Lugnuts: The Perfect Day
Memorial Day Sunday is arguably the best racing day of the year. Three crown jewel events from the top three disciplines of motorsport in the world in one day. It starts off with the Monaco Grand Prix for Formula One, and ends with NASCAR's longest race, the Coca-Cola 600, and sandwiched in between is "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" the Indianapolis 500. As a race fan, it's the perfect day.
So I spent my Sunday in the same seat on the couch all day long. I missed the beginning of Monaco because I woke up too late, but I was there for all three races. And I was not disappointed in what I saw.
Monaco was exactly what I expected it to be. It's a beautiful place to stage a race, but the track just isn't meant for the cars that are now racing on it. So it was largely a follow-the-leader show. Nico Rosberg dominated the entire weekend. He led every practice session, qualified on the pole, and led all 78 laps of the race to win his home GP. Sure, that sounds dull, but the actions of Sergio Perez and Adrian Sutil had me on the edge of my seat every lap. Sutil and Perez were making passes work at places a pass should never even be attempted. It was incredible to watch.
Moving on to the Indy 500. I was expecting an amazing show after last year's race, and Friday's finish to the Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100, and the race did not fail to deliver. The 2013 Indianapolis 500 might have been one of the best races I've ever seen in my lifetime. 68 lead changes, a first-time winner, and the race was completed in record time. It was incredible. This new race car doesn't let the leader get away from the rest of the pack so they are constantly battling for the lead.
It was wonderful to finally see Tony Kanaan win the Indy 500 after so many years of trying and failing. It was even cooler to see how excited the fans, other teams, and his best friends Max Papis and Alex Zanardi were for him.
The day was capped off with the Coca-Cola 600 from the Charlotte Motor Speedway. What is already NASCAR's longest race ran even longer due to two red flags, one of which for one of the strangest incidents I've ever seen that didn't involve a jet dryer. A cable for Fox's "Cat-Cam" broke over the frontstretch and was snagged by Kyle Busch and a few other drivers. NASCAR halted the race for a half hour to fix the cable situation and to let teams repair any damage that their car may have suffered from hitting the cable.
The race finally ended six hours after it began with "The Closer" Kevin Harvick in victory lane in the 600 for the second time in the last three years.
Like I said, it was the perfect day.
Sunday's Indianapolis 500 just reaffirmed, to me, that no series other than IndyCar should race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That track was built for IndyCar. IndyCar is the only series that puts on a good show there. NASCAR fails to deliver every time they race there, and NASCAR plays to horrible crowds there now as well. Now IMS wants to put lights in and run the Brickyard at night to try to drum up some more interest in the NASCAR weekend.
Stop with the gimmicks of a night race and "Super Weekend" and just run the IndyCars there and that's it. The way it should be.
Let me start off by saying I love the "Cat-Cam." I think it offers very unique shots at a race. I thought it was wonderful back in Daytona, and it's pretty much the only thing I like about when NASCAR goes to Indianapolis. So I was happy it was in Charlotte for the last 10 days.
But what happened last night was pathetic. Pathetic on all parties involved. Fox, NASCAR, and the track. There was no reason for that happening last night. It is ridiculous that it took multiple laps for NASCAR to see that a cable is lying on the race track.
Fans in the grandstands got hurt. Again. And once again a pretty good race was overshadowed by injuries in the grandstands. Seven fans were treated at the race track for minor injuries, but three others were taken to area hospitals. This cannot continue to happen.