Like most of you I was anticipating yesterday’s start of the IZOD IndyCar Season since last year’s season finale at Homestead. Racing season was back! Unfortunately, what we all got to see during the first 13 laps of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was a display of amateurish driving by what are supposed to be the best drivers in the world. Though there were many incidents during those first 13 laps, I continue to focus on the Lap 1, Turn 1.  Let me say that again…Lap 1, Turn 1.  Everyone has been waiting and working hard for the start of the season, that I am sure. Why would a couple of drivers think the race or the championship, can be won in Turn 1? Amateur and Professional drivers are taught that races are not won in Turn 1, but they sure can be lost.  The drivers are in “control” of their cars so for their choices, or decisions, only they are responsible.  What Helio Castroneves and Marco Andretti were thinking yesterday befuddles me. Marco made a bonzai move to the inside of Turn 1 and even though he said that he would have had the car “whoa-ed” down before hitting Ryan Briscoe, a statement that I consider absolutely ridiculous when you see the video, he did get hit by Castroneves who was making the same stupid move.

Maybe Marco’s move can be attributed to youthful exuberance. Of course, he’s had a history of these moves, so we can hope that he will eventually learn. Helio’s move though, I’m having a bit more trouble excusing. The experience that Helio has should have taught him better than to try and follow Marco’s line into Turn 1. He definitely hit Marco when he braked entirely too late and lifted the Venom Dallara into the air and eventually over a bewildered Scott Dixon.

I truly believe that this was Helio’s best chance to grab that Championship that he has been wanting all these years. But stupid moves like yesterday continues to show that he needs to control his emotions or there will always be that one or two races that take the Championship away. Even though it was only the first race of the year his hopes for the Championship took a strong punch to the solar plexus.

Now that my criticism of the drivers is completed, let’s look at the start and re-starts that IndyCar were responsible for.  I am all in favor for the new starting procedures that allow more cars to get on the main straight before the green flag is unfurled.  However, waiting until almost the Start/Finish line itself to show the green is entirely too long. If the greens during the starts and restarts yesterday were shown about 150 yards earlier, we would have had better starts and hopefully less incidents. Ryan Hunter-Reay had it right when he talked about the speed of these cars and their braking ability.  You cannot turn these beasts loose that close to Turn 1. There needs to be some natural separation of the cars based on the driver’s reaction times. IndyCar made a major mistake with their restart zone and here’s hoping they change it before Barber Motorsports Park. A change to this system is not waffling as some pundits have accused IndyCar and Randy Bernard of lately. This is a change that is for the better and we should accept it as such and not degrade what is trying to be done. Make this sport better.

Oh, yeah, Dario Franchitti won the race. Kind of lost that in the shuffle. The Target team is back on track and the rest of the Series should be concerned. There may be a lot of Red and White bullseye logos in Victory Lane this year.

Major kudos to Tony Kanaan and Simona DeSilvestro for their 3rd and 4th place finishes. Those of us in the Twitterverse know of the trials and tribulations that TK has gone through to get his ride at KV. And to pull this all together and get a 3rd place in the first race…Unbelievable! Tony should help KV Racing reach their potential this year.  And Simona put on a spirited run to 4th place after starting in 17th. After losing her engineer to KV Racing and Tony Kanaan, the Swiss Miss went out and showed that she is truly a driver to be reckoned with in this Series. She’s not just another pretty face. She can drive these cars.

Well, the season has started. Here’s hoping that in the next 2 weeks before the lovely Barber Motorsports Park that all of the drivers and IndyCar LEARN from the mistakes of St. Pete and return to being the “Best Drivers in the World”

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