The Firestone® 550k at Texas Motor Speedway

Firestone 550k at Texas Motor Speedway

YeeeeHaaawwww! Let’s jump on out here and have ourselves a whapping good time watching the here fast cars roll around this 1.5 mile oval. Yea I heard they was coming down to town and just had to get me a look!

Okay, so not all Texans talk like that I guess but let me tell you this. They do have a predominant southern accent and are some fantastic folks to be around. No matter who you are I’m sure you’ll be finding some friends out in the Lonestar state.

So lets get to some racing action… The teams all started out for Texas on Wednesday and most had arrived and began the setup process for this weekends event. Drivers headed off to the Macy’s Autograph session and the fans are waiting. Teams get the cars ready for an early morning at Texas Motor Speedway and some for a turn to last weeks events that took place at Indy.

So can Dario pull off another win, will it be a Penske Machine that brings home the trophy, is Andretti Autosport going to come stomping through the door to win their first oval race of the season? All of these questions and more we have to ask… I guess we will see come 11:45p.m. MDT 12:45p.m. CDT and 1:45p.m. EST

A Lap around Texas with Danica Patrick

Practice at Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone 550k was looking pretty dicey and full of action as drivers prepared for qualifications that would soon follow. Scott Dixon held the top position all morning as practice was underway but when it came race time Penske Racing and Ryan Briscoe brought out the “Big Guns” and showed us all what Penske Racing is all about. Many drivers who seemed to struggle through the morning hours found relief in the afternoon when it came time to Qualify. Though it was yet another Penske Ganassi battle for the top 5 positions, Dayle Coyne Racing brought out Alex Loyd for a secret weapon taking home a 6th place run for the start of tomorrows race.

Danica Patrick… What can we say? That was a great run for the Go Daddy number 7 car for today. Danica drove the wheels off her car to place in the top 10 with a solid 8th place starting position. She could be well on her way to the front of the pack for tomorrows run. She is followed closely behind by teammate Marco Andretti who has shown an amazing drive to get to the front and win his second race of his career. Marco will start 10th place along side “Rival” driver Mario Moraes who just beat Marco for the 9th starting position.

So for the top 10 positions we have 7 different race teams in the mix. This could make for an interesting start for the race. I hope you all will be watching as the IZOD IndyCar Series make their way onto the track for the 2010 Firestone 550k at Texas Motor Speedway!

Starting

P1 Ryan BriscoePenske Racing
P2 Dario FranchittiGanassi Racing
P3 Will be Will PowerPenske Racing
P4 Scott DixonGanassi Racing
P5 Helio CastronevesPenske Racing
P6 Alex Loyd Dayle Coyne Racing
P7 Hideki MutohNewman Haas Racing
P8 Danica PatrickAndretti Autosport
P9 Mario MoraesK V Racing Technology
P10 Marco AndrettiAndretti Autosport

Autograph Session at Macy’s

Practice Highlights

Drivers Interviews on Qualifications

Danica
Dario
Will Power
Scott Dixon

Practice Run 2

The Firestone 550k at Texas Motor Speedway

What a great race… I have been sitting here for two days trying to figure out where to start here. I’ve watched the race now 3 times, all the highlights (and a few of the not so highlights) and still yet, there is so much to cover I have struggled on where to begin. Well hell let’s kick on this IZOD IndyCar Series music video and roll with the punches as they come.

Twenty-six IZOD IndyCar drivers qualified for the Firestone 550k at Texas Motor Speedway and gave it their all in attempts to take home the win but it can only be one who takes home that trophy, and it was Ryan Briscoe. What an run for Texas my friend. To take off straight from the biggest race of the year (and the most work) and jump right back in the car to take Pole position… Now that’s one thing. But to take it from Pole and maintain that lead for just under half of the race, what can I say my man… Excellent work by you and your Penske Racing Team. Team Penske still proving the strength of this teams ability to win races and “run with the pack”! Ryan Briscoe fell back, due to a misjudgment of his pit-box and lost a few positions only to shake down that car through traffic and fight his way back to the front of the field. Ryan finished in First place leading 102 of the 228 laps.

Ryan Briscoe: “It was pretty crazy out there. There was also a lot of tire management too. I really had to work with the tools in the car to keep a good balance throughout the stint. That really made the race fun. (On racing Danica Patrick for the lead): Danica got by us and I didn’t want to make any aggressive moves and block. I gained some momentum on the next lap, used the push-to-pass and was able to pass her out of Turn 4 and into Turn 1. She gave us a real run for our money tonight. It was fun racing side-by-side with her.”

