Season Opener – Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – What Did I See?

There are many race fans that complaint about anything on IndyCar’s current state: not enough fans, not enough ovals (count me in), low ratings, underpowered engines, so and so. Well, we just witnessed one of the best street course races EVER with the deepest field EVER (have doubts on this, listen to last week’s trackside and find out why!).

The most dramatic thing is that in all of this hoopla we had a 1st time winner in James Hinchcliffe (@hinchtown) who has shown he is as good as advertised (pun intended with the GoDaddy sponsorship!).

Maiden Victory for the Mayor of Hinchtown

Maiden Victory for the Mayor of Hinchtown

My predicted Top 5 was mared by technical difficulties all race long but my darkhorse Simona was right there until the final 400 meters. Call me crazy but Simona could win at Long Beach or Baltimore. The street races suit her strengths.

Helio Castroneves once again proved why he is my favorite driver. He knew when to attack, when to lead, and when to concede that he needs points to win the champioship. I want Helio to have his championship this season.

KV Racing Technologies looked impressive and it seems the pairing of Tony Kanaan and Simona is good to go. I expect KV to at least win a race this year.

Will Power was not in my Top 5 because for some reason he misses more than he hits on strategies at street courses. St Pete has not been kind to him.

Also, I predicted that the Ganassi boys will not sniff the Top 5 as they seem “slow” compared to the Chevy-powered drivers. I still don’t know how but Scott Dixon edge Simona at the finish line for that Top 5 spot. I have to finally understand that Dixie is an impressive driver, even if he drives forthe hated Ganassi team.

This year’s race dull moments were the long, long cautions (10 laps on a street circuit is WAY too long!) that dilute the great racing. Still, I would put it as the best edition closely followed by the 2012 edition.

NBC Sports Network hit a Home Run in having Leigh Diffey (@leighdiffey) as their broadcast anchor. I hadmy doubts basedon his primary experience in Formula 1 and though he would fumble names and data. Boy, was I wrong! He did not fail ONCE! He has a new fan in me. Also, having Jon Beekhuis (@JonBeekhuis) at the pits was a concern as I thought he brought the fan lots on information from the booth. Again, nice move as we had his customary technical information available plus he could interview drivers directly. Great job!

IndyCar is on the rise and with many moves still pending on the business side by Mark Miles (Hulman Company CEO) there is plenty of upside available.

This Randy Bernard fan says…”it is time to move on!” “IndyCar is going up because of RB’s contributions and he has made his mark”. “Thanks Boss!”

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