Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma

If ever there was a moment to need a glass of wine – or seventeen – this is it. Perhaps then I could begin to accept the memories of what I learned in Mid-Ohio:

1.    It is a possibility that during practice, Ryan Briscoe forgot just how tall Justin Wilson is. But I will never forget the sight of JW rising slowly – all Frankensteiny – out of his car to tower over Briscoe as if to say, “Um, what was that? I couldn’t hear you all the way up here.”
2.    Mid-Ohio dudes: Under no circumstances are cutoff jeans and a half t-shirt acceptable as attire. This is not debatable.
3.    Screens are a necessity at any non-oval track. Contrary to popular belief, even people like God and Roger Penske don’t have the ability to see every angle on the track. And even the temporary street courses have grasped this concept. But not Mid-Ohio. It’s more of an “everyone scrunch together around the one tiny screen” mentality. Precious.
4.    As part of KV’s effort to break the all-time record for wall stuffs and general car part replacement, it was no surprise that Sato cruised off track in the esses. But it’s only in seeing the replay from Dixon’s on-board camera that you realize just how effing hilarious that maneuver was.
5.    Mid-Ohio parents: If your children are large enough to carry thirteen hot dogs by nestling them against their fat rolls, you might want to consider setting some limits.
6.    Being at the races is just not the same without my partner-in-crime. Who else am I supposed to point out the violations mentioned in #2 to and then curl up in bed with at night to slather ourselves with a ginormous piece of carrot cake? I’m JUST sayin.’
7.    Some tracks have people walking around yelling stuff like, “Beer!” and “Peanuts!” Mid-Ohio has dudes on golf carts selling Dominos Pizza. Mid-Ohio FTW.
8.    Justin Wilson would be having a fabulous season if his luck would stop getting in the way.
9.    Milka Duno would be having a fabulous season if her driving would stop getting in the way.
10.    I don’t even remember who won the race, (I’m kidding, Franchitti. Simmer.) but I know I woke up that morning and said, “Boy, it’s been a long time since Penske or Ganassi won. I hope THAT happens today.” Sigh.

One can only hope that Sonoma offers such great life lessons. We shall see. If not, plan B is double-fisting the wine. You know, six in one hand… Here are my picks:

First, I’ll take Franchitti. He won here in 2009 and was fastest in the first practice today. If there’s anyone to beat the almighty William Power (throwing arms in the air), I guess it will have to be Mr. Judd.

For picks two and three, I have a good feeling about Andretti Autosport this weekend. Not Danica… oops, I mean, “NASCAR’s own, Danica.” Barf. I’ll take TK for my second pick. Despite only running a few laps in the first practice, he looked solid.

Andretti or RHR? Hmmmmm. It’s like a hot boy conundrum. I’ll take Andretti for my third pick. You know when you go to your buddy’s house and his wife says, “I like the Detroit Lions cuz their uniforms are pretty?” And then you tell her that the Lions were 0-16 two seasons ago, but that means nothing to her? You’d think I have a point here, wouldn’t you? I don’t. I’m just excited for football season.

So I raise my wine glass(es) from Infineon Raceway, a track ranking extremely high on the list of “gorgeous facilities,” which Pressdog will tell you can only mean that the racing will be good. Here’s to a great race, good friendship throughout the IndyCar nation and the realization that after this race we are finally… finally… back to ovals. FINALLY. Cheers…

Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

The hills are alive… with the sound of horsepower. Yodel-ee-i-odel-ee-i-odel-ee-i-hoooo.

Before we go any farther, we have to talk about the block heard ‘round the world. It’s taken a few weeks and I’m finally ready to talk about it. Partly because I wanted to let it sink in, but mostly because it took that long to stop laughing at the image of Mr. Castroneves’ tiny little hands embedded in the 4XL polo of one Sir Charles de Securidad. I don’t know what Helio was thinking – aint that the $60,000 question – but I can tell you for damn tootin’ that it’s just what the IICS needed. Can you feel that, NASCAR? Your era is over. There’s a new sheriff in town, and the 7.2 seconds of coverage on ESPN is proof. I remember it fondly – SportsCenter came on. Half the nation turned to their neighbor and said, “What is this IZOD IndyCar business and who the hell is Helium Castroneeevus?” And I thought, “Yessss. We made ESPN.”

