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Winners & losers from Loudon

by
Zachary Houghton
| Aug 15, 2011



While trying to sort through the
chain of events that ensured none of us would ever forget the 2011 MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225, we take inventory of the day's big Winners and Losers:

Winners

Ryan Hunter-Reay
Obviously, you have to start with the actual race winner. After Will Power and Takuma Sato had to pit, RHR kept his car in front until the very end. Ryan now has a win and two additional podiums in his last 4 races, which really helps compensate for his nightmarish first half of the year. He's looked more and more like the top driver we know he's capable of being. Not too shabby for a guy on probation!

Will Power's Popularity
Will Power has turned into one of IndyCar's most volatile and must-watch interview this year. After flipping the double-bird to Race Control, he trended on Twitter, was mentioned on multiple news outlets, and ensured his act would be used in countless Photoshop compositions for years to come. Oh, and it was ruled he finished P5, gaining a valuable 15 points on Dario Franchitti in the championship points battle. Perhaps Power shouldn't have lost his temper, but the fans seem to be supporting him in a major way.

Newman/Haas Racing
This one might be controversial, as there was some talk that Orio Servia's pass at the end should have held. Still, on a day where so many contenders faltered, you have to admire a P2 and P4 finish for Newman/Haas, who continue to show why they are such an amazing, well-regarded team.

James Hinchcliffe
Speaking of Newman/Haas, don't forget about their rookie driver today! Hinch ran upfront all day, and closes on JR Hildebrand in the Rookie of the Year battle by 20 points. Hinch has his races where he looks like a cagey old veteran, and this was certainly one of those.

Losers

Will Power's Checkbook
The aforementioned double-bird that was flipped to Race Control, plus a few choice comments about the judgment and competency of certain Race Control officials, will likely result in a fine this week.

The Dude In The Outhouse TK Destroyed
If you watch the replay of TK's crash, one of the victims was a perfectly innocent port-a-potty. Someone went home with a large amount of blue dye on them and probably a phobia of portable restrooms to boot.

Dario Franchitti
A spin after Franchitti led the first 119 laps shocked the audience and completely changed the composition of this race. Whether or not blame could be laid at the feet of Takuma Sato, it was a waste of a car that had seemed purely invincible up to this point.

Team Repair Budgets
The aborted last restart caused cars such as Ed Carpenter's, Danica Patrick, Takuma Sato, Will Power, and others to sustain damage. Add to that incidents from multiple other drivers, and it was a day the carbon fiber truly flew.

JR Hildebrand
Not finishing is one thing. Seeing your nearest two competitors in the Rookie of the Year battle finish P4 and P9 is just insult to injury.

Race Control
If you were anywhere around a social media network at any point after the last attempted restart, you saw fans, teams, and racing personalities all absolutely going crazy over the events that transpired. Most seemed to feel Race Control should not have attempted a green flag run with the moisture on the track. They heard it from Michael Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Newman/Haas Racing, and you know they heard it from Will Power. This would not be a week to be the one responsible for checking that inbox.

Graham Rahal
After being very fast in practice, a bobble in qualifying ensured Graham Rahal would again start towards the back. He then had a very early collision with Mike Conway, ending the day a dismal P26. Rahal and Conway handled in maturely, but the damage was already done. Graham's racing luck just couldn't be much worse.

Pippa Mann
Poor Pippa. She never did look comfortable in practice with multiple spins, and finally took a hard hit, ending the weekend prematurely for both herself and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. To her credit, through her struggles, she never blamed the team. She'll be back, but this was a (birthday!) weekend she'll want to forget.

Alex Tagliani
Lost in all the confusion today was the fact that Tag's car caught fire today. Normally that would have been a main storyline, but not yesterday.

In addition to the winners and losers, there were plenty of drivers who fall into a gray area: Takuma Sato, who finished P7 but was a little more precipitation away from his first series win. Ed Carpenter, who jumped all the way up to P11 but cracked up his car on the last attempted restart. Danica Patrick, who finished P6, but also crashed on the last restart. James Jakes, who looked much improved this weekend before a late gearbox issue doomed his day. Tomas Scheckter, who thrilled viewers with a number of wild restart passes before his crash with Marco Andretti and Kanaan.

