I have been very excited for this race, so excited that it’s was one of the first things I wrote about this year. Last year the crowd didn’t disappoint. The track didn’t disappoint. The racing – it certainly didn’t disappoint. Many of the issues I find were because of the track recently being repaved and fixed. Some teams had tested there a month or so prior to the race and had reported slick conditions, so the track did the right thing and attempted to fix the issue – however, some slickness still remained.
The race started up with an all Team Penske start. Then a three-wide salute with fireworks (which was amazing until they had to delay the start because of debris). Annnnd right as we started, Tony Kanaan slid into a wall. The race restarted and then there was the Will Power, Ed Carpenter, Takuma Sato crash where Ed’s car went up and over Will’s. Looked scary on television I’m sure, it looked even scarier in person. There was, at one point, a great battle between Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi. RHR had the speed down the straightaways, but Rossi had the speed in the corner. Of course, any discussion of the 2017 race is a mention of ‘the incident’ when towards the very end of the race Josef Newgarden sneaked on past Simon Pagenaud. It was risky pass certainly and as Simon said multiple times in the post-race interview it probably could have only happened safely with him. It was shortly after the pass that Josef went on to win the race.
There’s no sugar-coating the issue. This race, safety is going to be on everyone’s mind. We go into this race after quite a horrific incident, and while the points are now topsy-turvy, I would think most of the focus is going to be on safety and how the drivers prepare for a race following the incident.
This race, well I know it’s going to be another amazing race under the lights. What I’m looking for it:
How’s Ed going to do on the last oval for the season?
Rumors are rampant about ECR going three cars, with two full time and Ed on the ovals only. He always is confident going into ovals, and I think following last years early crash out he wants to step up.
Gabby Chaves is back for Harding. So #GoGabbyGo
Scott had a solid finish, but Rossi is closer to him than last race. I’m going to repeat what I said about Pocono – Dixon needs to have a bad race and Rossi needs to have an amazing race for a leadership change to happen. I’m looking forward to another fantastic race by all participants.
There’s also going to be eleven food trucks. There are not eleven meals – but that doesn’t matter.
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