Tuesday, September 28, 2021

IndyCar West Coast Wrap: Long Beach finale

Hello Alex Palou, Come On Down, you’re this year’s IndyCar Champion!


“The Hamburger and French Fry Show”

Although I’ve never been a Fan of le Hamburgular’, Sealmeister B’, SeaBass or simply Sebastien Bourdais, I’d like to give Racer’s Marshall Pruett and Bourdais A “shout Out” for their wonderfully Brilliant, Zany Daily Race session Video Debriefs over each weekend, which have become the Highlight of the West Coast Swing for Mwah! As I find that Seb’ has become quite Self Deprecating, Humble and Honest on his struggles with the A.J. Foyt racecar. While Marshall has really Blossomed as he Ad libs’ spontaneously, Conquers Any Topic of the Day, yet always keeps the “Interviews” light hearted…


As I thought I’d never say this, But! We need for Foyt to keep Bourdais another year to not only improve the Team’s Ontrack performances, but more importantly, so we can have another season of the Hamburger and French Fry Show videos!



Once again, Colton Herta led the way in Friday’s first afternoon practice session as Quickest of the four Andretti Autosport runners in the Top 10; Herta P1, Ryan Hunter-Reay 5th, and James Hinchcliffe and Alexander Rossi eighth and ninth respectively. Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud pipped Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou for second in the waning stages of practice. Arrow McLaren SP’s Felix Rosenqvist was fourth, with Meyer shank Racing’s Helio Castroneves sixth. Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin was P7 and team-mate Josef Newgarden rounded out the Top 10 despite having caused a Red Flag, as one of the multiple drivers pirouetting Ontrack, with many hitting the Walls.


Championship rival Pato O’Ward struggled mightily to find the handling in his Arrow McLaren SP, mired in a lowly 16th! With Coyne-Ware Racing’s Romain Grosjean five places ahead of O’Ward in 11th, but behind his Rookie Of the Year Points leader and rival McLaughlin’s Top 10 outing.


Other possible Race winner contendahs’ Will Power and Scott Dixon were P12-13 respectively, and Im sure we haven’t heard the last of the Team Penske and CGR Drivers this weekend, since you can never count out The Iceman’ (Dixon) or Wild child DJ WillyP”, (Power) Righto!



Although Colton Herta remained P1 in Saturday morning’s practice, Team Penske Flexed Thar Muscles with Power second, Newgarden, Pagenaud and Mclaughlin P4-6 respectively! Thee Mayor ‘O Hinchtown’ (Hinchcliffe) was an impressive third.


Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward potentially righted his floundering “Ship” after saying on Friday  they’d need to “Yard Sale It!” In order to fix the handling, before moving up to eighth. While team-Mate Felix Rosenqvist remained ahead of the Mexican in seventh.


Romain Grosjean moved forward to ninth and Meyer shank Racing’s Jack Harvey rounded out the Top 10. Whilst Chip Ganassi Racing’s “Big Guns” Alex Palou and Scott Dixon went Backwards. As Palou dropped to 16th and Dixon to 20th.



That was the most Insane Qualifying session I’ve seen in forever! Which Leigh Diffey politely noted, Can You Feel the Championship Pressure Ratcheting Up? Since after all it’s his job to keep us All “Hooked.”


Group 1 saw Jack Harvey Clout the Wall and I believe pirouetted? Well at least he was laying “Dead Stick” Ontrack in the way of unexpecting will Power who had nowhere to go and B-A-M! As it was absolutely amazing that Team Penske was able to rebuild the left side of Power’s crumpled racecar during the ensuing 10-15mins plus before he returned to contest the Fast 12 Round sporting a replacement Team Penske Sidepod among other replacement parts!


Pato O’Ward brushed the Wall with the left side of his car, radioing in he’d definitely affected the rear Tow-link, which Arrow McLaren SP also did stellar work to have Pato ready to compete in the Fast 12 round.


And in the voice of ‘Ol R’, Ye Curmudgeon of Indy Cars Robin Miller: Sorry boys, But Hate is Good! And thus I just started bellowing out Choke, Choke, Choke after Colton Herta apparently was attempting to conserve a set of the FirestoneAlternate Reds by staying on his primary Black tyres and subsequently Hit the Wall! Then came in to the Pits and put on a set of Reds too late and was unable to advance out of Group 2!


As Sebastien Bourdais said it best during his Saturday video Debrief with Marshall Pruett. Why would you Expose yourself like that? The Field is so Competitive, why would you get Greedy when you’ve been the Fastest Car in practice…


But the most Drama of the afternoon came in the Fast 12 Round when Power’s car suffered a Gearbox issue leaving him stranded Ontrack and unable to move out of the way, even though Townsend Bell was certain he’d scraped the Wall again!


As Power’s stricken car caused a local Yellow for which it was reported that Felix Rosenqvist, James Hinchcliffe and Ed Jones All Failed to Slow adequately and initially advance to the Fast Six Shootout, Huh? For which after the IndyCar Stewards deliberated for 20mins, ironically Rosenqvist stayed in the Fast Six shootout to the protests of his Team Boss Taylor Kiel and team-mate O’Ward.


