So, it goes something like this. Before the season started, I determined two drivers had no chance of winning this season. Mikhail Aleshin was one (honorable mention for getting his first podium yesterday), and Carlos Huertas was the other. The #18 Dale Coyne was listed as TBA all offseason up until a week before St. Petersburg. Heurtas was a relatively no-name driver driving for a small team with limited equipment. He also had not enough seat time to give him a competitive chance. Eight races and some good strategy later, Carlos Huertas wins his first career race, defying conventional wisdom and the opinions of fans everywhere. Well done Carlos.
Simon Pageanud reminded us that he is still Simon Pagenaud. A great drive in race two led him to a win. Race one was ruined by an incident with Scott Dixon. With his win, Pagenaud has vaulted himself right back into the championship discussion.
Juan Pablo Montoya
Hell of a weekend for Juan Pablo Montoya, who is starting to remind us of the JPM that was elite in 1999 and 2000. Two solid finishes, including a podium in race one, have put JPM in, get this, P5 in the championship. I would have never guessed that that was possible when the season started. Love watching his aggressive driving style on the track. Hope he can keep this up as the season continues.
That's the Hawk that we want to see more often! Jack Hawksworth, who's had many great results go through the window because of bad luck, gets two great results in Houston, including his first career podium yesterday. Let's hope he can keep up the momentum.
Scott Dixon had an uncharastically awful weekend to go with an even rougher year. Not only did he make a mistake in race one, but his mistake also ruined the races of Simon Pagenaud and Charlie Kimball. Race two was ended by a mechanical failure. Just an unfortunate weekend.
Josef Newgarden is continuing to have some tough breaks. In race one, he crashed. In race two, his wheel nut shattered, making his car unsafe and impossible to drive. What was once looking like a very promising year full of potential has cracked at the seams.
Luca Filippi had two unfortunate endings to both of races that were going well for him. Both races were looking to end in a top-ten finish for him, but both ended in tears. The first race, Filippi crashed on a mid-race restart. In the second race, he crashed in the late stages of the race. A damn shame because this guy, who will be back in Toronto, is blazing quick.
Race one, Helio Castroneves should have done better. Race two, Helio was in control, on his way to a sure fire podium. After attempting to make a move on Simon Pagenaud, Helio was turned into the wall by Sebastien Bourdais. Trouble was Helio moved left on Pagenaud, but realized the move wasn't going to work. He moved back to the right, only to find out that Bourdais filled the spot he had occupied. Helio was hooked into the wall, ending his race. He said it was Bourdais's fault for not having better judgement because Helio can't attack and defend at the same time. Are you shitting me? How on Earth was that his fall when you turned into him? It's not his responsibility to leave your room when the move your about to make doesn't work. Castroneves almost did the same thing to Pagenaud earlier in the race, coming over on him into turn six even though Simon was blatantly next him. I think Helio was completely in the wrong there and thus ends up on the loser list.
Cone of Shame
If he doesn't turn around his season ASAP, Takuma Sato will have to start updating his resume. He looks geared for another awful last two-thirds of the season. His last six results are 19, 18, 18, 18, 22, and 19, with those last two coming in Houston. Two wrecks in two races is just pitiful. Sure, Sato is damn quick and he qualifies very well. That all really doesn't matter if you can never finish the race.
Let me know what you think!