…You Guys Okay (2021 Texas Review)

Yeah so I have no clue about this past weekend. It was wild – just wild. Probably should have known that we were in for a wild weekend when practice was delayed for over two hours due to weather. That compressed the Saturday schedule meaning no qualifications and the field was set both days by championship points. Also during practice we had complaints of vibrations from drivers. That just throws me back to the 2017 race where tires were shit and everything went south. 

The Saturday race, the Genesys 300, started the weekend of Sebastian Bourdais’ no good very rotten luck. After a surprisingly clean start, especially with a younger driver leading the field, on Lap 57 Bourdais was tagged in the back by Newgarden and his car was really just undriveable. That would have been a rotten enough story, if not for Bourdais also be taken out during the pre Lap 1 crash during the XPEL 375. The start was extremely slow and Pietro Fittipaldi just went right into Bourdais and collected five other cars. James Hinchcliffe also had horrible luck this weekend, he solo crashed in the first race, got collected in Sunday’s crash but was able to get his car into the pits. Ultimately he retired from that race as well. Someone who has absolutely perfect luck and should by a lottery ticket is Conor Daly. Conor was one of the cars caught in Sunday’s crash and ultimately his car was riding down the track upside down for a long time. 

Screengrab from the NBSCN Coverage

It was a horrible weekend for tires and brakes as well. During the practice, Colton Herta spent quite some time on pit lane because he had a severe brake problem: as in they didn’t work. It was fixed in time for for the race, but with twenty-one laps to go he had to park the car due to brake failure and his car being on fire. Multiple teams had issues with tires during pit stops including: Marcus Ericsson, Takuma Sato, and Felix Rosenqvist whose wheel ran so far away it caused a yellow. However the person with the most horrible weekend involving brakes and wheels was Jack Harvey. He was trying to make some moves Saturday, and apparently had some discussions with other drivers – but he was not going to back down. During the Sunday race, on the first restart he was just killing it and making moves. Then on Lap 115 his car was slowing down and he retired for wheel bearing/brake issues. That was the time of the night where it got a little drunk out as both of my favorite drivers were not out of the race. 

Enough with discussing who had bad races, as I could do that for at least four more pages (including one on Will Power’s weird decision to go really high into the PJ1 and just get passed by everyone). Two people had exceptional weekends. First we have to all say congratulations to Scott McLaughlin who, on his first oval, earned a second place. Not only that, but in the closing laps of the race he was getting close to attempt to pass Scott Dixon for first. The Saturday night finish of Scott Dixon and Scott McLaughlin marks the first time in INDYCAR history two New Zealanders shared a podium. Scott should not be disappointed in that finish, he drove a great race.

Finally a huge congratulations to Pato O’Ward for achieving his first INDYCAR win. Having it done at Texas Motor Speedway is no small feet. O’Ward just drove a great weekend. The first race was a great showing, but that second race – he was using the higher lines during restarts to get to the front of the field. That’s a hell of a confidence boost going into the month of May. 

Thank goodness we have a week or so off! The teams have been going for three weeks straight, and they need a break before the craziness of May starts up.