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!)