Indycar’s new cars in 2018 were bound to have an impact and mainly that was down to aerodynamics and grip. The new cars made passing more difficult and in particular it was not going to be easy to be slower in the slipstream saving fuel and then slingshot around a faster leading car.
The Indy 500 did expose some of the differences in the new chassis with several incidents in which oversteer sent a few drivers into the wall including Helio Castroneves and Danica Patrick who used this year’s race to end her career. The drivers who did spin said they have no warning signs as to when the rear of the car would snap out but that’s the nasty nature of oversteer.
Ed Jones and veteran Sebastien Bourdais also lost the backend of their cars ending their race early.
The race was down to strategy with pole-sitter Ed Carpenter languishing at the front of the race all day. With the new cars less forgiving as the old ones, the drivers running up front were doing a terrific job of keeping the rear end behind them.
Honda entered the weekend suggesting that they had officially lost their advantage at the Indy 500 and the new cars haven’t hooked up to be as competitive as they would have liked. Chevrolet worked hard to come back at Honda and seemed to have done a better job of marrying the power unit to the chassis.
The race ran relatively smoothly but as there was just 50 laps left, the teams and cars began to turn it up and that led to Helio’s incident as well as Sage Karam losing his back end as well. It’s interesting that the drivers were all relying on a level of grip these cars just aren’t providing and I am reticent to point a finger at the car but perhaps a combination of less aero, more mechanical grip and taking dirty or higher lines is to blame.
Starting from the back, I was very curious to see how former F1 driver Alexander Rossi did. There was a slow, methodical narrative unfolding and Rossi started on the back row and worked his way up to the front and battled for 2nd on lap 162. Rossi didn’t win but made a terrific run up to the front.
As the laps unfolded and the cautions came out, it ended up being a tight race to the finish with Penske rising to the occasion and Will Power was driving in a class of his own. A late-race yellow left Will behind Servia, Wilson and Harvey but they had to pit for fuel leaving Will to bring it home and win the race he wanted so much.
I was a day for the Australians and you know how we love our Australian friends. Will power wins the Indy 500 and Daniel Ricciardo win the Monaco Grand Prix…two fo the thre biggest races in the world.