2006 Cleveland Thoughts
RACE: The wildest, craziest, and perhaps greatest race in Champ Car history. The energy running up and down pitlane during this insanity was unreal. "Everybody's out of sequence," is how our Angelo aptly described this race. "This whole race is insane," is how a crew member described it.
TRACK: This race is why Cleveland is so much fun. It features some of the most unique racing in all of motorsports, and it never disappoints.
THE BIG PICTURE: With an American driver winning at an American venue again and the progress with the open wheel merger, things are suddenly looking very good for Champ Car.
START: The Atlantics performed two perfect starts. The FF2000 boys performed two perfect starts. The Touring Challenge for Corvettes pulled off a perfect start. But, the supposed top road racing drivers in the country continue to have a complete inability to start a race. Or, to restart a race.
ALLMENDINGER: The old adage that once you break the ice, the flow is a lot easier rings true. Just the fact that when he nearly threw the race away, his attitude and comeback was unlike the way he ever behaved before backs that up. A.J. is so hot, he's on the verge of incinerating.
JUNQUEIRA: Bruno didn't deserve the podium, but with the way his luck has gone the last 13 months, he deserves some of it on his side. He also is probably one of the very few people not mad at Dan Clarke...
SERVIA: Look what Oriol found! In the lead after the first lap, but the yellow flag lottery didn't play into his hands in an otherwise very strong performance. Oh, and a note to some prominent racing journalists -- Oriol was passed on the track. Several times. Check the video, guys.
TAGLIANI: A respectable fourth place, and he even led some laps. Good job.
HEYLEN: Despite some mistakes (hey, who didn't make any this race), Jan took advantage of everyone else's misfortune, and provided the Dale Coyne crew with some bonus money.
DOMINGUEZ: An amazing race by Mario who gave no quarter all day. Perhaps Karma got him back today, but what a story a podium finish for him would have been.
COYNE: Dale Coyne, one of the nicest guys in the paddock, deserves better. Much better.
CLARKE: He sure was Speedy today, but then he resorted to his Crashing name. A textbook case for how to not make friends and influence people.
LEGGE: An inconsistent weekend. Her fastest times were turned in just before she went off in practice. And, then she spun again in the race. All the rookies are going off way too many times.
POWER: Lots of offs, though one was helped by Philippe.
PHILIPPE: Nelson is doing an excellent job of backing up his recent strong performances. Soon, we won't be talking like that, and simply looking for him to run well all the time.
RANGER: We're going to call out Andrew. Quite frankly, he really hasn't done much in his year-and-a-half in Champ Cars.
KASEMETS: Tonis is just slow.
WILSON: Are we the only ones who think staying out for 4-5 laps with a car that was obviously breaking was not the smartest thing to do?
DA MATTA: Gets the perseverance award for being such a good sport for soldiering on even when all was lost to get testing time.
ZWOLSMAN: And around and around Charles goes.
TRACY: Have you ever seen a car beat up so much and still keep going? Show us another driver who could run up front for so long with such a badly damaged car. We're waiting...
PASTORELLI: The poorest driver in the field. Nicky's line through turn one was inconsistent every lap all weekend. He turned in way earlier than anyone else, losing speed down the straight by braking too early in order to turn in so early, and losing speed coming out of the turn because he turned in so early. Perhaps his dumb ass move on Tracy was really his normal line, and he just wasn't smart enough (or skilled enough) to know how to adjust to someone else driving a normal and proper line.
BOURDAIS: Scary, scary moment. We've been saying all along that his incredible luck could not last, but we never imagined his luck would end with Tracy on his head. We are relieved the expectant father is okay. (And, best wishes to him and Claire.)
RAHAL: Graham is the real deal. Will be very interesting to see how he does in the upcoming GP2 test.
HILDEBRAND: Though J.R.'s record setting seven-race win streak in FF2000 was snapped thanks to his own mistake when he was leading yet again, you must keep your eye on this kid.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Crazy.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: This one will surprise you. Jan Heylen's fifth place finish was the best by a Champ Car rookie this year.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Allmendinger broke an eight-year-old track record with his pole time, previously held by Jimmy Vasser in 1998. Now, the oldest record for a current Champ Car track is Milwaukee, set by Patrick Carpentier on May 30, 1998.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Gerry Forsythe, who missed the Portland win, to A.J. Allmendinger after the race, "You really are for real, aren't you?" Ya, think?!
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Sebastien Bourdais about the first lap crash, "I was the shock absorber for him."
SCHEDULE: Toronto has had some wild races of it's own, but it is going be extremely difficult to top Cleveland this year.
Copyright © 2006 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.