Joyous Victory Celebration Caps Outstanding May

The 500 Victory Celebration can at times be a bit of a stuffy low key affair, but last night’s banquet was ajoyous, lfun filled program. The mood was ectremely light hearted as anorther May in indianapolis came to close.

I don’t know if the 1,000 plus fans in attendance was a record for this event, but it was definitely a larger crowd than the previous two banquets.

As usual, Conor Daly was the star of the show. he always livens up the program when it’s his turn to come to the podium. Last night’s gem- Newgarden will not only have his face on the Borg Warner trophy but also his abs.

Pato offered fashion advice

Pato O’Ward and Lindsey Czarniak had a humorous discussion about Pato’s clothing choices. Lindsay dismissed him when he asked if she liked his shoes.

The emotional tribute to Tony Kanaan was a fitting send off toone of the most popular drivers IMS has seen. After his lettr to fans clip which was shown on the video boards Sundy played, Kanaan received a standing ovation usually reserved for the race winner. Helio Castroneves, Kanaan’s lifelong friend, joined the dais and the two reminisced for a bit.

Kanaan tried to get Helio to promise to stop dying his hair since Tony is done racing. The secret is out.

Josef Newgarden’s speech as full of humility and gratitude for the sacrifices his parents made to launch his racing career. Winning has opened a new side of Newgarden i hadn’t seen before. Like Will Power after his 2018 win, he seems less wound tight, and more at ease.

In May, 2021, I wrote a post wondering ahere the buzz around the 500 had gone. It was the first year after the pandemic, but the whole seemed to run in a rather perfunctory manner. This May, i felt that buzz and excitement from the start of practice for the GMR Grand Prix all the way through last evening. I athink track attendance was a reflection of that. This year felt a lot like the 70s and 80s.

The payout of the record $17 million purse:

Indianapolis 500 Wrap Up

Indycar photo by James Black

I stated my thoughts yesterday on the finish, and I will just say the series is walking a very fine line between racing and entertainment. I hope in the future they decide to lean more toward the racing. It is entertaining enough. Let’s wrap up what has been one of the best overall Mays in a long time.

The Last Brazilian

Tony Kanaan’s final race did not have the outcomehe or his many fans hoped for. iy was evident eartly that he would struggle for a good result. Kanaan provided a highlight when he went into the grass to make a pass late in the race.

Kanaan summed up his day.

“I think I would do a disgrace to almost 400,000 people that
were there that made me feel the way they did to say I’m
sad. I had a laugh. Helio and I battling for 15th and 16th
on the last lap like we’re going for the lead. It was like,
who’s playing pranks with us.
We both went side by side on the backstretch after the
checker and we saluted with each other, and I just told him
actually I dropped a tear because of that, and he said, I
did, too.
It was a good day for me, man. What can I say? We cried
on the grid.
Yeah, not the result that we wanted. I went really
aggressive on the downforce to start the race. It was
wrong. Then I added downforce towards the end of the
race and it was wrong. So it was just one of those days.”

With Kanaan gone, Helio Castroneves is the last Brazilain driver in the series, which at one had almost a third of the grid representing the Sout American nation. Castroneves is 48 years old. he may e a 500 only driver next year, but fior how many years will he be here?

Rough Day for Rookies

Benjamin pederesen wasthe highest finishing rookie in 21st, taken out in a front stretch crashon the lap 196 restart. None of the rookies were running ay yjr finish. Pedersen will likely win Rookie of the Year tonigh.

R C Enerson finsihed 32nd with mechanical problems. Abel Motorsports can’t be too disappointed. It was a hug accomplishment to qualify as solidly as they did. The race was abonus for this very young program. I hope they come back nexrt year.

Agustin Canapinio ran a good race which unfortuntely ended in a collision with Pato O’Ward. he was headed for a very good result. I am impressed by how quickly Canapinoi has adapted to Indycar.

Sring Ray Robb got caught up in the marbles on lap 90, ausig the first yellow.Robb is still learning Indycar, and I hope he can turn things around in the second half of the season.

Rahal’s Forgettable May

Graham Rahal failed to qualify for the race. he got a reprieve when Dreyer &Reinbold and Cusick Motorsports asked him to sub for the injured Stefan Wilson. Rhahl’s miserable month got een worse when his car wouldn’t and had to be wheeled to his pit to change the battery. Rahal started the race two laps down and never caught up.

