Simon Pagenaud can do no wrong at the moment. All he does is win or finish second. I haven't seen a start to the season quite like this other than Sebastien Bourdais's asterisk season where he won the first four races (I say asterisk cause beating 12 other cars when you have the best equipment doesn't compare to what Simon is doing). For the record, I picked Pagenaud to win the Indy 500 and the championship. Let's see how he continues on.
As I said on Twitter, if it wasn't for Graham Rahal, that race would have been downright terrible. Rahal used the same strategy last year that got him to P2, only this time he was in a great position to win. However, Rahal tangled with lapped traffic while trying to pass Pagenaud for the lead. It was an epic finish and Graham still finished P2. I'm glad he was out there to put on a show.
Josef Newgarden has passed Will Power in the same turn three times in two years (at Barber). It was hilarious listening to Josef after the race saying how he couldn't believe Power was letting him get away with it. Stealing a podium from Power with not much time left in the race has to be a victory for Josef, who is still feeling the impact of a last place finish from St. Petersburg.
Juan Pablo Montoya
Juan Pablo Montoya started last and looked to have poor chances of finishing in the top-ten. It didn't hurt that three drivers were moved to the rear of the field at the start, but Montoya still did a great job at weaving his way through the field on his way to a P5 finish. This will be one to remember come September, as Montoya has struggled at Barber in his previous two starts.
Scott Dixon had one of those races we expect Dixon to have early on in the season. See Cone of Shame for more details.
Max Chilton got another reality call when a rough race saw him finish dead last. After the race, it was determined that one of his rear guards was broken. Long race for Max has to knock his confidence a bit heading into May.
I think Jack Hawksworth will make for a great IMSA driver. That's all I really have to say right now.
Dale Coyne Racing
The team that is up against it early on in the season is Dale Coyne Racing. Based on comments from Luca Filippi and Conor Daly, both drivers seem optimistic for the future. But both drivers keep complaining about lack of grip. Filippi seems to qualify well but suffers in the race, while Daly shows good pace but can't string together a good result. With the team fielding four cars for May, hopefully they don't end up being bumped.
Cone of Shame
Sebastien Bourdais not only ruined any chance he had at a solid finish, but he ruined Dix's as well. Two great cars that were fast all weekend needed some sort of caution to help switch things into their favor. It never came, and both drivers payed the price. It was Bourdais who got turn five all wrong and smashed Dixon while Dixon was close to exiting the corner. Brutal all around.
Stay tuned for a post later this week.