There’s a kind of understanding, a kind of awareness you reach whenever you watch racing live that you never really get just from watching TV. It’s happened to me at Formula One, MotoGP, most sports car series, and now after covering the race at Mid-Ohio, I get IndyCar too in a way I didn’t before.

First off, Graham Rahal won at Mid-Ohio today, a nice big surprise after Scott Dixon — who’s won five of the last eight races there — was fastest in practice, got on pole and smashed a 15-year-old lap record there. The smart money was on him to win. But just about anyone can win any weekend at IndyCar, and that’s the fun.

The other fun part is that with Rahal’s win today, there’s going to be a legitimate fight for the championship this season between him and Juan Pablo Montoya, who currently leads by nine points. Very interesting.

Second place went to Justin Wilson, who I was kind of hoping would win the race after his zero-fucks-given pass of two cars on the outside early on in the race. Dixon would have to settle for a distant fourth.

Most of my experience covering racing has been in Austin, where I live, which has meant the aforementioned F1, sports cars and MotoGP. If I could describe IndyCar, it’d be all the best parts of an F1 race except the entire time. Passes, lead changes, rapid fire action. It’s really fun stuff to watch, and the packed stands at Mid-Ohio filled with people from all over the U.S., Canada and beyond lead me to believe I’m not alone in that feeling.

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One thing that makes me think so is the fact that their ratings are steadily up lately, and that’s good. Maybe there’s too much focus on IndyCar’s problems — which, let’s be honest, it definitely has — and its past, and not enough on the fact that it’s some of the best racing you can see in America. Maybe. All I know is it was a blast, and I’m a fan. Lots more stories and photos from this race coming this week on Jalopnik.

Now I need to get down to Indianapolis next year.

What was your favorite part of today’s race?

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Photo credit Getty Images, Thomas Harvey for Jalopnik


Contact the author at patrick@jalopnik.com.