Friday, June 3, 2011

On a great weekend of racing, sleeping good at night, and mean ol' Mother Nature

There's no question about it. Between Monaco, Indianapolis, and Charlotte the three Memorial Day Sunday races combined to give race fans the best full day of racing we've ever witnessed. There may have been better Monaco Grands Prix, there may have been better Indianapolis 500s, and there may have been better Coca Cola 600s, but never have each of them been so intense and enthralling on the same day, back to back.

I wonder if J.R. Hildebrand has found a way to go to sleep at night since last Sunday?

We saw Dale Earnhardt, Jr. handle his defeat graciously, only emphasizing the belief of many that he will indeed be back in victory lane soon. But I wonder of Steve Letarte has found a way to go to sleep at night since last Sunday? That defeat seemed to sting him the most.

How many times did the Ganassi teams miscalculate fuel throughout the Month of May at Indianapolis? Both Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon had issues on their pole qualifying runs and in the latter stages of the Indy 500.

The mojo of the Indianapolis 500 is definitely returning, and the crowd is better than it's been in years. But to say it's the best since The Split is just plain wrong. The first race after the formation of the IRL in 1996 played to a full house. It took several years of unknown drivers (and a rain-plagued 1997 race) to whittle away raceday attendance. There were some empty seats this year, but yet another thrilling race and a return to the atmosphere of days gone by should help fill those seats in the future.

Does Dan Wheldon's second Indy 500 win put him among the top 33 drivers in 500 history? Not only does he have two wins, he has two runner-up finishes too. And in eight starts he only has two finishes out of the top six. Those are some pretty solid numbers right there.

Unfortunately Mother Nature didn't see fit to allow the Little 500 to go off as scheduled on Saturday. If you've never seen it, it's a 500-lap pavement sprint car race on a tiny quarter-mile track in Anderson, Indiana, about a half an hour north of Indianapolis. The 33-car field lines up in eleven rows of three, just like the "other" 500 just down the road. A shower popped up about 90 minutes before the start, and after two hours of track drying another shower popped up and pushed the race to the next night. Chris Windom took the lead with five laps to go to collect his first Little 500 victory, defeating Eric Gordon who was looking for his record tenth race win.