On Friday, I asked readers to take a moment and complete a preseason fan survey on how they thought the upcoming IZOD IndyCar Series season would go. The idea was to check out the prevailing wisdom among IndyCar fans, and later match that up with how the season actually plays out.
We ended up with nearly 400 responses, which was a tremendous response. Sincere thanks to all of you who took time to be take part in in the survey. Here are the results below, with commentary.
1) How many different teams will win during the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season?
This question was interesting because in the nearly 400 responses, not a single individual thought we'd see 7 or more teams win, and only a few people chose the 2-team option.
2) Which engine manufacturer will win the most races in the IZOD IndyCar Series this year?
Chevy seems to have grabbed frontrunner status in a solid majority of minds by now. We'll see if Honda does anything to discourage that opinion in the first few races of the year.
3) Will Lotus win a race in the IZOD IndyCar Series this year?
13% I Don't Know
A bit over 50% of respondents didn't like Lotus' chances to nab a win this year, but there remains some faith among roughly a third of fans.
4) Which of these drivers will finish higher in the final points standings for the 2012 season?
68.7% Tony Kanaan
32.3% Rubens Barrichello
Comparatively slow test times for TK at Sebring compared with a good showing by Rubens hasn't seemingly done much to discourage fans from overwhelmingly going with Tony on this one.
5) How will E.J. Viso do this year?
45% He Should Be Slightly Better Than Last Year
35% He Should Perform About The Same As Last Year
14% He Should Be Much Better Than Last Year
6% He Will Regress, And Perform Worse Than Last Year
It was a mixed vote for E.J., but the good news for him is there are large numbers of fans expecting some manner of improvement out of him this year.
6) Who will be the Sunoco Rookie of the Year?
59% Simon Pagenaud
37% Josef Newgarden
4% Katherine Legge
The response on this was pretty cut-and-dry: Simon is a clear favorite in this category, Newgarden is lurking, and few fans seem sold on Legge's Rookie of the Year chances at this point.
For the remainder of the poll questions, there were many driver options to pick; I'll be listing the six most popular responses on each.
7) Which driver will win the Indianapolis 500?
21% Tony Kanaan
12% Scott Dixon
12% Dario Franchitti
9% Marco Andretti
9% Helio Castroneves
9% Will Power
Tony Kanaan may have not won the Indianapolis 500 yet, but it's apparently not because the fans don't want him to.
8) Which driver will win the the A.J. Foyt Oval Trophy?
31% Scott Dixon
27% Dario Franchitti
11% Helio Castroneves
8% Ed Carpenter
7% Tony Kanaan
4% Ryan Briscoe
The Target Chip Ganassi drivers were extremely strong on this one, although apparently at least some fans see Helio as Penske's best hope of turning the tables on Chip's boys this year.
9) Which driver will win the Mario Andretti Road/Street Trophy?
56% Will Power
17% Rubens Barrichello
6% Dario Franchitti
5% Scott Dixon
4% Mike Conway
3% Ryan Hunter-Reay
I'm not sure the top result here was really a surprise to anyone, was it?
10) Which driver will be 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series Champion?
43% Will Power
17% Scott Dixon
12% Dario Franchitti
7% Tony Kanaan
7% Helio Castroneves
4% Rubens Barrichello
It does, however, look like fans are predicting a change atop the overall standings. Just over 1 out of 10 respondents seem to think Dario will repeat as champ.
One thing is for sure--as the season progresses, I can't wait to see how close to (or far off) the mark we all were.