Using my infallible wisdom, I said in my pre season preview that we were one year away from seeing the younger generation of driver begin to take over the series. Next year is right now. Rinus VeeKay’s win today in the GMR Grand Prix at IMS adds to the burgeoning list of drivers who entered 2021 with two years or less experience. How have they done? Four wins, including three first winners, three poles, including one first time polesitter. The scary part is we are only about a third of the way through the season, and I have a feeling this group is only going to get better.
The average experience of the five different race winners, based on experience through 2020 is 5.6 years. Scott Dixon’s 20 years of racing makes the average as high as it is. Usually in a typical season, most newer winners come early in the year, and bymid June, the veterans take over and dominate the rest of the schedule. I have a fe3eling that isn’t going to happen in 2021.
VeeKay drove a steady race in his victory today. Pole winner Romain Grosjean also had a very good drive, but VeeKay caught him and had the better car the ;last half of the race.
You had to feel for Conor Daly. He started fourth with a decent shot of winning today. The first lap kerfuffle left him stranded in turn 2. He finished 50 laps behind.
Speaking of tough breaks, Jack Harvey has had issues two races in a row. A failed wheel bearing in Texas knocked him out of a strong finish. Today a bad pit stop followed by a flat tire quashed his hopes of being in the fight at the end. He would have been there. Harvey will be another first time winner at some point this year.
Graham Rahal did a great job finishing fifth using an alternate strategy. The extra pit stop actually helped him gain ground.
It was nice to see Ryan Hunter-Reay leading some laps again. it has been a while. Andretti Autosport had one of their better days today. Alexander Rossi finished seventh, Hunter-reay 12th and Herta thirteenth.
This is the worst Grand Prix weekend at IMS I remember Will Power having. Power who usually is up front on this track, with multiple poles and wins, spun in qualifying and started twelfth. Power finished 11th but it wasn’t easy after several off track excursions.
I thought Juan Pablo Montoya was mostly in the way today. He held up the leaders a couple times, and showed very little speed.
Pato O’Ward had a weekend nearly as bad ashe did at St. Pete. the good news is that after his misadventure in Florida, he won at Texas. Could this pattern repeat?
Josef Newgarden seems to be lacking some pace this season. I’m not sure what the problem is.
I can’t recall another podium that had both a driver from Ed Carpenter Racing and one from Dale Coyne Racing.
I understand why IMS wants the winning car up on the podium, but the time it takes to get the car up there while the driver sits in it takes away from the spontaneity of he moment. Especially today, when we have a first time winner. I wanted VeeKay to jump out of the car imm3ediately and begin celebrating. The Victory Circle should not be staged.
Attendance was very good for the race today. I have never seen a crowd so happy. Racing at IMS returned to its proper May spot, and the fans were there. All seems right with the world tonight.
Thanks for following along this weekend. I will have a follow up story tomorrow.