The entire rahal team didn’t fare much better. jack Harvey in 18th was their best result.

The Race

The ending aside, I thought this was one of the best 500s I’ve seen. I have been to a few of them. Once again, I did not see the 1911 race,-thanks for asking. Yesterday was fascinating for the great racing early and the strategy discussion I had with my friends in the stands. I loved how the first two yellows changed the pit strategy for some teams.

I agree with what winner Josef Newgarden said in his press confer3nce last night that the cars should be mnore difficult to drive, and then leader should nor be a sitting duck on restarts..

How to Celebrate a 500 Victory

Newgarden did it right. His post race celebration of unbridled joy was how winning the 500 should be handled. Yes the there are traditions, but they can wait. Indycar needs to allow the drivers to have a few moments of spontaneous exuberance after a win. We need more of this at every race rather thanhaving the driver sit inhis car until a television producer gives the okay to get out.


What does Pato O’Ward have to do to win an oval rtace? Stymied by a yellow flag in texas, only to be foiled by red flags ijn the 500. O’Ward had the strategy figured out, and if the race had not been halted, he would be the winner.

I hope he sweeps Iowa and wins Gateway. It has to be frustrating for him. O’Ward could potentially have had his third win of the season Sunday.

I have yet to watch the replay and I ight have some comments on that later this week. I’m off to the Victory Celebration in a bit, then we look to Detroit.

hank you for followingduring May. It wa sone of the best Mays I remmebr.

Quick Thoughts-107th Indianapolis 500

I tweeted the following after the final red flag. I still stand by it.

Indycar is trying too hard to finish this race under green under 10 laps to go istoo late just to get a green finish.

If the track were blocked, if the SAFER barrier were damaged, if there is a weather situation, then yes, a red flag is warranted. But to stop the race just to have a green flag finish just isn’t right.

Yellows breed yellows, but wethe series doesn’t need to be at the point where reds breed reds. End of rant

Other than That..

This was a terrific race. The first 90 laps were green with very good racing. Fifty two lead changes is a huge number for the 500. There was passing throughout the field. The second cautionn on lap 150 caused some teams to rethink strategy. Pato o’Ward tried to pit ahead of everyone else. It might have worked had there not been another caution.

O’Ward once again became his own worst enemy with his inside pass attempt, I thought Pato was a bit slow on the restart, thus putting himself in that position.

As is typical in a 500 mile race, early contenders fallmout of contention. Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay looked like the two strongest cars early. VeeKay made contact with Palou inn the pits, ending both their chances for the win. Palou did come back to finish fourth and retain the championship lead. VeeKay came back from the penalty to finish 10th.

jJosef Newgarden ran a very smart, steady race. He deserved the win, but would he have won with out the two red flags?As drivers often say, it is what it is.

Slaying the Dragon

It’s time for Indycar to ban the dragon move that the leaders late in the race have used the last few years. One day the leader will hit hte pit wall and possiblyn take out some cars behind him.

I would prefer to see a straight fight for the lead. i remember when drivers used to just mnake their cars a bit wider on the track.

Tether Flaw?

The accident involving Felidx Rosenqvist and Kyle Kirkwood may have exposed a flaw in the wheel tether system. I have never seen a tire sail like that since the tehers were intorduced.

Fortunately, the wheel landed in the space between the Riley suites and the grandstand and no one was injured.

I’m sure there will be an investigation and a modicfication of the sysstem.

I will have a complete race wrap up sometime tomorrow. Thanks for following this month.

Day 1 Wrap Up

It was one of those glorious days at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. An overcast morning led to a very brief rain shower which ended the Rookie Oreintation Program a bit early. It was followed a warm, windy, sunny afternoon of constant running.

Some notes:

The turn 2 viewing mounds were packed. I went over there this afternoon.parking was at a premium,and latecomers parked far down the road course backstretch. IMS had a ticket booth open just opposite the museum lot. Sales were slow, just four tickets sold in two hours according to the sellers. They did tell me that the main ticket office was very busy.

Augustin Canapino completed his rookie test soon after action resumed this afternoon.

Team Penske showed more strength on the IMS oval than they have in a few years. Josef Newgarden led the afternoon session, Scott McLaughlin was 10th, and Will power was 13th. Newgarden said after the session that the htree cars each worked on different things.

