Best Indy 500? v Not Best Monaco F1? - SHAKEDOWN

Uploaded by drive on 29.05.2012


LEO PARENTE: Today's "Shakedown" has to be about
the 2012 Monaco F1 versus the Indianapolis 500.
There's so much to digest, dissect, and discuss, both for
me and, really, for you.
So get ready to comment on all I'm about to throw down.
Simply stated, I want to know which race was better
for you, and why.
And what do you think about Schumacher and Sato?
Both guys got really aggressive, both with
not-great outcomes to their moves.
And what do you think the winners?
Webber at F1 and Franchitti in Indy, and their teams, Red
Bull and Ganassi.
You know I've got opinions.
I'll try to base mine on facts.
I ask you to do the same.
And none of this oval racing is boring, and easy, and
they-just-turn-left BS.
And no American xenophobic nationalistic crap on F1 or
IndyCar, either.
I've already read such BS About Sato on IndyCar forums.
And you "Shakedown" viewers?
I know you're a billion times better than that.
We know there was other racing this weekend.
WRC in Greece, but Loeb won again.
World Super Bikes in the US--
Checa and Ducati taking race one, Melandri and BMW
winning race two.
Global Rally Cross in Charlotte, before the Saturday
night NASCAR crowd, with Marcus Gronholm defeating
reigning series champ Tanner Foust.
And Kasey Kahne winning another NASCAR race for the
Hendrick monarchy.
Yeah, whatever.
It's time to focus on the main events of the weekend--
Indy and F1.
And I'm going to steal a sound bite from our Long Beach GP
interview with Takuma Sato, because it defines everything
we'll discuss on this show.
TAKUMA SATO: Drivers always have to commit, all the time.
So that's the way you drive.

LEO PARENTE: Commitment all the time.
Honestly, that's what made this
weekend's racing so great.
That's the lesson I'd like you to take away from this
weekend's action.
If you race, real or sim-- and no, I'm not going to do a
Simraceway plug right here.
Damn it, I just did.
It's commitment in everything you do that will make the
If you want to win, or at least have the satisfaction
that you tried 100%.
It got Takuma Sato big respect, and a bigger name for
himself leaving the Indy 500 even though he left without
the Borg-Warner trophy.
But let's start with F1 in Monaco.
There were only nine passes in the entire race, throughout
the entire grid.
Remember that number when we talk Indy 500.
But the top six finishers finished nose to tail.
Pirelli Tires were not a race excitement interruptus.
In fact, the competitiveness of the racing probably had a
lot to do with the soft Pirelli tires.
The race start was high energy, as it always is,
pumped up by the fact that the true pole winner was Michael
But he was starting sixth, serving his five position
penalty for banging Senna in Barcelona last race.
His aggressiveness collided with Roman Grosjean's own
ambitions, and it all went wrong from there.
Check out these images.
Schumacher tried to make something happen.
You can't fault his commitment for trying to translate
pole-winning speed at a place he loves to race into a podium
or a win that he could taste.
Were you OK with Schumacher's opening move?
The lead procession got through the Grosjean mess, and
the race, while processional was intense with pressure
right to the finish with Mark Webber P1, then Nico, Alonzo,
Vettel, Hamilton, Massa at the flag.
Yay, Massa!
And of course, we got the sixth different
winner in six races.
And Alonzo, adding to the F1 marketing story, with Ferrari
back in the fight.
And he's leading the driver's championship.
He versus the Red Bulls.
In the manufacturers' fight, all is back to normal, with
Red Bull up front.
Up on McLaren by 38 points, up on Ferrari 60
total points behind.
And normal in that we have the Red-Bull-is-cheating
controversy, based on holes in the car floor.
Another controversy.
The difference this year in the RB7 versus the Sauber
design shown here is that the Sauber has an open edge.
The fight is about when is a hole not a hole, and what is a
crack a hole.
And no, I'm not doing sex jokes.
