Monday, May 7, 2012

Get Ready For A Wild Week, 500 Fans.

Well....where to begin, really?



...OK, here's the thing. Every May, we go into the month with an idea of how we think things are going to go leading up to the Indy 500. Yet every single May--every single one!--we are surprised, even astounded. In 2005, it was Felipe Giaffone getting a call on Bump Day at Toys R' Us to knock Arie Luyendyk, Jr. out of the field. In 2011, it was Patrick Carpentier jumping in to try to qualify a snakebit Dragon Racing entry. We think we know, be we casual fan, intrepid blogger, or Robin Miller, but until the gun sounds, the only certainty is uncertainty. How crazy is this week about to get? Let's check:

-First, we have to start with the anticipated press release announcing Fan Force United will be fielding a Lotus for Jean Alesi. If you had to ask me which team I thought would be a part of Alesi's effort this month, Fan Force United would have ranked right around Hemelgarn Racing or PDM Racing. That's not a knock on FFU at all, especially with guys like Tyce Carlson and Greg Beck on their side, but it is that wholly unexpected. At times, all you can say is "best of luck!" and see how things shake out.

-Second, we have today's Great Panther/DRR Announcement, which sounds like far more than a tech alliance at this point. When you use the phrase "working together like never before" to cite the level of your involvement, it's expected that the precise nature of this team-up is pretty deep stuff. In other words, don't think date night, think common-law marriage.

-Along those lines, there's the nature of the 15th Chevy engine, which is confirmed as being reserved for an existing team. Ed Carpenter's team doesn't seem particularly interested in running a second car (which I can understand), so that leaves us with teams such as KV Racing, Panther/Reinbold/Wonder Twin Racing, and a very remote Andretti team-up possibility as potential landing spots for the final engine seemingly in play for this year's 500. Either it sits unused unless needed on Bump Day due to attrition, or one last great deal is in the works.

-The last article of news is the potential big mindblower, and that's the possibility of us seeing a certain Honda driver replaced before Indianapolis. If it happens, the only thing I can say is the starting lineup of the 500 will have an unexpected face in it, given how the offseason developed.

OK, enough rumor mongering. Gird yourselves, because a lot is going to happen before opening weekend.

(Congrats to reader Steve Minor, winner of our two tickets to the Indy 500. We chose the winner at random, but I have to say, hearing how Steve is planning on taking his dad (home after a lengthy military deployment overseas), I hope they have an amazing time! As always thanks to everyone for reading!)


  1. ....aaaand there goes Dragon terminating the Lotus deal. The missing piece falls into place?

  2. And now, Cavin says that Dragon is dumping Lotus!!! The calamity continues!

  3. The Alesi deal is certainly strange. With experienced Indycar teams dropping the engine, it seems like Lotus is buying him a ride on amusement park roller coaster. Does it seem odd to anyone else?

    1. I've gone back and forth on it. But he's been wanting to run Indy for a good long while now, so it isn't as if it's totally spur-of-the-moment. He's their brand ambassador, so for whatever reason, he's got the backing to do it.

  4. Nice work as always Zach.
    I'm happy to see the 500 tickets going to a member of the military. It's a small thanks for service. Well done on your part!
    I have a lot of concern for Jean Alesi. (first oval and Indy at that!)However, he is a vastly experienced driver and I hope he does well.
    The Honda rumour is causing me some consternation. I don't like to see any veteran driver pushed out of their seat simply because a bigger cheque floated a teams way.
    There's been far too much of that in previous years. No ever said racing was fair, it's just the thing I hate most about the sport I love.

  5. So, I take it the Dragon leaving Lotus for Chevy breaking news today is still separate from the possibility of a Honda driver being replaced?

    My head is spinning!

    1. Yep, still separate.

      Pretty wild stuff out there, with more to come this week.

  6. So a Honda driver could be replaced and we get no link or explanation as to where you heard the rumor? Not fair. The only "mind blowing" Honda drops (in my opinion) would be Dixon or Dario.

    Steve K

    1. Hi Steve,

      I will provide more details when I can. I hate doing the deep rumor mill stuff for exactly that reason, but this is pretty solid stuff. If it happens (and it's still an if at this point), it isn't on the level of Dixon or Dario, but still will have a big impact on the entry list.

  7. It does sound like the Honda driver situation may have worked itself out. Less drama that way, that's for sure.