Josef Newgarden led the afternoon session

Arrow McLaren may have a bit of work to do. Pato O’Ward worked his way up to ninth at the end of the day, but Felix Rosenqvist was 20th and A;exander Rossi was 22nd.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s troubles continue. Graham Rahal led the team at 23rd on the speed chart.

A good day for Dreyer and Reinbold as the 500 only team saw Stefan Wilson finish sixth and Ryan Hunter-Reay come home 14th.

Andretti Autosport may be in line for their best May in awhile. Kyle Kirkwood was fourth and Colton Herta seventh this afternoon.

Chip Ganassi Racing had three drivers in the top 10-Scott Dixon was third and led a lot of the session, Alex Palou was eighth, and Takuma Sato was fifth.

The action during the last hour had a Carb Day intensity to it.

Tomorrow’s forecast looks iffy for running. Starting at 10 looks doubtful right now, and the temperature may impede track drying.

Some Photos


Morning Warmup- Newgarden Fastest

Joseef Newgarden turned the quickest lap in this morning’s warmupfor this afternoon’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Penske driver’s lap came near the end of the session. Pole sitter kyle Kirkwood finished fifth.

The sessio was uneventful and ran in somewhat cool conditions. Race time temperature is expcted to be in the mid 60’s.

The top 10 from the warmup:

Sold Out

The Long Beach Grand Prix Association announced this morning that all reserved grandstand seats have been sold for today’s race. General admission is available at the gate.This is great news.

‘Beautiful Chaos’-Quick Thoughts- PPG375

Wow! Just Wow!

Today’s race was the best Indycar race in a long time. It reminded of the 2015 Fontana race.

David Malukas’s description, which I used in the title, sums it up perfectly.

It was great to see the old Texas race return. Indycar, don’t change a thing for next year.

Indycar got the package right. Cars could race and pass each other, the leaders weren’t stuck behind lapped cars for 20 or 30 laps, and there were battles for the lead virtually all day.

Is Newgarden-O’Ward the rivalry Indycar has needed? Today was the seventh time the duo has finished 1-2 since 2020. Newgarden has won five of those but I think the gap will be closer by the end of this season.

Pato O’Ward had the dominant car. It’s a shame the race ended under caution,but it happens sometimes.

When will Felix Rosenqvist do more than just win a pole at a race?

Another big car repair weekend for Andretti Autosport this wekend. Colton Herta did end up seventh after battling for the lead late in the race.

Juncos Hollinger Racing with another nice race. Callum Ilott earned his second straight top 10, finishing ninth, and Augustin Canapino finished 12th, the same place he finished at St. Pete. Today was canapino’s fiorst oval race ever. He has to be the leading candidate for Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.

David Malukas continues to be a factor on ovals. He was fourth today and second at Gateway last August. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins at Iowa or Gateway later this year. Malukas is off to a great start in 2023 with two top 10 finishes.

The 20 laps after the second caution saw some of the best racing I’ve seen anytime. Edge of your seat stuff.

A fine drive today by Alex Palou, who finished third and was fighting for the lead at the end.

It’s a shame more fans weren’t there to witness such a great race. For some reason this track does not do a lot to promote a great product. maybe going back to a night race two weeks after he 500 would help.

Some stats– 482 passes for position, 300 more than the average for Texas. the 26 lead changes were the most at TMS since 2001, 26 races ago.

I will have more to say about this race tomorrow. I want to watch the replay 2or three times first.

Newgarden Leads Finale’s Opening Practice

Josef Newgarden fired the first shot as the battle for the series title began this afternoon at Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca. Newgarden’s lap of 1:11.410 beat Colton Herta by 0.41 seconds.

Andretti Autosport finished second, third, and forth. Herta was followed by Romain Grosjean and Alexander Rossi.

Callum Ilott was fifth fastest.

Points leader Will Power was seventh. The other title contenderrs, Marcus Ericsson and Scott Dixon, were 10th and 17th. The Ganassi team tested here Monday.

Dixon explained, “We came with a pretty different setup than what we did at the test. WE just wanted to try a few different things. We could see that the 8 car already backed up some of those, so mit looked like he moved in a positive direction. Still, all of us outside the top 10 is not ideal. We’ll work out of here and see, make what we can out of it. It’s going to be a pretty high (degradation) race.”

David Malukas, second nin the rookie of the year battle, was ninth, and rookie leader Christian Lundgaard had the 15th fastest lap.

