Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Some lingering Thoughts upon IndyCar’s TMS Race

Who’s it gonna Be? Pato O’Ward, Josef Newgarden? And the winner takes it by a Nose!


Yeah, most of Yuhs have already moved on from that Fantastic Oval race at Texas Motor Speedway. (TMS) Especially since we’re off to “The Beach” (Long Beach) this weekend. As here’s just a few, lingering thoughts…


First off, like everyone else on Ye Blogosphere, it was a Great race! And easily one of the best at TMS in a long time. Which seems to have been a combination of Indy Cars new “Aero” package along with the “rubbering-in” of the second groove. Although it really shouldn’t be Indy Cars problem to resolve wrecking it’s track’s surface with that dreaded PJ1 Traction compound!


And you could tell it was gonna be a good race just by the passing and repassing of the lead during the opening laps, with Scott Dixon battling Alex Palou Me Thinks?


As this is the first race of our early racing season that’s gotten me Geeked! Which I suppose was partially aided by my Numero Uno IndyCar Driver Pato O’Ward putting on such an amazing performance! As I really felt that the Mexican driver had the car to Beat! Even though Josef Newgarden scotched that, albeit it would have been interesting to see what happened at the end of lap-250, if we’d gotten there…


As I’d say from lap-192? To the end of the race was truly enjoyable Edge of your Seat Stuff! For which I’m not going to try rehashing or recapping here, since simply too much happened…


Happy to have read that attendance was up this year at TMS, albeit it couldn’t have gotten much lower than last year’s paltry 5,000 turn out. But I was left wondering if IndyCar really even cares about this?


Since I cannot help but remembering Good ‘Ol Uncle Bernaughty’, aka Bernie Ecclestone’s famous Quip about F1 made it’s money off of the Television contracts, and they could run the races without Fans and it wouldn’t matter to Him.


Hence, I’d Arse-sume this is typical for All Motorsport entities, albeit it naturally looks far better on TV to have Fans in attendance. And obviously the track Promoter prefers more “Gate” revenue. Yet I’m left wondering if All that truly matters is what Big NBC’s Nielsen ratings were?


And we All know how poorly both Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR) performed as a whole at TMS. For which I agree with whomever said it? That Graham Rahal was probably “lucky” to have had Devlin DeFrancesco take Him Out for a second year in-a-row!


For which you could have guessed that DeFrancesco’s day might have gone aray when IndyCar Radio reported following His first Pitstop, and I’m paraphrasing here: To just “Shut Up” and Drive the Car! (“Sparky”) After He’d complained on the radio how He wasn’t Happy with His racecar.


Whilst I’ve got Zero Clue why both Jack Harvey and Christian Lundgaard were both so off the pace at TMS? As may be they’d better swap car numbers again? Although I cannot help but think that neither of these drivers have forgotten how to drive an IndyCar…


And I just Don’t get what’s wrong with MSR? Besides having Hulio’, the Elder Statesman of IndyCar on it’s Drivers roll. But you’d think with it’s Technical Alliance with Andretti Autosport they’d have enough Data to not be running far Outback’ in the field’s Mid-pack.


Also have to wonder what Team Penske’s signing Will Power to a Contract extension thru at least 2025 signifies? As is this just a reward for winning the Championship last year?


Or does this imply that El Capitano’ and the rest of Roger Penske’s Braintrust Don’t see any better drivers currently available? Or that the market’s firmly “locked up” until the end of the 2025 season already? Since pretty sure that Colton Herta’s not available until then.


And Penske’s typically not been one to bring on Rookies or Young Guns, preferring to let other Teams “Season” them, albeit Scott McLaughlin is one exception that’s panned out pretty good!


Yet I’d have to think there’s countless talented “Youngsters” just waiting for the chance to drive an IndyCar, not to mention driving for Penske, Ganassi, Andretti or McLaren…


Thus, I would like to know how reigning Indy Lights Champion Linus Lundqvist got on with His test at TMS the day following the race for RLLR, who were also running Katherine Legge.


As did either of these two drivers help RLLR figure anything out?


For which I thought that RLLR has just “revamped” it’s Engineering? And I know that Graham Rahal has reunited with His former winning Race Engineer. But still, if seems like there’s some sort of major issue here…


Whilst I suppose that Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) shouldn’t get a “Pass” upon it’s lackluster performance either…


Meanwhile, as I’ve already been a Fan of Juncos Hollinger Racing (JHR) and Callum Ilott, naturally I’m tickled Pink! Uhm, think that colour’s already taken by MSR and Andretti’s Kyle Kirkwood, Righto?


As it was pretty ironic that it was Kirkwood whose car Alexander Rossi collided with during an early race Pitstop!


Naturally I’m just super Happy over how great their season’s begun for both cars! As you’d have to wonder if Ilott will be in the Catbird seat for Chip Ganassi Racing’s vacated No. 10 come season’s end? And perhaps Felix Rosenqvist would be a good replacement for Castroneves?


Although I’d still really like to see Tom “the Bomb” Blomqvist in one of the MSR entries next year, and may be it’s time to Clean House and let Symone’, aka Pageantry’, nee Simon Pagenaud Depart also?


Yet I’m even more impressed with the “rawest” Rookie of this year’s small crop. That being Argentinian Touring Cars HotSchue’ Augustin Canapino! Who’s just finished a super respectable 12th for His second race in-a-row! And being His very first ever Oval to Boot!


As it was fun hearing how incredulous Canapino sounded to note that He’d been racing with Helio Castroneves for 10th in His first ever Oval race during a Post-race interview with Racer’s Marshall Pruett…


And No Pressure! But I’m picking Canapino to be Rookie of The Year (ROY) at this year’s fast approaching Indianapolis 500!


Whilst I’d say that my Top-3 favourite IndyCar Drivers All had a very good day at TMS. With Pato O’Ward a tantalizing Runner-up! With David Malukas an excellent fourth and Callum Ilott an impressive P9 respectively!