Yesterday was a great day at IMS; more lead changes than ever before. The nearly 70 lead changes can be attributed to the parity among teams due to the identical chassis and two engine packages...but the highly-skilled field also had something to do with it.
People can say what they want about the DW12 chassis- it's not sleek enough, it's a bit of an ugly duckling...perhaps. But, if you like to watch racing as a contest of grit, timing, will and skill, then you probably loved yesterday's 500.
Like everyone else, I want the cars to be faster...and I want more innovation and flexibility within the rules, but yesterday's race was crazy fun to watch. The cars probably have a bit too much downforce right now and not quite enough horsepower, but the end product is close to unbeatable.
All of that said, the strategy and overall approach of race day has drastically changed from mere years ago. With the white flag waving, you no longer want the lead...you want to be in second or third place. No one can really pull away from anyone else; I guess that's alright.
Indy is now officially the antithesis of F1. The mostly-Euro series is almost solely a series based on preparation, homework, outspending the next team and "rolling the ball out" (if you will). I love the look of those machines and the innovation and trickle down of technology over there. I don't like the glorified parade that those races are.
With just a few laps left yesterday, 22 cars were separated by about 10 seconds...something I've never seen before. Ed Carpenter's tenth place finish after starting from the pole is viewed by some as a failure of a day. BUT, had the race finished under green, he would have finished just seconds behind the leader.
The fastest cars, especially in the last 50 laps were clearly better than everyone else...and Chevy had a decided advantage (which needs to be adjusted). But even the guys who weren't in the top-5 were really right there. It's kinda crazy to think that a guy who is 9 seconds behind after around 170 laps is waaaaaay off the pace, but it kinda felt that way. Guys like Scott Dixon weren't far behind at the end of the race...but weren't really contenders either.
I've been to 25 Indy 500 races now...and have never seen a crowd as elated for a winner as they were when Tony Kanaan earned the checkered flag. Like me, I think many in the crowd thought that his last chance of winning went away when he lost his Andretti ride a few years ago...I was very wrong- in two years, he's had a top-3 and a win; not bad for a guy left for dead by many.
|TK leads a pair of Andretti Racing machines across the yard of bricks|
I had thrown him onto the scrap heap of guys like Raul Boesel and (ironically) Michael Andretti- great drivers who shoulda won it, but never will. Glad I was wrong.
I've heard that the league will finally allow some new aero packages around the safety tub of the DW 12 chassis in 2014; I hope they do as I think we're only a half-step better than we were a few years ago when just Honda was supplying engines to power the old Dallara Indy chassis. I'm still no fan of spec racing (in theory). That said, I love the cars being safer and more consistent. The days of qualifying a four or five year old chassis while panhandling for an engine is gone; that's a good thing. The fact that the cars aren't going 238 mph is a bad thing.
Days like yesterday are nothing but positive for Indy and the league around it...But if they can double the winner's purse, and get the speeds up in the upper half of the 230s, we might see Indy return closer to her former glory.
Even my BS counterpart, J Money had to admit that yesterday's race was exciting...and he's a pseudo-NASCAR apologist.
Bad news for Gunner Kiel and Brian Kelly
Almost two months ago, Gunner Kiel decided to head to the greenest of football pastures, the University of Cincinnati, of course. He wasn't pleased with the fact that two QBs were in front of him at UND and another was really neck-and-neck with him at the third spot in the Coach Kelly's rotation.
Things change quickly in college football sometimes- This Spring has been one of those for Notre Dame's offense.
Last year's starter, Everett Golson did something nefarious according to the university's academic police. We really don't know exactly what it is that he did, but it looks like he cheated in some way. The end result is he's no longer enrolled at UND and no longer on Notre Dame's football team.
The erratic, but adequate Senior QB, Tommy Rees will probably be the starter. BUT, Kelly hasn't ever given him a vote of confidence...Plus, he had a legit run in with the law last season that might have even caused Kelly to second-guess his leadership. Sure, it's OK for some on their roster to get arrested, but striking an officer kinda makes you lose your job, even for Coach Kelly. I guess it's a good thing he wasn't kicked off the team last fall, right UND fan?
UND should still be quite good in the fall, but the loss of Golson to academics, Eiffert to the NFL, Riddick to graduation, Wood to NFL practice squad (two running backs) will make things interesting. UND's offense will have a QB who's prone to mistakes and fumbles, no sure-handed relief valve underneath and no experienced running back behind Rees.
Our Boilers are in the midst of an overhaul as new coaches try to get all the moving parts to move as a unit. UND's offensive tumult should be a bit of music to our ears as we look ahead to the most difficult schedule in the nation.