Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Told Ya..."neener neener" :)

Finally, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar season has begun. I spent the better part of this weekend geeking out over YouTube videos and trying my hardest to get the radio feed to stream using various devices and various browsers. Although the race was somewhat uneventful, it was still exciting for me, even if my excitement was based more on it being “Opening Day” than the race itself.

Here are few notes from my experience this weekend.

1.      ABC’s Coverage: ABC took a dramatic leap in the quality of their coverage from horrific and dull, to just below “meh,” so with that I say nice improvement. Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever are the ones that really bring the coverage down. As always, I find their insight to be unenthusiastic, overly opinionated and delivered at the same pace as a terminal cancer diagnosis.  ABC’s lead announcer whose name totally escapes me and Google is failing me was the one responsible for the dramatic increase in presentation. I found his attitude exciting and contagious.  Hopefully ABC ditches Cheever and Goodyear for drivers with pulses who are actually excited to be alive.

2.       Pippa! Pippa! Pippa! It was a real shame there were streaming issues with the radio broadcast because that was much more enjoyable. I found Pippa Mann’s commentary to be spot on, and her insight into each of the drivers she discussed was quite illuminating and delivered with excitement and energy. I’m happy to see her having success in IndyCar since her driving career isn’t necessarily going the way she would like. She obviously loves this sport and continually represents it with sheer class, intelligence and charm. I enjoyed the Twitter pics of her setting up the live Twitter feeds for their use on the air. This level of fan involvement really is Pippa’s strong suit, and IndyCar needs to capitalize on what she brings to every event.

3.       Mike Conway: Holy mackerel who didn’t see that coming. It was a real shame on the penalty and the pit stop, but you know what, those are just bad breaks. Sure, they cost Conway a chance at a podium, but those lessons should be quickly chalked up to “bad breaks” and ensured they will never be repeated again.  Mr. Carpenter should be all smiles if this quickness keeps up, because Ed Carpenter Racing is about to become very competitive.  

4.       Josef Newgarden: What a great race for the young kid from Tennessee. People have been saying all off season that Josef may very well find the winners circle this year. I didn’t see that opinion until St. Petersburg. In my very humble opinion, I feel like Mr. Newgarden and in turn Charlie Kimball are both in critical places with their current teams. They need to start being very competitive in almost every race if they want their careers to continue. Josef did that very well on Sunday, so now let’s see what the rest of the year holds.

5.       Verizon: This is going to be an exciting season once we start to see what Verizon has in store for us. Just little blurbs on the internet, Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere showed that Verizon is taking this partnership very seriously. I can only imagine what’s next.

6.       The controversial restart: Call it how you want, the leader controls the pace of the field. I realize Will Power is one of the more loved/hated drivers out there, but I fail to see the argument that he did something wrong. Now, I’m quite sure there was some gamesmanship in the pacing, because Power has routinely questioned Race Control because P2 always seems to get such a big jump on restarts. However, this incident has to be inspected with logic, therein you will find your answer. Don’t you think it’s funny that none of the drivers are complaining?

Q: Why do you think Power should be penalized for the restart?
A: He didn’t go, and everyone stacked up.
Q: Oh, so the second restart was correct then?
A: Yes, it was perfect.

Q: Then why was Power warned for the second restart?

For something to be, the inverse must also be true. In this case, the questionable start was actually the second.

A well timed push to pass, and very late breaking
gives Power the position, but Sato is still
on the inside and still very aggressive.
7.       Will Power: Prepare yourself for a Will Power season because this dude is on fire. Three races in a row, and we’re headed into Long Beach, Barber and an Indy Road Course. Not to mention he’s managing to be quite competitive on ovals. Last year was all bad luck for Power, so what happens if he has a year where things go his way?
Sato pulls ahead and seems to have taken the
position back, but it only "seems" that way.

      Additionally, I have to give him credit for a fantastic pass of Sato in Turn 1. What many people failed to see was that it wasn’t super brave to pass him on the outside, it was super smart. Look at the course, Turn 2 is a tight left which would force Sato to have to yield even if Power wasn’t in the best position coming out of 1. Super brave, no; super smart.

Boom! Now Sato is on the outside, and has to yield
and come off the power, thus giving way to Power.

      All in all the race was a tad boring which can happen with such a dominant performance mixed with very few incidents. Long Beach cannot get here fast enough.