Sunday, August 28, 2016

Winners and Losers: Texas

Here are your winners, losers, and Cone of Shame winner following the 2016 Firestone 600 at Texas:

Winners

Graham Rahal
Another highlight reel win for Graham Rahal, who has made a habit of coming up with big wins in exciting races. After staying in the main group for the last 40 laps, Graham took the lead with a mere 500 yards to go. Despite celebrating way too early, Graham finished first by 0.008 seconds. Huge confidence boost for the team heading into 2017.


Tony Kanaan
Don't look now, but Tony Kanaan is third in points (after finishing third at Texas). His seat is under jeopardy from Josef Newgarden. Why? Cause Josef is young and talented, while Kanaan lacks wins at Chip Ganassi Racing and his "old." I call bullshit. Kanaan is being as consistent as he was in the IRL days, and it's terrific to see.


Simon Pagenaud
Simon Pagenaud used his head and stayed out of trouble on his way to a P4 finish. He could have risked it and gone for the win, but finishing P4 is a great boost to his championship standing over Will Power. A very smart drive by Simon.


The Fans
I haven't seen a buzz after a race like this since Fontana 2015 (if you don't include Indy 500's). It got fans and many others around the racing community talking. The exciting, close, action packed racing we saw at Texas and Fontana clearly get people talking. Unfortunately, I doubt we will see the ratings match fan excitement.



Losers

James Hinchcliffe
Despite dominating the entire race, coupled with a lead that lasted over two months, James Hinchcliffe wound up losing by 0.008 seconds. Despite this, it's great to see Hinch mixing it up with the big teams up front. Hinch only wound up on the losers for losing a race he dominated.


Ed Carpenter
Ed Carpenter capped off the worst year of his career with a cut tire leading to his crash. After working his way up to P2, an incident with Scott Dixon bunched up the field. That incident is to believed to be the culprit of Ed's cut tire.


AJ Foyt Enterprises
Another miserable race for AJ Foyt Eneterprises. Takuma Sato never recovered from a practice crash and retired, while Jack Hawksworth was collected in a crash that was not his fault. In AJ Foyt's backyard, this has to be embarrassing for the squad.


*Some* Fans
Some fans looked at the race last night as a 'what-if' affair. With recent passing of drivers Dan Wheldon (victim of pack racing) and Justin Wilson (lack of head protection), some fans have grown very weary of high speed ovals. Many pointed out that the race could have easily ended in disaster. It's hard to not be nervous for races like last night and the racing we saw, but I for one enjoyed it. It can go wrong very fast, but racing can go very wrong very fast. Today, I saw Kevin Magnussen crash at Spa-Francorchamps, in which is foam head brace flew from the car after impact. Yes, danger on ovals compound with tight racing, but racing as a whole is dangerous wherever you go. Many fans like me who enjoyed it don't want to be labeled as insensitive or lacking humanity for enjoying that kind of racing. The danger, mixed with speeds and intensity, is the reason why we love Indycars on high speed ovals. It was hard to stay awake for the middle portion of that race. No one was sleeping by the end. It was exhilarating stuff. I see where the "anti-pack racing" is coming from (except for labeling it pack racing, which is bullshit, because that wasn't pack racing), but I just disagree with their stance.



Cone of Shame



Scott Dixon
Soctt Dixon broke out something we have seen since Detroit, 2013: the double angry birds. While a lap down, Dixon was fighting with Ed Carpenter trying to get his lap back. Heading out of the tri-oval, Dixon appeared to move up the track and clipped Ed in what appeared to be a misjudgment. Dixon spun and went straight up the track, thankfully without being struck by another car. He was none too pleased and flipped off Ed. Dixon was fighting with a guy who was P2. Not only did Dixon wreck himself, but he also acted like a bum. Very cone worthy this week.


Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Winners and Losers: Pocono

Here are your winners, losers, and Cone of Shame "winner" following the 2016 ABC Supply 500 at Pocono:

Winners

Ryan Hunter-Reay
Normally, the first slot in Winners and Losers is always reserved for the driver who actually won the race (shocking, I know). But this week, how can Ryan Hunter-Reay not be the ultimate winner of the race? Sure he finished third, but overcame so much. A crash in practice, racing in a car he knew nothing about, and he comes home third. That was after starting last, moving up to first, only to have his car shut down on him on the second-to-last restart. He lost a lap but caught a break with a yellow, got his lap back, passed through the field again, and finished third. It was one of the best drives you'll ever see.


Will Power
Will Power is outside his mind at the moment, extending an impossible streak of six straight races finishing no lower than second. Hopefully St. Petersburg doesn't come back to haunt him.


Mikhail Aleshin
Mikhail Aleshin followed up an impressive performance at Iowa, finishing P5, with a podium finish and career best second place result at Pocono. The Mad Russian has turned into an ovalvista. I really think he is a driver who should get more recognition.


Honda
Honda may not have won the race, but they definitely have figured out how to perform on the superspeedways. Unfortunately for them, there are only two on the schedule and doesn't look like there will be any more next year.



Losers

Pit Accident Victims
In what is one of the most terrifying accidents I've seen in the pits, Charlie Kimball was preparing to enter his pit box while Alexander Rossi was leaving. Helio Castroneves, who was harmlessly leaving his pits, saw a launched Rossi coming at him after the Indy 500 champ touched wheels with Kimball. The tire narrowly missed Helio's head in a harrowing moment. Thankfully, all were okay. It's tough to assign blame when multiple parties are at fault (except the #3 camp). Still amazing to see such a ferocious crash at such a low rate of speed.


Simon Pagenaud
Tough day for Simon Pagenaud, who crashed out of the race with one stint to go. The severity of the wreck was compounded by his championship rival winning. Everyone knew a Pagenaud mistake was coming, but not too many thought it would be at Pocono.


Dale Coyne Racing
Dale Coyne Racing, which looked very promising at Indianapolis, has otherwise laid goose eggs on all over the ovals on the Indycar schedule. The small team, which fielded regular ace Conor Daly and part-timer Pippa Mann, needs a Bullet Bill or something for future ovals.


Ed Carpenter
It's put up or shut up at Texas for Ed Carpenter, who is having a year to forget and his worst season since the Verizon Indycar Series was called the IRL and was led by his step-dad.



Cone of Shame



Takuma Sato
Takuma Sato acknowledged the fact that the wind in turn three would be difficult to deal with and that he could handle it right before the race. So it was really awkward when Sato crashed without even completing a lap.... In turn three.... With all the wind.... Doubly awkward that the race happened at his sponsor's title race.... Triply awkward that AJ Foyt probably took him to the woodshed once he got back to the garage.



Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Fantasy Indycar Picks: Pocono

Here are your Fantasy Indycar Picks for the 2016 ABC Supply 500 at Pocono (current championship leader highlighted in green, those in the elimination zone are highlighted in yellow, and those who have been eliminated are in red):

