Thanks to the new restart rules (slower and later restarts, double file) my picks for the last race was completely and utterly wrong. Will Power as the favorite? FAIL. He was knocked powerless (literally, one restart his car was knocked into neutral). Justin Wilson as the dark horse? DOUBLE FAIL. He did his best pinball impression for most of the day during those same restarts. Simona De Silvestro as the backmarker? EPIC FAIL. Because of her situation with losing an engineer a week before the race I had her as the backmarker. She started 17th and was up as high as 2nd (like I said before, because of those restarts) before settling for 4th. Ironically she knocked around BOTH of my favorites on the restarts (just to spite me). So exactly how and I going to predict what will happen at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama this weekend?
Simple. GUESS....even more so than usual.
That is the beauty of these new rules. Although we still had a Dario/Power parade for most of the race the rest of the Penske/Ganassi empire was knocked out on the first corner and several other good cars were beaten and broken down during the restart melees. The end result was a Torch Club fight at the end for 3rd and guys like Sato, Tag and Vitor fighting for great Top-10 finishes for their smaller teams.
So here goes nothing. My predictions for the upcoming race?
THE FAVORITE (BEST PENSKE/GANASSI DRIVER): WILL POWER
It's hard to fathom him not winning this race. No way he loses two road course races in a row. I'm not so sure he did last year (not counting the Edmonton fiasco). These road course races are critical for his title run. As usual he tested fast here during the preseason and was quite fast last year. The only thing that kept him from winning last year was strategy.
THE BEST OF THE REST (BEST NON-PENSKE/GANASSI DRIVER): RYAN HUNTER-REAY
He looked strong early at St. Pete, then he bitched, pissed and moaned about the restarts knocking him out. It would be funny if he wins because of them this time. Lets hear what he has to say when Lindy Thackston shoves a mic in his face if all that happens.
THE MILKA DUNO BACKMARKER AWARD: SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA
He wrecked his primary in practice and looked lost during the race during his first IndyCar race weekend. He wasn't all that fast here in testing. He can't blame Bryan Herta for all that this time.