Asked if his quick time is representative of his advantage over the field,, Newgarden said,

“It’s hard to say. I didn’t even really put together my best lap, and I’m sure that was the case for the majority of the field. It’s always hard to read off the first session. I think we’ll tighten up tomorrow.
But just the early read is good. I felt like we made really
good use of our short time that we had today and short set
of tires that we had. We didn’t have a lot to work off of. So
I feel good early, but I feel like it’s early days.”


Morning at Laguna Seca

Good morning or good afternoon, wherever you are. We are two hours from the first Indy Lights practice, followed by the first Indycar practice.

Some news items to catch up on.

Not a huge surprise, but Scott mcLaughlin has signed a multi year deal with Team Penske. The second year driver has three poles and three wins this season.

In a huge boost to the Indy Lights Series, HMD announced their intention to field eight Indy Lights cars in 2023. There have been years when the Lights field barely had eight cars. HMD currently runs points leader Linus Lundqvist, who should wrap up the championship this weekend.

Lundqvist said he wants to finish his championship “on a high.”

I’m hearing the chances of Colton Herta getting a super license exemption to race in Formula 1 are slim.

Championship Strategy

Josef Newgarden said he will approach this weekend mostly like any other.

“…you treat it to be the same as always, working on trying to maximize the car trying to make your points like oh, this is gonna be the same regardless.”

About the decision to test at Portland instead of Laguna Seca, Newgarden said,

“We tried a different strategy I think it worked for us at Portland for sure. But you know what time is gonna tell if that was the right decision or not. I think we feel good confident about that.”

Kirkwood on Moving On

Kyle Kirkwood

Kyle Kirkwood reflected on his time with A. J. Foyt Racing and moving to Andretti autosport next year.

“It’s bittersweet, because, and I really, I really wanted to win with this team. It’s great. The guys really like a family atmosphere, you kind of feel the heritage within the team. . So I’m gonna go into powerhouse team , like Andretti Autosport. Knowing I’m gonna have a good car atalmost all events and so it’s, it’s good for that sense. But it’s also it’s also bitter in the sense that it kind of feels like a moment leaving a family. So we’ll definitely be emotional. But I mean, no matter what, it’s good for everyone.. , One thing I can definitely take away from the season is we’ve definitely developed the car better, especially on street courses. But we definitely progressed on everything, got the car in a better spot, whoever fills into that number 14 car is gonna be in a better spot than where I was at the end of the season, which is nice to know from just my own knowledge.

Working with really good .teammates is the main thing I’ve never really had a teammate to push me in the past couple years. And given the lineup stays the same, it’s gonna be a ton of fun working with all of them, because I know they’re all stellar drivers and they’ll all push me to do better and, and actually be very valuable stuff and whatnot. So that’s something I’m extremely lucky. “

Kirkwood doesn’t necessarily feel pressure jumping into the 27 car. “Rossi has obviously done very well, because eight wins in that car over a few seasons almost won a championship. So while there is pressure, it’s obvious that the cars would be good, but I think people understand that I’m coming in just after a rookie season and coming out with a new team and stuff. So I can’t be expected to be right out of the gate. It’s gonna stay right but as it goes along the road, it’s probably gonna pressure me to get up to his level, if not better him. So yeah, there’s a little bit of pressure involved, but there’s always pressure “

Newgarden Leads Portland First Practice

Josef Newgarden turned the fastest lap in a disjointed opening practice for the Grand Prix of Portland this afternoon. After about 24 minutes of the session, the red flag came out for an unusual reason.

A video board on the front stretch opposite the pits began to lower itself. Hydraulic fluid was leaking from the arm, and the board could have potentially fallen ontop the racing surface.

Practice resumed one hour and 21 minutes later. The final 51 minutes were interrupted three times. Takuma Sato went off in turn 11 and the front of his car made contact with the tire barrier. Helio Castroneves had an off road excursion, then later spun and stalled. Pato O’Ward backed into the tire barrier. His car would not restart.

O’Ward’s car returning to the paddock after practice.

In addition to the red flags, Romain Grosjean’s day ended early with transmission issues.

The top three today- Nerwgarden, David Malukas, and Scott McLaughlin.

Three of the top five in points finished in a group. Alex Palou was ninth, Will Power 10th, ancd Scott Dixon 11th.