Do I really need to show the track map for the temple of speed?
For the second week in a row, I arrived late to qualifying, trying to eat KFC strips quickly enough to get some laps in. I took a break from eating to put a few laps in, and immediately had the pole position. I went back to eating so I would be done in time for the race. And so here we are on the grid. I'm on the left on pole position. Allan Cousin in the Eagle is beside me on the front row. We're followed by Kaspar Kaynakli in the Honda (point leader coming into the race) and Martin Diamond in the Lotus, then row 3 has Mike Voeller's Lotus and Jason Niemczyk's Honda.
The flag was not held up, but dropped immediately. Everybody but me was caught napping. I've gotten into the habit of shifting into first gear before the flag is even raised, just in case the flagger decides to do a quick start. This shot is behind Kaynakli, who was the second person to react to the flag. This is one frame before he began moving. On the right, you can see how much of a jump I've gotten.
Cousin's panicked late reaction to the flag sends him careening into Kaynakli. The contact is minor and no harm is done.
Kaynakli ends up crowding Voeller, however, who got a run when Kaynakli lifted in the contact. This contact is more severe.
Voeller spins in front of the field, and Kaynakli is knocked sideways but will keep it going forward.
Nobody hits Voeller, who recovers after just one 360. On the left here is Martin Diamond's Lotus. He had the slowest reaction time -- three seconds after the flag dropped -- but will be the third car to enter Turn 1, for Kaynakli has slowed considerably from the accident.
So here we are onto the back straightaway. That's me leading ahead of Cousin, Diamond, Kaynakli, Niemczyk and Voeller.
Onto the front straight to finish lap 1, Voeller gets underneath Niemczyk to take over fifth position.
Entering the first turn on lap 2, Kaynakli dives under Diamond for third place.
Niemczyk used the draft to get a run on Voeller at the end of the front straight, and here tries to retake fifth position, but would not be successful. Voeller was on the move.
On lap 4, Voeller overhauls Diamond to take over fourth position.
Cousin spins out of second place in the first turn on lap 5. He would fall all the way to last place.
Into Turn 3, he spins again and makes hard contact with the wall. He retires from the race.
I caught Niemczyk on lap 17, but had already a 10-second lead, so took my time and waited to get onto the front straight before putting him a lap down.
Lap 24, I put Diamond a lap down. This is in the middle of Turn 4. Diamond never was able to run the bottom of the race track, it seems.
A lap later, Kaynakli puts a lap on Niemczyk. He catches him at a tricky moment, entering the third turn. Niemczyk stays plenty wide though.
Down the front straight to finish lap 26, Voeller is catching Kaynakli -- 11 laps to go! That's Niemczyk on the far right.
With two laps to go, I put Niemczyk a second lap down. With a 30-second lead, I was a bit more brave, and just drove underneath him at the exit of the corner.
Into Turn 1 for the final lap, Voeller is into Kaynakli's slipstream!
I cross the bricks for the final time, more than half a lap ahead of the battle for second. Speaking of which, they're onto the back straight at this point.
Voeller noses ahead as they get to the end of the back straight...
...but he backs out of it, perhaps afraid that he wouldn't be able to hold the car down low.
Kaynakli takes a huge chance, slamming the door on Voeller, who loses a bit of time when he gets onto the apron a moment later. He's still close enough to get a draft...
...but comes up just a little bit short -- less than a tenth of a second short, in fact.
Average speed of the race: 165.4 mph
Next race: Interlagos, Brazil (1973).
Points awarded to top six finishers: 9, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 -- plus 1 point for pole position and 1 point for fastest race lap. Driver Pts PP FL Wins Ande Mnco Monz Indy O'Dell 30 1 1 2 2 3 1 1PF Kaynakli 28 2 2 1 1PF 4 2PF 2 Niemczyk 19 1 1 4 1P 3 5 Voeller 17 1 3 2 F 5 3 Diamond 10 5 5 4 4 Cousin 3 7 6 6 6 Morgan 1 6 Jodoin 0 7
Click here for statistics and car availability chart.