The best part of that whole debacle actually had nothing to do with Helio. And the Oscar goes to… Scott Dixon for doing the post-race interview as if he actually deserved the win. Congratulations, Dixie. Normally your interviews are just boring, but this time you managed to look like a douche. You can pick up your award in Barnhart’s office.

You want my opinion? A car that’s blocking makes a sharp cut. A car that’s moving out to turn in looks a lot like the #3 car during that restart. With that being said, I agree that the call followed the rules. I just don’t agree with the rule. In addition, I think a drive-through penalty for a block is sometimes (but not always) excessive at any given moment in race. But to TAKE AWAY THE WIN is… well, it’s… supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I learned as a kid that that’s a word to say when you don’t know what to say. My parents would be proud. But I can’t let it go. Mom and Dad – cover your ears. The call was effing bullshit. [Insert innocent schoolgirl smile.]

In summary, I can only hope that something just as breathtaking happens here on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Something that makes the IndyCar nation blow up Twitter like it did on that fateful day. Something that has us all talking and debating until Sonoma. Something that makes the non-fans (hereby known as “the uncool” or more specifically, “jackwagons”) sit up and take notice.

Wait a minute. Shut the front door. Just happened: some dude just did a farmer blow on the hill here at Mid-O. I wish I was making this up. The hills are now alive with the sound of my giggles. So glad you guys are indirectly sharing this moment with me. For the sake of my faith in men, I’m going to pretend that did NOT just happen. Moving on…

Let’s do picks… really quickly. Let’s do something unprecedented, shall we? Just so that I can say I didn’t pick Power and Wilson again, I’m doing a 3rd, 4th and 5th place pick this week. Sometimes my brilliance is hard to fathom. Third – I’ll take Helio. Revenge. Bam. Fourth – Ryan Hunter-Reay. Fifth – Marco Andretti. Aaaaaaand… go.

By the way, thanks for your concern. My chassis-licious blog is coming. Keep your pants on.

In Case You’re Confused: Brickyard Edition

A funny thing happened on my way to nowhere yesterday. I hopped on the treadmill, which I hate, but it was hot as Satan’s nipples in Indy. Usually I turn on ESPN but as I flipped channels, I happened to catch a local news station’s pre-race coverage of the Brickyard 400. Lucky me. In the hour that followed, I was privy to some of the most breath-taking nonsense this side of the Mississippi.

And so I bring you… the top three interviews that make you proud to be an IndyCar fan:

Interview #1: The women of NASCAR.
I can only imagine that this story idea went something like this:
Dude 1: “We need some story ideas.”
Dude 2: “What? I wasn’t listening. There are girls here.”
Dude 1: “Here? At the Brickyard?”
Dude 2: “Yea. Weird. Let’s go talk to them.”

So here’s the premise for the story: The reporters went around asking women at the track about why they were there. The questions ranged from “How long have you been coming?” to “Who’s your favorite driver?” As you can imagine, in true redneck fashion, the women were beautiful. And none of their answers made them sound like flippin’ idiots. Psych. It was a modern-day marvel.

The women liked the drivers because they were cute. They didn’t really enjoy the racing but the cars were “cool.” And then, low and behold, came my personal favorite. When asked about brand loyalty, and whether the advertising mattered at all to them, not one of the women said it did. ARE YOU HEARING ME, MARKETING DIRECTORS? For the thousands of you who are spending millions on advertising in the NASCAR market, the decision-makers of the house are tuning you out. Compare that to the extremely brand-loyal, higher-educated, higher-tax-bracket demographic of the IZOD IndyCar Series and let’s see some of that money roll in the right direction. Just sayin. Man, this soap box is high. Can someone get me a step stool?

IndyCar – 1, NASCAR – 0.

Interview #2: When beer is more important than your friends…
So we move on to the next interview, which takes place in what can only be described as a regular-tent-turned-beer-tent. The shot is of five or six lonely-looking people who have about $750 worth of ribs cooking on their grill. The backdrop is 40+ cases of beer, neatly stacked as if they were building some kind of Coors Light compound. Pfft. Your first mistake is the Coors Light. When building a beer fortress, always go with imports. Rookie mistake.

