Archive for April 28, 2012

Inside the Man Room- Pacers Playoff Preview

Tony Donohue and I get together in the Man Room for a special preview as the Indiana Pacers get set to battle Orlando in the NBA Playoffs.  We give our thoughts on the team, match ups, and our predictions for the series.  Take a listen and let us know what you think on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @TonyD1070.

Rise and Fire

It’s Playoff Time Indiana

Pacers Get Set to Face Magic

The NBA regular season is wrapping up and the Indiana Pacers are getting set for the Playoffs that will start this Saturday.  The Pacers secured the number three seed in the Eastern Conference and will take on the Orlando Magic.  The Pacers will host the first two games of their playoff series which is a big step forward for the franchise as they will finish the regular season with the fifth best record in the league.  Now lets take a look at the upcoming match up with Orlando.

Indiana has been the hottest team in the league the final month of the season.  They went 12-3 in the month of April and without question are playing their best basketball of the season.  Led by the veteran leadership of David West, the Pacers are revving up for the Playoffs.  West looks the healthiest he has all season long and at the right time.  Along with West, Danny Granger has picked up his play down the stretch which gives Indiana the added inside-out scoring combination.  Balanced scoring is the key to the Pacers as they have so many guys that can contribute on the offensive end (six guys average in double figures Granger, Hibbert, West, George, Barbosa, Collison).

The Pacers were just 1-3 against Orlando in the regular season including two home losses.  In the three losses, Orlando had an average margin of victory of 12 points.  The Magic shoot more three pointers per game (27.1 3PA) than any other team and shoot it well at 37.7%.  Orlando’s Head Coach Stan Van Gundy likes to spread his offense out to both give his players room to drive but also to kick it out for three.

This, however, will be a much different looking Magic team that will travel to Indy as star center Dwight Howard (20.6 ppg, 14.5 rpg) is out after having back surgery.  Orlando becomes a perimeter oriented team without Howard and that can be effective as well as they can shoot.  Indiana will have to limit Ryan Anderson, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, and J.J. Redick from the outside as all of them shoot better than 36% from long range.

Another thing to consider is the possible positive affect of not having Howard there.  It has been well documented the interesting season Superman had.  Would he stay in Orlando or go to another team (LA, NY, NJ, DAL) was the big issue for the Magic for much of the season.  Then he decided to sign a one year extension to stay, but still had a rift with Van Gundy where it was suggested that Howard asked for Van Gundy to be fired.  Now, Howard is officially out and the migraine he caused could have left with him.  With Howard out, does the team band together to play for each other as they try to make some noise in the playoffs?

Howard’s absence though should allow West, Hibbert, Hansbrough, and Amundson some room to operate in the paint.  The Pacers front line should be able to dominate the glass.  West and Hibbert will have the opportunity to get post position and not worry about Howard’s shot blocking presence.  The biggest key in this series may be the play of the Pacers’ bench which has really taken off lately.  Even if the Magic are making a number of three’s, the Pacers can offset that with the scoring punch of their second unit with Barbosa (11.1 ppg) and Collison (10.4 ppg, 4.8 apg).  Not to mention the pure energy that Amundson and Hansbrough bring.

Overall, the Pacers match up with Orlando is interesting.  It will be key for the blue and gold to close out on shooters.  They need to make the Magic put the ball on the floor instead of catch and shooting.  Indiana will need to exploit their size advantage in the post, which should in turn open up some space for George and Granger on the wings.

My prediction is that the Pacers win the series in five games.  Although they have struggled against Orlando this season, Indiana will continue their hot play and win their first playoff series since 2005.  I feel like the confidence level of this team is at a season high.  They are playing well together and have the tools to challenge in the playoffs this year.

Follow me on Twitter @thadvandeventer.

Here is a video of my favorite Pacers-Magic playoff moment of all time.  Smits Happens!!!

