Race Notes: 2008 Gold Coast Indy 300

Nikon Indy 300
Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia
(non-championship event)

Coverage: Channel Seven or Seven Network, I’m not sure of the actual name.
Commentary: Aaron Noonan & Scott Pruett
Pitlane: Brianne Pedigo

Sorry for the delay in posting these notes, I had to wait for the downl my friend to lend it to me. This is the local Australian coverage, just for a change of scenery. Memo to Sky Sports in the UK: WTF are you doing with not showing this race until Tuesday?!? Are you serious??
(Not that I have Sky but the point stands.)

This is a strange weekend of things appearing where you might not necessarily expect them. IndyCars are in Australia, and the NFL is in London! I love crossover stuff like this as long as it isn’t like F1 in Bahrain where nobody shows up. Taking American sports abroad is the Next Big Thing.

I watched most of the NFL game on the BBC and it was interesting, I thought it was a lot like rugby, despite my not really understanding what was going on most of the time (something I also find with rugby..). The Americans do like to put on a show don’t they? European sports can still learn a lot from those guys, in some respects at least.

This race will be 60 laps or 1hr50mins, no idea why they picked that time.
Lap record: 1m30.054s by Will Power in 2007 with the DP01-Cosworth.

Wow it looks strange seeing Dario’s blue-and-white helmet in the red Target car!

Aaron, who’s last name I’ve already forgotten, says they should go 22 laps on a tank of fuel, I learn that it stores 83 litres which is 22 US gallons. We use different gallons here in the UK but I’m under 30 so use metric measures (apart from miles for some reason). It’s nice to get a litre figure on that.

Emma Snowsill, Australian Olympic triathlete medal winner gives the order to start engines and actually seems excited about it! All year we’ve watched people who don’t seem to care. Then again they never tell us who these people are, usually, so maybe that’s their revenge.

Aaron says it’s an ANZAC 1-2-3 on the grid. There are 10 nationalities in the field including 8 Americans.

Cars are rolling out of pitlane as Aaron says more than half the races run here over the years have had problems into the turn 1 chicane.

Starting Order:

Power, Dixon, Briscoe, Franchitti, RHR, Helio, Tags, Kanaan, Wilson, Viso, Meira, Moraes, Rahal, Andretti, Servia, Mutoh, Bruno, Wheldon, Mr Ed, Camara, Bell, Rice, Patrick, Foyt

24 cars made the journey. GREAT skyline on this glorious sunny day. Track is actually quite narrow. I’m sure I watched the Champ Car race last year but I don’t remember it this narrow..

One more warm-up lap. Oh no – Wilson pits before the start! He’s rolling again but he’s last, from 9th. Not good.

Brianne Pedigo’s voice tells us Justin was stuck in 3rd gear, team not sure if it is fixed. Nice to hear Brie is there this weekend, I was expecting to hear Jon Beekhuis talking to ESPN. Usually on an international IRL feed we get the usual pit reporters saying stuff like “yeah Marty that’s right” which makes no sense when we have Gary & Larry instead of Marty & Scott.

Almost to the end of the lap, tension building!
Trying to get two-wide, quite difficult for them in that narrow twisty section at the end.

GREEN FLAG!

They get through turn 1 okay, a couple miss it, contact in 2! Meira? Tags passes Franchitti who fell back. Helio passes him now.

Dixon cut the chicane and has to give up the position he gained. He lets Briscoe go at the line.

Power is checking out, he’s gone. RHR 4th and pushing hard.

Replays – Dixon clearly cuts it, Moraes got into Vitor.

L2 – Ooh we get a nice clean position tracker at the bottom of the screen, small, tidy, not in the way of seeing where we’re going on the onboards – brilliant. Someone show this feed to Versus so we don’t have the Mega Big ESPN-style Graphics blocking half the screen next year.

L3 – Dario dropped to 7th earlier, I’m not sure how, I might have missed the replay while I was typing about the other replays.

L4 – Power leads by 4 seconds already! Wilson’s problems seem to have been fixed, he’s passed a LOT of people already.

Brie in the pits talking about fuel strategy – Oriol Servia will do the opposite of the leaders.
New fastest lap by Briscoe in 1m37s. Commentator doesn’t mention how that’s SEVEN seconds slower than the record set last year by the then-new Champ Car. Did the circuit change or are these cars really that bad?

