If you have yet to sit down and watch the continuation of IndyCar’s Firestone 600 in Texas from Saturday evening, you should do that now. I’ll wait.
You watched it? Alright, let’s continue.
So, you might agree, the majority of the race was not all-too exciting. That is, until the last 10 laps where you were quite uncomfortably sitting at the edge of your seat awaiting the fates decision on who would claim first.
Until those last 10 laps, James Hinchcliffe had kept his lead from weeks ago the entire race. And all was seemingly cozy up in P1 for Hinchcliffe, with half of the grid a lap or more behind him and he kept a respectable distance ahead of Ed Carpenter for most of the race, who held steady at P2.
And then the last 35 laps happened.
This is where the first yellow would make its appearance, with Scott Dixon taken out after a little touch-and-go with Carpenter’s rear-end, spinning him clear across the track. And of course, as one yellow flag happens, more will be sure to follow.
Carpenter’s can not seem to catch a break, since his near miss led to the next out after a tango with Helio Castroneves. Carpenter’s car was totaled, while Castroneves managed to pull somewhat casually away, only needing to pit for a new nose and rear wing.
Shortly after that second yellow, Mikhail Aleshin and Jack Hawksworth would collide for the third yellow of the race, with only 15 laps to go. What was unfortunate, was Aleshin had been doing so well until that point. Aleshin has a had a good last couple of races, and yet again, fate denied him the ability to take a win or a podium.
The nail-biting, “hold onto your seats” portion of the race happened at the final yellow flag lifted with 9 laps to go, leaving Hinchcliffe, Graham Rahal, Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Simon Pagenaud battling for first. The five would continue to rotate constantly for that first position up until that final lap.
And that final lap would be the most gut-wrenching to watch. Rahal and Hinchcliffe danced back and forth until the last turn where Rahal pulled a little ahead. But the back and forth continued until Rahal’s timing had him pull just a nose ahead of Hinchcliffe across the finish, with a .008 second lead and nabbing the win at Firestone.
It was incredible, and yet a shame for Hinchcliffe who had held onto first and definitely deserved the win. Granted, Rahal did too for pulling off such an unbelievable pass in the final seconds to grab first. And it’s not to say Indy hasn’t had some riveting races this season, but this one by far is the one to talk about.
And points-wise, Pagenaud is still a little ahead of Will Power, but neither winning or grabbing a podium spot lent to other drivers getting the chance to play a little catch-up. Should make Watkins Glen and Sonoma even more exciting.