With side by side action throughout the entire race I wasn’t sure if I could really take the pressure that was building each lap as I watched the cars drive around the 1.5 mile oval. Cars wiggling. rubbing against each other as if it was a Nascar event on TNT. You could almost hear “Boogady, boogady, boogady” as the tires just barely graze while drivers due their best to maintain their position. Not that I am much of a Nascar fan but so I’ve heard, the Pocono race was a bit of a napping event and I’m glad to see we are rising back to the top when it comes to racing in America.

So okay, the credit must be given where credit is most definitely due. Danica Patrick and the Andretti Autosport GoDaddy crew. Way to go, way to go indeed. The work seems to be looking like it will start paying off on the track. Danica had a qualifying run that earned her an 8th place start for the race and from there was able to hold her ground, maintaining her run with the lead pack at Texas Motor Speedway. She took the lead from Ryan Briscoe, but was only able to maintain her position for 1 lap. The Penske cars are fast and Ryan Briscoe had the car to beat out there with seemingly only one other competitor to hold off… The Go Daddy No.7 machine of Danica Patrick. Sure, she wasn’t the only competitor out on the race-track, but her car was by far one of the predominant competitors out there Saturday night.

And look, the fans came back… Okay folks. If your a fan your a fan, in good and bad times. I have heard, and seen a lot this season and haven’t been to impressed with the some of the reactions. Jumping back on the band-wagon to hitch a ride back to “Danica Mania” won’t get you respect in this series. Matter of fact, maybe we’ll start booing you! It’s all good though. #JustSaying I thought for sure the reactions would spark when it came to the block on Tony Kanaan just past the halfway point of the race but the excitement of her run over-ruled.

Danica finished the race in 2nd place with all of her teammates finishing in the top 10 with her. It was a great weekend for Andretti Autosport. Hard work and determination is going to bring them back into the spotlight by the end of the year for sure. Marco Andretti had another podium finish this weekend winding up the race in p3, with drivers Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay followed closely behind in P6 and 7.

Danica Patrick: “It was a good weekend last weekend in Indy and it was a good weekend here in Texas. Sometimes the little victories that I have throughout the season are not necessarily obvious on the track. Maybe there in other aspects of what I’m doing, winning little victories here and there to get everything in line to perform from top to bottom on race day. I’ve been working hard all season. It’s just really nice to have a result to show how hard I’ve been working and how hard the team has been working as well.”

Well it looks like I am now going to discuss the “Not-so-high points”! Can someone explain to me (a little better) what in the world happened to the Halmatro Safety Team? Okay so the hoses did malfunction… So the next best decision is to stand there looking at the fire and make the decision to “SNATCH” Simona out of the fiery car? FIRE+EXTINGUISHER=NO FIRE It’s almost as simple as one plus one. The answer should have been to blast that fire as soon as you realize the hose isn’t working. All credit for Simona having only small blisters that formed on her hand should be handed to the Fire Safety Suits all of the IZOD IndyCar Drivers wear when out on the track in an IndyCar. Though the IZOD IndyCar Series is by far the leader in safety innovation, I am glad the series recognized there was a issue and are making steps to ensure this does not happen in future races.

The Crash

Simona De Silvestro talks about the fiery crash that took her out of the running for the Firestone 550k

We had a lot of rubbing going on out on the Texas Motor Speedway as I stated earlier. Some drivers were seemingly fighting for positions but some were clearly mistakes that really should not have been made. Although the action made for some great racing, let’s remember… The open-wheel series is exactly that… open wheels. If you drive like your in a full bodied car, you WILL NOT be competitive enough to get a win at the end of the race. In most cases, you take out a more competitive driver who has a shot in winning the race but you just blew it for them… COUGHS(Moraes) Excuse me… was clearing my throat. Helio sure was not a happy camper after being taken out with only 129 laps ran for the Firestone 550k. The signs were clear of the frustration he was trying to convey to Mario when he got out of his Penske Racing machine.

Helio Castroneves Out of the race?

All in all the Firestone 550k was a great show with seemingly good attendance. The IZOD IndyCar Series has been working really hard this season to bring back the hype of the series and bring back some of the old spark that was once there. I think with action like we have seen this weekend as well as the races leading up to Saturday nights race, we are well on our way to reliving the years past when the series was at it’s prime. Congratulations on a job well done.

Off to testing we go, before heading to Iowa for the Iowa Corn 250 on Fathers Day, June 20th. Drivers and teams will head to three venues to conduct their testing and make their changes they feel are needed. So now we wait, until next time! -I Am IndyCar

POST RACE: Driver Interviews

Marco Andretti Finishing in the 3rd Podium Position

Danica Patrick With a Second Place Finish for the Firestone 550k

Ryan Briscoe Winner of the 2010 Firestone 550k

Simona De Silvestro talks about the fiery crash that took her out of the running for the Firestone 550k

The Crash

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