I’m going to have to tackle my home race in a couple of posts me thinks, because there is so much to say and talk about, and I don’t want to get overloaded or sidetracked in just one post.
So lets just get this stuff out of the way first.
The armchair critics out there, those that not only bitch about this genre of racing, but many of whom will also openly admit they haven’t and wouldn’t even consider attending one, pan “street courses” as boring, non-challenging parades amongst many other descriptive labels.
Their blind with rage hate of this type of event seemingly clouding their judgment in such a pre-conceived way that they are unable to actually see the positives when the event is actually good! (both on and off track)
There is so much vitriol rolling around on all my stops on the inter-webs today both publicly and privately about how awful the event was, and how damaging to the sport it was, Blah blah fucking blah. From the raving you would think that 9 cars finished the race, 6 people were in the stands and there were only 12 laps of green flag racing.
It was quite the opposite actually.
Now, by the notes I read this morning, I counted only 24 FCY laps. According the box score however there were apparently 32. I’ll bow to the box score I guess as I clearly suck at math and am the first to admit it.
The longest duration of any of those yellow stints was 5 laps, and that was mostly to clean up the marbles from the racing line. Most were 3 or 4.
I will concede that there were 3 FCY periods almost back to back, which begets some eye-rolling by the 3rd one, but it’s not like this should be a surprise to anyone. It happens at many events, no matter the facility/track, and usually at the same spot, near the end, when everyone is struggling with melting tires & fading brains. (FYI, there was not one iota of a breeze trackside on Sunday afternoon, so perhaps it was more brain melt than fade)
But as the saying goes in racing, “yellows breed yellows”, and with the laps winding down the pressure was mounting on everyone to try to improve their positions. Ultimately a few of the driver’s “actions” wrote cheques that their “talent” couldn’t cash, but damnit, if some of those moves stuck… many of the detractors would be hard pressed to find anything wrong with yesterday’s race.
Oh, and for those over exaggerated cries of “half the field” crashing out, all but 6 of the 26 entries were still running at the end. Pretty good results for any race, but rather excellent results for a tight, bumpy street course as challenging as Toronto.
And it was an AWESOME race.
It was an exciting race.
It was a frustrating race.
It made me scream with excitement, hold my breath for several turns, and sometimes groan with anguish.
Not once did I look at the time or the lap count.
There was a lot of great, edge of your seat dicing. Several times I stood mouth agape as I watched the bulk of the field cleanly race two abreast through turn 3.
TURN FUCKING 3 PEOPLE! SIDE BY SIDE!
It doesn’t get any better than that on this track!
And passing! Actual green flag on track passes for position.
On top of that, in spite of their whinging to the contrary pre-event, this group of drivers managed not one, but several CLEAN and well executed double file restarts.
Note to the drivers: NO MORE EXCUSES! If you can pull it off at Toronto, you can do it anywhere. So stop your bitching and line up 2 by 2 until October.
Was there a little not so great racing? Of course there was. There always is. But they’ve been driving in circles for the last 2 months, it was to be expected. Racing in general is really just a glorified game of chicken, played against yourself and your competitors. It’s thrilling, and dangerous, and if one of the players doesn’t eventually… cluck, then the results are disastrous.
Ya, it was a crazy race, but everyone I spoke with at the track seemed to really enjoy it. I saw a great crowd who had a great time, and left with a little controversy in their back pocket to keep them talking for a while. Sure as heck wasn’t a “boring parade” that everyone bitches about, and apparently I’m not the only one who thought so as it not only gave Versus their best rating this season, it gave TSN their best rating for an IndyCar race in 14yrs! I don’t think it would be going too far out on a limb to say the ratings for Edmonton will surpass that.
Anyway… I guess I just find it frustrating that coming into the weekend all I heard was “boring street parade” predictions, and then when the drivers gave us exactly the opposite (granted maybe not quite as effectively executed as it could have been… ) and put on a show that had the people around me on their feet, screaming with delight (for better or worse), all I heard post event was a shitload of negativity.
I personally would much rather watch a few ill-fated attempts at being competitive (duh, I’m a Tracy fan!) then watch an entire field driving around carefully for points.
It may not have been perfect, but my god it was fun. And I was immensely proud of my home race.
Thank you to all 26 drivers for going out there and actually RACING.