The Flying V

Indy Sports Crew Final Mock Draft. As the hours leading up to the draft here are my picks for each team and even a few surprises along the way!

1st Pick: Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, DUH

2nd Pick: Washington Redskins:Robert Griffin III, DUH 2.0

3rd Pick:Minnesota Vikings: Here could be a linchpin to the entire rest of the 1st round. If Minny takes LT Matt Kalil everyone else will be happy but what if they go Blackmon, Claiborne, or Trent Richardson and then trade Adrian Peterson?!! But in all honesty the Vikings and GM Rick Speilman aren’t crazy and will protect last years #1 pick Christian Ponder and give him a blind side protector in Matt Kalil

4th Pick: Cleveland Browns: The Browns need to hit a homerun in this years draft and not bundle picks for 1 guy. They need to make all the ammunition they have count. That being said Alabama’s Trent Richardson is the pick.

5th Pick: Tampa Bay Bucs: Sitting happy the Bucs will scoop up top play-making CB Morris Claiborne from LSU.

6th Pick: St. Louis Rams: Fletcher Cox is a rising player and as most have projected Blackmon here but Jeff Fisher knows you win inside out.

7th Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars: Melvin Ingram DE from South Carolina will go here because the Jags always try to get pass rushers and corners and for some reason they never seem to work out. So here you go Jags fans, another DE.

8th Pick: Miami Dolphins: Perhaps the most picked at prospect in the draft Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M. He is going to Miami because they need a QB and because the owner/fan base want one as well. Welcome to South Beach Ryan; now if you win 8 games they’ll make a statue of him!

9th Pick: Carolina Panthers: With Justin Blackmon falling here the Panthers will have to think do we need more defense or offense. The thing about Blackmon is he is the best WR in the draft and will be a huge addition to the Panthers.

10th Pick: Buffalo Bills: The Bills will snag one of my favorite guys in the entire draft. Luke Kuechly from Boston College. All this kid does is tackle EVERYTHING! Buffalo could have a top 5-10 defense this season with the additions they’ve already made in Free Agency.

11th Pick: Kansas City Chiefs: I think this pick could get traded into by some other team but if KC hangs here I see them taking Alabama’s Mark Barron to team with Eric Berry who will be 100% healthy from last years ACL tear. The Chiefs will continue to beef up on D and with Peyton and Rivers in the AFC West it’s a good decision.

12th Pick: Seattle Seahawks: UNC’s Quinton Coples is a “boom or bust” type guy and had flashes of greatness in college but no consistency. I hope for the Seahawks sake he is boom and not bust!

13th Pick: Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald was at his best a few years back when he had another stud WR opposite him. Well enter Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd and Kevin Kolb or Skelton will be able to throw to either side and the desert will once again have a big time fast paced offense.

14th Pick: Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Jones loves to make a splash and Michael Brockers DT from LSU is a freak athlete who has shown flashes of dominance but also flashes of inability to get to the QB. Either way Brockers is a beast and could be a stud in this league for years to come.

15th Pick: Philadelphia Eagles: South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore might not make it this far but I think if the draft falls like this the Eagles will scoop him up and love it.

16th Pick: New York Jets: Look for the Jets to make a splash or a reach with this pick; enter Memphis DT Dontari Poe. He didn’t dominate at Memphis! Let me say it again, he didn’t dominate at MEMPHIS. That being said he had a great combine and is a mountain of a man. Rex and Co. snag another defensive weapon….poor Sanbow(Sanchez-Teabow)

17th Pick: Cincinnati Bengals: Dre Kirkpatrick from Bama is the pick here and the Bengals can plug him in right away on day 1 and help to shut down the passing game.

18th Pick: San Diego Chargers: Riley Reiff LT from Iowa is sliding or tumbling down my draft board but I just don’t think he’s a beast of a LT and a top 10 pick isn’t what he is as a player. I do like him here with the Chargers because they need o-line help and he is good.