Anyway, here’s the theme of this gem: These people used to have a HUGE group of party comrades who united at the Brickyard each year to drink and enjoy the race (really, just drink… let’s be honest). This year, because of the economy, most of their friends just couldn’t afford it. Three things that come to mind: 1) Racing (despite the fact that it’s NASCAR, which I’m willing to forgive) is life. If your friends don’t recognize that, get new friends. 2) I heard that general admission Brickyard 400 tickets are $40. You can get into the infield at the 500 for $20. Something is wrong here. 3) You losers have clearly spent more than a grand on meat and beer. You couldn’t have donated some of that money to your poor friend’s outreach program so they can be there too?

IndyCar – 2, NASCAR – 0.

Interview #3: If your perception of reality is THIS far off, you might be a redneck.
The bad news is that I never caught the name of the guy in this last interview. The good news is that he’s so far removed from reality that it doesn’t really matter.

The reporters seemed excited to be able to introduce this guy, who appeared to be one of the higher-ups in the NASCAR executive team. However, he said he was spending his day going from suite to suite, encouraging people to keep coming out. They already have people to do that, sir. They’re called beer girls.

Best part of the interview: When asked about the Brickyard 400 and whether or not there had been talks of adding a NASCAR road course race, he says, “The Brickyard 400 is the crown jewel at IMS,” but there have been talks about the possibility of another race. Crown… effing… jewel. This just after they interviewed the traffic lady who said, “Surprisingly, the roads are all clear. Feel free to come on out – you shouldn’t have a problem. Or you can watch it on tv from the comfort of your couch and not have to worry about heat and dehydration.” That’s one way to advertise. Well, lady, if you put it that way…

And thus, the result was 150,000 fans in attendance (a generous estimate, according to the Indy Star’s Curt Cavin). Yes, clearly the 350,000 fans that come out for the Indy 500 are missing out on this “crown jewel.” How silly of us.

In comparison, Randy Bernard was asked almost the same question at the Carb Night Burger Bash this year. When the possibility of adding an IndyCar road course at IMS came up, he simply stated that it wasn’t likely, as he didn’t want to take away from the prestige of the Indy 500.

IndyCar – 3, NASCAR – 0.

Well, that about does it for this edition of “Why NASCAR Blows.” To sum up, you should be an IndyCar fan. Thanks for tuning in. Stay classy, San Diego. Back to you.

Honda Indy Edmonton

Well, shoot. That Toronto sure was a shit show, wasn’t it? Let me let you in on a little secret: If you’re actually going to attend that race next year, the ONLY place to sit is turn three. I’d like to apologize to all of the dudes around me for the excessive gasping and pointing that went on. And I’m sorry about your knees – I’m sure that some random chick grabbing them is probably not what you needed.

I’d also like to give a big thumbs up to Tags and Scheckter, but I don’t have big thumbs. I’m impressed with your child-like attitudes and frustration levels that make Mel Gibson look like a yoga instructor. Boys, I salute you. For you are what makes the IZOD IndyCar Series fun. And I’m sure yo mommas was proud when they saw your post-race interviews all over ESPN. Which can only mean that Edmonton should be the bearer of beautiful things. Let the madness ensue.

No, I still won’t give you my thoughts on the 2012 chassis. It’s coming. It can’t happen now because everything that happens now, is happening now. What happened to then? We passed then. When? Just now. We’re at now, now. Go back to then. When? Now. Now? Now. I can’t. Why? We missed it. When? Just now.

In case you were confused just then, you should know that no blog is truly complete without a Spaceballs reference. I knew it. I’m surrounded by assholes. Okay, I’m done.

Sweet Jebediah, can we please get back to racing? I’m going to go out on a LONG limb here and call a complete Penske/Ganassi domination in Edmonton this weekend. That would be shocking, no? Ugh. Make it STOP already. I’m tired of choosing red and black so much that I feel like I’m playing Connect Four. Who won at Toronto? POWER. Who was on the pole and won at The Glen? POWER. Who was on the pole and won last year at Edmonton? POWER. Last week, I banned myself from picking him on sheer principal. This week, I say, screw the principles. I’ll take Power.

