Round Eleven – Edmonton

O, Canada. It’s hard to look back on a race weekend with a top five finish and have anything to say except, “That was awesome.”

Once again, the Canadian fans didn’t disappoint. They came, they watched, they cheered. I couldn’t believe it when Tag pulled in after the race and said that he could hear the fans cheering as he went around the track. I mean, do you know how loud you have to cheer to be heard over the noise of an IndyCar engine? All that hockey must’ve taught those Canadians a thing or two about yellin.’ Hats off… or should I say, “toques off?”

See, I’m fluent in some Canadian, eh?

As a side note, I was sitting in our pit box this past weekend, just… observing, as I often do. It occurred to me that there’s a fine skill in IndyCar, which so many of our crew (and many other crews on pit lane) have mastered. It’s called: charades.

Here’s what happened: The engine is running and Tag is sitting in the car. Keith, our fuel guy, turned to Rob, one of our truck drivers, and tried to mime an umbrella. Now I ask you… if you were playing charades and you got the word “umbrella,” what would YOU do? I almost keeled over laughing as Keith did his charade of what looked like a garden gnome doing a ballet squat and then growing wings. And I kid you not, Rob reached over, grabbed the umbrella and handed it to Keith.

Nice job, boys. Your next word is “installation lap.”

That top five was a funny thing. On any other race weekend, we would have been stoked with a top five finish. But when you lead a field of 25 cars for almost two-thirds of the race, there are only 24 finishing positions that would feel disappointing.

I was wishing, hoping, praying that we’d see that podium… but not for me. I wanted it for Tag, racing in his home country. For the crew, who’ve spent countless hours lovin’ on that No. 98 machine. For Bryan and Steve, who’ve put together such an incredibly cohesive group of people. For the fans, who’ve supported us all season long, whether we were leading 49 laps or not finishing the first one. And for every person who’s ever cheered for the “little team that could.”

We really do have one heckuva team and an exciting sport to be part of. Every day, I’m trying to think of new ways to make you, the fans, feel like you really know the team. So when we roll out on that grid, you not only cheer for Tag, but you cheer for Barracuda Racing too. New ideas are on the way, so stay tuned… and keep yelling.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t send out a few HUGE thank yous: First, thank you to the city of Edmonton for the amazingly refreshing break in the 100-degree heat. Thank you also to David, the kid who brought us Cookies by George EVERY day at the track, which somehow made the No. 98 car go faster… I swear. Thank you to Colin from Cantorque, who threw the team a really fun celebration party. Finally, thank you to Tim Hortons. When it comes to Timbits, no further explanation is needed.

We’ll see you next week for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio! Tune in and tell your friends!

The Hot Lap:
Miles traveled: 5,973 miles
Crew members who got stuck at YYZ airport on the way to YEG: 3
Hero cards used at Canadian races in July: ~1,000
Hours someone got stuck in the hotel elevator: 1
Off-track commitments for Tag in Edmonton: 27
Consecutive Firestone Fast Six’s for Barracuda Racing: 3
Laps lead by Tagliani at Edmonton Indy: 49
Caution flags: 0
Pit stops: 2
Average race finish (since switching to Honda): P9
Cookies by George consumed by crew (in 3 days): 72
Pics in the Barracuda Racing Edmonton Indy photo album: 106 (See them here: http://tinyurl.com/bu6cmrl )