IndyCar | Reverberations

This year's Indy GP not only silenced the doubters who outwardly questioned its relevance on the series calendar, but the effects of the results may be felt on an even wider scale.

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IndyCar | Reverberations
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Actions can often speak louder than words.

We can go to the highest mountaintop and shout our intentions to all who will listen, but people will only really pay attention if you can back up what you say with purposeful actions toward a desired goal. Perhaps it's better to say as little as possible, but in this instantaneous informational world we are obliged to share nearly every detail of our thought process and intensive preparation through various forms of digital media.

I don't need to know what a professional driver had for breakfast the morning he or she dominated a race, because it's unlikely to be related. I don't really need to see his/her training routine, because it might not be the right one for me. I don't need to know how many hours they spent preparing in the simulator, because it's their real-world efforts that interest me the most.

What really impresses me is the athlete who has to overcome adversity, or search the depths within to harness the fortitude to succeed. I'm most impressed by "the underdog." It is only when the expectations of others are at their lowest, that you can truly appreciate the power you possess. Silence the doubters, bewilder the skeptics, and you have done something far more special than merely matching expectations.

The constant theme this year, in the NTT IndyCar Series, has been about being in the right place at the right time when opportunities present themselves. In order to capitalize, you must put yourself in that position not just with the strength of your inner belief but with the choices you make when it matters most.

Simon Pagenaud on Twitter

Even a former champion's job is not secure in the highly competitive world of IndyCar (as it should be). If you're only as good as your last race, Simon Pagenaud reminded everyone, last Saturday, why he is such an exceptional driver. Starting from 8th position, he moved forwards and backwards during the topsy-turvy race until his final charge, with twenty laps to go, saw him masterfully carve his way through the top five drivers.

I know that comparing IndyCar to F1 nowadays is like comparing a watermelon to a pineapple, but unlike the rather boring race in Spain the Indy GP was an unpredictable and exciting affair that rewarded strategic bravery and courageous driving. During a winless drought that lasted for over a full season, whispers had grown louder regarding Pagenaud's future with Team Penske, especially considering the young emerging talent in the series. His aggressive but incredibly measured pass for the lead and eventual win against Scott Dixon reminded everyone of the depth of talent within the team and that the early silly season speculation regarding an open seat in the #22 car is just...silly.

Jack Harvey on Twitter

What was most incredible about the performance of Jack "The Giant Slayer" Harvey and the Meyer Shank Racing team was that they were legitimate top three contenders over the course of the two day Indy GP race weekend. They didn't "luck" into a personal and team best third position because of a fortunate strategic decision. They had pure speed and even challenged polesitter Felix Rosenqvist for the overall lead!

I'm still kicking myself for not including Harvey in my preview piece and, most importantly, putting him in my fantasy lineup. Since he and the Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports affiliated team competed in only six races last year, he is still very much an IndyCar rookie on some circuits, but not on the IMS road course where he achieved three podiums out of four races in Indy Lights (including a victory in 2015). It just wasn't in pouring rain!

The ripple effect of their achievement should give hope to other smaller part-time teams that are currently competing or plan to enter the IndyCar Series in the near future. In their debut season, their best finish was 12th in the Long Beach GP. Now they have a trophy, joyous memories, and the confidence that comes with a result that initially seemed highly unlikely. While more experienced teams incurred costly penalties, in the pits or on the track, the MSR team kept a level head throughout the race and showed the world that the underdogs can have their day too, on merit.

Patricio O' Ward on Twitter

Just before the race weekend started, Pato O' Ward announced that he has become part of the Red Bull Junior Team. Along with his commitments with Carlin Racing in the states, O'Ward will have some experiences to look forward to in the UK and Europe with the Red Bull teams in F1. His performances in pretty much anything he's driven have been extraordinary, and it's great to see the energy drink company recruit more young talent from North American-based series.

Could we see the young Mexican in a Toro Rosso-Honda next year? The chances of that are increasing with each passing round, as Pierre Gasly struggles to match the pace of Max Verstappen at Red Bull Racing and Alexander Albon continues to impress at STR. Although the race didn't produce the result he and the team had been working toward, don't forget that this is the same driver who didn't have a confirmed ride when the season started in St. Pete. Great things can happen when we overcome obstacles that could otherwise derail our hopes, dreams, and wishes.

The naysayers who questioned whether or not there should even be an Indy GP next year need only look at the top ten finishers to see why this race should be a permanent fixture on the calendar. The previous winners (still only two) would lead you to believe that no one else has much of a chance at victory, but we saw the exact opposite last weekend. We witnessed season best and career best results for drivers like Matheus Leist, Spencer Pigot, and Ed Jones. I gasped at the sight of Santino Ferrucci going wheel-to-wheel and overtaking Will Power and, oh yeah, there was a rookie driver on pole position.

As preparations for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 continue, we can all witness the power of belief and action for those who may have the odds stacked against them.

They can often cause the biggest ripples...

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