Secondly, I’ll take Justin Wilson. Did you see that performance last week? Not only was he smokin’ the rest of the field on his black tires, but after the late-race debacle that put him way back in the pack, he managed to work his way up in the last few laps of the race to finish seventh. It was a spectacle.

Finally, simply for the fun of it, and because I refuse to pick another Penske, I’ll take resident evil Paul Tracy. He’s somehow whined his way into my heart and I’d like to see him finish well for the Canadian fans. Man, do they love that guy up there. I saw grown men acting like 14-year-old girls at a Justin Bieber concert. Obnoxious? Yes. Heartwarming? Eh, sort of. But you can’t argue with hometown pride. Just ask the Iowa corn-growers. Those are some crazy sons-of… older corn-growers.

Let the Canadian frenzy continue. I miss that place already. And let me know who YOU guys think will take the podium this weekend. This is, after all, your world. I’m just visiting…

Honda Indy Toronto

Welcome, race fans, to the first international race gIRL blog post, coming to you from the beautiful city of Toronto. Beautiful is the understatement of the season. This place is the shizz. It’s funny – I always imagined Canada to be like a giant arctic glacier. Like it could be sunny and 80 in Detroit, and then you cross that bridge into a winter wonderland. A place where Santa and his elves work 51 weeks out of the year, but then during that one week in mid-July, they exclusively make Hot Wheels and other IndyCar-related goodies. You thought the same thing, didn’t you? I hate to break it to you, but it’s not like that at all. It’s better. I think maybe I was born to be a Canadian. Maybe not. Whatever.

It is with great pleasure that I raise my LaBatt Blue and tell you that I am not – I repeat, NOT, going to talk about the 2012 chassis just yet. I have 712,634 thoughts about it all vying for position in my brain. I’m trying to sort them by choosing one main, core thought and then using the others as options. Oops, see what I did there?

Before we move onto this week’s picks, can I just say… Will Power, man – WTF? Seriously, dude. You rock. This is your world and we’re all just visitors. Now SIMMER DOWN. Thanks. Smooches…

On to the picks. This just in from the Department of Are You On Crack, I have temporarily banned myself from picking Will Power (for further explanation, look up “cheating” in the dictionary). I’m starting to feel like from now on he could be my cut-and-paste first pick, and I know I said I wasn’t talking chassis yet, but for the LOVE OF GOD, I hope this new “strategy” helps to move the series away from Penske/Ganassi domination. The two Andretti Autosport wins so far this season have been encouraging, but not enough.

Ahh what the hell? It’s been awhile since I’ve picked Franchitti and since he was on pole AND won it in Toronto last year, I’ll take him for my first pick. Safe. Shhhh.

Secondly, I’m combining my dark horse and token Canadian pick. I like to call it the “dark Canadian.” Sounds kinda like a French Zorro, eh? I’d love to go with PT but I just don’t have the same confidence in him this season as I did last year. So I’m going with Tagliani. He hasn’t been showing up as of late but I feel like he was rockin’ something at Indy and if he can stay focused here on the home soil, I’d love to see him finish on the podium.

Finally, I’ll take Briscoe for pick number three. You saw how close I was to picking him for The Glen and didn’t… and should have. So there.

And this week, I am proud to announce that for the rest of the season, I will also be choosing… drum roll please… a weekly Firestone Indy Lights driver! I’m doing my best to keep an ear to the ground with the FIL series, as hopefully we’ll see some of it’s drivers making their way into IndyCar in the future. So for my inaugural race gIRL FIL pick, I’m going with James Hinchcliffe for the win in Toronto. Don’t let me down, Hinch. I’m sure your victory will be sweet, but this is about something so much bigger than that. Like me batting 1000 in FIL picks. That would be HUGE. I kid,  I kid.

That’s all from Toronto. Off to have some Poutine and ketchup chips. See you all in the states!

Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen

Watkins Glen. The Glen. Glen Beck. Glen Gary Glenn Ross. I got nothin’.

There are two things I know about Watkins Glen: #1 – A friend of mine said there’s Black Widow spiders in the public restrooms. #2 – I’m not going. Note that #2 has nothing to do with #1, although I’d like to offer some advice to my NY-bound friends: Pee quickly and carry a big stick.

Let’s talk about something else cuz I’m bitter that I’m not going. Maybe bitter is too strong a word. I’m on suicide watch. Shall we chat chassis?

Has everyone requested off work on July 14? Have you laid out your design sheets neatly for side-by-side comparison? Have you concluded that the Delta Wang is the most ridiculous POS you’ve ever laid eyes on? Maybe it’s just me. But don’t rule it out… it’s all about the “concept.” Riiiight. And when it comes to tracks, it’s all about the “facility.”

Maybe we should change the subject. I try not to talk non-racing biznass around these parts but I just want to say thanks to all several of the race gIRL readers. It’s officially been a year since the site was created. I’ve had an absolute blast doing it. (That’s what she said). Your comments and feedback are always appreciated and you guys make it fun. So thanks. Tear. I said I wouldn’t cry.

So, helluva race in Iowa, hey? Told ya. Take heed, oval-haters – you will be converted. Embrace the left turns and super-speeds. Alright, alright, I’m over it. I realize we’re heading into road course month and I gotta say – I don’t hate the twisties as much as I used to. Calm down there, chief. Don’t read too much into it. I’m just beginning to appreciate the balance of variety. Of lefts and rights. Of walls and chicanes. Of concrete and nature. Spoken like a true tree-hugger. Moving on.

First pick. If you think I’d go with anyone other than Justin Wilson, you’ve hopped on the train to Wrongsville. Come on back. J-DUB is the reigning champ and after the Iowa debacle, I’d love to see him defend his title.

Initially, I was leaning toward Briscoe for my second pick, but after much deliberation, I’m taking Slick Willy P. You just can’t go wrong with Power this season, so it’s a safe pick but hey, a darn good one.

Finally, I’m going with Sato as my 穴馬 – that’s “dark horse” for all of my Japanese-challenged friends. His F1 experience would indicate a better success on the road courses, and I like what I saw from him in Iowa, minus that pesky wall-stuffing part.

Let’s recap. You know what? Let’s not. Now, I’m not one for drunk tweeting… hahaha. I almost got through that with a straight face. But this weekend when I’m missing the Glen and crying into my Bacardi… watch out now. Between the tears, the fireworks and the liquor, we’ve got ourselves a paaaaartay. Join me, won’t you? Then on July 14, we can look back and say, “Remember that time, ten days ago, when we were all scared that the ICONIC Committee wouldn’t pick Swift?” Then we’ll raise our glasses and chuckle one more time at the notion that people actually thought the DW could even be considered an open-wheel car. Good times it will be. Happy 4th of July. And God Bless America.

Hey Charles… This track ain’t big enough for the both of us

Photo by Paul Dalbey

Iowa Corn Indy 250

So Dan Wheldon says, “there’s not much to do in Iowa.” Pfft. Shows what he knows. There’s…

I mean, you can…

Well, the locals like to…

Apparently there’s not much to do in Iowa. So let’s go racing, shall we? Honestly, this is one of my favorite tracks. I like Iowa Speedway like I like my men – short, fast and… wait. What? Clearly I’ve been sniffing a little too much of the ethanol. That’s corn ethanol this week, boys and girls. Normally, I compete with sugar cane ethanol. Sweet Lord, make it stop. I can’t get that damn commercial out of my head. Is it fair to say that ‘sugar cane ethanol’ is the new ‘everything’s gonbee alright?’ Yea, you diehards know what I’m talking about. High five. If you didn’t get it, let me introduce you to a little thing I like to call the IZOD IndyCar Series. We talk about it quite a bit here. It’s nifty.