L6 – As I type that we cut to an onboard with Briscoe and SHIT that’s fast along the main straight, they aren’t giving much away there to the C-Cars. Must be on the brakes and lacking the turbo acceleration. I’m sure they’ll pick up some of that difference as the fuel loads come down. TV coverage isn’t mentioning any of this of course, lest they get in trouble…

L7 – Wilson takes another one, he’s got Wheldon for 14th. 10 down in 7 laps which isn’t too shabby… He has circuit advantage on a lot of these guys though. It’ll be harder when he reaches the guys he raced here last year.
L8 – Wilson slices by Marco as if this is easy. Basically makes his own gap, “yeah I’ll have that, thank you”.

YELLOW FLAG

Moraes has spun into the wall. Left rear failure on the replay, was that from earlier contact or just a failure?

Replay: Moraes made contact with the chicane wall on the left side of the car. Pruett calls it: ‘driver error, that fine line between pleasure and pain.’ Gives a shout out to the TV guys for a great job on the slowmo replay.

Brianne: Power’s team will spin an umbrella to let him know where to stop.

Pit stops have begun. Power and Wilson are in. Servia, Wheldon and Helio also in. Several stayed out.
It wasn’t Power! He stayed out. Brianne says they switched the teams at the last minute, pitted Servia and not Power. I thought it was Will but Oriol is running Team Australia colours as well this weekend.

I’m not sure if Brianne is talking to ESPN as well as Seven, she’s talking to someone but the Seven guys aren’t responding to her as ESPN would… I thought Jon Beekhuis was supposed to be here too but no sign of him so far. Last minute switch or is he on ESPN? Not that I’m complaining, Brie is doing an excellent job today. Major improvement from her in the space of a year.

Nice clean screen is great but they’ve taken the lap counter and the score ticker away during the yellow, don’t know where we are. Townsend Bell has pitted to retire from the race.

L11 – GREEN FLAG!

Power just drives away from them. This is his 3rd year starting from pole at this race, but the last two times he didn’t win, he wants this one.

L12 – Power is 2.3s up on Briscoe already.
Damage on Danica’s car, front wing damage. Pits along with Helio. They must have collided.
Brianne with Bell: Collided with Moraes, left him room but he turned in then 3 corners later he’s out anyway.
Replays of Danica and Helio, he went inside to pass and she turned in before he was clearly through.

L15 – Great onboard view from Briscoe, he’s on fire, inch perfect all the way around.

Rahal and Servia both pass Wheldon who is in Manning’s former ride, the ABC Supply Foyt car.

Brie with Tim Cindric: Helio got a flat tyre, Danica’s wing cut the tyre. He’s lost a lot of positions, Tim says maybe it’s his (Tim’s) fault for putting Helio back in the pack with that stop under yellow.
We had video of the interview this time, Brie is in 7 Sport gear so maybe the Aussies have Brianne exclusively for this event. Dedicated Indy Car Pit Hotty, as Pressdog might say. I wouldn’t mind a dedicated Brianne for myself from time to time, but I digress, slightly inappropriately.

L17 – Power is in the wall!! He clipped the wall and damaged the wing, maybe the suspension? Yeah the suspension is damaged.
Both the commentary guys are absolutely gutted for him. Will pulls the car in as he can’t get around a left-hand corner, has to park it. Day over.
Replay: He just slightly clipped the inside wall which sent him into the chicane wall. The initial contact broke the wheel.

L18 – The lead switches to Ryan Briscoe ahead of Scott Dixon, RHR, Tags, Franchitti, Viso, Bruno, Kanaan, Bruno, Andretti, Mutoh.
Lots of guys still to pit of course.

Brianne with Mark Johnson of KVRT: He tapped the wall and that was the end of that. I feel bad for the entire crew, but that’s part of motor racing.

L20 – Briscoe is about to lap Danica. ‘Normal’ pit sequence is now starting, the guys who didn’t pit under yellow. Servia pits. Penske are asking Briscoe if Patrick is holding him up, commentary says he isn’t responding so maybe his radio is one-way only. They tell him to pit if she’s holding him up, so he does. RHR also in.

