Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Unanswered Questions, New Winners

With the first half of the season in the books and the 4th of July downtime over, we look towards the rest of the schedule. Sebastian Bourdais returns for more twisty tracks, Pippa Mann and Wade Cunningham join us for more ovals, and we just might see Bertrand Baguette once more this year.

But the big question outside of the championship duel between Power and Franchitti has to be what does everyone else have? Oriol Servia, Tony Kanaan, Alex Tagliani, and yes, Takuma Sato, have looked poised to threaten Ganassi/Penske dominance. Mike Conway, Dan Wheldon, and Marco Andretti have found their way into victory lane. Kanaan has had more near misses than a loaded slot machine. Ryan Hunter-Reay's bad luck can't last forever. And JR Hildebrand and James Hinchcliffe have both showed enough at times to make you think we could have a rookie winner.

The thing is, I really don't think you can count anyone out. Yes, Penske and Ganassi are going to get theirs, and there will be weeks where we all grouse that it's the Red Car Show once again. But the other weeks...that's when it gets crazy. Because I could reel off over half the normal entry list in IndyCar, and you'd be crazy to bet the house that they couldn't get the win. Oh sure, perhaps they won't, but they could. And that's why we'll watch.

Here's just a few questions on my mind as we pick back up heading into Toronto:

-Are Mike Conway and Marco Andretti one-trick ponies, or will they give Andretti Autosport another win?

-Likewise, can Tony Kanaan or Takuma Sato finally put together a win for Jimmy Vasser and KV Racing?

-Will Helio Castroneves find Victory Lane at all this year?

-Can Newman/Haas Racing finish their revival with a win? Servia and Hinchcliffe might be the ones to do it!

-Can Charlie Kimball kick it into gear and get back in the Rookie of the Year competition?

-On that note, who was more in the second half: Hinch or Hildebrand?

-Will Graham Rahal's team solve their qualifying issues and give him an optimal shot to win?

-Can Dale Coyne turn around their road and street woes with Bourdais?

-Can Sebastian Saavedra or James Jakes show more inspired performances than we saw in the first half of the season?

-Will Alex Tagliani and Sam Schmidt find their way to victory (as well as funding for the rest of the year?)

-Does Danica Patrick have another win in her before heading off to NASCAR in 2012 (if she does in fact go)?

-Will we see Dan Wheldon for a race such as the Las Vegas finale?

-Will drivers such as Martin Plowman or Logan Gomez finally get a shot in an IndyCar? What about Bryan Clauson or Conor Daly? When it comes down to those last few races with the old Dallara, we might see some interesting fields, especially for Las Vegas...

Welcome to the second half. It's going to be fun.

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