Iowa: Finger and Fists or Fast and Furious?

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There are a lot of opinions about the IndyCar race at Iowa, specifically about Sage Karam.  If you missed the twitter explosion Saturday night, let this video catch you up to speed:

Sage got the double move, the finger and the fist from Ed Carpenter.  Now to be fair, Ed is not the only one to say that Sage is going to hurt someone.  At Fontana, Ryan Briscoe actually said Sage is going to kill someone out there.  I attribute some of these comments to the heat of the moment.  Once drivers have time to settle down and reflect, they say something different.  I personally enjoyed seeing Ed fired up, which shows that even though he is an owner and only drives ovals, he still has the fire to win races.  On the other hand, Sage is extremely talented and is not being intimidated by the veteran drivers.  Sage is a winner wherever he goes so expect to see him up front as his career progresses.

I saw comments on twitter asking if he’s the next Kyle Busch or that he reminds fans of a young Paul Tracy.  Wherever you stand on this, this is must see tv!  This is what vanilla IndyCar has been missing from it’s drivers.  No one can argue that IndyCar has the best racing in the world.  Commentators and driver’s in other series have admitted this, yet the ratings are woefully low.  I think IndyCar drivers are the most fan friendly sports figures out there but many would say they lack personality or just don’t come across well on tv.  I’m not sure this can develop into a rivalry but what it does expose is a lack of emotional intensity in the series from it’s drivers.  What I mean is when is the last time two IndyCar drivers confronted each other?  To Sage’s credit, he staid composed because if he would have fired back, I think Series officials may have had to break a fight up.  Rightly or wrongly, Sage is started to be viewed as a bad guy and it seems he’s embracing it.  He’s not backing down and I like the comment that this isn’t go-kart racing anymore.  Basically, if you don’t like my driving, tough!  Seriously though, what driver is going to fight Sage?  The dude is a great wrestler so you better know how to defend against a choke hold or you may wake up in the medical facility.

The action during the race was fast and furious.  I think listening to the commentary on radio ads another layer.  It was hard for them to keep up with all the passes being made.  For fans wanting to see the championship race tighten up, they got their wish early with JPM finishing dead last.  The only problem was Chevy had two engines blow up, one with TK who was the only guy early on to keep up with Newgarden, and Dixon who could have really closed the gap in the championship.  You definitely don’t expect to see two blown engines on the same team, let alone two drivers with so much talent.  I can’t blame TK for being furious because he knew he had a car to beat everyone with.

The race ended with a great story line.  American drivers finishing 1-2-3 on the podium but if you look a little farther, American drivers took 6 of the top 7 spots!  The driver that moved up and down all night, only to claw his way back to a fourth place finish is Graham Rahal.  This guy is the driver of the year in my opinion.  We know Honda has been behind all year and yet Graham is second in the championship.  He’s 42 points out with 3 races left and the last race at Sonoma is double points.  If Graham can finish in front of Juan at Mid-Ohio, I think he wins the championship.  He has the most momentum.  It doesn’t matter where he qualifies, they have race trim figured out.  The sport needs Graham and Marco to start winning regularly.

The Series should sign Iowa to a twenty year contract haha!!  The fans in Iowa support the race and it produces some great, short track racing.  It’s a nail biter every year and combines the mental and physical of oval racing.  Tempers do flare, just ask Ed.  Can we race at Iowa twice in the same year?  I vote yes.  I wonder though if they should rename the track to Andretti Auto Speedway?  RHR has had a terrible year and yet an Andretti Autosport car wins the race.  Carlos and Marco both finished in the top 7.  Ryan Briscoe also had a top 10 finish.  A team owner would be crazy not to sign Briscoe to a full-time contract next year.  The guy has done an amazing job and has shown why he should be in the Series again.  Props to Josef Newgarden who is really coming into his own.  I think the merger with Ed Carpenter has really helped Josef, plus the additional data from a two car team.

Who do you stand with: Sage or Ed?  Tweet me @davidindycar @Open_Wheels

Until next year Iowa!

Tony Tellez

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