Still have a little bit of the "Indy hangover", but life is getting back to normal, so I guess we start the countdown to next year. 363 days by the way.
I've had a couple of things bouncing around my mind the last day or two, so I figured I would throw them out there for public consumption.
Dario Franchitti. I can't say I am a fan of his, but I do appreciate his talent. I have been researching a few things on Dario's accomplishments at Indy and hope to have a post up on him later on this week. But let's get one thing out of the way: criticism for his winning all three of his races under yellow is BS. No doubt you need some luck to win the 500, and he is fortunate to have gotten that at the right time, but he didn't back into any of his wins. He closes. I had a British gent sitting behind me at the race and he called Dario winning at about the halfway point of the race because "He knows how to win.". Yes he does. And besides, Rick Mears won a race under caution, so did Dan Wheldon (technically both his wins were under caution) and two of AJ Foyt's wins came when the leader dropped out with less than 10 laps remaining and I don't hear much said about them. Indy 500 wins don't come with asterisks.
Takuma Sato. I have bashed the hell out of Taku several times for his propensity to hit things, but man he is really growing up this season, no doubt getting the benefit of working with a mentor like Bobby Rahal. I still have no problem with the move he made, we can all second-guess him but he saw an opening and he took it. There was just over 2 miles to go in the race and he saw an opportunity. Maybe experience might teach him to try later the next time, but Mears faced the same move in the same situation in 1982, backed off, and ran out of time in finishing second to Gordon Johncock while earning a lot of criticism in the process. One thing I can say for certainty is that I saw a great Youtube video of the turn 1 incident and it was just hard, clean racing. Dario gave him room, not a lot, but enough, and it just didn't stick. In fact, it didn't look a lot different than when he followed Dario underneath Dixon just a couple of laps before.
Scott Dixon. Speaking of Dixie, I saw a stat today that he has seven straight top-6 finishes in the 500. In fact, eight of his 10 career starts are in that category. Just an amazing run of consistency. Dixon has completed all 1,366 laps in competition over the last seven years (2006-12). Believe it or not, that breaks a 71-year-old record as Wilbur Shaw completed 1,351 between 1935-41. Franchitti also has completed all of the laps in his last seven races, but missed the 2008 race so it isn't consecutive. Dixon might have a couple more wins if things had gone his way a little more, but he's also driving in such a deep era -- since 2000 the race has had three drivers win a total of eight of the races, it's just tougher now than it used to be.
35 lead changes. Watching the highlights with the radio call spliced in I heard track historian Donald Davidson say he was disappointed as his favorite 500 record fell Sunday. It is amazing that Jim Rathmann and Rodger Ward's 1960 duel that produced the previous record (29) stood for as long as it did, but for sure is a testament to the competition level and the raciness of the DW12.
On to Milwaukee. OK, so the series heads to Belle Isle first and then Texas, but personally the Mile will be my next stop. I found out today that I will be credentialed for race weekend, meaning I will cover the events on Friday for this little blog and drop in my impressions after watching Saturday's race. Should be a good time, by the looks of the Twitter feeds the drivers are having a great time up there in testing today, so hopefully it will be a great event.
Thanks for reading! I'm a stat geek so the Blogspot stats page has drawn a lot of my attention. It's been the best month of this little blog's existence, and I want to thank everyone who reads the blog and follows me on Twitter. I had over 1,000 page views in each of the last two weekends, and Sunday/Monday (the software tracks from 7 p.m. to 7 p.m.) I had an amazing 734 views! Even though the month is over, please keep coming back, I promise I'll keep the good stuff coming.