Weekend Wrap (cont.)
DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK
With so much written about NASCAR's impending lawsuit, let's stick to disappointments on the track. This one has to go to Sam Hornish Jr., the three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner.
Hornish was having the best NASCAR Sprint Cup race of his career on Sunday and was in contention for the victory. He was in second place very late in the race before he had to pit for fuel to guarantee he could make it to the finish.
But with three laps left, Hornish lost control of his Dodge and spun out in the fourth turn. He didn't hit anything, but instead of contending for the victory or getting his first top-five finish, the driver from nearby Defiance, Ohio, had to settle for 22nd.
"It's a tough way to end the race," Hornish said. "We made a decision to take on two tires during our last pit because we were so loose the last 20 laps. Every time that I tried to touch the gas, the back-end was coming around and it almost felt like it was going down or something. It's unfortunate."
WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS WEEK
NASCAR returns to the road courses as it makes its annual trip to Sonoma, Calif., so it's an opportunity in which drivers have more input on hustling the race car around the track. That means some of the constant complaints about the new car will be silenced.
And after a one-week break, the IndyCar Series returns to action at the three-quarter-mile Iowa Speedway. With 27-28 cars battling for position on this short track, it will be a traffic jam in the middle of an Iowa cornfield.
But it will also give the rain-soaked and flooded people of Iowa a chance to get some relief. The IndyCar Series intends to do several "good deeds" to help the flood victims in their time of need.
BUDDIES OF THE WEEK
IndyCar Series driver Tony Kanaan dropped in on his former teammate, Dario Franchitti, before Friday's Sprint Cup practice session at Michigan.
"I was around doing some appearances, and I only came for today," Kanaan said as he was off to test for Andretti Green Racing at Chicagoland Speedway Monday and Tuesday. "It's great to support him, he's my best friend, and he's been having a tough time, so I think he was happy to see me for sure."
It was the first time Kanaan had ever attended a NASCAR event.
"I was totally lost coming into the track because I've never seen this place so full in my life," Kanaan said. "I had never been to registration here in my whole life. It was a fun road trip. I drove from Indy to here by myself, which I'd never done. I always fly. I went to registration, which I had no idea what it was, and I did a few laps before I found it, and I felt like a race fan today."
Kanaan also wanted to emphasize that he came not looking for a NASCAR ride, but rather to support Franchitti, who is struggling as a NASCAR rookie this season after winning both the Indy 500 and the IndyCar Series title last season.
"No, no! We don't need that," Kanaan said. "I came here to support my friend and that's all. I'm pretty good where I'm at. I'm just feeling the vibes. But I came here only to see him, please don't even put me in trouble for that.
"I signed some autographs, which I felt pretty good about, until somebody gave me Casey Mears' picture. Some people called my name, though, which is fun. It's nice."
FORMULA ONE VISITOR OF THE WEEK
Jarno Trulli, who drives for Toyota's F/1 team, was on the starting grid at Michigan International Speedway Sunday, talking to Toyota NASCAR driver Kyle Busch and Chevrolet driver Jeff Gordon in the moments leading up to the race.
"Today was the first time I had ever been in another driver's garage," Trulli said. "That doesn't happen in Formula One. It is strange but it's all new. It's like looking at a new toy. It's extremely nice and challenging, very interesting. People on TV don't have a clue what is going on with technology and I look at this car and see a lot of challenge.
"The challenge in Formula One is different because the rules are different. NASCAR is a human approach. It's such a nice show and atmosphere. It's really different from what we are used to in Formula One. It's great to see so many people around as you have at a NASCAR race. The drivers here are very nice and relaxed.
"Compared to Formula One, it's another world. It's all cool here."
Trulli remains committed to Formula One and has raced in Europe for 24 years, but would like to discover more about racing in the United States one day.
"Kyle Busch has had a great season for Toyota and I wish him more success and good luck in the future," Trulli said.