19th Pick: Chicago Bears: Syracuse D-lineman Chandler Jones will be the Bears pick. I know most people don’t know who he is, but the Bears and the NFL know him. He is going to start from day 1 in the Windy City so get to know Chandler Bears Fans!

20th Pick: Tennessee Titans: Stanford’s freak O-lineman David DeCastro is here and if Tennessee is still picking here they will sprint their pick to the commish and help the line and Chris Johnson get back to the playoffs.

21st Pick: Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals were hoping that DeCastro was going to make it one more pick but he isn’t here. So the Bengals go with the next best option and bring in Georgia’s Cordy Glenn. He is a mean, nasty O-lineman and will be a great fit in the Queen City.

22nd Pick: Cleveland Browns: They get the stud RB at pick 3 with Richardson and now they give Colt McCoy a WR and snag Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill a 6-5 blur at wideout and playmaker written all over him, and with both picks the Browns have a great opening night!

23rd Pick: Detroit Lions: Jonathan Martin OT from Stanford will be here and some may say this is a bit of a reach. But if I’m in the Lions war room my #1 priority is to keep Stafford up and off his back. The addition of Martin only makes that easier and makes running the bar better too.

24th Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers: Dont’a Hightower is just a great football player who stared at Alabama! He is a perfect fit for Pittsburgh!

25th Pick: Denver Broncos: The addition of Peyton Manning makes life a bit easier in Denver but they still have holes to fill. I think Denver goes Jerel Worthy Dt from Michigan State. He is a beast of a man and will plug the holes against the run and gets after the QB pretty well too. Peyton never had a guy like this in Indy.

26th Pick: Houston Texans: With the loss of their RT last season the Texans draft here out of need but with the talent of Wisconsin’s Kevin Zeitler is a great pickup for the Texans. This team just keeps inching toward the promised land, pick by pick!

27th Pick: New England Patriots: They’ve needed defensive pass rushing help lately and have ignored it. Now it gets addressed in the pick of Illinios’ DE Whitney Mercilous. Dude is a stud in the making and I think New England finally addresses the pass rushing hole.

28th Pick: Green Bay Packers: Shea McClellin DE/OLB from Boise is rising up most draft boards and I will actually be stunned if he is still here for Green Bay. If he is here the Packers will be shocked and have someone to rush opposite Clay Matthews.

29th Pick: Baltimore Ravens: Courntey Upshaw from Bama will be added to a aging defense and what a group of teachers to learn from!

30th Pick: San Fransisco 49ers: Everyone says the 49ers go WR here and you know what Jim Harbough says? Give me Coby Fleener TE from Stanford and yes he coached him at Stanford! Add another weapon for Alex Smith to throw and get a WR in round 2.

31st Pick: New England Patriots: Another pass rusher? Yes sir the Patriots go and get USC DE Nick Perry and add another pass rusher.

32nd Pick: New York Giants: Harrison Smith from Notre Dame will come in and be a great pro and once he gets on the field he’ll never come off. He makes plays with his athleticism and his brain, a combo the Giants love in football players.

Tune in at 8pm on ESPN to watch how spot on my picks are!

Like what I have to say? Then follow me on Twitter @C_K_42 


Inside the Man Room

I am hanging out in the Man Room by myself this week so I blabber on about the Pacers as they get set for the Playoffs this weekend.  I also look ahead to the NFL Draft and what the Colts will do after selecting Andrew Luck #1 overall.  Take a listen and let me know what you think on Facebook or on Twitter @IndySportsCrew or @thadvandeventer.

Also as we get ready for some Pacers Playoff action take a look at this video from Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.  This clip will make more sense after you listen to the podcast and my thoughts on this year’s Pacers team.

The Flying V

Blue-Gold Game Review….. Who starts week one in Dublin?

This Saturday I was at the official kickoff of the 125th Notre Dame football season. The annual spring game was played in front of 31,000+ at Notre Dame Stadium. Among the sun shine and breezy winds were some great performances and debuts. Going into Saturday I had questions about QB, defensive line, outside linebacker, and did I say QB? Some of those questions were answered and some were left incomplete.

