Monday, August 5, 2013

More (Yes, More) Mid-Ohio

It's a New Winner Special! In honor of Charlie Kimball's first victory, my green-and-gray shirts (take a look to your left) are on special for $20.00 for one day only. Shipping is still free within the USA. Be like the cool people and get one!

On that note, I have to again extend special thanks to those who helped fund the effort on Kickstarter, who continue to help, and those who spread the word. If you've Tweeted or ReTweeted or Facebook Shared or Pinterested: Thank you. Special thanks also go out to my lovely wife, to Steve Cunningham, and to Jason Piro (need some design work? Get in touch with him at Piro Graphics).

I don't know about anyone else, but I found Sunday's race at Mid-Ohio fascinating. Most of the big names guessed wrong on the strategy and paid for it, while the guys who went all-out were rewarded. It appeared that most of those big names had planned on minimizing their time on pit road by making only two pit stops. In order to make the fuel economy numbers needed for that strategy to work, those on the 2-stop strategy had to drive conservatively (to put it mildly) the entire race. This usually works out for the conservers, since typical strategy is to minimize time slowing down and being stationary for the pit stops. On Sunday, however, it appeared that the reduced pace those two-stoppers had to run slowed them down to the point where they actually lost time to drivers who made three pit stops, but were able to run all-out for the entire race. I believe the TV announcers said that the total time penalty for a pit stop (in-lap, pit road time, and out-lap) was 24 seconds. That meant that the two-stoppers hoped to save 24 seconds over the three-stoppers. Which sounds good on paper-but it means that they would have to run within 0.267 seconds of the three-stoppers for the entire 90 laps of the race. I believe I heard on TV that the speed gaps were more like 2 seconds per lap... Did the engineers miss the strategy because the Firestones fell off faster than expected? Or did the engines burn more fuel than expected? Either way, the result was a lot of fun to watch.

Being free of cautions helped make this a "Pure Strategy" race. It was entertaining, and maybe it showed a new fan or two how much of a chess game auto racing really is.

Mid-Ohio looked GREAT on TV. Made me miss going there. I wonder how much the look of the track and the broadcast was affected by the relatively late running time? Everything looks more colorful and more dramatic with the sun lower in the sky. I don't recall CART races starting that late there.

I'm happy for Charlie Kimball. I've come away from every interview I've heard with him impressed. He's a great spokesman and a great representative of the sport. I don't think he's gotten a lot of respect the past few years, but that might be changing. 2013 has turned out to be a breakthrough year for him. Plus that Mid-Ohio trophy is cool!

Dario Franchitti's record over the past 4 races is second only to Scott Dixon's. Add a win, a second, and a sixth from Kimball, and it looks like Ganassi is back on top. So long as Chip stays off of pit walls.

Anyone who is ever surprised by Simon Pagenaud's performance hasn't been paying attention. Notice that he's currently an invisible 5th in the championship standings. Which is the same position he finished in the 2013 standings. It's no wonder Penske tried to hire him for 2013.

More later. Enjoy the schedule's off-weeks. Maybe they won't seem so bad if you have a new shirt; one with an Indy car on it! See elsewhere on this page about picking one up!

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