L21 – RHR emerges behind Marco. Dixon has swiftly caught Danica, we’re onboard with him and this is painful, you can literally see the time slipping away. Dixon pits.

L22 – Pruett says he WILL get out ahead of Briscoe.
YELLOW! The safety car blocks Dixon exiting pitlane after Briscoe has already passed the pit exit. If the SC hadn’t have been there it would have been very close between Dixon and Briscoe. Dixon had to get on the anchors pretty quickly there.

Chaos as the safety car doesn’t know where to go! It pulls over to wait for the leader.

Carpenter, Foyt and Rahal are together. Rahal clipped Viso and spun him around, almost blocked the track completely, only a narrow gap to get through.

We come back from ads to find Patrick and someone have come together under yellow, she’s stalled the car. She’s waving at the safety crew. Scott Pruett says “that’s no way to treat the safety workers, if you were a safety worker and a driver was shouting at you, would you be in a hurry?”

Franchitti leads. We’re not getting enough replays here, no idea how Patrick got into that situation. The track had been blocked out of sight of drivers around a blind corner, so I’m assuming during our break she came around and had nowhere to go.

Yellow flag pitstops begin with Dario in. Several cars in, Andretti, Wheldon, Meira, Danica.

Ryan Briscoe now leads after the latest pit sequence.

GREEN FLAG

L25 – field nicely spread out, shouldn’t have any incidents on the restart.

Briscoe, Dixon, Tagliani, RHR, TK. We have no ticker and can’t see anyone else on screen. I hope Tags and RHR get a good finish here.

Brianne: “Ryan Hunter-Reay is putting in a good effort. He knows this course, he knows how to give information to his team. He gives exact corrections to his crew.”
(I’m paraphrasing as it’s faster)

L27 – Wilson finished 2nd here last year, he’s up to 9th here now.
Dario was screwed by the last yellow, he had to stop else he’d run dry, he’s back in 11th now.

L28 – Brie with Will Power: “I just got the inside of the wall, very bad mistake. I had such a quick car, saving a bit of fuel but pushing too hard. A part of that wall sticks out a little bit, caught the inside front wheel.”
Look at his face, this one hurts. He knows it was his error. He can’t believe it.

L29 or just under an hour if we go to a timed race. I have no idea which hat they pulled 1h50m from since they can’t have a tight TV window in the States at the hour it was broadcast there. Maybe the Aussies needed one or someone doesn’t have the money for the satellite time?

YELLOW – Franchitti has spun!

He spun it on the chicane, took it a bit too tightly and it sent him around. He’s waiting to be fired up again, hoping the crew gets there before he goes down a lap. We go to a break.

Ultra slowmo replays! Aerial view of the Gold Coast!

Dario did drop a lap and he’s 18th. He pits as do Danica and Rahal.

Brie confirms there is no damage to Dario’s car. She also says Roger Penske is not here to call Briscoe’s race, the engineer (I forgot his name already) says Briscoe will stay out and only needs one stop.

L32 – GREEN FLAG!

Aaron says there has been contact between Wilson and Bruno and their teams are ready (contact unseen by us).
Replay: Wilson touched Bruno’s wheel, it broke the endplate on Justin’s car, it also meant Helio got by him.

L34 – Helio dive bombs by Kanaan who is very slow. TK is crawling around with damaged suspension. He should park it rather than drag it to the pits, they won’t be able to fix that in the time. Get the thing out of everybody else’s way if you’re that much slower.

L35 – Why is Scott pronouncing Castroneves first name as ‘Heelio’? Scott races in America he has no excuse!
Brie says TK is mystified as to how the suspension broke. Commentators both say it is down to the chicanes, kerbs, nature of the track.

L36 – Servia tries a move on Viso, we see it from Helio’s onboard. Can’t do it.

L37 – There was a call earlier about a lap ago: ‘Don’t worry about Tagliani’. Brie tells us that was Mike Hull telling Dixon to stop looking in his mirrors!

Just noticed that only the top 11 are on the lead lap. I don’t recall so many guys being lapped, was it when they all came together at that yellow?

