AS let’s All watch the Portland replay upon Ye Jumbotron Video Board Trackside Up Close ‘n Personal!
Every year I find if Uber Funny reading All the various Permutations of what Driver X Needs to Do to win the Championship provided Drivers Y, Z, and Uhm, B? Need to Do in order to clinch the title.
Since leading up to Portland, All Four Championship Contendahs’ needed to Just win Baby! But if Will Power Crashed in the Festival Curve taking out Josef Newgarden. And Scott Dixon was given a Drive-thru Penalty for Blowing thru the Festival Curve Chicane. With Marcus Ericsson running Outta Fuel on the Final lap! Then Johnny, we’ve got ourselves a Ball Game, Oh Never Mind!
As How will this weekend’s Season Finale at Laguna Seca Stack Up vs. Portland’s Preamble?
Friday’s first practice was the most Bizarre that I can remember! As the 75mins session took some three Hours to complete, mostly due to the One Hour, 21 minutes Red Flag period to fix a “Jumbotron” Big Screen on the Front Straightaway that was precariously tilting towards the track with Hydraulic fluid leaking out of the Hoist used to lift it!
As a Bemused Colton Herta said it looked like some sorta Forklift’s tongs from what they could see Backside and that the prongs looked Bent! While both Colton and David Malukas told West Coast IndyCar Radio Pit Reporter Dan Rusanowsky, the “Voice of The San Jose Sharks.” They’d Never seen that before! As Malukas said He was coming down Pitlane when they told Him to get out of the car for the Video Board repair, Say What?
According to Racer’s Marshall Pruett one of the Telescoping lift’s Hydraulic Rams lost Fluid when it’s “cap” came off and started spewing fluid with the lift lowering and the Video Board coming to rest upon a trailer before workers finally secured it with mounting straps for the remainder of the session! Or was it the weekend?
Since Malukas noted you could still See the Crooked Jumbotron during their Saturday Portland video. And Marshall Cheekily called it the Leaning Tower of Panasonic during one of the Duo’s videos…
Although I recall during one of my latter Portland Chump Carz’ visits that I think it was Qualie’ that went eerily, starkly Quiet for at least a Half Hour, or longer? When the circuit experienced a full Power Outage on a blistering Hot, Sunny Day! And obviously they couldn’t tell us what was happening over the PA System, albeit I can no longer remember what year that was…
Speaking of Malukas, Mark Gravelly’ James was repeating to us with Davey Hamilton alongside how Malukas’s Spotter Pancho Carter Had been telling Him to try the High line at Gateway All race long. To which Davey said I can assure you that Pancho used more Colourful language than that!
As there were a total of four Red Flags in an Uber Disjointed first practice session, with Helio Castroneves, Takuma Sato and Pato O’Ward causing the final three Ontrack. While Mark James noted that the Top-3 were exactly how they’d finished at Gateway. With Josef Newgarden Quickest at 0:58.5769, followed by Malukas and Scott McLaughlin. While Alex Palou was ninth, will Power finished P10, Scott Dixon 11th and Marcus Ericsson in 16th. And O’ward’s 22 place finish wasn’t indicative of His pace, since Pato Had been P4 before causing the final Red Flag, as the AMR Safety team couldn’t refire His Chevy’ lump’.
Saturday morning’s second practice session was way “cleaner,” as the One Hour session with 45 minutes guaranteed running stayed Caution Free with DJ WillyP[ vaulting to P1’, with a time of 0:58.3946. Followed by Josef Newgarden Hot on His Heels with ScottyMac’ (McLaughlin) seeing Team Penske Go 1-2-3! Whilst Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta silently lurked behind in fourth.
Scott Dixon was the Quickest of the Ganassi Boyz’ in P7, with Palou 13th and Ericsson P15, with A.J. Foyt’s Kyle Kirkwood the meat of this Ganassi Sandwich…
Impressively, the Only One Car team on the Grid saw Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Callum Ilott finish P9! As can He carry this over into Qualifying?
