during the 2014 Sonoma IndyCar Drivers Autograph session. (The Tomaso Collection)
As will Josef Newgarden clinch his second Astor Cup title in thou past three years?
After an extra week's agonizing "Down-time" between Portland International Raceway's penultimate IndyCar race and the Season Finale at Weathertech Laguna Seca Raceway, it was finally G-O Time in Monterey, a week after IMSA held Thar penultimate event on the same scenic 2.238-mile, 11 turn Permanent Road Corse circuit that first began holding racing events Wayback in 1957; CRIKEYS!
The same 23 IndyCar contingent from Portland's race, i.e.; A.J. Foyt Enterprises, (2) Andretti Autosport &
Co. (4) Arrow SPM, (2) Carlin, (2) Chip Ganassi Racing, (2) Dale Coyne Racing & Associates, (2) Ed Carpenter Racing, (2) Harding Steinbrenner Racing, (1) Meyer Shank Racing, (1) Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, (2) and Team Penske (3) all made their way to the Monterey peninsula.
Along with the addition of a fifth Andretti Autosport entry, the No. 25 with Conor Daly, returning to the team he began 2019 with at Mother Speedway, making a total of 24 entries competing in the Laguna Seca event.
And with Indy Cars returning to Laguna Seca for the first time in 15yrs, teams were given an additional Day's testing to Dust Off the Circuit; Err, Uhm re-acclimatize themselves to a new racing venue for the majority of the grid, where the current Spec Dallara DW12 chassis have never raced.
Testing began Thursday with IndyCar competitors reveling in six hours of track-time, which OH SHIT! Here we go again, Slobber-Slobber-Slobber... Colton Herta was Fastest at Day's end.
But does it mean anything? Since his time was one second quicker than Scott Dixon led the morning's two hours test session by, as the track naturally "rubberd-in" from its previous week's Sports Cars Michelin compounds. As Points leader Josef Newgarden was an uncharacteristic 19th, with Alexander Rossi and Simon Pagenaud fifth and sixth respectively.
Yet by the end of Thursday, Dixon wasn't even in the Top-10 conversation, Newgarden had jumped to P4, and Pagenaud was eighth with Rossi in ninth. While Will Power was the quickest of the Penske trio in P2, a Half-second adrift of Media Darling Herta. And it was Dixon's Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate, Rookie Of the Year (ROY) Points leader Felix Rosenqvist third quickest.
Friday's second Day 'O Practice saw three different Hondre' runners top the Timesheets, ultimately seeing Alexander Rossi P1. Yet it was a frustrating Day for Rossi who languished at the Bottom due to a Mechanical woe, and then from just using the Harder Black Flinstone' rubber, before Bolton on a set 'O Firestone Reds to finish quickest,
albeit Denoted as the Pit Stop practice/Warm-up session.
Colton Herta began the Day by leading Practice-1, before Ryan Hunter-Reay took over the mantle of Fastest in the latter Practice session. Then Rossi made it an Andretti Conglomerate Clean Sweep whilst Felix Rosenqvist nipped at Thar Heels, routinely in the Top-3 times, with Honda's leading the first five practice sessions.
But once again, you'd have to ponder were those Pesky fellers' keeping the tabs of Thar Bowties' loose? As Team Penske's will Power finished runner-up to Herta one session. And Newgarden was P4 by just Hundreds of a Second behind Rosenqvist, while Pagenaud was the quickest Chevy runner at Day's end Friday.
Then as Leigh Diffey likes saying, It's Go Fast Day! Having spent the entire morning Ah-waitin' thou crucial Fast Six shootout Qualie' session, I elected to tuen-in' to some Flat-trackin' Motor-Sickles' in order to Not Miss the following IndyCar TV Broadcast.
Huh? What's 'Ol Walldinger' doing talking 'bout the Pennsylvania Posse? As that's funny having A.J. Allmendinger calling Flat Track Motorcycle racing...
Amazingly, all four championship Contendahs' were grouped in Round-1's first Qualifying Group, with All four advancing to Round-2's Fast 12 Session. As they'd stay in lock-step All the way thru to the Fast Six Shootout.
And think the pressure wasn't immense for everybody competing? Just ask Rosenqvist how being fastest in the morning's third and final practice session transferred over to his Mini-pirouette causing his Fastest 2-laps disallowed, and not making the cut!
Yet naturally Thee Show focused primarily upon the title protagonists. And was it just Mwah? But What Thee Foobar was that constant grinding sound? That sounded like pebbles being washed-up upon the Monterey Beach during the entire Flippin' TV Broadcast?
Hmm? Me Thinks may be it was the sound of an Overhead TV Camera running back 'n forth chasing racecars Up 'N Down The Corkscrew? Which kinda Sucks when Yuhs cannot SEE what's making the Annoying Sound On-screen!
As Y'all know, us Blind people have Super Powers! Or was I simply Hearing Things? Since now that I've opened a window, Thars' a Nasty Baby Bird Squawking outside that sounds somewhat similar, Uhm, I Dunno?
Yet once again, slobber-Slobber-Slobber... As Colton Herta Stole the Show by claiming his third career IndyCar Pole ahead of Dixon, Rossi, Newgarden, Hinchcliffe and Pagenaud respectively.
As the Kid's Damn Smug! Coyly replying It's the Herta Jean's in regards to how he'd mastered Laguna Seca so quickly. Hmm, has anybody heard 'bout his Pappy Brian High Speed Hurdles' and something called The Pass?
As I mused to myself after the worst kept secret was confirmed during Qualie' that Colton's going to be in Andretti Autosport's 5th Wheel next year. Sayin' how Rossi's Road to the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series Championship just got Tougher!
To continue reading, see; INDYCAR: Thou Chequered Flag Flies with Gripping 2019 Season Finale Finish in Monterey