The IndyCar Series visited Long Beach, California this past weekend and it was a dramatic race. Right off the start, the grid had to take an extra parade lap in order to assist one of the two-seater IndyCars off the track. On lap 2, the race went green with James Hinchcliffe getting a slow start and Sebastian Saavedra having a hard time getting off the starting grid.
There was soon a full-course yellow on lap 26 when Sebastien Bourdais went into the tire barrier. He was able to be restarted by the safety team and rejoined the race. On lap 28, Ryan Briscoe had to retire due to electrical issues. On lap 32, Sebastien Bourdais was given a drive-through penalty for getting service to his car in a closed pit. Graham Rahal received a penalty on lap 35 for avoidable contact with Justin Wilson. An incident between Will Power and Simon Pagenaud from lap 32 was also reviewed but no action was taken.
The race went back to yellow on lap 40 when Sebastien Bourdais again went into the tire barrier. On lap 41, Charlie Kimball had to pull off course with mechanical issues. On lap 56, the race went yellow again after a crash involving Josef Newgarden, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan, Takuma Sato, and Helio Castroneves. Then, on lap 65, there was a local yellow when Justin Wilson went off course after contact with Scott Dixon. The next lap, rookie Carlos Huertas received a penalty for passing before the yellow. On lap 68, the last caution of the race occurred when Oriol Servia spun in turn 11.
Mike Conway went on to win the race with Will Power coming in second and Carlos Munoz finishing third.
Wow. That was an intense race, to say the least. The team meetings the next morning probably didn’t go so well, either, with all the accidents and heated emotions. This was one of those races where I’m kind of happy I don’t work for an IndyCar team (although hopefully I eventually will). For example, who would want to sit down with a frustrated Hinchcliffe, Hunter-Reay, and Andretti all in the same room as each other? Anyone want to talk the race over with an upset Kanaan, Dixon, Kimball, and Briscoe? I think it would have been either the person who draws the short straw or a damn good negotiator that mediated those meetings.
I still continue to be amazed by Carlos Munoz, though. This is his second podium in only five IndyCar starts. His first podium was at the Indianapolis 500 last year, which was his first IndyCar race. Munoz has talent and his star is rising high already. He’s quickly earning my respect and becoming a favorite of mine. I sincerely hope he continues to do well in his IndyCar career.