• Apr 1, 2008
Click above for more high-res pics from the Gainsco 300

If you've got the Gainsco Auto Insurance Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway TiVo'd and are waiting to watch it, read no further. Chances are that you haven't or aren't going to, though. Because while a spirit of camaraderie prevailed at Homestead, there wasn't a large live or television audience to witness it. Bear in mind, of course, that we're talking about American oval-track racing, whose stock-car counterpart ranks as the largest spectator sport in the country... only by those standards does a headcount of some 20,000 people in the stands count as small. By any other measure, though, the inaugural race of the reunited open-wheel series was a big success, its 26-car field ranking as the largest starting grid of any race (other than the Indy 500) either of the erstwhile separated series has had since 2003.


[Source: AutoWeek]



As was predicted, the Champ Car teams joining the IRL veterans were at a big disadvantage. The fastest IRL drivers lapped the slowest Champ Car migrant in only the 14th lap (!) going 16 mph faster (!!). The best of the Champ Car challengers, Oriol Servia, finished 12th. It's worth noting that on what basically amounted to their oval-track debut, the Champ Car drivers didn't cause or were barely even involved in any significant accidents on the track. Aside from Servia and Bruno Junqueira, both highly experienced drivers, the rest of the Champ Car challengers are being classified as rookies in the IRL, and are therefore eligible to contend for "rookie of the year" honors.

Further on up the field, Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing) crashed with only eight laps to go while fighting neck-and-neck with Ganassi's Scott Dixon. But while Kanaan's teammate Marco Andretti put up a good fight, it was Dixon who ultimately claimed the checkered flag and a boom box trophy finishing half a second ahead of the young Andretti scion. (Danica Patrick finished 6th one lap behind, thanks for asking.) Next weekend, the Indy racers head across the state and up the gulf coast for the street circuit race in St. Petersburg, where the field will (literally and metaphorically) be leveled and the returning IRL drivers might find their little wing mirrors all full of experienced Champ Car contenders. Open-wheel racing is back in America, and we can't wait to see what's next.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Grand Am race at Homestead was very lightly attended too. That's not odd for Grand Am though.

      The weird part was the NASCAR race at Rockingham wasn't sold out this weekend. And I don't just mean the low seats where you can't see the other side of the track. The smallest track in NASCAR and they can't sell it out? And this was before it started raining.
        • 6 Years Ago
        This past weekend's race at Martinsville was sold out, but the weather was borderline and some folks decided to watch it on TV instead.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I was going to go, until I saw how much they wanted for a ticket...$85 for Saturday. I realize that includes Grand-Am and the Indy Cars with garage access, but come on, that's rediculous.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I happily paid $100 + $25 to park to go to Sebring this year. It was something like $75 last year. It looks like the price hike cut down on the number of drunk red necks. It was nice. I would gladly pay $85 to see the Grand Am race. I could care less about the Indy cars going in circles though.
          • 6 Years Ago
          IMO this race is not in the same 'league' if you will as Sebring 12hrs or the Rolex 24. Hell, Rolex 24 tickets were $85 IIRC.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I watched the race in its entirety and it was really nice to see a full field, made for much better racing. Just wait until some of the road tracks come up, the champ car drivers will probably shine there, and towards the end of the season their cars will get up to speed.

      And come on guys, how could you not mention Servia sliding down to nip Kanaan, which sealed the deal for Dixon (he was closing on Kanaan).
        • 6 Years Ago
        My mistake, it was Viso, not Servia.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I love racing in all forms but mainstream Americans care about open wheel racing as much as soccer, and that's not much.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It should be interesting to see what happens when the track starts bending in both directions. I suspect the CC group will start to make a better impression when it does.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I went to the races it was great there was a large crowd of people there. It was a hot day burn the hell out of my bald head. lol. It was stupied of them to have the go kart races right in front of the main parking area it took us forever to get to the truck.