After the dust had settled, and I still think O’Ward got Screwed! The Fast Six Shootout results were as follows: Josef Newgarden took a somewhat surprise Pole position,

As I enjoyed Diffey saying please excuse the Foul language as you could clearly hear Newgarden say fuck Yeah!


Scott Dixon was a mildly upset second, claiming that third place Helio Castroneves had ruined his attempt at Pole, to which Hulio’ in typical gusto said Dixon’s just used to people pulling out of his way, Youch!


Simon Pagenaud was fourth, while Felix Rosenqvist was fifth and Romain Grosjean was P6.


Seventh went to James Hinchcliffe followed by Pato O’Ward in eighth, while Ed Jones split the championship contendahs’ with Alex Palou lining up 10th.


Scott McLaughlin wound up P13, while Colton PB ‘N J’ Herta and Alexander Rossi roll off P14-15 respectively.


Shout Out to Callum Ilott in only his third ever IndyCar race qualifying the Juncos Hollinger Racing Dallara/Chevy 18th and Outqualifying 10 competitors! Including Graham Rahal and Oliver Askew, both Ed Carpenter Racing entries, All three A.J. foyt entries, Max Chilton, Jimmie Johnson and Jack Harvey. As both Harvey and Askew Slapped the Wall in Thar respective Groups, triggering Red Flags and having their Fastest two laps deleted…


Race Day

The day began with Hulio’ literally blowing Ah-Gasket’ over feeling that Alexander Rossi hadn’t gotten out of his way during the morning Warm Up session when they came together. Hmm, what was that Prima Donna soliquy ‘bout how Scott Dixon was Mad at Him for Not Moving Over the day prior? As how long ago was it when Rossi said He’s Not here to make Any friends Ontrack…


As far as I was concerned, the Championship was Already over before the Green Flag flew, but after soon to be Ex-Coyne Vasser Sullivan driver Ed Jones Stupidly Spun Pato O’Ward on lap-1 and he’d dropped to last, I began singing ‘Ol Dandy don’s (Merrideth) melody “Turn Out the lights, The Party’s Over!” As it was a cruel way for Pato to end his season, and that was before his Halfshaft snapped on lap-18 presumably due to the errant collision by Jones…


After that it was just a case of who’d win the race? For which although I was rootin’ for Josef Newgarden, Not for him to win an unlikely IndyCar title, but to stop Colton Herta.


But as we All know, the 21yr old Californian drove like a Man possessed to atone for his Snafu’ during Qualifying, which he did by putting on a Driving Clinique! Leading some 40-plus laps en route to a fairly Dominant victory and a sweep of the California races, so Gulp! Nice Job Colton, Urgh!


Newgarden finished second, and in turn overtook O’Ward in the standings, with Pato sliding down one spot to third Overall. While the podium’s final finisher Scott Dixon claimed a fairly mundane fourth in the standings, since the Kiwi’s accustomed to winning titles instead.


Romain Grosjean slapped the wall midway thru the race, effectively ending his longshot for overcoming Scott McLaughlin in their Rookie Of the Year battle, which McLaughlin captured with an 11th place finish.


But Kudos to Alex Palou, who could have coasted home Midpack or worse to claim his first IndyCar Championship. But instead, the 24yr old Spaniard drove as he’s done during his entire Sophomore season and clinched the Crown with a fine fourth place finish.


As All sorts of noise has already been made over how it’s Chip Ganassi’s first Championship forever by another car instead of Dixon’s No. 9, with the #10 last winning an IndyCar Championship in 2011 at the hands of Dario Franchitti.


Or it being the first CGR title by somebody other than Dixon or Franchitti, who’ve won the lion’s share of Cheeps’ 14 IndyCar titles. The last being Juan Pablo Montoya’s Championship in 1999, which he won in his Rookie season on a Tiebreaker ironically with Franchitti.


As Palou’s title also comes on the 25th Anniversary of Chip Ganassi Racing’s first IndyCar Championship won by Jimmy Vasser at Laguna Seca, and it’s pretty impressive thinking how Cheep’s (Chip Ganassi) has amassed 14 IndyCar Championships in that time, which is obviously more than 50%!


While can Y’all guess who’s the other CGR Champion? Well I had to laugh out loud when hearing Leigh Diffey mutter my same words into the camera during the Post Race wrap-up, when he said that Alex Palou is a young Alex Zanardi! But it was Fantastic hearing an exhuberant Palou on the Speed Freaks Sunday night with Fans in the background of his Hotel Hooting ‘N Hollering for him, so Congrats Alex!


Whilst the funniest Bit I’ve heard over Palou’s impending Championship came from Dixon, who said he was one of the Ones telling Chip to sign him, so may be I should get a Cut? For which if Y’all Don’t know, Cheep’ garnered his nickname from Zanardi for being, Uhm… Uh, it’s an Italian pronunciation thingy’, Yeah, That’s the Ticket, Hya!


As Hello Palou Indeed. Congratulations Alex!