WE HOUSTON NOW!
WE STANDING STARTS AGAIN!
Everything is bigger in Texas, including the first corner pile-ups. After only a month, Baltimore will have to hand that particular crown over. But don't worry: if it can be smoked, snorted, freebased, drank, eaten, injected or absorbed rectally, Baltimore is still the place to get it. But with two races, you will likely get more of it in Houston. Settle down, settle down. I know another street circuit is just about as much excitement as we can take, and now our dreams will be invaded for the next 3 weeks with visions of Houston's concrete goddess. Fortunately, I've found an excellent way of passing the time until the first race on October 5th: by playing the "Be an IndyCar Track Designer!" game! It's easier than hide and go seek. Simply walk into a crowded part of downtown, regard a section of asphalt last repaved in 1976 thoughtfully for a few moments, and then nod knowingly at a passerby and say "You know, we could build a beautiful chicane here". Then find the mayor and demand he close down the city for a week and give you 50 million dollars. Play it with your kids!
5 October (Saturday)
"Race" 1: 3:00pm
6 October (Sunday)
"Race" 2: 1:00pm
Note: All times posted Eastern/Greatest time zone. For West Coast USA, subtract 3 hours. For British/European, add 5 hours. For other time zones, other times.
Other Important Stuff:
(click to open .pdf)
"I can't watch the race on TV! Can someone give me a stream?"
>still needing mazes
If you don't know where to go by now you're doing something wrong! Just pigeon a message to anyone here on race day complaining about the anthem singer and you'll get a nice message back.
Houston's race around the Reliant Park circuit shows its age by the fact that Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser and Gil de Ferran have all won here more recently than Dario Franchitti last won here. The 2003, 2008 and 2009 events here were among the most memorable. Sebastien Bourdais won here in 2006 and 2007, before the whole Toro Rosso thing, so we can reasonably expect him to drag his car into the top 10 before it all goes tits up on him in the end. Unlike Toronto, I've never been to Houston, and therefore cannot reasonably say anything all that hilarious about the place. I could just pretend to know what I'm talking about (Coulthard-style, as I like to think of it) but it occurs to me that someone from Texas might actually read this, and that they probably have guns. Growing up in Canada, I was therefore never murdered by any of my classmates, and thus have never become desensitized to firearms. Houston has hosted a few open wheel races in the past and I suggest you try your best to enjoy the doubleheader coming up on the first weekend of October. Castroneves' lead and consitency and IndyCar's current oval aero packages mean Fontana is likely to be a bit of a bore, and even if it isn't, I'll probably spend most of the race thinking about Greg Moore. Houston may be the last chance for us to be happy and excited about anything IndyCar until Long Beach next year.
You may remember past Grands Prix in Houston, but never fear, if you drink enough cough syrup you're bound to forget any damage IndyCar has inflicted upon your brain. Just in case you didn't know that was an option. The two races this weekend are rounds 17 and 18 of 19, and conclude what in fairness has been an excellent season for IndyCar in terms of on-track product. And also in terms of everyone still being alive so far. 2013 has seen 11 different winners in 16 races, proving that on any given Sunday in IndyCar, the best drivers and teams can be screwed out of the victory. James Hinchcliffe has three wins. Strangely, this is more than his teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay (who is signed for next year), Marco Andretti (who is signed for next year), and E.J. Viso, who may just turn up next year to crush more dreams whether he's signed or not. Scott Dixon has three wins as well, the Mayor of Dixtown taking the return to Pocono and both races in Toronto. Indeed, who would have guessed that with the season nearly over, Dario Franchitti is the only Ganassi driver without a victory. Dixon's three victories are joined by the maiden win for Charlie Kimball (the only licensed IndyCar driver to compete with diarrhea), which took place at Mid Ohio.
It may seem a bit early to start reminiscing about the season, but there are only 3 races to go and only 1 after Houston, and the title is Helio Castroneves' to lose with the lead of 49 points he has, despite the constant presence of Scott "The Taxman" Dixon looming in the shadows and creeping up behind him. After last week's NASCAR race at Richmond I fear any more mathematics of any kind is too much for any of us to take, and indeed, I got a nosebleed just looking at the word "points" up there. Essentially, it comes down to this (or at least, it would have done, if IndyCar didn't insist on giving bonus points for every driver who manages to turn a lap without pissing themselves too thoroughly). Here is a basic overview of the major scenarios:
- If Dixon wins all three remaining races, Helio needs to finish 3rd or better in all three. This would be a points difference of 45 in Dixon's favor, not enough to overcome Castroneves' 49-point lead.
- If Dixon wins all three and gets at least 5 bonus points somewhere in there (either from leading a lap, leading the most laps, qualifying bonuses, etc.) then Helio needs better than a hat-trick of thirds.
- If Helio finishes 2nd with no bonus points in the last 3 races, he will have 621pts. If he does this, no matter what Dixon does, Helio wins the title (Dixon winning all 3 races plus a maximum of bonuses at each gives him 615).
- Simon Pagenaud, basically, needs to score podiums at each race and have both Dixon and Helio down in the low teens to have any chance at all. A win for either of them will (for all intents and purposes) eliminate him.
- Marco Andretti is 1pt behind Pagenaud and Ryan Hunter-Reay is 4pts behind Pagenaud: everything that applies to him applies to them, only slightly more so.
- In a tie between Dixon and Helio, the driver with the most wins would have the tiebreaker. Dixon has 3 wins, and Helio 1. If there is a tie with Helio winning 2 of the remaining races and Dixon none of them, the tiebreaker moves to the number of second places, which is the reverse of the wins: Helio has 3, Dixon has 1.
