I was meaning to do this last night, but I had some obligations to take care of. Thus, I'll keep my thoughts on last weekend's race at Texas Motor Speedway relatively brief since we're already just two days away from the Milwaukee IndyFest.
I think IndyCar went a step too far with the downforce removal, but I don't think it's the end of the world. Even if IndyCar had agreed to the drivers' pleas for more downforce on their cars, I still think Helio Castroneves would've won that race; underwing violation aside, he simply had a great set-up on his car for those conditions. Nonetheless, I appreciate Derrick Walker's apology and willingness to get it right for next year's race in Fort Worth. That takes some guts, in my eyes.
However, we're now going to have to refer to Castroneves' penalty all season long, especially if the championship comes down to the wire once again. His team lost 15 entrant points and was fined $35,000, but he himself lost no driver points.
Should he win the title by a slim margin (he currently leads it by 22 points over Marco Andretti), I have to believe some people are going to be upset about him not having been dinged; it bears noting that Justin Wilson, last year's Texas winner, lost a few driver's points when his race-winning car was found with a violation.
But now, the series is in Milwaukee for an entirely different challenge. The older-than-dirt, flat-banked Milwaukee Mile has been a critical part of the sport's history for over a century. At this driver's track, it's all about how you use the right foot. Handling will be key in getting through those sweeping corners and good acceleration coming out of them will be essential, especially if you want to use the straights for a passing attempt.
The cream always rises to the top in places like this. It should be an interesting Saturday afternoon.
Milwaukee IndyFest Schedule
11 am – Noon ET, 2-3 pm ET: IndyCar practice
5:15 pm ET: IndyCar qualifying (Airing on NBC Sports Network at 7 pm ET)
4 pm ET: Milwaukee IndyFest – 250 laps, 250 miles (Live on NBCSN, Green Flag at 4:45 pm ET)