Photo: Pagenaud at Road America last week
Last night should remove any doubts about the aeroscreen. It saved Rinus VeeKay’s life and probably kept Marcus Ericsson from serious injury.
Herat’s crash is one of the worst I have ever seen. Thank goodness for the aeroscreen and that the SAFER barrier at Iowa is in front of the fence. We could have seen another Wickens type incident otherwise.
A driver going from starting last to victory lane is quite an accomplishment, but Simon Pagenaud has had lots of practice this year. Last night he improved eight places in the first 25 laps. His average starting position through last night was 17th. His average finishing position is 6.2
Pit strategy played a big part of the outcome. Once again, the timing of the yellow thwarted some great strategy by Takuma Sato, Oliver Askew, and Pato O’Ward.
Up until last night I have been praising the newer drivers. Yesterday was a big day for the newer teams. Carlin, a single car entry, won the pole with Conor Daly, who finished eighth. Arrow McLaren SP, with Askew getting his first podium and O’Ward finishing fourth, had a shot at the win. Don’t count them out tonight either.
It is hard to believe that it took five races for a Penske car or a Chevy to win this season.
Askew’s third place finish gives him a top 10 and a top 5 in the two oval races to date.
I’m hearing that Andretti will repair Herat’s car, and VeeKay will go to the backup. A badly damaged car in race 1 is a risk on a double header weekend.
Dixon”s try for career win 50 fell less than half a second short. Like Pagenaud, he started near the rear of the field and will do so again tonight. The task might be a bit more challenging with Josef Newgarden and Will Power on the front row.
It was a great race. Once again, the television schedule didn’t work out in Indycar’s favor. This would have been a really nice one to have had on NBC.
I’ll be back with tonight’s starting lineup and practice results later.