But what I really took away from the Monaco GP, and what
made it riveting to watch, even though there was almost
no passing, was watching the cars work the track.
Last show, I previewed Monaco, saying the racers only use 43%
full throttle.
F1 cars have way more horsepower than they need for
this track.
So watching the drivers actually horse these cars
around Monaco, balancing throttle, grip, and traction,
was awesome.
The lesson?
Give every racecar twice the horsepower it needs.
The pros will handle it, and excitement will be magnified.
NASCAR drivers have been saying that for years about
the restrictor plate tracks they drive,
like Daytona and Talladega.
And Indy and Le Mans could benefit from mega
horsepower as well.
Both Simraceway sponsored pros, Dario Franchitti and
Allan McNish have hinted at that.
So what do you think?
More horsepower for more excitement, and trust the
racers to handle it safely?
Time for the Indy 500 analysis.
And let's cut right to the heart of the race.
Sato versus Dario.
I can't show you the video of the action-- the YouTube
rights thing, you know.
But let's walk through what happened at race end, and
share what we saw and what real racers were thinking and
saying, versus some of the candy-ass comments I've read
by alleged fans, media, and the ABC TV announcers.
First, the scenario.
The race was winding down, and it was coming down to the
Target cars and Takuma Sato in the Rahal car.
Dario and Dixon had emerged as the favorites, but Sato, with
a low-drag set-up, was getting great fuel
mileage from his Honda.
And with Rahal Team calling great strategy, they were in
it to win it.
Side note--
Bobby Rahal's team is Indy 500 genius, all that Ganassi and
Penske stuff considered.
You could debate the driver talent of the following with
me all you want, but this team has taken the likes of Vitor
Meira, Buddy Rice Danica Patrick, and now Sato, and
gotten top five in better performances
out of all of them.
Back to the 2012 race and the last lap pass attempt.
Setting up to the questions for you.
Was Sato right to try?
Was Sato good at how he tried?
Was he impatient, as some are saying, or was Dario a dick?
My answers--
yes, yes, no, no.
I'll explain in a minute.
But first, let's explain all the passing in the race.
A record 34 for the lead.
It was a function of the new car, and the hole it was
blowing in the air.
The racers were trading the lead back and forth because
you had to.
Indy is still pretty much a no-lift track, and the the
Dallara DW12 forces you to slingshot past, not
sit behind and draft.
So P2 was emerging as the place to be to
get P1 at race end.
But where that would happen was another issue affected by
the air-- the wind, really.
And how it was moving in turn three at the end of the back
straight was making for fewer successful passes back there.
With the horsepower of the new 2.2 liter turbos were kicking
out, the passes were mostly happening at
the end of the straights.
And with the wind, the front straight into turn one was
becoming the better place.
And last time I checked, the finish line is mid-straight.
And the whole rant about the best passing place was the
second factor in how the race was about to end.
Let's get to the closing laps.
When Dario went for the lead passing Dixon, Sato dropped
right in behind.
Stuck himself into turn one late versus Dixon, and made
the pass with two laps to go.
And you know on the last lap, Sato thought, hey, I did it
once, I can do it again.
So, heading to the white flag, Sato got a big run off four.
Dario sees this and goes track center.
His commitment is to win and stay in the lead, because he
knows turn one is the key for him, too.
He's working to track and Sato by the rules.
Sato's commitment is to go and win the goddamn race-- or
whatever you say in Japanese in that moment.
And Sato thinks turn one is the place, too.
Not turn three, because of the wind.
Not turn four, because of what he's seen and felt all race
long with passing and his car's performance.
Remember, the Ganassi cars were the fastest cars on the
track, so it was taking the whole straight to get by them.
Again, too late for the finish line.
Now, there are comments about Dario racing dirty and
chopping Sato, and I say no.
He raced him hard.
He took him low, very low.
But here's a shot that suggests Dario did leave room.
And he's going to win for the Indy 500.
You don't race tough here, you don't have a job next year.
