IndyCar | The Long Beach Leitmotif

A very familiar theme is playing as the series makes its preparations for the month of May.

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IndyCar | The Long Beach Leitmotif
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The current generation of racing fans are spoilt for choice, and that is actually proving to be detrimental to the sport.

Many bemoan displays of domination, as if it's intentionally done to upset the masses. A race in which a driver has the field covered, can dictate the pace, and the strategy is executed perfectly is what every team strives for. Yes, wheel-to-wheel battles add a greater level of intensity and enjoyment for both the competitors and spectators, but the greatest display of one's skill behind the wheel is when they are seemingly untouchable.

I grew up during an era when drivers would lap the field and still say that their car or driving performance could have been better. Dominance was something to behold, rather than bemoan, because I could see just how much effort it took to control those wild mechanical beasts. Whether it was the dominance of one team over the course of a season, or one driver at a particular event, my eyes were wide open during the spectacle that I knew no mere mortal could replicate.

My outlet, before the internet and social media platforms, was more intimate and less reactionary. I shared my views with friends and acquaintances while worrying very little about how many people agreed or how many different ways I had to defend them. After watching a race, whether it was an exciting or relatively dull affair, I would happily play my 16-bit racing games or reminisce about my few karting experiences that brought me so much joy.

Those days are long gone, as we now have a gluttonous amount of choices with which to indulge our passions and express our opinions.

The NTT IndyCar Series has four different winning drivers and teams in the first four races. The first two involved closer battles at the front, while the latter two were dominated by a single driver. After witnessing champions like Mario Andretti, Al Unser Jr., Paul Tracy, and Sebastien Bourdais dominate on the streets of Long Beach, in open-wheel cars, a familiar theme played out during this year's race.

Alexander Rossi and the #27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda team dominated the race from pole position, despite the amazing amount of talent throughout the grid. You would think that this would make their achievement all the more impressive, but others would say it was a ho-hum "boring race." He defended Scott Dixon (fairly) at the race start and restart, which was the result of a brief caution period that was partially Ericsson's fault (the two Foyt drivers tripped over each other ahead), and showed consistent speed throughout. He negotiated the lapped traffic better than his closest competitors and, most importantly, didn't make any costly mistakes. It was very similar to last year, but even more dominant in what is arguably the most competitive racing series in the world. A job well done for Andretti Autosport's 200th win in the series!

Every part of a musical theme or dramatic piece contributes to the greater whole. Not all of the parts are as stimulating or momentous as others, but they purposefully build to a crescendo or reveal that rewards the listener or viewer with an outcome that represents all the creativity and effort that went into it from the very beginning. Ayrton Senna famously described his laps in Monaco, where he dominated so many times, as a reflection of his transcendent feelings in the car. He was in the zone, or in "another dimension" as he called it. Rossi appeared to be in an alternate dimension last Sunday. A dimension that differed greatly from the first three races, where he didn't display the degree of speed so many were anticipating.

Although it doesn't outwardly appear that way, the team's average finish in the first four races is right on pace with last year's championship challenge (4.5 versus 5 this year). Alexander Rossi couldn't have picked a better time to assert himself in the point standings, as the IndyCar Series focuses all its attention on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy GP and Indy 500 in May.

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