No one needed a bounce back race more than Ryan Hunter-Reay given what happened at Long Beach. RHR was solid all weekend, dominating Friday practice sessions and quaifying up front. He inherited the lead after Will Power's error. He dominated up front, cycling into the lead in the late stages of the race. With his win, RHR has propelled himself into the championship hunt with Will Power.
The Marco Andretti smile is alive and well following Barber. Andretti was pissed about his qualifying effort. My logic is if you're pissed about a P9 effort, then you're doing something right. I knew Marco was primed for a great race, but I didn't see a P2 result coming. Great job for him following a solid P8 at Long Beach.
The good news is that Scott Dixon finally broke his streak of finishing P2 at Barber! He had finished P2 at Barber in his pervious four tries. The bad news is Dixon regressed, finishing P3. But I don't think you'll see Dixie or Ganassi complaining. Good race for Dixon at a track that he knows very well.
Simon Pagenaud continues to have an incredible season, finishing P4 at Barber. If you do not think that Simon Pagenaud is a legitimate championship contender, then you need to reevaluate your brain.
The race was in Will Power's clutches. He had everything going his way. Good tire strategy, great pace, big lead, and clean air. He outbroke himself on the first stint, and lost the lead to Ryan Hunter-Reay, who never looked back. Power had a chance to build on his dominating lead. Instead, Hunter-Reay has climbed into the championship picture with Power.
Helio Castroneves had a mental error that cost him some valuable championship points. While coming into the pits, Helio pulled into Justin Wilson's pit box, which was directly in front of his pits. Wilson's crew quickly scrambled to get out of the way, and Helio sped off, bumping some tires and pit equipment. Helio was given a penalty, ultimately costing him valuable championship points.
Carlos Munoz had one of those mistakes that every driver dreads: Crashing under yellow. Munoz did have another solid weekend going, showing that great potential that is attached to his name. But while warming up his tires, Munoz spun into the outside wall, damaging the car and ruining his race. Onto May, where Munoz burst into the Indycar world last year.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Another deplorable weekend for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan bunch. Their lack of pace that they showed last year has carried into this year. Fans of Graham Rahal and the Rahal family will have to be patient. New staff need time to gel with drivers. Money gained from National Guard can't solve problems overnight. But at the moment, this outfit is one of the worst teams in Indycar on the track. Rahal finished P17 and Servia P20 at Barber.
Cone of Shame
Sebastien Bourdais has really fallen short of expectations so far this season. Things have just not gone his way. It has been self-inflected errors that continue to bite him. At Barber, Bourdais was having a good scrap with rookie Mikhail Aleshin. After several laps of battling, Bourdais spun Aleshin out, effectively ruining both of their races. Another decent effort was thrown out the window by Bourdais. Can he finally turn around his season in May?
Let me know what you think!