By Dylan Reynolds, The Open Wheel
My post-race feature for The Open Wheel continues with a collection of random thoughts following the 2018 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.
- Newgarden dominates in all conditions – For the second race weekend in a row, we saw a dominant performance all weekend by the eventual race winner as Josef Newgarden responded to Alexander Rossi’s performance at Long Beach with an impressive weekend of his own. Newgarden was fastest in Friday practice, topped all three of his qualifying sessions to win the pole, and dominated the race for his second victory of the season and third win in four years at Barber Motorsports Park. Josef did well to maintain his lead in treacherous conditions on Sunday before driving off to a big lead in the dry part of Monday’s continuation of the race. By the time the rain fell on Monday, Newgarden needed only to stay on the track to grab an important victory for his championship hopes. Newgarden now leads the championship by 13 points as the series heads to Indianapolis.
- Pagenaud & Chaves exchange words after the race – Matt Weaver posted this incredible exchange between Simon Pagenaud and Gabby Chaves after the race on Monday. Pagenaud went to Chaves’ pit stand after the race as he took issue with Chaves not letting him by on track when Pagenaud was on the lead lap and Chaves was a lap down. For two drivers who are usually so calm and likeable, their profane altercation on pit road is very shocking. (WARNING: Link is NSFW)
- Pigot & ZCD combine for bizarre contact – Spencer Pigot and Zachary Claman De Melo combined for one of the most bizarre incidents you’ll ever see with this collision on Monday. Claman De Melo put on a show in the early part of the continuation of the race on Monday, and this was no doubt the highlight as he and Pigot came together for about five seconds before each continued on with the race. It’s an incredible highlight and unbelievable it didn’t end at least one of the drivers’ days.
- O’Ward sweeps Lights race to seize control of championship – Patricio O’Ward won both Indy Lights races at Barber Motorsports Park and now has the championship lead after four rounds. O’Ward passed his teammate Colton Herta for the lead in Race 1 after missing out on the pole and then put on a spectacular drive from pole in the wet in Race 2 on Sunday. Patricio arguably should have four wins from four races after going off course from the lead in St. Pete Race 2 and settling for P7. He has dominated the Indy Lights season thus far. O’Ward has a 16 point lead in the championship, 27 points over Herta, and is certainly the championship favorite after the first two race weekends.