Quarterback: Tommy Rees (transfer upcoming) he looked off his game and it is probably because he knows he’s not in the plans for this season or seasons to come. Thank you Tommy for what you did 2 years ago and winning at USC as a true frosh was amazing! That being said it’s time for Tommy to submit his transfer papers and go to UMASS and play for former Notre Dame OC Charley Molnar.

Andrew Hendrix got a shot at the end of last season at Stanford and in the bowl game against Florida State. Hendrix does some good things with his legs and has superior arm strength but he doesn’t seem to see the field very well and again threw a pick Saturday. He lasered a TD to stud TE Tyler Eifert but his bad pick over shadowed the TD, at least for me it did! I don’t foresee Hendrix leaving as he is a pre-med student and seems to love Notre Dame and all its about. He is a positive voice in and out of football and would be shocked if he left, but as far as starting QB goes he isn’t the man!

Everett Golson or as I will now refer to him as THE STARTING QB. He had a solid game as the signal caller and maybe the most import he didn’t throw a pick as Hendrix and Rees did. He threw 2 TD’s and was a nice 11-15 for 120 yards and the aforementioned scores. Golson also possess the ability to make something out of nothing in terms of his legs and to be quite frank he looked to have “it” and we all know with quarterbacks some have “it” and some just don’t. Golson also managed to run 6 times for 30 yards and not turn it over in the process. Huge brownie points for that, last season the starting QB’s for ND had 23 of the 29 turnovers the Irish offense committed.

Gunner Kiel or as I will now refer to him as STUD! He is the best looking freshman quarterback I’ve ever seen at Notre Dame. I know I didn’t see some of the All time greats as freshman but I’ve seen a lot of them and without hesitation Gunner Kiel looks like a primetime QB. He’s big, strong, quicker then I thought, and has a zip on the ball you truely have to see to believe. I saw him last year in high school but he was surrounded by high school kids. Now that he’s got men around him he can showcase why LSU’s Les Myles was so upset when he decided to come to ND and leave LSU in the learch. He wasn’t great at the Blue-Gold game but after watching his first pass almost rip the recievers gloves off his hands because of pure velocity on the throw. I said this out loud,

“Oh my goodness this dude has all the pieces to be a #1 draft pick someday!” I know it could be my blind love for ND but Gunner has the tools to be a potential NFL #1 draft pick, but only time will tell if I’m right about that.

As far as the other questions I wanted answers to I got some but others get an incomplete.

Running Back Depth: This position is going to be just fine especially if George Atkinson III has games like he had Saturday; he rambled off 15 carries for 124 yards. Also throw in Theo Riddick being moved back to RB and how he had a TD catch as well as 17 rushing yards.

Defensive Line: With the departure of Aaron Lynch to South Florida, I was wondering how well the D-line would look. I give them an incomplete but with promise for a big season. Early enrollee Sheldon Day from Indianapolis looks every bit the man child he was as a HS star. Stephon Tuitt and Kapron Lewis-Moore should be good/great on the ends with Luis Nix and Day doing work inside. All in all this group could be special, but only time will tell.

Wide Reciever: This group didn’t look great, but I didn’t expect them to with the QB’s being shuffled in and out on Saturday so again an incomplete is issued here. John Goodman, Roby Toma, and co. could be special but first Brian Kelly needs to pick a starting QB then these guys can take off.

Outside Linebacker: This group I was very surprised with, and I’ll tell you why. I thought they flew around to the ball and it seemed every tackle was a gang tackle. I love that, that tells me these guys are engaged and playing loose. I just hope they can take that into next season, and if the outside backers are making plays that allows Manti’ Te’o to roam the field and hunt for QB’s and RB’s.

