Saturday night proved to have the best race of the weekend by far, no matter what happens at Pocono on Sunday. Surprisingly, it wasn't from any of NASCAR's three series. The IndyCar Series ran at Kentucky Speedway under the lights and did they put on a show or what?!
For those who missed the race - and I'm sure there were plenty, I mean, it was on Versus - coming into this weekend the series introduced many changes on the cars to help increase the excitment of the racing. Sound familiar? NASCAR could take a look into the same type of thing.
Now, I am nowhere near smart enough or a big enough open-wheel fan to understand these changes but they sure made the racing exciting. Throughout the 200 lap event there were cars racing side-by-side consistently for nearly an entire run, including the leaders. At the end, it came down to Ryan Briscoe vs. Ed Carpenter. Briscoe drives for the powerful Penske organization that dominates Indy nearly every year. I think of them as the Hendrick of IndyCar racing. Carpenter is in his seventh year in the series and coming into the race had led a total of four laps in his career. Yeah, no misprint, his career. He would lead 34 laps in this race.
Most of the time I think of IndyCar racing as just follow the leader but not this one. There was only one caution the entire race, and it wasn't for debris; something actually happened on the track. Anyway, all of the leaders came down pit road with about 25 laps to go and from that point on Briscoe and Carpenter ran side-by-side nearly the entire time.
Finally, at the finish Briscoe was on the high side and was able to inch out Carpenter for the win by .016 seconds - the seventh closest finish in IndyCar history. While I was really disappointed that Carpenter could not bring home the win, I was really excited to see a race with so much action. Other than the Indy 500, I rarely catch an open-wheel race but this one was terrific and made my weekend. I have not gotten up from a race that stoked in a long time. The Talladega race this year probably didn't get me as excited as this one did because the battle lasted for 50 or so laps. Also, the entire race was like that and there were no cautions to break the rhythm of the race.
So, while we all watch the ever exciting Pocono race on Sunday, at least we can rest easy knowing that there is good racing out there, NASCAR just needs to do some work on the product right now. Maybe even take a page out of the IndyCar book and make some changes to the cars.
All in all, I just wanted to put this up on here this evening because I was so excited about the race that I needed to tell somebody about it. Thanks to Kristen for having this site put together, it is pretty cool to have something new to read pretty much every day.