Lisa Davidson’s take on the IndyCar race in Brazil – the third street circuit in the new season.
The Big Picture: The Streets of Sao Paulo is a test of how IndyCar can build its brand internationally. Indy Car racing is very popular in Brazil, but it could make more financial sense if put on the schedule before or after Australia, a race currently not on the schedule, where IndyCar racing is also popular!
Event: It’s a fly in race two days long with nothing else but the ICS race going on. Meh.
Qualifying: Ryan Hunter-Reay, who prior to 2013, was never known as a good qualifier, took the pole. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Fast 6 Qualifying format, which can be entertaining for fans, defeats the purpose of qualifying when faster cars cannot start up front. Like what happened with this race. Bleah!
Race: The most exciting race so far this season, I’ll give it an 8.5! There was an exciting finish, lots of passing throughout the day, and it appeared that the drivers respect one another and the officials. This is a huge improvement from IndyCar under TGBB (The Great Brian Barnhart). Please take note.
Track: As long as the cars can pass like crazy as they did today, I’m fine with the track the way it is. You?
Start: It was much better than the starts earlier in the season, the polesitter could race and EJ Viso’s front row start was proven to be a quirk of fate rather than a sudden burst of talent.
Surprise of the Race: Josef Newgarden’s fifth place finish that could have been a win had not Race Control allowed Sato to block both the Tennessean and Hinchcliffe. The first surprise was how good Newgarden was . The second surprise was how Race Control handled blocking for the win.
The Villain of the Piece: Race Control allowed Takuma Sato to block both Race Winner Hinchcliffe and the emergent Newgarden. I’d like to see an explanation of this from Beaux Barfield.
Hinchcliffe: The Mayor of Hinchtown only led one lap, the one that matters: the final one. James has won twice this year and DNFed twice. Talk about feast or famine!
Sato: As I said last race, the combination of Taku and Larry Foyt has the makings of legend. I didn’t like his blocking today, but 2nd place after the Long Beach win means he’s hot! And he’s leading the points!
Marco Andretti: He’s my choice for Most Improved Driver by far. His 3rd place podium at Brazil is more evidence that he’s becoming a force to be reckoned with!
Andretti Autosport: Michael Andretti has got to be loving life. His team has won three of the four races this season. An added bonus is the resurgence of Marco Andretti’s racing career. Chip Ganassi must be gnashing his teeth!
Oriol Servia: Technically one of the best drivers ever to strap into an IndyCar, Servia is reportedly out of a ride after Indy due to sponsorship issues. This is possibly due to the abysmal economy in his home country, Spain. Whatever the reason, we hope this changes because the series will be much poorer if we lose him as a driver.
Next Race: In two weeks, it’s back to Indy for the race for the pole. I can’t wait to see this group of drivers race the Indianapolis 500.