Friday, January 6, 2012

IndyCar Thoughts And Review, New Year Edition

-Finally, Justin Wilson, we know your team for the 2012 season. You were linked to Andretti, Rahal, KV, and just about any team in America with a potential open seat. The mix of JW and Bill Pappas at Dale Coyne Racing could turn out to be a strong combination in conjunction with the new car. This isn’t your grandfather’s Coyne team anymore—I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do this year.

I’ll admit, like many others, I had Wilson in at Dreyer and Reinbold instead of Coyne on my silly season worksheet. I only had him as a possibility at Coyne if Sèbastien Bourdais went elsewhere. Hopefully, if Sebas isn’t going to be full-time in the Series in 2012 (and it doesn't look likely), his Peugeot offer comes through, and finally gets that LeMans victory.
Can Wilson and Coyne find victory together again?
(Courtesy IndyCar Media)

-Paul Tracy is having some fun with us. In the space of 24 hours, he mentioned “tying a bow on it” [Chevy], eating at his favorite Japanese restaurant to celebrate [Honda], and having English fish n’ chips, because fried food was turning him “green and yellow” [Lotus]. PT seems to be in a jolly mood just now; hopefully there’s some good news coming soon as an explanation for that.

-James Hinchcliffe looks to finally be on the verge of being officially announced to the GoDaddy seat, and all I can say is, it’s been a long time coming. He’s the perfect mix of personality and on-track talent. I’m excited to see what he can do this year—does he undergo a sophomore slump, and how does the team chemistry shake out for Andretti Autosport this year with Hinch added to the mix?

-Once thought a disappointing exclusion from the 2012 schedule, the chances of the Milwaukee Mile returning seem to be improving. Although nothing’s confirmed, it sounds like Randy Bernard is putting odds on its return at 50-50. I know 2011 was disappointing in terms of turnout, but I still feel that if there’s proper promotion, the IICS can still draw 25,000+ to that track. If the June 17 date comes about, that would make June a month of ovals—Texas, Milwaukee, Iowa—in rapid succession.

Maybe it’s just a psychological thing, but 5 oval events on the schedule instead of 4 just sounds a lot better, especially if the 5th is Milwaukee. You’re talking about the only oval track in the United States that can even come close to complementing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in terms of open wheel history and legacy. If Randy Bernard can pull this off, he’s doing a great thing for the schedule, the Series, and especially the fans.

-We’re finishing up the first week in January, and honestly, I’m surprised a couple of announcements haven’t come through yet. By any other year’s definition, this has been a pretty productive silly season so far, but the wait this year has seemed especially long at times. Part of that’s probably just excitement over the new car and engine manufacturers, but also because there are so many deals we know are close or possibly even “unofficially done”, but just haven’t quite been announced. You’ve got think between now and mid-January, the floodgates will open.

-What do you think of Lynyrd Skynyrd being named as the Carb Day band? They aren’t one of my all-time favorite groups, but then again, I’m not the target audience—I’m one of those weirdoes who goes to Carb Day to watch the Lights race, pit crew competition, and not much else. Really, the Carb Day band just needs to be loud and of a sort of nominal popularity—the booze and atmosphere do most of the rest, generally.

-Finally, are you up for a bit of reading? I'd recommend bookmarking the Independent's excellent article on Pippa Mann (despite her dismissing of America's mac n' cheese). If you're in more of a listening mood, check out the Beaux Barfield interview over at MoreFrontWing. Fine work all around.

Have a great weekend, and we’ll see what gets announced next week!


  1. Excellent preview of what's ahead iin 2012, although I'm still hoping some of your wild predictions in an earlier post will also come true! "grandfather's Coyne...?" I'm so old I remember DC driving a normally-aspirated stock block in a field of turbo beasts--and the fans loved it! Looks like Grecian Formula 16 may be in my future in '12...

  2. Excited about Hinchcliffe on Andretti Motorsport (if it goes through). He's a good fit there and a good talent. For as troubled as the series is right now, they do seem to have a good core of young talent (plus some new hopefuls this year, like Newgarden). Whether or not that makes for racing in the new car doing Milka Duno-like speeds around the track remains to be seen...

  3. Good for Justin (and Coyne, and us).
    I've been rooting against PT for so long I'm not going to turn now. Hope is allusion to all three engines means he's got no ride at all.
    And Hinchcliffe too, that's been coming long enough, hope it's official soon. You mention personality and I think you're right. Surely Marco had the first crack at it, but I can see the godaddy guy saying it straight to Michael - "I want personality, and your son is just too damn dull on tv!"

  4. @allen: Well, Marco is shy. People sometimes take that as a sign of unfriendliness or what-have-you, but I think a better peek at what Marco is really about can be found in the article Racer Magazine did on him for their January issue. Hinch is pretty clearly a young, charismatic, talented driver, and a pretty unique blend of those qualities, at that.

    As for PT, I think he's having tremendous fun with everyone. I've been asked if I project him going anywhere, and I just don't know. He'll keep us guessing, I'm sure, but he seems in a pretty chipper mood, lately!

    @Anonymous: I think right now, we're seeing the old guard (Franchitti, TK, Helio) begin to enter the twilight of their careers, while there's crossover with the 20-something young guns such as Hildebrand, Hinch, Simona, Rahal, etc., beginning to play a larger role in the Series. Hopefully we see other younger drivers, such as Martin Plowman, get a bigger chance to show what they can do, too. Looking in the ladder, I'm excited to see what drivers such as Karam, Veach, Suvanto, De Phillippi, Krohn, and hopefully some crossovers such as Jacob Wilson can do if given the chance.

    @indysoup: I always think of a pic I once saw of Coyne chatting it up with Walter Payton in the pits back in the day. Sweetness indeed!