A collection of thoughts sparked by yesterday's Sao Paulo Indy 300 in Brazil:
GOOD TO SEE... Will Power win his first race as a full-time competitor for Team Penske. I'm always rooting for the old Champ Car guys. Power's going to be the most competitive Penske driver this year - count on it.
DISAPPOINTED NOT TO SEE... Graham Rahal on the grid. Others who deserve a ride: Paul Tracy, Oriol Servia, Bruno Junqueira, and J.R. Hildebrand. You know, if we still had two major open-wheel series...
BIGGEST SURPRISE... Vitor Meira in third place in his return from that back injury suffered at Indianapolis. Honorable mentions: Alex Tagliani's early performance, Simona de Silvestro hanging with the big boys, neither Chip Ganassi Racing car in the top 5, way too many flub-ups by the Versus folks on the American broadcast, the race being the most watched television program in the history of Brazil (was anybody watching Michael Schumacher's return to Formula 1?!).
LEAST SHOCKING... A Penske car in P1 at the finish. Honorable mentions: Danica Patrick not being competitive, Ryan Briscoe's brain fart, Milka Duno failing to finish, Takuma Sato still being Takuma Sato, Mario Moraes and Marco Andretti getting into it yet again, the race being the most watched television program in the history of Brazil (they did get pretty into it, after all...).
BLAST FROM THE PAST... KV Racing Technology made its deal with Lotus and Cosworth official this weekend. From here on out, the No. 5 Dallara-Honda driven by Takuma Sato will carry a green and yellow livery reminiscent of Lotus' old Formula 1 car, and the one that won the 1965 Indianapolis 500 with Jim Clark. It's unfortunate that neither company will resume their former roles of constructor and engine builder, and instead join as sponsor and engineer, but any little bit helps... and 2012 isn't that far off.
LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE... I think Ryan Hunter-Reay is either going to be the best Andretti Autosport driver through Indianapolis, or is going to bring up the rear from here on out. He's got the motivation to earn a full-time ride, trying to look attractive to more sponsors, but remember the series of disappointments after the season opener last year that nearly culminated in a DNQ at Indy. But if Andretti gives him their best equipment for the next few races, and he goes to victory lane, it should be much easier for the team to convince Izod to further step up their commitment - or bring in another sponsor to finish up the year.
NEXT YEAR'S RACE... is going to have a hard time topping this one. It was a nightmare most of the time, for various reasons, but in the end the results were highly entertaining. The Brazilian people got behind the event in full force, the drivers and teams managed to adapt to the various curveballs thrown at them, and nobody got hurt. St. Petersburg is going to have a lot to live up to.