Now with the Spring Practice and game behind them the Irish have some time off and then Summer practice on the horizon. Then we can get ready for Navy on September 1st live from Dublin, Ireland. If I had a couple extra grand laying around I’d be going but since I don’t I will be watching from my house at 9am when they kick off! Set the alarm clock and get the Bailey’s and coffee ready.

Like what you hear? hit me up on Twitter @C_K_42 


Rise and Fire

Colts Draft Thoughts

The NFL Draft starts this Thursday night and as everyone knows it will be a huge night for the future of the Indianapolis Colts franchise.  Andrew Luck will be announced as the new QB for the Horseshoes.  All Colts fans hope that Luck can bring the kind of success Peyton Manning did when he was taken with the first overall pick fourteen years ago, but what is equally as important is how Indy does Friday and Saturday during draft rounds 2-7.

The overall talent level of this team is lacking and has been for the past few seasons.  They were able to patch some holes at   Obviously in a league that is predicated on offense, the success of Luck is critical.  Expecting him to perform highly with underwhelming talent though would be hard to fathom.  That is why it is so important for GM Ryan Grigson and Head Coach Chuck Pagano not only to draft players to fill certain needs but to also just draft as much talent as possible.  This would be the time to take a page from former Colts Vice President Bill Polian and draft by the thought of taking the best available player.

Yes, I understand that some positions need more help than others.  I think the Colts will try to focus as much as possible on the defensive side of the ball especially with the change to the 3-4 defense.  Help in the secondary is needed and some depth at linebacker will be an issue to address.  It is important however to try and stockpile the best and most ready to play talent as you can.  Something that could possibly help early in the draft is that the Colts will be drafting at the start of each round instead of at the end.  Those spots could give them the chance in rounds 2-4 to get some really quality players. 

It has been mentioned that given the possibility the Colts may trade up using their 34th overall pick to a late first round pick to take Stanford TE Coby Fleener.  I believe this would be a good move to make if it presents itself in the right situation.  Indy should not trade up too high for Fleener but if he falls down to the twenties then making a run at him would be wise.  Fleener and Luck already have a connection that they displayed on The Farm inPalo Alto plus with Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme gone help is needed at tight end. 

Other than that move I am not as in tune with mock drafts as others to go in depth about specific players that could be there for the Colts in the later rounds.  Honestly, I don’t get that into mock drafts anyway because one or two teams make surprising picks and all of that goes out the window in a hurry.  What I will say is that the Colts have a great opportunity and a great task ahead of them this week.  Indy will need to focus and choose wisely (as Indiana Jones did in the Last Crusade) to build this organization back up.  Talent and depth are the keys to make this a successful draft for the Colts next year and for the future.  This will be the next step in the process of getting the Colts back to the top of the AFC and NFL.

Follow Thad on Twitter @thadvandeventer.

IndianapolisColts 2012 Draft Picks

Round              Pick (Overall)

1                      1 (1)

2                      2 (34)

3                      1(64)

4                      2 (97)

5                      1 (136)

5                      35 (170)

6                      36 (206)

7                      1 (208)

7                      7 (214)

7                      46 (253)

The Fast Track

Entry List Sets Stage for Month of May

We are just a few weeks from Opening Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the first step of getting to practice days at IMS is the entry list, which was released today.  J.R. Hildebrand who will make his 2nd start in next month’s race was the first driver to officially turn in his entry for the race.  Thirty four cars with thirty confirmed drivers were on the entry list.

Three former champions of the Indy 500 are entered, including Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon, but one more could be confirmed over the next few days.  Rumor say, if the money is in place, 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, who returned to the speedway last year for the first time in three years, could pilot the #21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy.  If Buddy is confirmed, that puts the count at 31 drivers.
Seven rookies have been confirmed that will attempt to claim Rookie of The Year honors.  They include Josef Newgarden and Brian Claussen who will team up for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, Rubens Barrichellos, Wade Cunningham, Katherine Legge, James Jakes and Simon Pagenaud.  Jean Alessi could be added to the list of rookies on the roster for this year’s 500.