Farewell for now, New Hampshire. Please remind us to double up on our blood-pressure medication before we race there again.

Zachary Houghton runs www.indycaradvocate.com , which features regularly-updated INDYCAR, IZOD IndyCar Series, and Mazda Road to Indy interviews, commentary, and more. You can find him on Twitter at @indycaradvocate, or via email at mail.rpgblog@gmail.com .

10 Comments

  1. 1 Carlynda 04 Nov
    What a joy to find someone else who tihkns this way.
  2. 2 razekgkvnkz 25 Oct
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  3. 3 Velvet 24 Oct
    Holy cocnsie data batman. Lol!
  4. 4 mike n 18 Aug
     Julie- I dislike quite a few drivers actually.Mr. Judd is not alone.  
  5. 5 Julie 18 Aug

    Mike n - It is obvious that you are definately not a fan of Dario Franchitti (Mr Judd...really????). In Dario's blog he talked about the incident. He said that Sato was sitting in his blind spot and he did not realize that Sato was that close. He adjusted his line slightly not expecting Sato to be that close. From Sato's perspective...he admitted that he was too close to Dario going down the straight and should have given more room. The way I see it...both drivers bare some blame for the incident. I was merely pointing out that after all the incidents in Toronto a majority of the comments (from fans and drivers) were...the car that is behind has the responsibility to avoid contact with the car in front. Which means that Sato had the responsibility to avoid contact withe Dario.

    If you watch the Toronto incident, Will Power also moved down on Dario trying to keep him from passing on turn 3. Was it a risky pass and probably should not have been attempted...yes. But that does not change the facts of the incident. Both guys in Toronto bare some responsibility and both guys in New Hampshire bare some responsibility. And for the record...both guys (Will and Dario) do more than their fair share of whining.

    For the record - I am a fan of both drivers and want to see a competitive championship fight. It is disappointing when one or the other gets knocked out of a race. But I would also like to see a more consistent opinions from reporters, bloggers and fans. It is rather disappointing when people dis-like one or the other just because they are winning a lot.

  6. 6 mike n 16 Aug
    Julie- Clearly Dario was going to try to chop off Sato but misjudged his advantage. As for Toronto, Dario tried to drive a line that was not there. As for Mid-Ohio, Dario tried to chop Power the same way as Sato with the same result of hitting the right front of Powers car. If Dario would have held HIS line yesterday on the restart he easily would have won.
  7. 7 brian 16 Aug
    i was there yesterday louden it didnt rain hard at all and the track did appear dry from te stands too bad for the  misstake but it was an exciting race and thanks for that nobody got hurt  except in the pocket  in the end a great show  see you in baltimore
  8. 8 Julie 15 Aug
    Mike - I find it interesting that people blame Dario when he was the car in front and got hit on his back tire. When the same thing happened to Will in Toronto...no one blamed Will because he was the car in front and got hit from behind. I am trying to figure out the difference in opinions regarding the two incidents. Most people said after Toronto that it is the car behind's responsibility to avoid contact...even if the front car moved their line. Most driver were also saying that front wheel to back wheel contact was always the car behind's fault....which in this case would be Sato.
  9. 9 dave g 15 Aug
    Congrats to ryan and jeers to brian barnhart,we did not know the track was that bad,It,s amazing every driver complained about   restarting,power pleaded and mike andretti pleaded for more than 5 minutes to race control,Please do a better jpb race control,alot of cars were taken out as a result of the wet track,next time listen to the people who are actually on the track racing.
  10. 10 mike n 15 Aug
    Please Mr. Judd,don't blame Sato for your chopping move gone STUPID! Clearly you had the suprerior car and such a BONE HEAD move was not necessary. Looked a little like what you did to Power last week when you hit his right front. Anyway that reminded me of sitting in the stands at Kentucky a few years ago when after the race you drove up the ass of another car and LIFT-OFF right in front of me. Thanks for the memories. Quit whinning! 

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