L40 – Briscoe pits from 2.6s ahead of Dixon. Dixon went a lap longer last time but he also pits now. Briscoe is still ahead. Servia also pitted.
Tagliani now leads from Hunter-Reay, these have been fighting all race long. Team tells Alex to push as if he is qualifying the car!

Replay: RHR sideways at the chicane! He’s on it too.

L42 – Alex Tagliani pits, Ryan follows him in, oh they touched! Light touch I think.
Ryan beats him out of the pits, they both beat Graham Rahal who is 6th! Viso leads.

The two touched under braking for the speed limiter.
L43 – We’re told Rahal has to pit again. Viso now pits and he beats Tagliani, but not Hunter-Reay.
Tags and Viso fighting! Side by side, Viso ends up cutting the chicane and has to give up the position.

Briscoe leads now, 1.2 up on Dixon.

Brie: Hunter-Reay believed Tagliani passed him under yellow much earlier in the race so perhaps the bump on pit entry was payback?

Scott Pruett, who won this race in 1997, says the IndyCar guys are always on it and if Tags had passed under yellow he would have been moved back by now.

L46 – Briscoe, Dixon, RHR, Tags, Viso, Servia, Helio, Meira, Rahal, Mutoh, Rice, Wheldon, Andretti, Wilson, Bruno, Camara. The top 15 are all on the lead lap now so some got a lap back under the pit sequence. Commentary has mentioned everyone in that list except Rice and Camara I think, even if only briefly. In fact I don’t think I’ve seen a shot of Rice all race.

Tagliani can’t live with Hunter-Reay in this stint, 6 seconds apart now. I think maybe RHR was sort of stuck behind Tags from the way they were together all the way until those stops.

L48 – Camara has spun and stalled so he can get a mention (I swear I wrote the above before he did that!). He’s asking for a restart, he’s in a runoff area so no yellow needed. He overshot, and stalled it trying to spin it in the right direction.

Viso cuts another chicane! Oriol tries to pass him, can’t do it though.

L49 – Viso has to give the place to Servia because he kept the position by cutting the chicane.

L51 – Brianne in the pits: Briscoe is on fuel setting 2, Dixon will soon go full rich.

L52 – Meira pits from 9th.
Briscoe is 2.3s up on Dixon, 7.7s on RHR and 18.1s on Tags.

L54 – Dixon is catching… he’s getting a couple of tenths per lap.

L56 – Dixon has got it down to 0.7s seconds! They are both scything through traffic, most of which is jumping out of the way on the straights.

L57 – We’re going to the full distance, not a timed event.
Aaron: “You couldn’t write this script, the two biggest teams in America with the two locally affliated drivers.”
Scott: “Is there some sort of rivalry between Australia and New Zealand?”
Aaron: “You pick this up quickly! It’s as much as Penske vs Ganassi.”

L58 – A tyre bundle has come loose at turn one, could cause trouble. Replay: It was Dixon’s left rear on the previous lap which caught the bundle and threw it into the track.

L60 – One lap to go, these guys have killed the field stone dead, as did Power when he was out there.
Local yellow for Carpenter in the wall at turn 3. Leaders already at turn 8.

RYAN BRISCOE WINS!!

The first Australian to win the Gold Coast Indy! Penske hasn’t won here since 1992.

Donuts at the chicane ‘in the best traditions of Alex Zanardi’ as the commentary says.

Ryan brings the car back to pitlane. We see an ESPN mike go to him but cut away to the throng surrounding the car. Shots of Dixon with Mrs D. He doesn’t look hugely impressed that he lost out.
Brie is with Ryan with her 7 Sport mike: “It’s pretty cool, such a tough track, so many fans out here! It means so much to win here, I really hope we can come back next year.” This race is no points, how does it set you up next year? “It’s worth triple points to me! It sets us up really well as a good springboard for next season.”

Brie has already found Dixon: “The traffic at the end made it exciting, we lost a our first position with the call from race control with the pace car. Maybe if he’d made a mistake we could have done it.” He says Dario works differently to teammates he’s had before, he’s a good teammate.

Hunter-Reay: “We started P14 in practice. I love this racetrack, I haven’t been out of the top five in any of the races. I’m hoping it was fun for the fans, it was tough for us, this track beats you up and eats equipment.” Brianne says he hasn’t got a deal for next season. Ryan says he’s hoping he’s showed what he can do.

