Indy Sports Gumbo

I love weekends like this- lots of energy in the Central Indiana area as the 500 and everything that

surrounds it continues to roll along and the Pacers get set to host the Heat for Game 3.

The Pacers closed out the Heat last night on the shoulders of Hibbert and George's big games.  Of course, the Heat really have no one who can match up with Hibbert, so that helps both he and George- James probably should be guarding George all the time, but since they need Bron's strength and size underneath to help, George will have Battier or someone else on him regularly. But on one play yesterday, James was guarding him and got flat-out beaten.  The end result was the Birdman getting embarrassed, which was nice to watch (pictured).

I've admitted to not being much of a Pacers fan...or being a fan of the NBA...BUT, rooting against the Heat and James is a no-brainer for me.  The fact that they're playing a team that I used to root for in the go-go 90s makes games like last night's fun.

My suggestion for the NBA is what it's always been (for the MLB, NASCAR and NHL too): contract. Make the season shorter, get rid of the fat, get rid of a few teams if you have to...the talent pool becomes higher octane, the games become more important and fans will be left wanting more.  Basic economics, really.  But what do I know...I'm just a guy who dislikes the NBA.

Carb Day

BS Curse?
If you read my post about the field for the 500 earlier this week, you saw that Briscoe was my darkhorse pick.  But, the only incident during practice yesterday was a fire in the tail of Briscoe's car during the last lap of practice. I believe it was a gearbox fire after initial reports said it was his engine.

That's the only way I could explain that he was in the pit competition with the same car (I saw no "T" designation or alternate number).  If anyone's heard differently, sound off- I was at the track, so couldn't receive updates on what was happening and couldn't hear Calabro where I was seated.

The good news is his car should be ready for the race and he'll be in the same spot in the field.

Closest finish EVER?
The Indy Lights race was dominated by Andretti's Carlos Munoz.  Munoz, of course, is starting in second for tomorrow's 500.

He was out in front of the small field for the 100 mile race yesterday in one of the dominative Mazda-powered machines.  If you're not familiar with Indy's new Carb Day format, it's comprised of practice for the big cars, an Indy Lights race and then the traditional pit contest (which Penske's Castroneves team won).

But, after Munoz's dominance, the second place and third place drivers all swung around in three to make a final move as they approached the start/finish line.  The dynamics of these cars are like NASCAR in the simple fact that drafting really matters and if you don't have a "dance partner" it's tough to win.

But, the top-3 blasted a hole in the air, and the fourth place car (at the time), Peter Dempsey, sling-shotted around all of them to win by the narrowest of margins.

The .0026 margin of victory was the closest race ever at Indy...but I would bet that no race, anywhere, in any circuit has had four machines this close as they crossed the start/finish line.  The cars were going around 190 mph at the end of the race, so having four noses within a ten-foot range is impressive...
Check for yourself:


I talked to Andretti's spotters, who were above us in One after the race- I asked them when they knew Munoz had lost- they said by turn three, their guy was done.

I followed up by asking what he could have done to stop it- They said, "Take all four of them out like a NASCAR race."

Breaking Down the Field
Here's an unscientific, fanboy look at the field as I really see it:

Good guys/girls; The ones I'd like to see win it:
Carpenter
Long shot even from the pole; uber-likable

Hinchcliffe
Class clown, good driver, says/does all the right things

Hildebrand
Snatched defeat from the mouth of victory two years ago

Kanaan
Fan favorite, great with the media, kinda like Hinch but older

Servia
Under-rated driver, always fast

Wilson
Great CART driver, seemingly humble person

Bourdais
Another ex-CART guy, had a ton of success in his career; great driver

Dixon
One-time winner who I've met and really like; very cute wife (not like the plasticky super model wives of the other drivers)

Sato
Wildman; drives by the seat of his pants...loves speed, wants to win...it'd be great for the sport to have a Japanese driver win it; unprecedented

Kimball
Another humble guy, nice guy

Bell
Once-a-year driver who is good at Indy; entertaining in the booth

Briscoe
I have no idea why he's been black-balled; good driver who has lost some confidence

Silvestro
Always fast, having a good year since she's not running the Lotus.  I'd love to see her win it and imagine Patrick pouting somewhere in the Southeastern US.

Newgarden
Supposedly one of the next great drivers; Penske believes in the kid; time for him to step up.

Rahal
Loves Indy, knows what it meant to his Dad's career...kinda douchey, but I still would like to see him win.

Daly
Graduated from an Indy high school just three years ago...it'd be great to see him do what his Dad couldn't do

Don't wanna see them win:
Andretti
He's almost to the point that I'm OK with him...but still seems like a whiny entitled kid (even though he's a seasoned veteran by now). A lil' more humility will serve him well.

Viso
Better than he used to be, but still seems like a crazy man behind the wheel.  He's kinda like Schechter in that he makes the race exciting because he seems to believe that the first lap is as important as the last...but a bit too dangerous in a sport that's already dangerous.


Power
Great road course guy, seems to always be pissed off in Indy

Hunter-Reay
A legit favorite, I really don't dislike him that much, but am not much of a fan either

Castroneves
Maybe the tax thing ruined him for me...whatever it is, I'm sick of seeing his bit; find him a bit unbelievable...everything's for show.  Fans do love him though.  I don't want to see him join Mears and Co. as a four-time winner

Tagliani
Similar to Viso

Franchitti
Same thing as Castro, really

One more note- four female drivers in the field and most of them are really racers.  It's no longer a story, really.  And the days of Guthrie, St. James and Patrick being a story just for making the field are gone.  Good for IndyCar.

As for everyone else, I'm OK with a surprise...but am looking forward to tomorrow.  The caravan's rolling out at 6:30 from the BDowd Compound; it'll be a fun day.

Whoa Indy...and ND Woes

Keep Your Hands Off of the College Game, Dick.

0