Archive for the ‘IndyCar Series’ Category

Indianapolis 500On an overcast and cool Sunday afternoon, Brazilian driver Tony Kanaan won the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500, in the most anti-climactic fashion imaginable.

In a race made notable by the record breaking numbers of lead changes and leaders, it was almost a cruel bit of teasing to spectators that the race should be finished under caution after Graham Rahal’s crash with eight laps remaining was supposed to set up a shoot out between six cars for the final three laps. What no driver could’ve known was how important the restart following this caution would be, as Kanaan managed to emerge ahead of Carlos Munoz and Ryan Hunter-Reay for the 68th and final lead change of the race.

Shortly after the KV Racing Technology driver took the lead, Dario Franchitti hit the wall and caused a caution to essentially end the race. Kanaan is a worthy winner, whose luck at the race track prior to today had been especially bad. Kanaan was largely thought of as being among the best IndyCar drivers to never win the race. His prior relationship with Andretti Racing overseen by Michael Andretti – who also had never won the famed race – was often cited as something of a curse for the popular driver.

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Sao Paulo Indy 300 - Day 3I don’t believe in fate or destiny, but I understand why others might. Sometimes, seemingly unrelated circumstances coincide so perfectly to form a singular result that it’s difficult to not believe in an unseen and powerful guidance shaping the outcome.

Like many Canadians of a similar background and age to my own, I loved open-wheel racing before I even understood that it was open-wheel racing that I loved. Also, like many Canadians of a similar background and age to my own, my love for North America’s premier source for open-wheel racing came to an abrupt halt in the mid-nineties when the departure of Jacques Villeneuve from the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) series conspired with the introduction of the Indy Racing League (IRL) – and subsequent desecration of the Indy 500 – to reduce the relevance of the sport on the entire continent.

Eighteen years later, the IndyCar Series is haunted by this past, even as it strives to return to a time when its brand of racing attracted new fans and captivated long-time supporters.┬áLeading the charge to fight these ghosts and bring the sport back to an era of increased public interest is a 26-year-old driver from Oakville, Ontario – James Hinchcliffe.

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