Brain Dump: St Petersburg 2017

Congratulations to Sebastien Bourdais, who channeled his inner 2006 to utterly dominate the St Petersburg Grand Prix of St Pete, or whatever it’s called. Since coming to the Indycar series Bourdais has achieved only a fraction of the success he garnered in Champ Car, but as he showed on Sunday he is still more than capable of winning on any weekend with a well-funded and dominant team like Dale Coyne Racing.

*record scratch*

Yeah, umm, we should probably do away with all of those “Dale searching for coins” jokes right about now. After all, this is the last Champ Car team standing. Moreover, this shouldn’t be so unexpected in a sports year where the unlikely major US sports champions are the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Cubs, and the Atlanta Falcons. . .well, two out of three, anyways.

Hey, it’s not just America – look at Leicester City F. C.!

But nevermind  discussions of fate and underdogs. What is most interesting to your humble host is why race teams don’t apply the Dale Coyne method more often. That is, in a nutshell, when racing on a road/street course be sure to pit as early as possible. Isn’t this a low risk, high reward option strategy? If a yellow flag comes out after pitting, and it nearly always does, your car goes straight to the front. If there’s no yellow then you’ve probably lost, what, one or two positions after everyone else has their pit stop?

Yes, those positions can be critical, especially late in the season when battling for the championship, but. . .how many times do other teams have to see Coyne do this with success until they finally catch on? Perhaps after this weekend James Hinchcliffe has some thoughts on this.

Also to be congratulated is Ryan Hunter-Reay, who had all kinds of car trouble early in the race but drove the proverbial wheels off the car to reach the podium, as well as his new teammate, Takuma Sato, who might have been on the podium were it not for wheel-changing misadventure on his final pit stop. Pop quiz: what do Bourdais, Hunter-Reay, and Sato all have in common? If you said “pre-race brake failure” then you win a lifetime subscription to this site.

Perhaps ESPN can’t be faulted for making such a BIG DEAL about the possible failure of the new braking system components, the details of which are fuzzy to a non-gearhead like me. Jon Beekuis, now there’s a guy who can figure this stuff out. Your humble host, not the right guy for this job. At any rate, the pre-race drama of brake failure looks wildly overplayed in retrospect.

Lastly, how about Simon Pagenaud’s quiet run in second? Not only is he picking up where he left off last season, he’s making it look easy. So in honor of the 1-2 finish by Bourdais and Pagenaud, let’s all have a second glass of Cabernet Sauvignon tonight. A bientot!

Final Lap: Speaking of unexpected performances by two gentlemen from France, here’s a couple of French guys swinging out with some. . .Eminem?

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