If you were looking forward to the IndyCar race from Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama to bring more exciting racing than the Malaysian Grand Prix, you were in for a bit of a disappointment. Penske driver Will Power did a remarkably good impression of Sebastian Vettel, leading the race unchallenged from the pole position. Unlike the season opener in St. Petersburg, the Grand Prix of Alabama was more wheel to wheel racing than it was demolition derby. That’s not to say there weren’t incidents, and the day saw its share of full course yellows. Plenty of drivers, rookies and seasoned pros alike, made bone-headed moves during the race: rookie James Jakes spun in traffic on cold tires, but managed to not take any cars with him. Rookie J.R Hildebrand collected Graham Rahal in what could be described as a “racing incident”, E.J. Viso binned two cars over the weekend (bringing his total to five for the season), Mike Conway got put into the armco and Ryan Briscoe, running in fourth place at the time, was torpedoed by Ryan Hunter-Reay. Hunter-Reay was attempting an uphill, off-line pass when a curb launched his car into Briscoe’s; the crash ended the day for Briscoe, and a subsequent penalty relegated Hunter-Reay to a 14th place finish.
When the smoke cleared and the checkered flag waved, it was Penske’s Will Power in first, followed by Ganassi’s Scott Dixon in second and Ganassi’s Dario Franchitti in third. Given the sheer number of incidents in the opening two races, it’s clear that IndyCar has a problem; maybe it’s too many inexperienced drivers, or perhaps it’s just desperation for a victory, but the current number of mistake-related crashes can’t be allowed to continue unless carnage is the marketing strategy for the new IndyCar.