Pato O’Ward was 10th, one place ahead of David Malukas. Whilst Rookie Of the Year (ROY) Points leader Christian Lundgaard Quietly Zipped up to P5! One spot ahead of RLLR Team leader Graham Rahal.
As Mark James and Davey Hamilton talked about the Yellow Grass due to Oregon’s continuing Drought with James mentioning how “Pancake” flat Portland was with Zero elevation! With Davey saying That’s Right, but just looking around I can see Hills and Mount Rainer in the distance…
Yo Davey, I’m pretty Freakin’ certain that was Mount Hood nearby Portlandd, Oregon you were looking at!
As I can still recall ‘Ol bloody Nige’, aka Il Lione’, nee Red 5’, ergo Nigel Mansell talking about looking at the Snow on Mount Hood when racing down the Backstretch at Portland!
And at 11,249 feet it’s Oregon’s tallest Mountain and lies only 50-miles East/South East of Portland. Whilst Mount Tahoma, ergo Mt Rainier is 176 miles NE in Warshington…
So the first Bits ‘O Drama came in the first session, ie.; round-1, Group 1 when Colton Herta, like everyone else Slamming the Turn-1 Kerbing’ to make time, went wide and Smacked the outer Armco retaining Barrier! Resulting in a Bent/Broken front Steering Arm/Toe link which the Andretti Crrew replaced lightning Quick, since Herta was able to return Justin-time’ to Knock Out Kyle Kirkwood with a single flying lap!
Then in Round 1 Group 2, two of CGR’s “Heavy Hitters,” i.e.; Dixon and Ericsson Failed to advance to the Round 2 Fast 12 Shootout. As Dixon rolls off P16 and Ericsson 18th.
Whilst One of the most impressive Drivers of the Day Had to be Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard. As the Rookie went P1’ in Round-1 Group 2 and then followed that up by being second Quickest in the Fast 12
Shootout, advancing to the Fast Six Shootout.
Joining Lundgaard in the Scrum for Pole were Yawn! All three Penske Boyz’, with Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward joining them.
And it’s funny, but I’ve come to really Not like Josef Newgarden this season, and Didn’t want Him on Pole! For which thankfully, ScottyMac’ Threw Down with a Mega’ lap in His Team Penske Freightliner Hot Rod. Ahem Roger, why Aren’t you on the “Blower” to Freightliner to resume being Title Sponsor for Portland?
As McLaughlin claimed His third career IndyCar Pole with a time of 0:58.2349, with Newgarden second and Will Power third. Lundgaard was Best of The Rest in fourth, while Palou led O’Ward on Row 3.
But remember, Newgarden had to take a six place Grid Penalty for an unapproved fifth engine change and will roll off P8. As everybody from P3-8 moves up one position. Hence the revised starting order was an All Penske Front Row with McLaughlin and Power.
Row 2 featured Lundgaard and Palou. Row 3 had both Arrow McLaren Sp Drivers with O’Ward ahead of Felix Rosenqvist. And Colton Herta starts on the inside of Row 4 with Newgarden alongside Him.
But the $64k Questione was How would the Grid fair on the start of the race when 25 Indy Cars went Hurtlin’ into Turn-1 of the Dreaded Festival Curves! And would the Series do anything to keep the Drivers from short cutting the turn by Bouncing Over the Kerbs?
Turnn-1 Video Primer…
During Qualie’, somebody on the IndyCar Radio Broadcast noted that Turn-1 went from a robust 78-feet down to a very tight 30-feet. Whilst Driver Analyst Davey Hamilton said He was gonna Have to try Jumping the Shark at Turn-1, presumably in the IndyCar 2X Seater? With Davey saying He thought a simple fix to get Drivers to Quit Stealing so much Kerb’ would to be adding more Rumble Strips.
While Here’s Racer’s Marshall Pruett’s Turn-1 video over Portland’s “Signature” feature, the Dreaded Festival Curves, for which Marshall naturally Quotes entirely Different track widths. Check it Out…
Although Surprisingly, they All managed to get thru Turn-1 Cleanly, without the usual Pile Up in the Festival Curves!