Forget, for a moment, the spectacle of the entire field rolling down the Vegas Strip.
Forget about the potential of both Honda and Chevy showing off their 2012 cars that weekend.
Heck, forget for just a minute (but only a minute!) about the fact the race has added a title sponsor.
What's really getting fans excited is that the number of entries just keeps going up.
Right now, we have all our regular entrants, plus:
-Paul Tracy (Dragon Racing)
-Davey Hamilton (Dreyer and Reinbold/Kingdom)
-Townsend Bell (substituting for Justin Wilson)
-Pippa Mann (Rahal Letterman Lanigan)
-Tomas Scheckter (Sarah Fisher Racing)
-Ed Carpenter (Sarah Fisher Racing)
-Jay Howard (Rahal Letterman Lanigan)
-Dan Wheldon (Bryan Herta)
-Wade Cunningham (SSM/AFS)
-Buddy Rice (Panther)
For those of you counting along at home, that's a field of 34 confirmed. Does it end there? Optimistic predictions talk about adding 3-4 more cars, but I don't see it--the numbers just don't make sense. However, I do think 1-2 more entries are quite possible. I think that in descending order of likeliness for addition, we could see the second Conquest car (#36), I believe Foyt Racing could still send out another car, and that even Andretti Autosport might have one left up their sleeve. Don't forget, there's also the uncertainty of the #34 for the finale, which could be Sebastian Saavedra, another rookie, or a well-known veteran.
Many of us had hoped to see a "run 'em if you got 'em scenario" at the end of this current Dallara's lifespan, and it looks like that's finally coming true. (If I could add a personal note, how cool would it be for Bruno Junqueira to get a ride from either Andretti or Foyt on this one? I think most fans would like to see him get one more shot this year after having to relinquish his spot at Indy).
The great news is, the Series seems to be leaking out Vegas news bit by bit. We're still 3 weeks away from the final race. Here's hoping the stream of good news continues, and with it, we see one or two more drivers get that shot.
|We of the Bertrand Baguette Fan Club|
(American Chapter) hold out hope, of course.
(Image Courtesy IndyCar Media)