2006 Road America Thoughts
RACE: Yellows played a key in giving some drivers the chance to lead, and they took it.
TRACK: It was perfect and provided excellent racing.
THE BIG PICTURE: Attendance was over 60,000 even though the first two days featured abysmal weather. This is one of those races that Champ Car needs to continue to run, as it continues the long road course tradition. And, it's a lot of fun.
QUALIFYING: Luck of the draw, but give Dan Clarke credit for driving it hard and keeping it on the damp track during his fast lap.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: There were so many of them, but probably the biggest surprise was A.J. Allmendinger winning. He wasn't a standout all weekend until he won. Go figure.
MOST PREDICTABLE: Sebastien Bourdais getting into the lead and then running away with it, lap after lap. Until he wasn't, whereupon he delivered one excuse after another.
YELLOWS: Inexcusable at a place like Road America (except for Legge's crash, obviously).
ALLMENDINGER: Excellent last two laps with no power to pass. Turns objective journalists into fans rooting for him. Hopefully, he doesn't go to Nascrap, but only Dinger can decide what kind of man he wants to be.
FORSYTHE: Clearly, they were happy to be lucky than dominant this weekend. A.J. has really shown this team how to shine.
JUNQUEIRA: Bruno is finally coming back into his own. However, it may be too late to save his seat from Graham Rahal.
BOURDAIS: Whined at the post race press conference about having the dominant car but not winning. That's why it's called racing, Sebastien.
NEWMAN-HAAS: Do they go to the same whining classes as Andretti-Green Racing? Learn to be gracious about coming in second and third, gentlemen.
SERVIA: Coulda ended up on the podium, maybe, if the race had lasted longer. Doing a great job with inferior equipment.
WILSON: A very strong run that probably could have been stronger had he had a teammate with whom to share data.
RUSPORT: Would love to see them run somebody, anybody, in the 10 car.
CLARKE: Got his pole by a fluke, and then did a credible job of starting the race. While he clearly did not have the strongest car in the dry, he was professional about losing his place at the front.
ZWOLSMAN: Chachi finished a solid seventh after leading his first laps by passing for the lead. Passed Bourdais, too, which must have really irritated Sebastien.
RANGER: Andrew is being eclipsed by his teammate.
HEYLEN: Very respectable ninth place.
TRACY: A strong run until he decided to play in the kitty litter.
TAGLIANI: He looked really strong all weekend until the race.
DOMINGUEZ: Gee, it's hard for us to see a 12th place finish as an improvement over Coyne. Come to think of it, his former teammate, Heylen, finished ninth. His former teammate, Tracy, finished tenth. Anyone see a pattern here?
POWER: Was very lucky to finish the race.
PHILIPPE: If not for his wheel mishap, Junqueira probably would have won the race, if Nelson himself didn't.
CACERES: Did a respectable job in tricky qualifying conditions with no testing and no experience at this challenging track. But, on race day, was a dismal five seconds off the pace.
LEGGE: A horrifying crash reminiscent of Memo Gidley's massive shunt at the same track. Thank God she survived. The scary incident overshadowed Katherine's excellent run and at the time a deserved sixth place spot.
KASEMETS: Tonis must be very disappointed about his mechanical DNF. With more hope than budget, this was one race he really wanted to run, but was unable to finish.
ZANARDI: Alex wins again!
ATLANTIC: Talk about anticlimactic. Deep Throttle brings you a special Road America Atlantic Thoughts.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Relief.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: All the calculations and data that went into designing the safety features of a Lola Champ Car.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: There has been a ten year gap since an American won at Road America when Michael Andretti took first in 1996. Prior to that, there was a five year gap when an American won when Michael also won in 1991. In fact, only four Americans have ever won at Road America -- Michael and his father, Mario, each won three times, Danny Sullivan, and now Allmendinger.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: A.J. Allmendinger on keeping the championship alive, "I wasn't going to let the French guy take it on American soil."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Katherine Legge amazingly able to keep her sense of humor after her car disintegrating crash, "I don't think the crew will be able to fix the car, will they?"
SCHEDULE: Another long break and then onto the best getaway venue of the season.
Copyright © 2006 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.