Monday, May 11, 2009

Greens, Yellows, and Reds for Indy Quals - Days 1 and 2

'Greens' (thumbs up), 'Yellows' - (thumbs sideways), and 'Reds' - (thumbs down) for the following events of note from Indy 500 qualifying - Days 1 and 2...

Firstly I must give a big, huge, Green Flag to Alex "Pink" Lloyd for not only his unabashed embracing of his sponsor's glowing pinkness (cue: 'Money' by Pink Floyd), but also his cannonball-cojones-run on Pole day that got him into the first 11. Nice job. I am even more impressed by his professionalism during his interviews, specifically with Jack Arute's odd (homophobic?) need to have him strike a manly pose in an effort to offset the femininity of the pinkness. I would certainly would like to see Alex in more races this season. Nothing but best of luck to you, Mr. Lloyd.

Speaking of TV coverage, another big Green flag to Versus and the crew working the qualifying weekend. Salient insight during the runs, terrific background on technical aspects, and awesome pit and garage coverage. I've been watching Indycar on TV for decades and this was the best I've seen. I learned more this weekend (thanks to the great work by Messrs Buhl and Beekhuis) about the technical parts through features and analysis than I have in a looong time. FINALLY the production and booth people appear to understand that we appreciate the finer and more technical details we've never seen before. We, the longtime fans (for whom I imagine Versus is attempting to cater to), all easily understand 'understeer' and 'downforce' and 'drafting' and 'rev limiters'. We finally get the more elaborate info we've craved for years and also the great insight by Mears, Mario, and Parnelli was delightful to this Indy fan. An example was Mario stating the worst winds for qualifying and why they effect the cars so adversely. I'd never heard that Turn 2 was notoriously a 'push' corner ever before. Love this stuff Versus, keep it coming!

A Green flag for Indycar's tech inspection crews. Keeping the letter of the law makes for a most even playing field, but also the manner with which it was done. As was noted on Versus, the great Tom Binford held as policy years ago the desire to help crews to comply rather than just be a penalization force. To me this is the proper way to enforce the rules. Good jobs also to; the Safety Crews who ably aid the drivers after a crash and clean up the track after messes, the Indycar Competition Director (Barnhart) for his efficient and fair play manner he uses in running the show, especially in the matter of Scott Sharp's run at the gun on Sunday and HVM as well for their fair play attitude. Big waving Greens all around.

Big Green Flag to Graham Rahal for his terrific miss of the wrecked and spinning John Andretti. I believe you couldn't pick a better line given the circumstances and the relative minimal damage to his #06 car is testament to his amazing vision and reaction. Ah, to be 20 years old again.

Yellows for John Andretti, Robert Doornbos, Alex Tagliani, and Mike Conway, for having the misfortune of not making the field on the first weekend mainly due to crashing the equipment. Pushing it to the limits is what has to happen during Indy quals and invariably some don't survive unscathed. I hope these respective programs will be able to mount up again next weekend as I consider all these drivers and teams Indy 500 quality.

Yellows to D&R Racing. I am rooting for these guys. They have four entries, one in the show, two wrecked machines, two drivers whose driving status is currently unknown due to injuries, and one car that is lacking speed to make the final cutoff at 33. Odds might state that one of the four wouldn't make the show. Now it's looking like only one will. I hope this won't be the case.

Green Flag to the qualifying format. Tension throughout all camps seemed more pronounced both days thus far and, with Versus' great coverage, I found it hard to turn away from the dramatic stories unfolding.

No Red Flags to date and I hope there won't be. Good stuff thus far...

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