Tony D's blog
Hinch Bounces Back, Iowa Confuses & is Texas Motor Speedway Off The Schedule?
(Indy Car Photo)
When James Hinchcliffe lands in Toronto today prior to a week of media tours, interviews and photo shoots, the first question to be asked to the 31 year old Canadian won’t be about missing the 102nd Indy 500, it will be about breaking through to win in Iowa on Sunday. The nightmare on Bump Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been well documented. The former 500 pole winner, and one of the most popular drivers in the paddock failed to make the race.
I talked to Hinch 36 hours after missing the field at his blood drive inside IMS, and I said, "I bet you bounce back and win at Detroit."
“You mean both races?”
The bounce back finally came in Iowa on Sunday, after the Mayor of Hinchtown passes Josef Newgarden & dominated the final 60 or so laps before a confusing ending to the Iowa Corn 300. It was Schmidt Peterson Motorsports first win on an oval, and Hinchcliffe’s second win at Iowa.
When Ed Carpenter spun with 6 laps to go to bring out the days second caution, there seemed to be some confusion on If the race would end under yellow, or if they would go green. Josef Newgarden pitted from 2nd, and Robert Wickens pitted from 3rd, under the assumption the race would go back green, giving them a better chance on fresher tires to over take Hinchcliffe, who elected to not pit.
Even Hinchcliffe was confused, as his strategist told the leader to be “ready for anything.”
President of competition Jay Frye tweeted:
We always want to end race under green...that was 100% our intention...when yellow comes out we have a process...we did all we could to accelerate process...caution laps click off very fast @iowaspeedway...ultimately between the amount of debris/car reordering we ran out of laps
— Jay Frye (@JayRFrye) July 9, 2018
I agree with Frye, caution laps around Iowa tick off quickly, and you can’t throw a green when the track isn’t ready. Would I have liked to see a red flag? Yes, that would have set up an exciting finish, but it worked out for Spencer Pigot who stayed out and picked up his best career finish of 2nd, the fourth straight podium for Ed Carpenter Racing at Iowa, while Takuma Sato moved up to third, his best finish of the season.
Robert Wickens was a bit confused after driving to a 5th place finish.
“IndyCar made a big mistake,” he said.
His frustration stems from the pits being opened with the intention from Indy Car to go back to green, when indeed, they stayed yellow. I am OK with host the race finished, but all drivers needed to be on the same page. If they were unsure on if the green would come back up, IndyCar should have kept the race under yellow with the pits closed, or red flagged the race.
It was a quick decision, and I hope the five points Newgarden lost won’t decide the championship at the end of the year. I did see some theories that Ed Carpenter spun to ensure a chance of Spencer Pigot to finish on the podium. That is completely false & no way Ed would risk a car that he owns and a top 10 finish.
Robin Miller of Racer and NBC Sports mentioned during the broadcast that Iowa is back on the schedule next year, and track officials are hoping to move the race back to a Saturday night.
This would be huge.
Move this to Thursday night, and make it a TV thing. If people want to attend - they will - but moving it to a Saturday gives people from Indiana, and all over the Midwest, time to travel to Iowa during the day Saturday and travel back on Sunday. Iowa is an awesome track to watch an Indy Car race, and even better under the lights.
I talked earlier today via email with Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage. The topic was to dispel any rumors of Texas Motor Speedway not returning to the Indy Car schedule in 2019.
Eddie’s response: “I imagine that is just rumormongers talking since our long term sanction agreement expired with our June race. We are actively negotiating with IndyCar. I would expect them to return as this the second-longest running event on their schedule behind the Indy 500. We just ran our 30th IndyCar race. I guess it’s possible we can’t reach a deal with each other but I would doubt that. We always work things out and I would assume we will negotiate a deal satisfactory to everyone. I love Indy car racing so I’ll do my part!!“
A rumor was circulating saying COTA and Homestead could be added to the 2019 schedule, knowing that Phoenix is off of next years schedule.