John Oreovicz of raised a valid point today over Twitter.  Oreovicz states, will Indy Car have one car bumped from the field and go home, or will they expand the 500 field past 33 cars so all 34 entered earn a spot, the last time this happened, 2 cars had identical speeds in 1997 and 35 cars started the race.  There are pros and cons to both.  If all 34 cars are in the field, it eliminates “Bump Day” in which last year saw great drama up to the final gun on the last qualifying day. If all 34 cars are in, you don’t risk a full time competitor to miss out on the race and allows all cars and engines to partake in the race.  There certainly will be no ride buying this year.

The field is pretty competitive and based off of the entry list; twelve to thirteen drivers could be in line to sip the milk after 500 miles on May 27th.  A few things that also jump off the page is Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing bringing two rookie drivers both seeking sponsorship.  How will Rubens Barrichellos perform in his first oval test and how far behind exactly is Lotus as a few teams that are under contract with the engine supplier have asked to switch engines.  Indy will be interesting and all these questions will be answered.

Inside the Man Room

Lots of Pacers and Colts talk this week in the Man Room.  The Coach and I go over the white hot Pacers as they are 10-1 so far in April and getting primed for the Playoffs.  Then we look ahead at the upcoming NFL Draft and what the Colts will do.  Remember to follow us on Twitter @IndySportsCrew, @thadvandeventer, and @C_K_42 to keep the chatter on going.

The Flying V

Terre Haute’s Finest Picks Purdue!

Perhaps the most highly touted football recruit to come out of the Wabash Valley since this guy named Anthony Thompson, Danny Etling is off the market.  Etling who is about to wrap up his junior year at Terre Haute South and probably thinking about prom a lot more now that he’s finalized his college plans.

Danny picked the Boilermakers over other big time programs such as Iowa, Colorado, Cincinnati, IU, Vanderbilt, and Bowling Green to name a few.  Etling who plays in a big time High School conference doesn’t have a lot of help at South because to be quite honest the caliber of football player in Terre Haute isn’t even close to that of metro Indianapolis.  The teams South matches up with besides Terre Haute North have guys overwhelmed with Division 1 offers.  The biggest profile offers most Terre Haute South Braves are receiving are from Indiana State or Wabash.  Not exactly IU, Notre Dame, Northwestern, and Michigan like guys who play at Warren Central, Carmel, etc, etc.

Danny Etling is a prototypical “pro-style” quarterback and has great size for a signal caller getting ready for his senior season.  Etling stands at 6’4″ and 200 pounds and as he continues to grow physically one can only imagine how big and strong he could end up down the road in West Lafeyette.  His stats were modest last season as he threw for 1, 537 yards and only 9 touchdowns.  But as is the case with guys from lesser known programs it was his work in summer camps and 7 on 7 trips that showed his skill set that set his stock on fire!

If I were a betting man, like the late great Doc Holliday I’d wager a guess that Etling will put up good numbers his senior year. I’d bet he’ll throw for about 2,400 yards and 15 TD’s and many will say he’s not good enough to play at Purdue.  But lets remember people a decade or so ago people said this QB coming from Texas was too small, too weak of an arm, and not mobile enough to make it in the Big Ten let alone the NFL. Well that guy just broke Dan Marino’s single season passing yards mark and won a Super Bowl 2 years ago. P.S. his name is Drew Brees.  If Etling is smart he’ll let the haters hate and work, work, work and 3 years from now watch as they’re eating crow and he’s leading the Boilers toward a Big Ten crown and NFL scouts are talking about him as the “next great Purdue QB.”  Hey it could happen!!! Just do yourself a favor and don’t sleep on Danny Etling next year and you can say you knew before the “experts” did!

