Dario Franchitti scored a critical win at Mid-Ohio, but Will Power pushed his championship lead right back up with a dominating performance at Sonoma. Now come the ovals; can Power continue the back-and-forth en route to his first title? An oval win could put him over the top. PLUS 8.
2. Better days for Helio
One would think that Helio Castroneves' reputation took a major hit after his post-race tirade in Edmonton. But it doesn't feel that way in the weeks after that meltdown. Not only that, he's performed well on the track, placing third at Mid-Ohio despite contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay and then finishing fifth on Sunday at Sonoma. PLUS 5.
3. Boring and entertaining
From the sound of the fan base, Mid-Ohio was not the most exciting race overall. Fortunately, Sonoma saw plenty of action behind Will Power -- especially at the Bottleneck corner, where passing was to be had if you had a draft down the straight leading to it. EVEN.
4. Will Power claims road/street championship trophy
And there was much rejoicing (cue tiny 'Yay' from those that care). These oval and road/street sub-championships didn't really make an impact at all this season. I also heard on the IMS Radio broadcast that Power got a relatively tiny $50,000 bonus...The League might wanna bump that up a little. And by little, I mean a lot. MINUS 5.
5. IndyCar gets a feather in the cap
The Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma was the lone event this season at Infineon Raceway that saw an increase in advance ticket sales, beating out their NASCAR, NHRA and motorcycle races. Indeed, the main grandstand and the hillsides looked a bit fuller this season (although good seats were still available on the latter for sure) for the open-wheelers. PLUS 3.
6. Crisis averted
Look, I'm not a fan of full-course yellows on road/street courses either and I'm noticing a few more local yellows recently, which I appreciate. But with Hideki Mutoh stalling on Lap 69, an FCY really should have been thrown. Instead, after getting Mutoh restarted and on his way, the safety truck found itself perched on the outside lane of the Bottleneck while the leaders roared by at full speed. This could have wound up ugly and the League is lucky that it didn't. MINUS 10.
Mid-Ohio/Sonoma tally: +1 bean.
Season tally (after 13 races): +23 beans.