Come On Will, Sing It! We Are the Champions of the
Yeah, Y’all know the Championship outcome by
now. As it was Showtime in Monterey with the title on the line. As the talk All
weekend long was about how Mega’ the Tyre Deg’, nee Degradation was on the
Gritty, Course Sandpaper Ash-Fault! With Scott Dixon saying He thought it was
Detroit Bad! (Belle Isle) And Helio Castroneves said He thought the track was
the same since He started coming Here Twenty Years Ago! While the track will be
repaved next year.
Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden served notice
during Friday’s first Practice session by being Fastest with a time of 01:11.4103,
with teammate Will Power down in seventh, some five tenths-plus adrift.
As Power was eclipsed by three Andretti Autosport
runners, with Colton Herta, Romain Grosjean and Alexander Rossi P2-3-4
respectively. With Colton just some four
tenths-plus adrift of Newgarden.
Whilst Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Rookie Callum
Ilott was an impressive P5! And Meyer Shank Racing’s Simon Pagenaud was sixth,
one spot ahead of former Penske teammate Power.
Marcus Ericsson was the Quickest of the Chip
Ganassi Racing Boyz’ in 10th, with Penske’s ScottyMac’, aka Scott
McLaughlin P11. While Scott Dixon was P17, and obviously has some work to do…
David Malukas who trails Christian Lundgaard in
the Rookie Of the Year battle by five points was ninth, with the Dane’ winding
up P15 on Day-1.
Saturday morning’s practice session saw a few
Red Flags brought out. Most notably for Pato O’Ward going Off-track at Turn 10, the bottom of the Famed Corkscrew, Me
Thinks? As the team spent considerable time with All of the bodywork Off trying
to Dislodge All of the Sand and Gravel He’d Injested!
Uber Funny how Mark Gravelly’ James was Opining
over How Team Penske testing at Portland vs. Chip Ganassi Racing’s test at
Laguna Seca was working out with some three minutes left. With Alex Palou P1 at
01:11.3847, and Dixon sixth, whilst Will Power and Josef Newgarden were
languishing P22-23 respectively. And then as soon as They looked at their Timing
Monitors, Shuhzamm! Power and Newgarden were P3-4, with Dixon still sixth!
So, you’d have to say the first Domino fell
during Round-1, Group 1’s Qualie’ session. When Newgarden High-sided Himself on
the Turn 8’s Kerb’s entrance to the world famous Corkscrew. Bringing out a Red
Flag, which appeared to run Out the Clock, with Dixon also on the Outside. Yet
IndyCar Race Control gave everybody left one final lap.
As I Bellowed at my Confuzer’s Speakers for Dixon
to Not Advance outta His Round-1 Qualie’ Group, since He’s the Enemy this
weekend! Taking Delight over first his CGR teammate Ericson Bumping Him Down to
P6, and then Simon Pagenaud Knocked Dixon Out of Qualie’, Yeah Baby! Have I
mentioned I’m Rootin’ for Will Power to win the title lately?
As Newgarden refused to speak to IndyCar Radio’s
Ryan Marin after a short, terse interview with NBC. And will Roll off P25!
Whilst Dixon will start 13th. Giving Will Power sufficient “Breathing
Room” on the Race’s start.
Then in Round-1, Group 2, Colton Herta
inexplicably took Himself Out of advancing to the Fast 12 Shootout when running
Off-track, seeing three of Power’s staunchest competitors for Pole out of the
As I began crossing my fingers and Rootin’ for
Power to Throw Down upon the remainder of the Field and claim His record
setting 68th Pole position at Laguna Seca before the Fast Six
Shootout! Which is exactly what Power Did!
As Kudos to SuperMario’, aka Mario Andretti for
not only being on Hand, but immediately Shaking Power’s Hand after Breaking His
record in Pitlane!
As I loved Mario’s answer on what it takes to
claim that many Pole positions? Saying, How Badly do You Want It? If I knew
what it took, I’d Bottle It and Sell It!
And I Don’t understand why IndyCar Radio Didn’t
speak to Callum Ilott, who claimed His best ever Qualie’ finish in second!
Instead talking to Romain Grosjean who rolls off P4, with Alexander Rossi
third. While Row 3 features Palou and O’Ward.
Obviously, it’s easy to say after the fact. But
I really did tell myself that I wanted Alex Palou to win the Season Finale a
few days after attending Portland’s race. As I thought it would be the perfect “Fly
in The Ointment” for a Driver who’s possibly driven His last race for Ganassi?
And I was laughing so Hard and sticking my finger in the Air and making the
Sizzling sound when water Hits a Hot rock! That I Didn’t Hear exactly what
IndyCar Radio’s Dan rusanowsky asked Palou? Something ‘bout if He’d be sitting
down with Chip afterwards? To which Palou said with mischief in His voice: Yeah
Sure, if Cheep’s picking up the Bill! No, Only Kidding…
For which I think sums up the whole crux of the
Ganassi v Palou Spat! And it’ll be Sad if Palou Has to sit out a year from
Initially I kept saying whilst listening to the
Radio Broadcast, you’re giving Me a Heart attack Will! But it also seemed
obvious that Will simply let Newgarden go when being passed for second, the
first time. And I think I was getting sucked into the Announcers doing their
job of creating Drama.
After the race, the more I thought about it,
Power knew what He needed to do to
clinch His second IndyCar Championship. And with Palou simply Disappearing from
the entire field, Power’s job was made that much “easier.” Although I’m Not
saying it was an easy race for Will, but He managed it superbly All Day long!
And when Romain Grosjean momentarily threatened His third place, Power closed
up on Newgarden and said I’m Here, so Giddy Up!
As you already know about Power being the first
IndyCar Champion with only One win in 25 years since Tony Stewart’s 1997 IRL
Championship. While you’ve gotta give Newgarden credit for driving the wheels
off His #2 Penske with His unpreferred four stop Pit strategy, seeing Him
finish second after starting a lowly P25!
Whilst I enjoyed the Karmic Whip snapping Scott
Dixon, after the Kiwi’ Had apparently been playing Mental Mind Games with Team
Penske at Portland when Questioning their Not using Team Tactics to give Power
the Win and a Bigger Points lead prior to Laguna Seca. Hmm, Did anybody see
Dixon Sunday at Laguna Seca? Uhm, where did He finish?
As I thought it was a Good race, probably Far
more Gripping due to the title fight vs. the actual race. Especially since
Palou simply put a Beatdown on the entire field with a thirty second lead over
Which was even
more impressive after Palou Had to take a Six place Grid penalty for an unapproved
engine change agter Qualifying…
While we All know that Newgarden Had the most
wins of the season with five vs. Power and Palou’s One! Not to mention Power’s
teammate ScottyMac’s (McLaughlin) Breakout season with three W’s!
But it was another Great Year, and now another
Stupendous 351 Days Offseason looms large! While I suppose Thars still formula
1, but I’d say that Championship’s already Toast! With Max Verstappen being
crowned World Champion Any day now…
Oh Yeah, almost forgot the IndyCar Rookie Of
the Year (ROY) Battle. As Groan, Congrats to Christian Lundgaard who drove from
16th to finish fifth. Whilst David Malukas went Backwards from
starting sixth and finishing P13 seeing the Dane’ clinch ROY Honours in the
season’s final race.
Congratulations Will Power, Job Done!