Scott Dixon found a way to win at a track that he never won at. I guess he's pretty good at driving...
Simon Pagenaud is having a mega start to the 2016 Indycar Season, taking home to podiums on his way to a first place position in the championship. Hopefully he can keep it up after a less than thrilling 2015 season.
How bout the rookie flexing the big guns on his first oval? "F1 Reject" Max Chilton is starting to make a name for himself with aggressive-yet-smart approach to racing and passing. He did an outstanding job Saturday Night of playing defense while also knowing when to pass. Graham Rahal said after the race that he thought Chilton was the fastest car out there. Hopefully Chilton can keep this up because fans will start lining up to cheer him on.
In a race that most people knew would be decided by the Chevys, Graham Rahal cracking the top-five in an underpowered Honda was a huge victory for himself and the manufacturer. It brings up shades of last year, where Graham continued to rack up good results despite all the odds stacked against him. Will we see a repeat of 2015 this year?
Overly Negative Indycar Fans
Firestone brought the wrong tires!
Ugh, why does the race have to finish under yellow?!
There's no passing!
They waited eight laps to throw a yellow!!
Chevrolet cars are dominating the race! Why does Honda suck?!
NBCSN throws too many commercials!
The crowd doesn't look that big!
Why was the national anthem done by someone on a saxaphone?!
-Honestly, it was one of those nights where I thought about deleting my Twitter. So much overt negativity that wasn't all warranted. Yes there were a couple issues with the coming back to Phoenix, chief amongst which was the downforce package and the lack of falloff by the tires. But at the end of the day, we had a happy client (Phoenix) who was impressed with the crowd that came to watch. They liked hosting the Indycars. It looks like we will be back in 2017. And from what I gather on Twitter, the fans who did show up enjoyed the race! I'm not an Indycar cheerleader and I am critical of the sport at time, but is it necessary to complain about every single nuance of an Indycar race? I for one enjoyed even with the "wrong tires," the "lack of passing," etc.
Not a good weekend for Carlos Munoz, who had a rough time at St. Petersburg at well (he got the Cone of Shame last week). This weekend, he crashed in qualifying and crashed in the race. For a guy who should be near dominant (at least among the Hondas) on ovals, this was a incredibly disappointing showing for him, racking up a last place finish.
Team owner and driver Ed Carpenter continues on his habits from 2015, as Ed was running a very solid race before making what appeared to be an amaetur mistake; he got offline and into the marbles, crashing the car. Ed continues to make mistakes in the very limited schedule that he has, which makes me wonder if he decides to hang them up after this year and just devotes his attention to Josef Newgarden.
As mentioned above, one of the biggest critiques of the race was Firestone doing a terrible job with their tires, especially in the case of Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya, who each suffered identical right front tire punctures at the same point of their stint while using the same setup. Since no one else had an issue all night, I am going to go ahead and assume that it was a Team Penske issue and not a Firestone issue.
Cone of Shame
Charlie Kimball qualified a very impressive P4, leading me to believe that he would actually be quite the beast in the race. Unfortunately, Charlie had a couple of brain fades, the biggest of which was coming down on Josef Newgarden who had clearly established himself below CK heading into turn one. The two made contact, with Charlie having a controlled spin into the infield before he turned the car around and went on his way. Was this the only incident tonight? No, but it was the only one that made a driver look like a complete amateur. Maybe it was spotter communication or maybe it was lack of awareness, but whatever the case, Charlie finds himself with a cone around his neck for the next two weeks.
Let me know what you think!