As everybody likes the Rookie French Driver in Indy Cars…
Like many, I was most intrigued over how Romain Grosjean would fair in his debutante IndyCar Oval race Saturday Nite’ at whatever for Mwah will simply be Gateway, now known as World Wide Technology Raceway (WWTR) or simply WWT Raceway instead…
As I marveled how far the Frenchman has come in his racing career, as for some strange reason I heard Mark Handlebarz’ Webber Cooing in my ear…
As everybody knows about Romain’s Horrific, Fiery Shunt at Bahrain last year, which Thankfully He Walked Away from!
During the Pre-race Banter, believe it was NBC Sports (Townsend) T-Bell’ who mentioned that Grosjean’s new nickname is The Phoenix. While IndyStar’s Nathan Browne mentioned in a story how the Frenchman was wearing his trademarked “Ball Cap” with two hands raised in the Air with Flames All around as the Phoenix, not to mention his one hand still bears the Scars of being engulfed in Fire for some 30 seconds!
Yet how many remember, myself included that Grosjean began his Formula 1 career as “Nielsen Ho’s,” aka Nelson Piquet Jr’s replacement at Renault after the Brazilian had been dropped following the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix for the rest of the season, having been le Reggie’s Test and Reserve Driver, where interestingly his Car number was 8.
As Grosjean was completely overshadowed by what erupted into Crash Gate that Fall, with Piquet Junior’s pronouncement of having been told to deliberately Crash by “HMS Monogram,” neee Flavour Flav’, aka Team Boss Flavio Briatore during the ’08 Singapore Grand Prix to ensure that his team-mate and team leader Fredrico Suave, aka Fernando Alonso won the race!
Romain was jettisoned from the Renault F1 Team at season’s end and rebuilt his career by winning both the 2011 GP2 Asia and main GP2 Series Championships, the only driver to do so before returning to Formula 1 in 2012 at the newly renamed Lotus F1 Team, having previously been Lotus Renault GP after Renault had sold a majority share to Genii Capital investor Gerard Lopez at the end of ’09.
As Romain joined some Finnish Guy who famously said “Just leave Me Alone, I Know what I’m doing!” Known as the “Iceman,” nee Kimi Raikkonen as Lotus F1 Team leader.
But you’d have to say that his return to F1 wasn’t exactly stellar, having multiple First lap Crashes and being publicly called a “First lap Nutcase” by Mark Webber after they’d collided on lap-1 at that year’s Japanese Grand Prix! As Grosjean had been involved in seven first lap incidents in the first 12 Grands Prix, leading up to Belgium.
Not to mention being given a One race Ban for triggering the Multi-car Pile-up at Spa Francorchamps, where Grosjean’s Lotus barely missed Alonso’s Helmet, with the Spaniard now driving for Ferrari!
As the Crash ultimately took out four cars including Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren, for which Romain had cut in front of. Alonso’s Ferrari, Sauber’s Sergio Perez and Grosjean. Not to mention affecting Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi’s race, who finished 13th.
As romain became the first F1 Driver to be given a One race Ban since somebody known on No Fenders as Der Terminator’, aka Michael Schumacher Wayback in 1994! Along with being fined $50,000 Euros!
Yet to be fair to Grosjean, I do recall rootin’ for him to do the unthinkable at the 2013 USGP at Circuit Of the Americas and somehow pass ‘lil Syd viddle (Sebastian Vettel) who was leading the race in his Red Bull. As Grosjean Cooly held off Vettel’s team-mate and his Bosom Buddy Webber for second place in a Red Bull Racing “Kidney Pie” Sandwich…
After four seasons at Lotus, Romain joined the latest Brand New Formula 1 Team, Haas F1 in 2016 for the remainder of his Formula 1 career, and I cannot help but wonder now if he chose the number 8 in deference to it being his first car number in F1?
Fast forwarding to this year, I’d have to say that Romain’s probably the most popular driver in Indy Cars? As how can you not feel Happy for Him and the Feel Good story of the Minnowesqe Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing’s Rookie IndyCar Driver securing his first series Pole position and Podium in only his third ever IndyCar outing! Not to mention having the IMS Road Course figured out by finishing Runner-up twice.
Thus naturally you’d be curious over how the former F1 Pilote who’d never raced on an Oval before would do in only his tenth IndyCar outing, wouldn’t you?
Rolling off P14, from the outside of Row 7, Romain managed to dodge All of the Carnage that occurred in the first 60-plus laps, mostly being Yellow, with the Hijinxs of Ed Jones v Graham Rahal, Ed Carpenter and Simon Pagenaud v Josef Newgarden!
And after the race had finally settled down following five cautions for a ridiculous amount ‘O Yellow Flag laps, Grosjean electrified Mwah, making some Nifty Overtaking maneuvers on Ovalmeister TK’ follow your Schnoz! Kanaan and Dalton Kellett. Then Conor Daly, whom I believe Romain had been sent to the back of the field for Avoidable Contact with Daly previously?
Next up was Scott McLaughlin and then I think he put a daring High Side pass upon The Dude, aka Ryan Hunter-Reay before settling in at eighth place Ontrack.
Of course Grosjean who told Nathan Browne the only thing that had possibly prepared him for Oval racing was his time spent Ice racing Wayback in ’09! Had his struggles learning how to adapt to driving on Cold, “Hard,” Fresh Firestone rubber and got up into the ”Gray,” aka “Marbles” and summarily lost All of the positions he’d gained! Which happened over multiple Pit Stops.
Not to mention getting “Hosed” by being on the wrong side of the evening’s final Caution period when Alexander Rossi tagged the Wall after making his final Pitstop and trying to stay ahead of Race leader Newgarden and eventual Runner-up Pato O’Ward. As Grosjean ultimately finished exactly where he’d started in 14th, but I’d say it was a very good race for him.
Naturally I’ve been Pulling for Grosjean to Beat Team Penske’s rookie Scott McLaughlin in the Rookie Of the Year (ROY) battle for awhile now. And not because I have anything against the Kiwi’, it’s just that I tire easily of Team Penske always winning everything! So Go Romain! Who reputedly now trails McLaughlin by 23 points with three races remaining.
As Hopefully we’ll see Grosjean making his Full season IndyCar campaign next year, including his Debutante Indy 500, no matter who He’s driving for, with another celebrated driver named Jimmie Johnson as part of his 2022 Mother Speedway Rookie Class…