Saturday, October 15, 2011

Meira And Foyt To Go Their Separate Ways; Qualifying Thoughts

We were greeted this morning with the news that Vitor Meira and AJ Foyt will be parting ways after Sunday's race. Apparently, the relationship was not working for either side. Despite some flashes of success this year, it became apparent early on neither Foyt nor Meira would be breaking their respective winless streaks anytime soon.

It's tough to project where Meira might find a home next year; his next team will be his fifth, and as close as he's been to victory in the past, there are many veterans out there looking for rides.

There will be more time to dissect this later, of course, but it does give us a question mark of a situation to ponder during the upcoming offseason.

Qualifying Thoughts

-This season has been so feast or famine for Tony Kanaan, especially after engineer Mike Cannon left the team. This weekend couldn't have started out better, with him winning the pole. Hopefully, this is one of TK's "good weeks".

-It might be overlooked this weekend, but after James Jakes' crash on Friday, Dale Coyne Racing did not have a full backup car for him. The folks at KV Racing helped out, getting DCR some valuable parts that they  needed to complete Jakes' ride. If you want to talk about sportsmanship, that's a fine example right there.

-Wade Cunningham is shaping up to have another impressive weekend, starting P12. Interesting enough, both positions 12 and 13 (Scott Dixon) state their hometown as Auckland, New Zealand.

-If you're wondering why Buddy Rice is starting just in front of Dan Wheldon in the back, it's because he went below the white line in qualifying. It'll be interesting to see how both Rice and Wheldon manage through the back half of a pretty close field.

-Great to see Ed Carpenter qualify in the second row, keeping that Kentucky momentum going. Alex Tagliani might have changed cars this weekend, but he was still fast enough for the second row. I think a victory by either of those folks would make a lot of people happy. Then again, you can say that with plenty of drivers in this field.

-How many cars will Wheldon pass on the first lap? I'm guessing whatever the total, Tomas Scheckter (P23) surpasses it, in usual banzai fashion. There should be a constitutional amendment making TScheck start in the back half of the field, just to watch him pass everyone on the outside.

-It looks like this track will be just as competitive as we thought it would. Get ready for some three-wide racing, some close calls, and a very crowded pit situation. These cars are relics after this race, so let's see who goes for broke.

5 comments:

  1. I really like Vitor and Foyt, but they have not been competitive for the past couple years. Still, I find this surprising. Foyt always spoke highly of Vitor and I thought Vitor tweeted at the beginning of this season that he had signed a two year deal.

    I wonder who will be in the Foyt car next year?

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  2. Actually, Rick, I thought they had a deal through 2012 as well. As we saw with TK last year, though, deals can be cut short.

    It's going to be very interesting to see who lands there. There's no shortage of candidates, in any case.

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  3. Very sad to hear that Vitor & AJ are parting ways. I fear that this is the end of the line for Vitor. As much as a fan I am of Foyt, his team has served as a graveyard for many drivers (too many to list here. The only recent Foyt driver to continue that I can think of off the top of my head is Hunter-Reay; maybe because that was a temporary situation anyway.

    Perhaps Larry Foyt has a driver or two in mind, since they have been rumored to be expanding to a two car team. Hopefully, Larry has a long-range plan to keep this storied team on the track.

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  4. In honor of Las Vegas, here's where I'd put my money:

    Vitor will land at HVM now that they're an anchor team for Lotus. I don't think there's a rule that anchor teams much have at least two cars, but it just makes sense, and having Simona be the lead tester for a manufacturer seems ambitious. It would just be a good fit ... funding permitting, of course.

    Foyt has good funding from ABC - maybe not Target money, but he doesn't need a driver with big funding. How about Newgarden and his scholarship money? If Sam Schmidt doesn't have a seat for him right now, Foyt's probably the best available seat. They've shown speed, but the expectations won't be crushing. And Honda might like the idea o having the Light champion in their stable.

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  5. @oilpressure: It's a tough market for Vitor, to be sure. I'd love him to get that elusive win, but where does he go/where can he go realistically to make that happen?

    @Fred: HVM's been talking about being a 2-car team next year for a while. Then again, teams always like to potentially add one to their count for the next year. :)

    I'd like to see Newgarden in a stable ride--not just as an afterthought at a backmarker team. Will that be Foyt next year? I'm just not sure.

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