I was all ready to write a column Sunday night about how I really couldn’t have cared less who won the last race of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season, or the series championship, because of what had happened to Robert Wickens and then he goes and sends out a Tweet asking how everybody’s doing and wishing all his fellow IndyCar drivers good luck in the last race of the season.
“I just wanted to say that all of your kinds words, and all of your positivity has meant the absolute world to me and my family…,” the 29-year-old said in the video posted to Twitter.
“I’m in rehab now, trying to get back to 100 per cent as quickly as possible. I don’t know what the future holds for me, it’s going to be a very long road to recovery, and all I can say is I promise you guys that I’m going to work as hard as possible, and train as hard as possible, to make sure I’m back in a race car as quickly as possible.”
Thank you, Robbie. I needed that – and I bet a lot of other people needed it too. Life goes on and the fact that you took the time to reach out to everybody who cares about you shows what a fighter you are and that everybody else should snap out of it and get up, get out and get at it.
Okay. Here goes:
Ryan Hunter-Reay won that last race in California Sunday, with Scott Dixon second and Will Power third. Simon Pagenaud was fourth and I only mention him – he was off the podium, after all – is because you could have thrown a blanket over those first four finishers.
They were separated by four seconds, which is pretty close on a road course after two hours and 85 laps of racing.
Our James Hinchcliffe started 15th and finished 15th and I expect he is breathing a sigh of relief that this season is over. He has so much talent but hasn`t been able to put everything together. Maybe next year. He’s got the right attitude. He said after the race that the 2019 season starts right now
The surprise of that final race, of course, was the performance of Indy Lights champion Patricio O’Ward. He qualified fifth and finished ninth in his rookie race. He is a star in the making.
Wickens, of course, is the 2018 IndyCar Series Rookie-of-the-Year and that is well-deserved. He came on like gangbusters right from the start back in Florida in the spring and was edging closer and closer to his first race win. Let`s all cross our fingers that he`s up and about soon.
Yes, I know. Scott Dixon won his fifth championship. He’s so good and methodical and Chip Ganassi runs such a tight ship and leaves nothing to chance that it’s difficult to get excited. He had some interesting things to say about the changing of the guard afterward.
Said Dixon: ”It is a sport of evolution, right? We’re in the mix of that. I’m 38. I’m not the young buck I was when I came into the sport. I’m very thankful to have the opportunities that I’ve had. IndyCar racing alone, it’s a sport that I’ve loved for many years. I enjoy it. It’s the best racing in the world. I’ve met some of the best people throughout my life at tracks, some of my closest friends.
”But it is fierce. The competition is the best in the world. It’s the toughest. The cars are very close to each other. The teams are all very good. There’s no small teams any more. All of them are very well-accomplished and have great drivers. It’s extremely tough to win.
”Yeah, the evolution is happening. There are these young people coming through. I think we saw that in full force this weekend with O’Ward. To come off his Indy Lights championship, to smack it right into the Firestone Fast Six, where all of us have been competing in a car all year, know well, shows the youth and talent coming through. It’s important for the sport. It makes me work harder, which is great, but it’s really important for the sport, how it continues. He’s a great kid, got a great personality, is going to have a bright future, along with Josef and Rossi. Those guys being Americans, too, I think is important for the sport.”
For a complete story on the IndyCar race, please click here.
What more can be said about Roger Penske? Since 1966, when he started entering cars for the late Mark Donohue, Penske has been successful in IndyCar racing, NASCAR, sports cars – you name it. He won the original Can-Am; he was in Formula One. There is nothing he hasn’t tried and in everything he’s tried he’s been successful.
It was up to Brad Keselowski, though, to record that 500th victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon. It was Keselowski’s third consecutive victory in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series and he had luck on his side because many of his main challengers ran into problems.
For a complete story on this NASCAR race, please click here.
I would suggest the race for the 2018 World Championship is over and Lewis Hamilton has won yet another title. He was dominant, as usual, in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Singapore while his Ferrari rival, Sebastian Vettel, looked whipped. Max Verstappen finished second between the two great rivals.
Charles Leclerc, who will replace Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari next season, was ninth in the Sauber, four places behind Kimi. Although it’s good to see F1 teams bring along young drivers, I’m not sure Charles will do any better than Raikkonen or Vettel because Ferrari’s problems go far beyond the cockpit.
For a complete story on the Grand Prix, please click here.
Other Racing: J.R. Fitzpatrick of Cambridge won the 2018 United Late Model Series Championship. Sure would like to see him back in the Pinty`s Series. . . . Kellen Ritter won the Al Craighead Memorial CanAm Cup for F1600 cars at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park at the weekend. Congratulations! . . . . . Parker Price-Miller won the Arrow Express Canadian Sprint Car Natioonals at Ohsweken Speedway Saturday night. Steve Poirier, Mark Smith, Sam Hafertepe Jr. and Davie Franek rounded out the top five. . . . . . Zacharie Robichon won his fifth consecutive Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA race Saturday at Sonoma, Calif., and finished first on the track Sunday for this sixth straight but post-race inspection revealed an infraction and he was disqualified. . . . . . J.R. Todd won the Funny Car class at the NHRA meet this weekend. Steve Torrence won the Top Fuel division, Vincent Nobile was first in Pro Stock and Hector Arana Jr. was tops in Pro Stock Motorcycle. . . . . .