A Comedy of Errors

Tony CastaneiraAnalyst IJuly 7, 2008

The IndyCar Series took to the road course of Watkins Glen this past weekend.  The race was aired live on ABC but Comedy Central would have been a channel more appropriate.

The race started with the number four qualifier Scott Dixon jumping the start by passing Justin Wilson and Ryan Hunter Reay.   The comedy ensued shortly after with the Indy Racing league ordering Dixon to give up one spot as punishment.  Lets see you cheat by jumping the start and gain 2 track positions and then they punish you by making you fall back one with a net gain of one position?  In other words…If you are going to cheat, Cheat Big!

Shortly after a full course yellow was thrown when Helio Castro-Neves’s car died just past the pit entrance.  In any other series once you pass pit-in you are committed to another lap but apparently not for Helio.   They threw a full course yellow even though he was not in a dangerous position and the IndyCarSeries pit workers scrambled out to push him back and then into the pits.  Where another team attempted to restart his car.  The whole seen was so wrong in so many ways it was laughable.

The laughs continued as Danica Patrick lit up her tires and careened down the pit lane nearly sending some of the Ganassi pit crew to the hospital.  The best laugh was when a pit crew member picked up her dislodged front wing and set it across her front tires.  It did not escape my notice that nobody from the Ganassi pit or even her own pit crew rushed to her aid.

The race settled down to a mild precession with little warning of the hilarity yet to ensue.  Vitor Meira was the victim of passing maneuver by Ernesto Viso that would have Short Track oval racer shake his head in wonderment. 

But wait. There is more.  During a full course caution period Milka Duno had to dive to her right to avoid contact with the car ahead of her.  No problem right?  Not during that race.  You see it appears that A.J. Foyt IV never got the memo explaining that during caution periods it is “single file”.  Scratch two back-markers.

In the best comedic tradition the IndyCar Series left the best for last.  For the entire race Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe had been the class of the field.  As they came around the Watkins Glen course under yellow everybody was expecting a great battle between them for the last few laps.   Darren Manning was in 1st but we all knew they would dispatch with him quickly.  Dixon was swinging his car back and forth across the track trying to scrub in his front tires for the confrontation.  Here we have one of the true masters of open wheel racing preparing…….Woops!  Dixon lost control as his back end snapped around sending him into a spin with Briscoe having nowhere to go.

Ryan Hunter-Reay barely missed being collected as well as he drove through the cloud of dirt kicked up by the wayward New Zealander. 

Once that last mess was cleaned up Hunter-Reay ran away to a well deserved win at the Glen ending a winning drought for Rahal-Letterman Racing.   Ryan ran a patient and intelligent race and avoided any of the on-track drama.  Remember what those in the Entertainment industry say: “Drama is easy.  Comedy is hard.”