You may not wish to admit it, but I for one have no problem admitting ignorance (I'd have nothing to admit if I didn't), so you're welcome to join me in putting your hands up and conceding you have no idea how the IndyCar points system works, and I certainly didn't until I looked it up here. But this is going to be rather important over the next couple of races, so here it is, plain as tits:
Finishing Position / Points Awarded
01 / 50pts
02 / 40pts
03 / 35pts
04 / 32pts
05 / 30pts
06 / 28pts
07 / 26pts
08 / 24pts
09 / 22pts
10 / 20pts
11 / 19pts
12 / 18pts
13 / 17pts
14 / 16pts
15 / 15pts
16 / 14pts
17 / 13pts
18 / 12pts
19 / 11pts
20 / 10pts
21 / 09pts
22 / 08pts
23 / 07pts
24 / 06pts
25 / 05pts
26 / 05pts
27 / 05pts
28 / 05pts
29 / 05pts
30 / 05pts
31 / 05pts
32 / 05pts
33 / 05pts
Drivers receive 1pt for leading a lap.
Drivers receive 2pts for leading the most laps.
Drivers receive 1pt for qualifying on pole.
Drivers receive 1pt for being fastest in either two groups in qualifying for the second race of a doubleheader.
Bam! Got it? Write it on your arm. Qualifying points for Indianapolis and Iowa are different for some reason, but we don't have to worry about that until next year. And if so far all you're feeling is dread at the idea of this upcoming Houston doubleheader?
Here is our track map!
So, what the hell happened last race? You remember, it was Baltimore! First corner chaos and misery to the X-treme. There were no fewer than 87 first-corner accidents, with IndyCar's invasion of Baltimore leaving the streets of Maryland's diamond in the rough looking somewhat like Warsaw circa 1939. If such a gruesome and tasteless reference offends you and you have relatives who died there, my apologies, but maybe you should take a leaf out of Poland's book and fight back next time. Between laps 41 and 65 there were never more than a couple green flag laps run before someone spun someone else in turn 1 and the track went yellow again. I missed one of the accidents because my stream of the race froze, and when I restarted I was taken out by Will Power.
Simon Pagenaud won the race, meaning his title hopes became less like a snowball's chance in hell and more like a Columbian's chance in a jet dryer. Josef Newgarden, who continues to make me turn to mush by posting pictures of himself with cats on his Twitter, finished second, a fine result of which absolutely nothing scathing could be said. Sebastien Bourdais managed to keep it pointed the right way after countless contacts throughout the race to come home 3rd. This all just goes to show something, but I'll be damned if I can think of what it is.
In the mean time, it's been a busy week for Scott Dixon, who was fined $30,000 clams for his comments after Sonoma and Baltimore. Don't read the comments on that article. Seriously, just enjoy your day. Dixon was seen on live TV after Sonoma, hopping up and down in rage, calling for race director Beaux Barfield's head and showing all the subtlety you'd expect from a man who just ran over another team's pit crew. Dixon called the whole thing a "dick move", presumably offended that the Penske crewmen were selfishly changing Will Power's tires rather than diving for cover when Dixon left his pits. Undoubtedly, no one will make that mistake again. Dixon's bad luck continued at Baltimore where he was thwarted by Will Power once more, whose opinions on the contents of his mirrors during the restart were not complicated by actually looking into them. Dixon received a lot of support after Sonoma but sadly failed to take my own advice to heart when I suggested the next person he run over is whoever insists on having that God damn tire chicane at Baltimore. But hey, at least there's no silly chicanes at Houston.
So you've never watched IndyCar before and you don't know who to cheer for? No problem, because I am proud to present the first ever edition of the IndyCar yearbook! The book commemorates all the drivers who've helped fill the 2013 season with memories to vaguely remember years from now. The yearbook mirrors IndyCar's continuing expansion and innovation of technology: from the old Panoz, to the old Dallara, to the new Dallara, and one day to the new Dallara with fancy aero kits, the yearbook itself follows this fine tradition of modernization. From written in pencil on a napkin to written in sauce on a pizza box to spray painted on the turn 4 wall at Indy, this year it's proudly presented on 11 pages of paper in an actual book!
- Full color photos of the drivers, beautifully stuck onto the paper with blue stick-tack (no tape here!)
- A short biography of each driver
- For the first time ever, presented with dignity and class in 3 different colors of Sharpie marker!
- A graduating quote from the driver, patiently scribbled verbatim, word-for-word, from the driver's official Twitter account! Wow!
Hot dog! Get your copy of the 2013 IndyCar Yearbook here:
So who has been winning stuff lately?
IZOD IndyCar Series
1 CASTRONEVES, Hélio (501pts)
2 DIXON, Scott (452pts)
3 PAGENAUD, Simon (431pts)
Firestone Indy Lights
1 KARAM, Sage (373pts)
2 MUNOZ, Carlos (371pts)
3 CHAVES, Gabby (369pts)
Pro Mazda Championship
1 BRABHAM, Matthew (401pts)
2 FERREIRA, Diego (321pts)
3 BLACKSTOCK, Shelby (263pts)
1 HARGROVE, Scott (269pts)
2 ALBERICO, Neil (225pts)
3 GRIST, GARETT (195pts)
And now, all the usual features!
Uneccessary Danica Mentions:
You wish you had..
Take a drink every time..
Useless Indy Fact of the Day:
The last time Champ Car was at Houston, that day's Miss Grand Prix of Houston became Queen of all the Miss Grands Prix that year and was the 2007 Face of Champ Car. Almost impossibly, she's gotten better with age..
Do you remember..
..every single second the last time we raced at Houston? Fortunately you don't need to, because the Internet exists: 2007 Grand Prix of Houston (full race).
Anagram of the Day:
Sebastien Bourdais / Boundaries bite ass
This is all getting out of hand, isn't it?
Edited by Andrew Hope, 02 October 2013 - 18:24.