The day began with the announcement that Michael Shank Racing has become Meyer Shank Racing. Jim Meyer l, CEO of Sirius XM, is joining the team as a partner. This is a huge boost the to MSR. The deal is for all of MSR operations and might help speed up the timeline to make the IndyCar team full time. As of now Jack Harvey is still scheduled for just six races. It’s another big step in this year of IndyCar resurgence.
Qualifying for tonight’s Desert Diamond West Valley Grand Prix continued the drama from St. Pete. At one point rookies were 1 through 4 on the pylon. Simon Pagenaud went out 13th and took first place. The next eleven drivers could not beat his 188..148 mph average. Sebastian Bourdais, the last driver on track, snatched the pole with a 188.539 speed. This is the second consecutive race where a Penske car has lost the pole to the last car on track. It is just the second lifetime pole for Dale Coyne Racing and the 34th career pole for Bourdais.
Night practice didn’t help provide clues to whether passing will be better in the race. Faster cars easily got by slower cars, but I didn’t see many cars running equal speed attempt to pass each other. The qualifying speeds, lower than those of the last two years, indicate drivers are lifting. The increased difficulty driving these cars was not as dramatic as at St. Pete, but turn 2 could get a thumping or two tonight.
A Word about Bourdais
We are watching a legend perform in Sebastien Bourdais. A four time CART champion, winner of 37 races and 34 poles, he continues to exceed at an age when most drivers are starting to slow down. Add in his remarkably quick recovery from his horrific accident at Indianapolis last May, you have the ingredients of a legend. We need to appreciate him while he is still driving.
Back with a race wrap up Sunday or Monday.