While it was not the most exciting race of the year, Indycar’s Gallagher Grand Prix at IMS on Saturday did have some drama. Would Alexander Rossi get his first win in three years? How far might Marcus Ericsson drop in the standings starting last? How would Josef Newgarden fare after his accident in Iowa?
Yes, Rossi did hold on to win. It is the seventh time in 2022 that the driver starting second has won. Newgarden has done it four of those times.
Ericsson is just nine points behind Will Power as the series heads to the track where Ericsson won in 2021.
Newgarden drove a steady race to fifth place. He pretty much stayed there the entire day.
A couple thoughts I did not get to yesterday.
The Disappearing Yellow
When Simon Pagenaud coasted to a stop on lap 34 after his car ran out of fuel, his car sat at the edge of the track. No yellow flag came out even thought the car was in a dangerous position. Indycar justified the decision by saying they wanted to give everyone a chance to pit before throwing a yellow.
I disagree with this decision. What if someone came up to Pagenaud’s car at speed and lost control, plowing into the motionless racecar? How would Indycar explain that?
I don’t like withholding a yellow just so everyone can pit. The series can’t control when yellows happen. in this case Race Control was trying to manipulate the race. If someone’s race is affected by a caution while they are pitting, it’s just the breaks of the game. sometimes being fair can be carried to an extreme.
The Colton Herta situation I thought also called for a caution flag. His car is sitting still just inside pit in. yes there was room to get by, but we have seen cars spin entering the pits. The location of Herta’s car should have been an immediate yellow flag.
Indycar is playing with fire with deciding the moment to wave the caution flag. They are going to get burned someday.
Is Three Races at IMS too Many?
You know how much I love being at IMS, and how much i love watching Indycar there. But should any single venue comprise nearly 20% of the series schedule? I understand that more races at he Speedway were necessary during the pandemic, but since we are past that horror for now, this spot on the calendar needs to move to another track.
On Saturday I did not feel any kind of buzz or anticipation for the Indycar race. The event was truly the opening act for the weekend. Indycar should not accept this kind of treatment, especially in their own house.
My understanding is that this same format is planned for 2023. for 2024 there is talk of NASCAR returning to the oval. If they do return to the oval, Indycar would probably not run the road course that same weekend.
Let Indycar stick to May. NASCAR can have August, and starting in 2023, IMSA can have September. I will have some thoughts on the sports cars tomorrow.