|Bourdais leads Andretti in two of the nearly 2,300 laps turned today at IMS
(Greg Griffo photo credit)
Weeks like this are the times it kinda stinks to be a grown up.
The weather was about perfect in Central Indiana today...it felt like a day to go to the track, do a little homework before pole day and learn some of the new paint jobs and driver/car combos. BUT, work has me traveling for he next few days, so in preparation, I was kinda strapped to my desk today.
As a band-aid to my jonesing to get to the West side of Indy, I put the webcast up in the background of my computer and kinda paid attention to the cars as some found speed, and others are still struggling to find it.
The Team Andretti duo of Hinchcliff and Marco Andretti took turns in a few cars as they tested different set-ups, and I believe, broke in a freshly-leased engine. Hunter-Reay, Castroneves and Hildebrand all were near the top of the speed charts today, with laps just under Hinchcliff's tow-aided 224+ lap.
It was heartening for me to see Hildebrand and Sato up near the top- as I said today via Twitter, I'd like to see both of those guys get near to their strong showings in the last two years at the most-famous race course in the world. Another year of experience is under each of their belts, and they both have solid cars underneath them...and they're both staying in the top-10 for speed so far.
Andretti looks like a guy with as much momentum as anyone at this point; Second place in the point standings, a more calm, mature approach, and as always, a great team behind him. Plus, he's raced strong at Indy. He's also made awful mistakes here too...but we're not going to focus on that right now.
I was a Mario Andretti guy growing up. Being a Purdue fan and a Mario fan, at least at Indy, taught me a lot of lessons for later in life; hard lessons: Never get your hopes up too high. Nothing's over until it's over...
and don't cry in public.
Now, I've never liked Michael or Marco like I liked their Dad/Grandpa. Like the second generation Rahal, these legacies always have given off the idea of entitlement to me...They whine, they don't have a cool Italian accent...lots going against them.
All that said, I'd love to see Marco win at Indy and break the Andretti curse.
Conversely, I'm OK with not seeing Power or Castroneves win it. Power typically finds himself in the wrong place/wrong time at Indy time and again...Castroneves overly-emotional bit has become tiresome for me. Plus, I don't wanna see he or Franchetti join the truly-elite crowd with four Indy victories.
Lemme scratch that- now that Ashley Judd is not prancing around pit row, I'd be OK with the second Flying Scotsman winning a fourth race, but I'll be rooting for Dixon or even Briscoe, out of the same stable to do it instead.
Back when I was a kid, I'd rush home during the month of May and watch Legends of the Brickyard on EsPN. Going to the track with some regularity made me a fan of the race, watching that show brainwashed me, moving out of the state cemented my feelings for IndyCar racing (even in the dark days after the split)...and once again, this May makes me feel like a kid as the race approaches with not enough fanfare (in my opinion), but a few weeks of practice will have to do.
The days of 40+ driver/car combos competing for 33 spots seems to be a thing of the past, sadly. But, hearing drivers from other circuits sniffing around for rides always makes me nostalgic. Even if it's an unlikable Busch brother testing a car, I still love reading drivers say how special of a place Indy is for them...not turning laps in a big, clunky, fendered car...but a sleek, low (partially) open-wheel machine...that's Indy.
Much like J had a podcast with a fellow hockey fan a few days ago, I plan on having one or two in the coming weeks, but about IndyCar, and specifically the Indy 500. We'll see how schedules line up, and if you care to tune in, pay attention to this site and Twitter for scheduling details.
The Pacers won today and took a commanding 3-1 lead over (formerly) J's Knicks. I was happy to see it, but didn't care too much. As I wrote a few days ago, I've kinda grown apart from the NBA (it's not me, David Stern, it's you).
BUT, in spite of stupid business moves and diminished popularity of IndyCar racing, I haven't grown out of my love for this sport...nor this event. It's my city's crown jewel...it's something the rest of the world truly knows my hometown for...and it's truly an amazing spectacle that never disappoints me.