Name Twitter Handle                                          Pocono  
Alan Stewart _alanstewart JPM Newg Mann Munoz Aleshin  
Andy Nagel Gabbahey75 Carpenter Munoz Hinch Kanaan RHR  
Chris Blackburn  chblackburn23 Carpenter Newg Andretti Helio Kanaan  
Chris Mienaltowski CPMski Aleshin Newg JPM Munoz Rossi  
Conor Daly conordaly22 Kanaan Carpenter Dixon Munoz Andretti  
David Leiting Jr. Dlite_47 Kanaan Hinch JPM RHR Kimball  
David Redner IndyCART Kanaan Newg JPM Andretti RHR  
DJ Jordan Indycardj32 JPM Helio Munoz Kanaan RHR  
Eric Hall Erock_in_Indy Helio Kanaan Kimball Chilton Andretti  
Jake Neely indycarfan25 Andretti RHR Munoz Newg Kanaan  
James Alban TheKing0fSwing Rossi Newg RHR Munoz Kanaan  
James Sedlmayr dfd827 JPM Dixon Kanaan Helio Hinch  
Jerry Cruz Indycar_Raider Helio Newg Munoz Aleshin Rossi  
Jessica Baker bakerjm13 JPM Andretti Helio Daly Newg  
Johanna Husband writebend Helio RHR Bourdais Sato Chilton  
Kieran Brughelli  kieranbrughelli Carpenter Kanaan Munoz Daly Pagenaud  
Kyle Lewis kylelewis1 RHR Kanaan JPM Munoz Hinch  
Lynn Weinberg lynnweinberg Dixon Helio JPM Munoz Daly  
Martin Plowman plowey Helio JPM Kimball Aleshin Rossi  
Mathew Gruenholz IndycarSTIG Andretti Mann RHR Hinch Daly  
Matthew Hickey Indycar_MN JPM Power Aleshin Newg Munoz  
Michael Friedman mfriedman_63 Dixon Rahal Helio JPM Munoz  
Mike Crawford 7BigMike Kanaan Daly RHR Hinch Carpenter  
Mitch Robinson mitchrobinson_ JPM Kanaan Hinch Munoz RHR  
Morgan Polizzi morganpolizzi RHR Kanaan Newg JPM Rossi  
Paige Hill paigehilll JPM Rossi Aleshin Newg Munoz  
Rick Snodie  rickfromwi JPM Kanaan Munoz Sato Carpenter  
Sam Klein sklein31 JPM Newg Kanaan Munoz Rossi  
Sandy Lamparello npssandy Andretti Daly Newg Rossi Power  
Sarah Hall SarahHall_528 Andretti JPM Munoz Newg Rossi  
Sean Kennedy _6thgear_ RHR Munoz Hinch JPM Kimball  
Sophie Hanson Sophie_Hansons3
Steven Jenkins ukindyfan Kanaan Helio RHR JPM Munoz  
               


Penalties

  • Alan Stewart has received a single pick violation for picking an invalid driver.

Let's go racing!

-Matthew Hickey

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Winners and Losers: Mid-Ohio

Here are your winners, losers, and Cone of Shame following the 2016 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio:

Winners

Simon Pagenaud
Another win from Simon Pagenaud, who continues to be the championship favorite. This was important to stick it to Will Power, who has vaulted up the standings lately. His epic re-pass on Power in the last turn could be one of those championship defining moments.


Will Power
Will Power continues to be on an epic streak of races. Despite not winning, a second place finish is enough to keep Power within spittin' distance of teammate Pagenaud. We are setting up for an epic duel between the two.


Carlos Munoz
Carlos Munoz sneaked into the podium despite it looking like it was going to be a terrible weekend for Andretti Autosport. A solid weekend for a guy who may need to find a new home in 2017.


Conor Daly
Conor Daly once again used strategy to get into the lead, like we've seen many times this year. Most drivers can use strategy to get into the lead, but Conor finds a way to stay in the lead when he is there. It's not like Conor is holding off Jack Hawksworth; he was putting distance between himself and eventual winner Simon Pagenaud. After pushing on the final stint, Conor pitted for a splash of fuel and wound up P6. Despite some bad breaks, Conor is having an impressive rookie campaign.



Losers

Scott Dixon
Scott Dixon made a mistake, which was trying to pass Helio Castroneves, who is notoriously difficult and sometimes dangerous to be around. With his last place finish at a track where he usually finishes first, Dixon may have well been eliminated from the championship.


Mikhail Aleshin
Gutted for Mikhail Aleshin, who had a firm strangle on the race. After working his way into the lead, Aleshin used his speed to stay there, only to get sent from the pits into the path of Josef Newgarden. Aleshin would lose his chance to win right there. Sucks because these kind of things happen to Mikhail more often than not. His championship standing isn't reflective of his worth in the series.


Sebastien Bourdais
Not only did Sebastien Bourdais ruin his race in the closing stages of the Mid-Ohio race, but he hurt Takuma Sato's clean and good result he had going. Sato would lose a handful of positions, while Bourdais would be knocked out. Unfortunate result on an incident that I would pin on Bourdais. To Bourdais's defense, he did apologize for the incident.


