I’ve been thinking about the title of this weeks blog to coincide with the Sao Paolo IZOD IndyCar race in Brazil all week.  What I really wanted to know from the drivers and the teams was…Can you get caught looking past an event?  Being that this is the Month of May (Finally!) can the thoughts of those in the IndyCar business begin to swing toward the Circle City?

We hear in stick and ball sports the typical excuse, well that team was looking ahead to such and such and that’s why they lost. Chaminade over Virginia. Appalachian State over Michigan. The Pirates against….well, anybody? Me on any Monday through Thursday, looking toward Friday? I’m sure there are many other examples. But does it happen in IndyCars?

I don’t think anyone would publicly admit to looking past the final race before the Indianapolis 500. I’m also betting that once the drivers and crews get on the race track, that they aren’t thinking about anything else than the job at hand. It’s too dangerous of a sport to not think about anything else.  However, after today’s inundated start in Sao Paolo, I wonder if they might just be thinking a bit about what the rest of the month has in store for them.

As most of you know, the Itaipava Sao Paolo Indy 300 was postponed due to torrential rain that made the temporary street circuit undriveable and inherently unsafe. They did complete 14 laps mostly under yellow as there were numerous incidents at the beginning of the race. Most were due to the track conditions. Some were due to bad decisions. One was due to an equipment failure (Vitor Meira and a busted brake line.) Unfortunately, bad decisions and the name Helio Castroneves seem to be following each other very closely this season. Coming out of Turn 1, he got beside Dario Franchitti in the Kelloggs Dallara where it appeared that Dario got a little loose and slammed into Helio’s right front pushing him into the wall. While Helio may not have directly caused this incident, the question has to be asked…What was he doing there in the first place? Second turn and a soaked race course.  It borders on idiocy. I still love the guy a ton, but I’m wondering if something has changed. The end of May HAS to be better for him. An Indy win will erase these first four events.

In that first incident, Simona DeSilvestro, Danica Patrick, and Tony Kanaan were also taken out of the race. So two of the more popular Brazilians and two of its shining female stars were lining up DNF’s. I started thinking about some of the old Formula 1 races in Italy where when the Ferraris would leave the race early, so would the fans. Kudos to the Brazilian fans for sticking around especially through horrid weather conditions…and the ultimate cancellation of the race.

The Sao Paolo course is one of the best designed temporary courses in the world from a racer’s perspective. It’s just too bad that they are in an area that can frequently experience tropical, monsoon like weather. Last year the race was red flagged by rain. This year the weather system was more insistent. The rain tires help, but if you take a close look at those tires the grooves in the Firestone Firehawks are not that deep. It doesn’t take much standing water to turn an Indy Car into an Unlimited Hydroplane.

Now, the logistical nightmare of delaying the race begins. Supposedly, 30,000 vehicles a day use portions of the race course during a normal work day. This may be a test of how much the people and government of Sao Paolo really loves this race. Also,what about hotel rooms, plane flights, clothing, for all the teams, support personnel, and IndyCar officials. There really are a lot of things that need to be taken care of in this situation. Being off continent doesn’t make it any easier.

Unless you have been in charge of an organization, you really have no idea how much people look to you for guidance, solutions, and definitive direction. I’ve been lucky to run 2 great charitable organizations, so I have a bit of sympathy for what Indy Car is going through. I’ve also been involved in making decisions where other people’s safety was involved. That comes first no other discussion is needed. The Red Flag was the correct decision. That track was just too dangerous.

I was a bit shocked when I jumped on Twitter to see the “outcry” about how IndyCar messed up and what a “debacle” this turned out to be.  There is so much going on that we don’t know about, I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and see what happens. IndyCar originally stated on their Twitter account that the race was not postponed and to hold on after they originally said that the race would be run tomorrow at 1PM EST as announced on Versus TV. I would be willing to bet that some underling in the Sao Paolo government said “No way…we need our streets back. You need to run today.”  Hearing that, someone in IndyCar probably said, “Hey, maybe we better try to get this run.”  That’s a simple miscommunication. It happens. If you don’t think it does, Google how the U.S. once flew a plane full of nuclear weapons across the country without anyone knowing they were in the plane.

Bottom line, it rained and a change of plans was needed. There’s nothing we the fan can do. We look past this, hopefully get a race tomorrow, and then get ready for Indianapolis. None of these problems were aimed personally at you. Unless you have a hate/hate relationship with Mother Nature. Then I have no answers for you…

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