Best description I’ve ever heard about this track came from the Alex Lloyd interview on this week: Iowa is “like flying a jet fighter through a gymnasium.” Holy balls. I mean really. Last year, I brought my best friend to this track. It was her first (and last) IndyCar race. It may have been that the first 50 laps were a parade. Or that she kept getting poked in the eye with the red, white and blue Mohawk on the random dude sitting next to her. Or the three-hour wait to get out of the parking lot. Lot? Field. Huge field of nothingness. Personally, I don’t understand what’s wrong with any of those things. Okay… I could have done without the 50-lap parade, but the rest is just racin’. If the track is as fast as it is, you gotta expect it. Imagine the levels of concentration and strength that go into this track. Oof. Can’t wait.

Time for the picks. By the way, did anyone notice that I picked two of the top three finishers at Texas? You did? Liar. But thanks for humoring me.

First, I’m going with Castroneves. Coming off a disappointing finish – or lack thereof – at Texas (anyone shocked that Mario “The Pinball” Moraes is back to his old tricks?) I think he’s due for the podium. Solid on the ovals, pole-sitter last year, get ready for some fence climbing…

I think I’ll take Wheldon as my second pick. For the most part, I like what I’ve seen from him this season. Coming off two top-ten finishes and starting/finishing fourth at Iowa last year, I’m watching for a podium finish this year.

Oooooh… internal struggle. I want to pick TK, but he’s never finished a race here. And I’m getting a TREMENDOUS amount of pressure from certain family members (ahem, my newly-converted-IndyCar-fan brother) to pick Alex Lloyd. Family is important. But the race gIRL cannot be bribed. Except with chocolate. NO. I cannot be bribed. However, I’m beyond impressed with one car on the Dale Coyne team this year (HINT: you shouldn’t need a hint), and I’m fairly certain it will be in future picks if this streak continues.

I’m going with RHR for my third pick. Partly because I’m just thankful he’s in the car. Partly because he’s the only non-Penske/Ganassi driver to win a race this year. Mostly because I hope I’m right. Would love to see another victory for the pretty IZOD face. No, I don’t mean the girl. Speaking of, does anyone ever wonder WTF she’s always laughing about? She’s constantly in the background of the post-race interviews giggling… with herself. Does IZOD give her a check and say, “Go on out there and pretend that Scott Dixon said something entertaining?” We all know he didn’t. Just be normal, IZOD girl. Grab an ear of corn. You’re gorgeous. Own it.

One more thing… if you’ll be in Iowa this weekend, let me know. I definitely won’t be standing next to the IZOD girl (I prefer not to put myself in situations where I’m known as “the funny one”) but chances are, there won’t be much to do. I’m aiming to change that.

Firestone 550K (Texas)

“After Indy we go to Milwaukee.”

Milwaukee. Not Texas. What seems to be the problem here?

I’m not bitter.

Before we start the boot scootin’ boogie, I have to tell you about the greatest spectacle in FAIL. It’s been my tradition – and it should be yours – to attend the Indy 500 and then watch the broadcast later that evening. And as of the last few years, I’ve DVR’d it. You know, because watching it forty-two times in a row is necessary. So I watch the live race. Then I watch the broadcast. Then I watch the recording. You get the picture. So we’re on phase three of this jolly adventure…

Three laps to go. Then two. Out comes the white flag. Conway hits the wall. The announcer says, “We’ve got a crash. Wow – it’s a wicked crash.” Annnnnnd… the recording stops. No replay of the crash. No post-race interviews. Nada. I sat and stared for a good two minutes, refusing to admit that THAT just happened. Then I scream in agony, in much the same way as I did when I found out the Mile wasn’t on the 2010 schedule. I’m not bitter.

Sooooo… the stars at night, are big and bright, (clap, clap, clap, clap) deep in the heart of Texas. Everything I ever needed to learn in life came from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. I already knew there was no basement in the Alamo, but I understand that Pee Wee had to learn the hard way. And that tour guide lady didn’t need to be such a bitch.

Is this the race that Randy Bernard has been looking forward to most? Has he been like, “Yea, that Indy 500 is cool but let’s hurry up and get to the mother ship?” You betcha. Well, Mr. Bernard, it’s time to make a b-double-e-double-r-u-n cuz we ain’t goin’ down ‘til the sun comes up. Okay, that’s quite enough of the country music references. I just annoyed the crap out of myself.

