Not only is it a gorgeous place, with the track right by the water and healthy trees and grass everywhere, but it just held the most dramatic race of the NASCAR season.
That miracle is beauty within itself.
There’s no doubt that cautions have been either scarce or inconsistent, and that there aren’t many on-track storylines to cover, over the Cup and NNS side of things. The Trucks series always brings relief, with the wreckage and funny post-wreck interviews. (“I’ll take responsibility, but only because I should’ve known not to trust an idiot.” Insert foot into that gaping hole in your face.) Road course racing has been the center of controversy, with last week’s Oil-Or-No-Oil debate and Nationwide’s Road America shock with Danica Patrick getting punted by Jacques Villeneuve.
Well, Saturday was expected to be a crazy ride, and that was correct. The drama! The fuel! The racing! Here are some of the big story from the NAPA Auto Parts 200 Presented by Dodge at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
The Woman Who Raced Over a Shoe
Danica Patrick has been the media darling of the season, from extra time for post-race interviews to updates from back in 28th. When she started fourth, it caused even more freaking out. Not only was this a good place to actually do something, but she was lined up next to J. Villeneuve.
As they went around on the back of the truck together after Driver Introductions, everyone chimed in, thinking that this was the perfect time for payback. I didn’t agree; she needed to have a good race and not get caught up in any drama.
Almost immediately, she shot into third, then second. Twitter nearly exploded with shock and sarcasm. When she went to the lead and claimed her car was perfect, people prepared for the Apocalypse. Statements of “When Danica wins this race . . .” came from die-hard haters.
She was impressive, but it wasn’t surprising; it’s a road course. Her IndyCar roots shown through. I was happy she made it past lap one. Her car was one of the best.
“Was” being the key word here.
Danica was leading and flying when she hit a piece of debris. It was a shoe that was thrown by a spectator. It was sucked underneath the car, and, quickly, she began to talk about the steering being off. Then, she felt something from the bottom of the car smack the ground. After a few more laps, she went behind the wall, got the issues fixed, and came back about five laps down. Danica then got caught up in two more on-track incidents.
There is no question she has horrible, Jeff Gordon-esque luck as of now. But, the positives: she led a lot of laps, learned how to control herself while leading, kept the lead while fighting the car . . . Great day for her.
As for the shoe, whoever threw it is very ignorant. You aren’t a fan if you toss objects on the track; you’re plain stupid. I want them to find whoever threw it, put them in a room with Danica, and explain why they did it. It also must be taped.
No matter what, Danica Patrick impressed some, or supported what they already knew: road courses are her strong suit. Hopefully she can get some decent finishes on ovals to stake her claim among the hard hitters.