Jack Hawksworth
I've said it before and I'll say it again: there's a sports car somewhere with Jack Hawksworth's name on it.



Cone of Shame



Helio Castroneves
This is a two-pronged Cone of Shame for Helio Castroneves. Part one is where he took out Scott Dixon by running him over the curb in a clear passing zone when Dixon was blatantly right next to him. Totally avoidable, very Helio-like (not his first time causing an accident). The second part to this is that Helio did not win a race last year and has not won a race this year, making it very difficult to win the championship. Another miserable outing at Mid-Ohio virtually makes the season a two-horse race between two of his teammates. Helio looks destined to go a 16th season at Team Penske without a championship.



Thanks for reading!

-Matthew Hickey

Friday, July 29, 2016

Fantasy Indycar Picks: Mid-Ohio

Here are your Fantasy Indycar picks for the 2016 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (current championship leader in green, those in the EZ are in yellow, and those who have been eliminated are in red):

Name Twitter Handle                                      Mid-Ohio  
Alan Stewart _alanstewart Dixon Munoz Power Kimball Pagenaud  
Andy Nagel Gabbahey75 Dixon Hinch RHR Daly Kimball  
Chris Blackburn  chblackburn23 Dixon Kimball Newg Rossi Rahal  
Chris Mienaltowski CPMski Dixon Rahal Andretti Daly JPM  
Conor Daly conordaly22 Dixon Aleshin Bourdais Rahal Pagenaud  
David Leiting Jr. Dlite_47 Helio Dixon Pagenaud Kimball Daly  
David Redner IndyCART Andretti Power Newg Kanaan Rahal  
DJ Jordan Indycardj32 Dixon Bourdais Rahal Hinch Kimball  
Eric Hall Erock_in_Indy Power Dixon Chilton Bourdais Aleshin  
Jake Neely indycarfan25 Rahal Dixon Kimball Aleshin Daly  
James Alban TheKing0fSwing Daly Dixon Rahal Aleshin Bourdais  
James Sedlmayr dfd827 Rahal Kimball Sato Pagenaud Aleshin  
Jerry Cruz Indycar_Raider Dixon Rahal Kimball Power Pagenaud  
Jessica Baker bakerjm13 Rahal Pagenaud Dixon Newg Munoz  
Johanna Husband writebend Power Rahal RHR Kimball JPM  
Kieran Brughelli  kieranbrughelli Bourdais Kimball Power Rahal Dixon  
Kyle Lewis kylelewis1 Dixon Bourdais Kimball Pagenaud Rahal  
Lynn Weinberg lynnweinberg Hinch Rahal Kimball Andretti Rossi  
Martin Plowman plowey Rahal Hinch Pigot Helio RHR  
Mathew Gruenholz IndycarSTIG Dixon Rahal Aleshin Daly Kimball  
Matthew Hickey Indycar_MN Dixon Kimball Newg Pagenaud Rahal  
Michael Friedman mfriedman_63 Power Rahal Bourdais Kimball RHR  
Mike Crawford 7BigMike Sato Rahal Aleshin Munoz Kimball  
Mitch Robinson mitchrobinson_ JPM Aleshin Dixon Hawk Rossi  
Morgan Polizzi morganpolizzi Rahal Pagenaud Dixon Munoz Daly  
Paige Hill paigehilll Chilton Pagenaud Rahal Hawk Andretti  
Rick Snodie  rickfromwi Rahal Kimball Newg Sato Hinch  
Sam Klein sklein31 Rahal Dixon Helio RHR Hinch  
Sandy Lamparello npssandy Pagenaud Power Rahal Sato Munoz  
Sarah Hall SarahHall_528 Dixon Daly Kimball Pagenaud Rahal  
Sean Kennedy _6thgear_ Power Dixon Rahal Munoz Hinch  
Sophie Hanson Sophie_Hansons3
Steven Jenkins ukindyfan Chilton Daly Newg Pigot Rahal  
     





Penalties: Johanna Husband


Let's go racing!

-Matthew Hickey