By Dave S. Clark
I was feeling pretty down on Friday morning after I had been at the new racetrack at the Edmonton City Centre Airport for about 10 minutes. My shoes had tripled in weight with all the water they had soaked in. My jacket and pants didn’t have a dry spot left on them and keeping the rain away from my camera was a losing battle. If this was the way the race weekend was going to be, it wasn’t going to be much fun.
Friday didn’t go great, with Indy and Indy Lights practices cancelled due to the rain. I head quite a few people complain about this, but really, the organizers can’t control the weather for an outdoor event, and they handled it pretty well.
Fortunately the rainy Friday made way for a cloudy Saturday, which made way for a very sunny Sunday, making Friday the only day I was a waterlogged mess.
The racing was obviously the highlight of the weekend. To many people’s surprise, Japanese driver Takuma Sato won the pole position in qualifying and like most people, I didn’t think he would be able to hold on to the lead. Once the race got underway it was exciting to see Will Power slowly sneak up on Sato, getting closer and closer with every lap. When I saw this happening, I leaned over to my wife and said within five laps, Power would be in the lead. On the fifth lap, Sato dropped behind Power.
Racing, like all sports, is more exciting and better to watch when you can see the technique in play and you can almost read the driver’s mind from the stands. You could see Power inching closer and closer but not quite ready to overtake the leader. Then there was a split-second opportunity coming for a pass and he made the decision to take it and gained the lead. Watching it from above the track, it seemed almost too easy.
The one glitch on race day was during the singing of O Canada, the audio feed cut out, leaving the fans packing the grandstands to sing the remainder of the tune. And much to the surprise of drivers and pit crews who were watching, fans got right into it, taking over from the anthem singers until the audio feed was reconnected on the final verse. Paul Lorieau would have been proud.
I really can’t wait for next year. That’s probably why Octane started selling tickets for next year’s race already.