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

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