Now, I've included a link to the video of the last laps for
you to watch the cars yourself.
Three things you'll notice.
One, both racers drove trying to get both
cars through the corner.
They were respecting each other.
Number two, Dario actually opened up his line mid-corner,
and that helped him not get taken out by Sato's spin.
And number three, Sato drove like a professional slash
gentleman, and did not open up his steering and bump his car
off Dario's so he could save himself, make the corner, win
the race, but put Dario out.
Think Fitapelli versus Unser, the 1989 Indy 500.
This is not a great pic, but what you see is a wheel poking
out of the edge.
That's Fitapelli sliding sideways.
What stopped him from spinning was him,
hitting Al Unser Junior.
Sato did not do that, so Sato did spin, and that's where it
all went bad.
But it went really good for Dario, and for the memory of
Dan Wheldon.
And these three guys--
Dario, Dixon, and Kanaan.
Dan Wheldon's best friends, who were committed to honoring
him with a win, one of them winning.
Dario even begged Susie Wheldon to ride the victory
lap with him.
And what I feared would be a complete race-long dead
Wheldon soap opera by the TV and IndyCar people turned into
a hyper-respectful, super-intense tribute to Dan
Wheldon, because the racers handled the
business the right way.
Besides the commitment of Dario, Sato, Rahal, and
Ganassi, what else did we learn from the Indy 500?
Well, I don't want to be the Chevy racing manager in 2012.
Chevy put their US racing stock in NASCAR.
They lost the Daytona 500, the Super Bowl of NASCAR, to Ford.
Then, they focused their road racing attention on the
Corvette body for the Grand-Am Daytona Prototype class.
They lost the 24 Hours of Daytona, the marquee race, to
Ford again.
Now, Indy, losing to Honda.
The real Corvette racing is getting ready for Le Mans.
Focus, Chevy.
At Indy, after dominating qualifying, Chevy talked big
about their horsepower and great fuel mileage.
Honda simply went back to work, and showed up with a
revised race engine with a bit more horsepower and classic
Honda fuel economy.
But come race day, Ganassi's Hondas were really fast.
All the Hondas were getting great gas mileage, and for
good chunks of the race, the top six cars were Honda power.
So competition improves the breed, but did it change your
opinion of Honda, that they engineered a
winner versus Chevy?
And wouldn't you like to be the Honda marketing manager
right about now?
In that Honda race engines made horsepower and better
fuel economy than a Chevy.
By the way, before Indy, Chevy protested Honda's turbo
upgrade, and they lost the protest.
Maybe before the next 500, to fix the Chevy gas mileage
problem, they'll lobby IndyCar to adopt Volt technology.
That was a bad joke.
So IndyCar put on a good show at Indy.
The cars are still ugly to me, but seemed OK
on TV at the brickyard.
Next year, we get new body kits to clean up the looks a
little bit, and another year of race car development to fix
the remaining performance issues.
The 2012 500 gave us a lot of action.
But the 34 passes were as much managed
slingshots as anything.
The cars still flew, despite the fenders and bumpers built
to make them not.
Dario Franchitti earned the win, coming from mid-pack
and all the way from the back, P30, via a pit-lane spin that
EJ Viso gave him early in the race.
And Takuma Sato raised his stock and identity to the
racing world.
So, was the Indy 500 good for you?
Did you like the action and drama better than F1, or not?
And when you give us your answer, give us a bit of why.
I'm going to tell you, I liked both.
Monaco was less artificial racing with no real DRS or
tire influence, and I love watching the cars work.
IndyCars and the Indy 500 was drama, and all the characters
made the storyline pop.
I screamed at the TV!
I must've liked it.
We have and interview with Dario Franchitti keep coming
up for Friday's show, and I hope we get some great insight
into the action, his techniques, and the thinking
that went into making the 2012 Indy 500
happen the way it did.
Either way, I'm sure we'll have something to discuss.
Thanks for watching.