The opening rounds at St. Petersburg and NOLA have not been the season launch IndyCar organisers would have hoped for.
It's hard to argue that more than once, IndyCar has shot itself in the foot when it comes to executing the ever-evolving business plan.
But the miserable weekend that was the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana wasn’t the series’ fault, wasn’t the track’s fault, wasn’t the promoter’s fault, wasn’t even the fault of the new body kit.
It was the fault of Mother Nature, coupled with the fact that NOLA Motorsports Park happened to be built in an area where they bury people above ground, giving you an idea of the draining challenges there. Rain just ruined the weekend, and likely severely trimmed the crowd that could have shown up had it been 75 degrees and sunny.
Diehard fans realize this stuff happens, and will be back. Their families may not, and first-timers who hoped to see more racing and less of the pace car may not.
A shame: The first time I took some laps around NOLA a few years ago, I liked the track, liked the people, but at the time I never thought it would be more than a club track. Yes, it’s flat and featureless, but all involved seemed to do the best they could with what they had to work with.
And then the rain. 31 minutes of racing in a 105-minute race is just sad. Certainly it was nice to see James Hinchcliffe win in the Schmidt-Peterson Honda, because this season really looks as though it could be a Penske parade.
Long Beach bound
This weekend, IndyCar heads to Long Beach, arguably the second most important race on the schedule, behind, of course, the Indianapolis 500. The success of the season-opening race at St. Petersburg was hampered by the flying body parts, causing a less than a professional debut for the new Honda- and Chevrolet-specific body kits.
The always quotable Will Power was among the first to note the possibility that could happen, mentioning after qualification that the Chevrolets at least “had less crap to fall off.” Not exactly a hearty tip of the hat to the GM aero guys, but close.
The weather looks good for Long Beach, and hopefully the slightly modified aero kits, combined with some less frantic driving, will result in a good race. IndyCar needs it, and bad.