Well. That was crazy.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Heck, I said it as recently as my articles this afternoon… The Verizon IndyCar Series is the definition of unpredictable. This afternoon proved it to be true, yet again. Even the winner of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit I… agrees! In his post-race presser, Team Penske driver Will Power stated, “This is IndyCar and ANYTHING can happen. And it does.”
Will Power found himself in the Winner’s Circle again, a territory he is not unfamiliar with. Oh and by the way, he made it there by only three tenths of a second this afternoon. Graham Rahal was the reason for that close call. And even though Power ended up the victor at the end of 70 laps around Belle Isle, the majority of the talk was, has been, is and probably will be about the runner up. Rahal’s driving today was top notch and honestly, blew a lot of people away, including me. I was extremely impressed by not just the way that he fought through the field the first time, but how he continued to do it throughout the race even after coming out 13th after one particular pit stop. He cleanly, safely, and very entertainingly passed one car at a time, forging his path to the podium.
Even Power admitted that he knew how fast Rahal was, saying that he couldn’t let up for a second or Rahal gained on him. Power said if Rahal had caught him, that would have been it and he would not have been able to take him over for the win. That’s a pretty impressive compliment from Will Power.
Impressive was the name of Graham Rahal’s game today and everyone was taking note – from his fellow series drivers, to the teams, media, and even the fans. I’m not sure what got into him today or what the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team did differently this weekend… or perhaps it was a combination of everyone just being on the same page at the same time with the same goal. Whatever it was, I want to see it again. What a fantastic show Rahal put on for us today. Let’s do that again tomorrow, shall we? But maybe tomorrow he can nab that very top spot on the podium.
I don’t mean to overshadow the job that Power did however; Power came from the back of the pack in a P16 starting position to win it all. That kind of racing is always noticed, appreciated and revered. I love seeing that drive and passion for the sport. Power definitely has that, plus determination for days.
Not everyone came out of their less-than-desired qualification position as well though. In fact, two guys that we are used to seeing in those top spots during race day, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Simon Pagenaud, both missed out on seeing the checkereds wave. Pagenaud drew the first yellow of the day on Lap 5 when he made contact with the back of Power’s car and seemed to side swipe the wall a bit. He was able to get himself into the run-off but the damage was done and so was his day. Hunter-Reay was 1/3 of the reason for the last yellow of the day and it happened locally on the last lap in Turn 7. He stated after the race that fellow Andretti Autosport teammate, Marco Andretti, “seemed to be struggling on fuel and I got inside him and just lost the rear of the car.” Consequently, Hunter-Reay ended up in the tire barrier along with two others – Mikhail Aleshin, who at one point was leading the race and seemed to have a shot at winning today, and Jack Hawksworth. Hawksworth had the potential to win this race as well, running equivalent lap times to then-leading driver Castroneves, but Hawksworth was down 4 laps because of an earlier incident with a damaged brake rotor.
Now, if you are reading this, you are probably an avid IndyCar fan or at least a supporter of the series. So I think you’ll agree with me when I say this: I truly don’t know how someone… anyone… can watch a race like the one we were treated to today in Detroit, and NOT immediately fall in love. This series is unabashedly THE best racing series on the planet. I know that people will argue and say that I am biased but guess what… they’re wrong. Flat out, they’re wrong.
Do I love IndyCar? Heck YES.
Is it my choice racing series without any doubt or hesitation? Absolutely.
But that does not make me biased. Hear me out.
I have watched many different racing series throughout my life, present day included. I like all of them. Well, okay… most of them. They all have different aspects that make them unique, competitive and entertaining. But the reason I write about IndyCar… the reason I live, breathe and sleep IndyCar… is because it has me by the heartstrings. IndyCar is the one that has been a part of my world for as long as I can remember and it’s not just the nostalgia of childhood memories at the track with my family that keep me at this level of infatuation. Sure, that may have sparked my interest and peaked my desire to support the series, but it was my personal experiences between just me and this particular racing series that created the lifelong love affair I have mentioned in the past. And I could not be more thankful for that.
The talent in the series stems from every corner of the globe, the incredibly high (and always increasing) standard of training and precision that these drivers and teams hold themselves to is awe-inspiring, the extremes that these cars are pushed to and the engineers that build them to withstand and perform at such a level is inspiring and sometimes, even hard to comprehend. Take all of that and add charming personalities, comedic timing, good hearts and a group of competitors, fans and media alike that refer to themselves as #indyfamily (a hashtag I created last year and has spread like wildfire which I LOVE) and you get one of the most unique “inner societies” in the world. People across the board with passion for this sport that you can only understand if you feel it the same way, with a respect for one another that is quite simply – just understood, and a love for something so deep that even though it drains us of energy, finances, sleep, nutrition and time… all we can say at the end of an exhausting race weekend is… “I can’t wait to do that again.” And we do.
And we always will.
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