Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Notes from a Sunday Race Day

by Tammy

After a trip to Atlanta for Petit Le Mans (I saw less of the race than I'd hoped, but spent a lot of time talking to race fans who like to read!), I decided that Sunday was devoted to doing as little as possible, and watching a lot of racing. Primary on the schedule is the two-hour recap of Petit in the afternoon (the view down the hill to Turn 12 at right), but at mid-day I flipped back and forth between NASCAR at Dover (New Hampshire) and IndyCar at Kentucky. Ovals, both. (Silly of the series to roll their races off at almost exactly the same time of day.)

Since what I like are the stories, here are some of the interesting ones that came up:
  • Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira, IndyCar drivers, are both training for the Championship Ironman in Kona, Hawaii. That's a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run in a 17-hour timeframe. That's insane.
  • NASCAR threw a couple cautions for rain. I know, I know, they can't deal with rain on ovals. But it's boring. (Yes, sportscar and roadcourse snobbery in effect here.)
  • IndyCar looked like a farce for a while. As one Twitter user posted, "I mean ... is it that hard to go into the pits and stop? Left lane is for those about to pull in and right is for enter/exit." In one set of yellow-flag pit stops, there were two collisions and two cars running into crew members. It wasn't a good advertisement for the professionalism of the drivers in the series, sadly.
  • Of course, then IndyCar gave us a fairytale finish, with Ed Carpenter winning for the first time in 113 starts and giving team owner Sarah Fisher her first owner win. That win came after at least 15 laps of side-by-side racing with Dario Franchitti, and came with Ed's car's nose only about a foot in front of Dario's. Epic finish.
  • Racing breaks hearts as often as it brings joy to teams. The season-long (decades-long?) rivalry between Audi and Peugeot added another contentious chapter at Petit. Both teams had one of their two cars break and have to be retired. The other two clashed in a way that saw the Audi R18 out of the race, leaving the Peugeot to take the win of the race and the International Le Mans Cup (ILMX) season championship. Race control and Peugeot took the view that the clash was a racing incident. Audi had a different view.
  • After fighting through crowds at Petit Le Mans all weekend, it's strange to see stands for the ovals at Kentucky and Dover half-empty. Everyone tells me people like ovals because they're great to watch, since you can see the whole track from every seat, unlike road/street courses. Hmmm.
Did anyone else watch any of the races? Any other interesting storylines?

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