Here’s a video of Danny Etling

Like what you hear from me….check me out on Twitter @C_K_42

Hollywood’s Minute

So Much Drama in the LBC 

Will Power earned his second victory of the season, and the third for Penske Racing, on Sunday for the 38th running of the Long Beach Grand Prix. Power started from the 12th position, though he was the fastest car in qualifying.  This was due to the new rules in which if a team changes an engine before 1,200 miles they will be penalized 10 positions from their qualifying spot.  Power however wasn’t the only driver penalized, as 11 Chevy engines were changed before the 1,200 mile minimum.  Chevrolet made this decision after James Hinchcliffe blew an engine during a test session at Sonoma on Monday.  The fear that incorrectly calibrated engines could affect each of the Chevy teams, lead to the drastic decision to replace them all.

The penalties incurred by the Chevrolet teams provided an interesting starting grid to say the least with rookie Josef Newgarden on the outside of row one.  On the first turn the rookie went for a spectacular pass on the outside of defending IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti. Dario had other ideas, gave very little room to Newgarden, and forced him into the tire barriers.  On the first lap it may have been a questionable move, but if Franchitti gives him some room, Newgarden makes that pass without question.  On the lap five restart from the Newgarden caution, Justin Wilson made an incredible pass around turn one to take an early lead, but almost as soon as the race went back to green Marco made what I thought was a questionable pit stop. This pit stop on lap 8 would foreshadow how this race would come down to pit strategy and fuel mileage. Wilson led until lap 19, when Takuma Sato took over the lead. Shortly after Sato took the lead, a collision between two legendary names in Indycar provided the best quotes of the weekend. On lap 23 Marco Andretti tried a maneuver around Graham Rahal in which Andretti drove over Rahal’s rear tire and went airborne. After the accident Marco stated,

“That was our stint to make hay and we were trying to do so,” Andretti said. “It’s one thing blocking but it’s another thing chopping, and that was a chop. I’m lucky I didn’t get upside down, I could have been killed.”

While Rahal claimed,

“He wasn’t going to make the corner no matter what; obviously those pods didn’t do the job. He’s had a lot of rides like that, unfortunately he went straight over the top of us; the back of our car is destroyed.”

Rahal responding when told Marco said he was “chopped”

“What’s Marco’s last name?” Rahal asked. “I’ve said enough.”

 Hopefully this altercation is a budding rivalry between two of the most flamboyant drivers in the sport.  Not only are these two opinionated and talented, but they are the only two names still left on the track from the golden days of IndyCar. The sport has struggled for years to find a true rivalry, but these two will need to battle for leads, and championships before it is recognized by the general sports fan and not just IndyCar enthusiasts.

 After that caution ended on lap 29, much of the race was dominated by Simon Pagenaud who led 26 total laps. Other leaders included Sato who led 16 laps, Justin Wilson and Will power lead 15 laps. Briscoe lead five laps while Franchitti and Ryan Hunter-Reay each lead 4 laps.  Toward the end of the race I was really thinking it would be Sato’s race to lose w/ Power low on fuel, and Pagenaud having to pit with just nine laps to go.  Little did I know that Will Power would be able to get better gas mileage in his IndyCar than I get in my passenger car.  Seriously though, how did he get his fuel to stretch so much further than anyone else? Power only made 2 pit stops on the day, and during the last few laps was able to push his pace to avoid the hard charging Simon Pagenaud, who made 3 stops. Leaving the LBC Power now has a narrow points lead over his teammate Helio Castroneves.  The next race for IndyCar is in Helio’s native country of Brazil on April 29th.  Power is the defending champion for the Brazil race where he led 32 of 55 laps.  Coming out of Long Beach IndyCar got a much needed ratings boost receiving a .35, up 20% from last year’s rating. Hopefully the ratings boost isn’t solely due to NASCAR having a Saturday night race, and is more of a result from fans tuning into see the most entertaining brand of auto racing in the world.

Race Results:

1. Will Power

2. Simon Pagenaud

3.James Hinchcliffe

Full Results