I’m weirdly nostalgic when it comes to the end of the year. I think I weight the new year more heavily than I do a birthday. Perhaps something about the planet as a whole doing a full revolution together, or my birthday was always right at the start of school and so it wasn’t fun. Whatever the reason, I do enjoy the end of a year. The ritual cleaning out of everything, reflecting back on what happened, and of course the excitement of another three-hundred and sixty-five days to try something new. On the bandwagon I jump, here are the five great moments from the 2019 INDYCAR year.
Rossi Domination at Road America
It took about two corners for Alexander Rossi, starting second, to pass Colton Herta (who had just become the youngest pole-sitter in INDYCAR history). After that pass, which as I was listening on the scanner I did let out an unholy whoop of happiness, the race was Rossi’s. It was a caution free race. He led 54 out of 55 laps and finished with nearly a thirty-second lead (technically 28:43 seconds). At one point Josef Newgarden came over the radio asking about Rossi’s lead, and he just couldn’t believe the gap. Rossi had great luck this season, and put on a great fight for championship. I’d also give a nod to his domination at Long Beach (with a twenty second lead) and the back and forth during the Indianapolis 500 with Simon Pagenaud (thanks you guys for making the end of the race so amazing!).
Surprising a Friend at INDYCAR Grand Prix
It’s not all fast cars in this look back. One of the moments I will treasure was when we surprised huge Ed Carpenter Fan Alex (of AJAX racing) with meeting Ed in the garage. It was a flawless execution. Brie from ECR was in on it, Ed was in on it. Everyone was ready to make it happen. We gave Alex and the PAIN Tour Contingent a garage tour, pointing out things, and wound our way to the ECR garages, which it was perfect they were at the end. Alex was all ready enthralled at the garages, then he saw Brie and was ecstatic to say “hi” to her…and then there is Ed. I was one of two women in the group, with a lot of men, but I’m going to say we all got a little misty. Alex’s reaction was just so pure. That adorable (sorry Alex! I get to use the word adorable) moment where tween boys like can’t handle things and get all fidgety.
We’ve talked about this moment on the podcast. I just want to reiterate again that this is exactly what needs to happen to grow the sport. What did this moment cost? Just time. Just ten minutes maybe twenty. That’s it. What did it create? A moment for this racer, and forever INDYCAR fan. He’ll remember this every time he steps into the garages at IMS. After seeing his great performance this year…he’ll remember it when he steps into the garages: because he’s an INDYCAR driver! (Alex if you read this – you can not go into any other series)
It’s no secret I cheer loudly for Ed Carpenter. I didn’t think I could cheer any louder or more enthusiastic than during those last few laps of the Bommarito 500. Ed making the valiant challenge against Takuma Sato. If it were possible to will someone to win, I was going to do it. Second place is great (and with Tony Kanaan coming in third, it was a real veteran podium) but it’s not first. So close, another few more laps and he would have got him. But that’s INDYCAR.
Juncos and the 500
May was full of trouble and redemption for Juncos Racing. It started with a loss of primary sponsor for the team. It continued with a heavy crash on Fast Friday that looked to tear the car apart…and part of the track. It was then that May Magic, and some old school INDYCAR spirit happened. That team worked and worked to get the car put back together. They took help from other teams, and to their credit other teams pitched in. They got it put back together again. Just in time for the Last Row Shoot out. Kyle Kaiser was the final driver and every single person held their breath as the time clicked out and everyone lost it. The audio from the team at that moment is the purest expression of joy. A beautiful ending would have been the car finishing the 500, but sadly bad luck again as the car crashed out. That isn’t remembered: bumping out McLaren and Fernando Alonso will be. Juncos the giant slayer.
That was 2019. An emotional roller-coaster. Honorable mentions would be FCFG Unplugged and the Rolex in the rain. Can’t wait for 2020.
If you want to receive emails only on Monday letting you know what blogs have been posted – sign up to the mailing list: http://eepurl.com/dOoc9n
Also, I guarantee you we’ll be talking this team during episodes of our podcast. You can subscribe by visiting our subscribe page: www.fastcarsfastgirls.com/subscribe