We’re big fans of racing, especially open-wheel racing, here at www.DEMARAS.com but we shy away from full-contact sports like NASCAR. Crashes, smashes and ‘turning’ a guy to take race win away just doesn’t compute with us. Yet NASCAR is so much more popular with Joe Lunchbucket.
The 2023 IndyCar Series season opener, the Firestone Grand Prix of St.. Petersburg, was a carnage-filled crash-fest. It’s almost unbelievable that such skilled drivers created so much destruction. The field was 27 cars strong, but before Lap 1 was even complete, a six-car incident occurred. Scot Dixon, the evil villain of IndyCar (whom we suspect is a cyborg sent from the future to re-write the history books) banged wheels with Felix Rosenqvist.
As cars behind checked up to avoid the slowing Mclaren, rookie racer Benjamin Pedersen rounded a blind corner, and broadsided the stricken No. 29 Andretti car of Devlin Defrancesco. The impact sent the Canadian airborne…vertically. It’s one of the most insane incidents in IndyCar, and must be seen to be understood.
Racing is dangerous business, and crashes will occur. But for the second time in the race, a car was sent airborne. Dutch driver Rinus van Kalmthout caught a wheel in the tire barriers, stopping him on the spot. This left no chance for the following Jack Harvey to react, plowing into the back of the No. 21.
When sophomore IndyCar racer Kyle Kirkwood arrived on the scene, his No. 27 Andretti car climbed over the tail of Harvey and flew over both competitors. Nothing short of monster truck suspension could have absorbed the impact landing from nearly 2m in the air.
What about the actual racing you ask? Well, pole sitter Romain Grosjean and defending race winner Scottie McLaughlin didn’t let the mid-field steal the show. After the final pit stop, the two speed-demons raced side by side into a braking zone, with the Frenchman trying an outside pass.
The No. 28 Andretti car couldn’t get around the Penske, contact occurred, and both leaders were sent into the tire wall. Poor Grosjean hasn’t won a race in over a decade (before his time in Formula 1) and should have just waited for a different moment to take the lead. An outside pass on a street circuit is such a low percentage move!
Our favourite IndyCar driver, reigning series champion Will Power, destroyed the fourth and final Andretti car when he made contact with the No. 26 of Colton Herta. Power was sent to the back of the field as his penalty, but ended the race P7 wich was a three-position improvement from his starting spot.
The race was eventually won by 2022 Indy 500 champ Marcus Ericsson of Sweden. He was quick and did not crash into anyone, which is always a formula for success.
Without a doubt, IndyCar’s marketing department will have a field day with video of this race. They’ll describe the racers as gladiators and Evel Knievel type stuntmen, flying through the air to the delight of the crowd. Ricking life and limb for racing glory. This might entice more fans to watch the next race in Texas, but it just doesn’t reflect the skill and precision that IndyCar racing is really all about.