First pick – I’ll take Marco Andretti. I remember being fairly confident in Marco this time last season because he favors the high line, especially at this track. He finished fourth at Texas Speedway last year (which I’m almost certain was his highest finish of the 2009 season) and I think his momentum will be strong after this year’s third-place finish at Indy.

Secondly, I’ll go with Ryan Briscoe. A few reasons – I like him on the ovals, he started and finished second last year, and well, he drives for Penske, so can you really go wrong with a red team pick? It’s safe… and I know it.

Finally, I’ll take Scheckter as my dark horse. Due to the unfortunate crash involving Mike Conway and RHR at Indy, Scheckter has been asked to fill in for DRR at Texas. I don’t like the circumstances, but I’m excited about the outcome. And this may be my last chance to pick him this year (knock on carbon fiber), so let’s hope we see something spectacular. BTW, did anyone notice that going into the last 15 laps at Indy, Scheckter had yet to use any of his push-to-pass? I don’t care what Davey Hamilton says – he never ceases to amaze me.

Try and find me at Texas. I won’t be there, but it will be a fun little game. However, if our paths happen to cross in Vegas this weekend, don’t tell anyone. For what happens in Vegas… should be happening in Texas, cuz I wish I was going there. Yeehaw and God Speed. Enjoy it while it lasts, because next year after Indy, we go to Milwaukee.

Qualifying 2010: WTF

If you’ve ever checked out my weekly picks before, you know that I usually do them before qualifying. Not that it’s cheating to do them afterwards, but it feels like cheating. And you know that rule about how if you’re going to cheat, it better be with someone really hot? I have no idea where I’m going with this.

I believe the word you’re looking for is… ANYWAY….

So the goal was to do my Indy 500 picks before Pole Day. But no one told me that Pole Day was a whole eight days before the race. Fine. I’m lying. Here’s the thing… it’s just that the 500 is so huge, so prestigious, so mystifying that it scares the bejeepers out of me to attempt to call it one way or the other. So I did the logical thing and called my the_race_dAD.

“Dad,” I said, “You gotta make my pics. I’m scared.”

“Monica,” he replied, “I introduced you to this sport. Tell the IndyCar nation I apologize. Haven’t I done enough?”

I’m lying. That never happened. You can’t have someone else make your picks. That’s like cheating. And you know the rule about… nevermind.

So let’s pretend, shall we? Let’s pretend that I had actually made my picks. Because I can tell you now that they would have been absolutely wrong. Never in my wildest dreams would I have believed you if you showed me the starting grid last Friday. I keep looking at the darn thing and thinking, ‘Hmmpf.’

I would’ve picked TK to podium or even win. Would LOVE to see Vitor in Victory Lane, so although a long shot, I would have picked him as well. Rows one and two come as no surprise, aside from Tags, which is AWESOME. Both the third (Rahal, Carpenter, Mutoh) and fourth (Bell, Wilson, Matos) rows make me giddy. Would have really liked to see Scheckter, Lloyd, Simona and Marco qualify higher, but should make for an interesting race this way. The list goes on.

And I gotta say, I’ve really never been a huge PT fan, but that… was… BRUTAL. I still don’t understand the decision and I’m not about to beat a dead horse. I wouldn’t even beat a live one – that’s just stupid. I expected Tracy to come storming into the presser, cussing like A.J. Foyt and blaming everyone, but… not so much. Apparently missing a qualifying attempt at the Indy 500 changes you. Like it’s a big deal or something. The guy was a mess. He was brought to tears, describing his disappointment and saying how it was hard to walk away. My heart – and the hearts of a surprising amount of people – went out to him.

Now, the saga continues and he’s working on future races. And honestly, as long as the twitching stops (that’s “twitter bitching” for all you newbies), I might be on board the PT train, where the Monster Energy drink flows like wine and you could save fifteen percent – or more – on car insurance.

One final update. I attended my first Carb Day today. I can’t talk about it. It’s too painful. I may be ready to discuss it in the future, but it’s too soon. Let’s act like I never brought it up.

See you at the track on Sunday. I hear there’s a race going on…