Monday Musings – 2018 INDYCAR Grand Prix

By Dylan Reynolds, The Open Wheel

My post-race feature for The Open Wheel continues with a collection of random thoughts following the 2018 INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

  • Power dominates for first win of ’18 and third in five years of the INDYCAR Grand Prix – Will Power was due for a Verizon IndyCar Series win and got it in dominant fashion at the INDYCAR Grand Prix with the pole position and this pass after falling behind Robert Wickens on tire strategy. Power has now won this race three times in its five year existence and after his showing this weekend that dominance looks like it could continue well into the future. Power is now up to seventh in the championship  and could vault himself right back into contention with a solid run in the 500 after a rocky start to the season.
  • First lap madness continues at INDYCAR Grand Prix – The trademark of the INDYCAR Grand Prix has been madness at the start and this year was no different with a pair of incidents as seen here. The high speeds of the front straight leading in to the slow 90 degree Turn 1 has always led to crazy starts and this one was another wild one as Jordan King and Simon Pagenaud made big contact in Turn 1 and Spencer Pigot went airborne into Takuma Sato a few turns later. This race may have only been around for five years but it now is one of the can’t miss starts of the season every single year.
  • Newgarden aggressiveness backfires – Josef Newgarden used plenty of successful aggressive moves throughout the 2017 season to win the championship but it was over aggression that cost him with this incident on Saturday. Newgarden was working towards a podium finish and just pushed a little too hard trying to get around Sebastien Bourdais as he fought for a podium finish. It’s not as if Newgarden didn’t make mistakes last year, his crash at Texas comes to mind, but it will be interesting to see if this incident makes him less prone to pull the trigger on a risky move or two later in the year.
  • Herta puts IMS troubles behind him with Lights weekend sweep – It was a wild weekend in Indy Lights as championship winner Patricio O’Ward, winner of three of the season’s first four races, earned the pole for each of the two races on the IMS road course before self-inflicted errors cost him in each race. Colton Herta was happy to pounce as he won each race over the weekend in spectacular fashion. Herta was held up by O’Ward’s off in Turn 1 of Race 1 and had to work his way through the field with race craft we haven’t always seen from the teenager. Herta used pressure and guile to force a mistake by O’Ward and Race 2 and then took off for an easy victory once he earned the lead. It was quite the turnaround for Herta at IMS after finishing twelfth, tenth, and thirteenth in the three races there last year. O’Ward’s points lead is now down to just one point over Herta and six points over Urrutia heading into the Freedom 100.