Motegi at last?

It’s race day, take 2!: Hanging in the house – last weekend was stunning in San Francisco, this weekend is way below normal and very windy. What better thing to stay indoors with than my IndyCars racing in Japan! The weepers in turn 4 prevented the scheduled start yesterday, so here we go again! Looks better this time – TSO reports the weepers have been patched well and seem to be holding.

The menu for this dinner-time race includes a small salad with fresh lettuce from today’s farmer’s market; California Pizza Kitchen four-cheese thin and crispy pizza (the fontina and smoked gouda make it special); and a nice 2005 sangiovese from Ortman Family Vinyard in Paso Robles, CA. Dessert is Ben and Jerry’s Creme Brulee ice cream. Salut!

The race is live on ESPN Classic at 10 pm ET, but if you opt for that, turn down the audio and hear the ROCKIN’ IMS Radio Network call.

*Engines have fired. Four laps to warm up instead of three – it’s cold and we need extra heat in The Magic Rings. Whoa – TK’s car is waaay smoking. We’re GREEN GREEN GREEN. MARCO INTO THE WALL turn 2!!! Man, poor kid. We’re yellow. More yellow good for weaving and building tire heat, so hopefully everyone will restart safely. Marco’s out and walking. Wasn’t a hard hit, but enough to bust the left front suspension. His day is toast.

* GREEN GREEN GREEN! We get a full lap in without trouble… :p We’re all watching TK, who was smoking quite a bit before the initial green flag. NO SMOKING signs being ignored by 7-Eleven car. Race Control has checked in with him about it. Davey Hamilton explains that cold Hondas sometimes smoke, but only a little. This wasn’t a little.

*Godzilla and Danger Mouse fighting it out for 10th. Godzilla wins.

* 20 laps in the books. Twinkle Toes leads it. Marty Roth just got lapped. Yasukawa next. Helio’s dancing away with the early lead. Round and round and round we go. When we slow, nobody knows…

* Target cars are gaining on Mr. Disco Ball…

*Lap 47, Roth’s down two laps, Ed Carpenter pits.

*Festival of pitting: Danica’s in now. YELLOW!!!! why? Marty Roth is stalled. Godzilla has a damaged “flipper.” He lost in in front of the safety car! Left front wing busted, otherwise looks ok.

* 50 laps in the books, second caution of the day. Penske cars runnning 1-2.

*Godzilla has a nice new flipper and a full tank of ethanol. We’re still yellow at lap 55. Getting the furled green – let’s get back on this ride! GREEN GREEN GREEN! Dixie breaks up the Penske Party, Townsend Bell has moved from 16th to 6th.

*Lap 72, Briscoe Inferno is falling back. Currently 5th after Nariz blew by. Nice showing by the Foyt team – Danger Mouse is running 6th!

* Lap 91 YELLOW! Meira brushed the wall in turn 4. Half the field is pitting. Bent suspension on Meira’s right rear. Pit replays: Carpenter stalls on Pit box entry. Hits his tire, team mate Foyt hit him. Ed’s pitting again for a top off and inspection. Meira’s day is done.

*Lap 97 GREEN GREEN GREEN! Dixon’s got the lead now. Twinkle Toes is 2nd. Danica’s climbed to 6th. Now to 5th. Girlfriend is looking hooked up.

*We’re past halfway and now official. The Iceman Cometh…Jay Hot Rod Howard’s in for a look-see after brushing the wall.

*Briscoe Inferno used Hot Rod as a pick and passed our Princess again. Wonder if she’ll swat him for it. :p Quattro’s out of his car, after being several laps down. Perhaps the pit contact with his team mate did him in…

*Nariz is nosing in on his old buddy Twinkle Toes’ 2nd place spot… lost it a little and both Briscoe Inferno and Well Done got him.

*Lap 140 – Yasukawa pits. The other local hero, with both American and Japanese citizenship. Now O’Ryan the Hunter pits. Nice easy stop for the ethanol car. More pittage – Danger Mouse in. Oh no – YELLOW! Yasukawa into the wall. Sucks for the pit partiers…More pittage – Loads of red cars coming. Also Danica! and Nariz. They move in and out in unison that would make a synchro team cry. Nariz scored himself a couple of positions.

Lap 149 – more pittage. Helio, Ed and Danica are topping off. Strategery! Lean it out or get another yellow and they might make it.

*50 to go GREEN GREEN GREEN!!!! Nariz blows by the Inferno again…

* Godzilla pitteth. Easy stop.

*O’Ryan hunted down the Hammer and took over 5th. 25 laps to go. The Iceman is skating away…will he have enough fuel? TV goes to break – the story of the Magic Rings gets air. It’s good, but Ode to Racing set the bar soooo high…

*Briscoe scrapes the wall, continues to run high. We’re still green with 18 to go. I may get to bed by 9:30 after all. (There will be a 5 a.m. alarm for me tomorrow…) O’Ryan stops for a sip of ethanol. Radio says Danica is hanging way back to make fuel. The others on her strategy have been flying and may not make it. Townsend answers the pit bell. Seven laps…who’s on fumes?

*Hammer pits! Iceman pits! Nariz pits! Well Done pits! Twinkle Toes and Danica lead with 4 to go!

*Danica slides past Twinkle Toes and leads!!!!! 2 to go!!!!!!!!!!!!

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! DANICA WINNNNSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

Okay, we’re unified. Then, second race out, a transition driver, and the youngest ever in Graham Rahal, wins. Now in race three, the first woman to win a major open wheel race. You couldn’t write it any better. I was hoping to sleep early tonight, but I may not be able to…this is just terrific. I’ve been crying since lap 198 when she took the lead…

STUPENDOUS! Watch this explode!

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A huge nod to My Name is IRL and Pressdog for the live posting inspiration and for establishing most of the driver nicknames used in this post. It was fun – but I have a ways to go to match you guys… 🙂

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