Scott Dixon finally got a win at Long Beach after several years of despair. Not only did he get a win, but Dixon has vaulted himself right into the championship hunt. Plus, he has now moved into sole possession for fifth all-time on the Indycar wins list. Way to go Dixon, hopefully he does more to break up the Penske party.
Team Penske (minus Power)
Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Simon Pagenaud all had very solid weekends, and it looks as if they're setting up their own private championship battle. Their pace, race craft, and aggressiveness have been on point this season. Thoroughly impressed with Team Penske so far.
Josef Newgarden has gotten off to a very solid start to the 2015 season. In fact, I feel as if he's a couple podiums away from making a serious championship run. Newgarden has shown great pace all year, and now has two top-tens and a decent finish at St. Pete. He keeps poking his head in the middle of the Ganassi-Penske fight. Some bad luck in the pit sequence get Josef from snatching a top-five finish, but that doesn't take away from the race he ran. Is this the year that Newgarden breaks through and gets a win? So far, it's not out of the question.
Sebastian Saavedra, who is now splitting the #8 Chip Ganassi ride with Sage Karam, took over the car and put it in the top-ten. It was a great effort by him and the whole team. Even more scary is that Saavedra consistently outpaced veteran Ganassi teammate Charlie Kimball. Did Saavedra finally find somewhere where he can show off his pace?
Will Power stalled early after avoiding a stalled car in the pits, and the rest is history. Power got bogged down in qualifying, after he didn't get to put in a flying lap in. This defined his weekend, as he never got a chance to race. Power is still in the championship hunt, but results like this can't continue if he wants to repeat as the Indycar champion.
The DraCone of Shame, Francesco Dracone, will have one more chance to live up to his name to get back to the Cone of Shame. Dracone was outpaced by Rocky Moran Jr., who hadn't raced a single seater for a decade, and then Conor Daly. He also made life very difficult for drivers trying to get past him (aka EVERY DRIVER IN THE FIELD). Dracone is putting himself in a category of rare names like Milka Duno and Hiro Matsushita. One more race... Hopefully. He was too easy of a choice for the Cone this week though.
Luca Filippi ran out of luck on Sunday. Coming into the pits after an early caution, Filippi stalled or lost a gear or something. He lost two laps and effectively ruined his race. Many people were expecting big things from him after Mike Conway's win in the same car last year at Long Beach. Filippi will need to turn it around at future road course races, as JR Hildebrand is breathing down the barrel to get into that car.
It has been a very rough start to the season for Stefano Coletti. Coletti had a good run going at St. Pete before encountering a problem. In NOLA, he crashed on a restart. At Long Beach, he crashed several times throughout the weekend and suffered gear box issues during the race. If Coletti doesn't turn it around quick, people will start to brand him as a failure.
Cone of Shame
Yes, everyone is allowed an opinion, but David Ragan got a lot of flack for tweeting this yesterday:
Watching this Indy car race from Long Beach makes me appreciate how competitve and exciting @NASCAR races are.
— David Ragan (@DavidRagan) April 19, 2015
I don't even know where to start with this tweet. First off, David Ragan is one of the most average NASCAR drivers in the history of the sport. He's collected two wins in his career, and both were at restrictor plate tracks, which is basically to say he kept his foot on the gas for three hours, put himself in a good position with two laps to go, and didn't crash. Second, 2014 paints a picture as to competition. In 36 races, NASCAR had 14 different winners. 14 out of 36 is 38.8% variability. In 18 races, Indycar had 11 different winners, a variability of 61.1%. Competition my ass, Indycar is one of the most competitive forms of motorsports in the world. Third, Indycar had lots of on-track battles yesterday, especially for third place late in the race. This was all occuring with only one caution (and thus the field had a chance to seperate). In NASCAR, if there's a boring stretch of racing, the officials throw a caution if they find any sort of debris on the track. This could be sheet metal, hot dog wrapper, or a piece of grass. NASCAR has to manufacture their competition. NASCAR has to be one of the least exciting things I've ever seen. I'd rather listen to Barry Manilow for four hours. Fourth, David Ragan is a professional driver. If a troll who dwells in their mother's basement or some other low-life says this, I let it slide. But when a professional says this about a rival sport, it makes them look like a fool, especially when you present an opinion as a fact. Finally, Indycar's response on Twitter was perfection, and I almost classified them as a winner:
— IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) April 19, 2015
Let me know what you think!