Podium. First a quick speech from the Queensland “Minister for Police, Corrective Services and Sport”. Hell of a portfolio there, I’m amazed a nation like Australia just tacks sport on the end to the police job. She promises that this will not be the last Indy, it’ll be back next year and for many years to come. Nikon spokesman says a few words about how great they are.

RHR gets a trophy and says a few words to the crowd, hopes to be back next year.
Dixon gets a trophy and says he feels bad for Power.
Briscoe gets a big trophy and says it doesn’t get any better than this. Special to win here.

Interesting format to make them talk to the crowd during the podium ceremony. More series should do that. Not sure it would work in F1 but certainly it would in a lot of other championships.

No champagne, no winner’s anthem. What a strange ceremony.

Race Results

01. Briscoe 60 laps
02. Dixon +0.502s
03. Hunter-Reay +9.118s
04. Tagliani +19.984s
05. Servia +20.438s
06. Viso +33.725s
07. Castroneves +34.493s
08. Mutoh +55.747s
09. Rahal +1:20.059
10. Wheldon +1:31.900
11. Wilson +1:31.935
12. Rice +1:33.907
13. Andretti +1:38.397
14. Meira + 1 lap
15. Junquiera + 1 lap
16. Franchiiti + 1 lap
17. Foyt IV + 2 laps
18. Patrick + 2 laps
19. Camara + 2 laps
20. Carpenter + 3 laps
21. Kanaan DNF
22. Power DNF
23. Bell DNF
24. Moraes DNF

This was a non-championship event so no points were awarded.

Okay that’s me done here. Congratulations to Ryan Briscoe and Team Penske. I’m off to read everybody else’s notes as I’ve been starved of blogs and motorsport news sites since Saturday.

I’ll see you again later in the week no doubt, look out for my Brazilian GP preview and race notes. If you are in the UK make sure to switch to BBC2 after the race for the first in the series of the new Top Gear!

EDIT – it has come to my attention that I’ve been misspelling Miss Pedigo’s first name incorrectly. It should be ‘Brienne’ not ‘Brianne’. It was the way they were pronouncing it – sorry BP!

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5 thoughts on “Race Notes: 2008 Gold Coast Indy 300”

  1. OK… reading over your notes again, you got sooooooo much more information than the ESPN feed (both radio and tv) Wow. Again, so jealous. Rahal spun out Carpenter not Viso (the cars were similar looking with made it confusing) There was champagne (I’ve seen the pics) they must have just left it out of the broadcast.

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  2. Second to what Meesh said up there. The Aussie feed was light years better than what we got in the States (and Canadia). Bell was never mentioned once, Brie got way more pertinent interviews than Beekhuis did (I’m thinking Cindric’s interview here), and I think that Pruett is way, way better as a color commentary guy than Goodyear (who just about put me to sleep, even though I waited until Sunday morning to watch). And…I still can’t even think rationally about the thinking to cut the post-race short because they had to go to 5 year old poker coverage. That seemed like the final middle finger to the fans from ESPN.Excellent notes, Pat! I’m looking forward to more of the same next year, unless that “Too Much” thing becomes truly too much…

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  3. Meesh I’ll send you in email in a sec, I don’t want to put my source online.The coverage ID’d him has Viso but apparently Ed had the green flourescents as well this week. Amazed they’d do that by choice but there ya go.Aspeed: Y’know what? I think this was being used as a test run for Versus, I really do. It makes perfect sense. Brie as the now experienced reporter, with Pruett as analyst. He’s been driving for a while now so maybe he wants to hang up his hat and pick up a mike.Maybe doing a test run out of the US public eye, yet still coming over as knowledgeable to the casual Aussie fan who is marking time to the next V8 race, is the perfect way to trial the ’09 line-up.Don’t worry I’ll be here in some form or another, hopefully unchanged! I may take some stills from the video and insert them into this post so you can take a look at the graphics, etc.

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  4. Update… I was wrong about the coverage ID’ing Carpenter as Viso, Meesh’s upload of the YouTube video proves that much!If anyone wants to see the graphics / hear the commentary you can probably find everything you need on YouTube so I won’t include them here.

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