25 March 2010

It's Time to Go Racing (Again)

Are you ready for the IZOD IndyCar Series to resume its season?

While it has only been two weeks since the opener in Brazil, but due to the return from Sao Paolo, it feels as if much of the momentum from the race (remember - late passes for the lead, numerous strategic decisions, torrential rain, and a massive wreck) has been blunted, or at least slowed.

This is one of my biggest complaints with the IndyCar schedule, but I understand why it is necessary.  (Unfortunately, the announcements of a
panel for the ICONIC 2012 chassis and Robin Roberts as Indianapolis 500 pacecar driver won't cut it for most people as far as news goes - oh and Graham Rahal is probably going back to Newman-Haas-Lanigan).

In some respects, the slowing of momentum after Brazil makes this week's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg feel like it is the season-opener for the Izod IndyCar Series, for a few reasons.

One, the race is on US soil, which means the full broadcast crew will be at the track.  Viewers don't have to worry about the transmission signal from Brazil back to Indianapolis this week.

St. Pete served as the season-opener a year ago; and as far as racing goes, it was remarkably similar to this year's Brazil race (minus the whole Mario Moraes bodyslam on Marco Andretti's car).  It was a Penske driver (Ryan Briscoe in this case), who made a late-race pass to claim the win.  And Ryan Hunter-Reay was a surprising podium finisher last year, just as he was in Brazil.

To me, St. Pete, along with Long Beach, personifies street-course racing in America; on a sun-splashed day, you have men and women in remarkable shape, with a high-level of confidence (or as Bill Raftery would say, 'Onions'), doing something that not too many others are capable of doing.  Mix in the sun, locale, scenery (both on-track and off), and I think you wrap up nearly everything that IZOD is attempting to market.

Last year's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was among the top street/road races of the 2009 IndyCar season, setting the tone for another exciting season.  Hopefully, the 2010 edition will take the momentum and enthusiasm from Brazil and carry it over to Barber (which as a first-time track, will definitely have some story lines and buzz about it).

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