1. The 2012 car count will be no more than 20 to 22 on the grid at St. Pete
The result of going to a new car cast such a pall over the paddock and blogosphere that the entire world was certain that there would be no more than a little over 20 cars on the grid at St. Pete. Conventional wisdom said that the current economy would not support very much sponsorship dollars. Coupled with the fact that the gorilla in the room was taking all the available sponsor dollars to NASCAR would render the IICS a second or even third tier sport. Not even a lower chassis cost, roughly down to about one third the current cost, will create much participant demand.
2. Newman Haas Racing is poised for a break out year and return to glory with the seasoned Servia guiding the Rookie of the Year James Hinchcliff.
The team not only finished strong, but their presence in the public conscious was elevated by the dynamic Hinchcliff. With his stage presence and Servia’s girlfriend’s looks; simply cannot miss! Blogsters are literally foaming at the mouth and required a fresh set of drawers at the prospects for the 2012 Newman Haas season. This is a team with an absolutely storied history of involvement in American open wheel racing.
3. DRR is going to enjoy a very productive and competitive year with the return of a healthy Justin Wilson.
Once the team decided to make some serious changes amongst its engineering staff, they give all indication that they are bringing in new talent to help JWill get back into winning form. All they need is to get over the hump a bit on the engineering side, and the new car will make most everybody start on a clean sheet of paper.
SO VERY WRONG
4. Mike Conway, along with Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter Reay and Danica will make for a strong team in the paddock.
Even if the rumors about Danica going tin top racing prove to be true, a certain Indy 500 winner would make a fine addition to the team and show Marco how to win with calmness and patience. All this team is lacking is a leader to become the anticipated powerhouse and start to live up to expectations.
Sadly, this is very wrong as well
5. There will finally be a balance of ovals and twistys again! No more 5+5+5 style of tracks in the mix.
A true, 9+9 ovals/twistys looks like it is on the horizon. Randy Bernard is talking to a ton of tracks to finally bring the vocal minority their wish and a return to the glory days of American oval racing. Rumors of a return to New Hampshire, finding a sponsor and promoter for the Milwaukee Mile, along with the great finish at Kentucky must have track owners salivating to obtain an Indy CAR Show for their own venue.
SMOKE ANOTHER ONE
6. Three solid engine manufacturers only have to produce engines for six or seven teams apiece.
Since there is finally going to be competition among engine suppliers, they will not have to crank out blocks and pistons on short notice and every team will get a shot at the supplier of their choice. With the return of the bowtie and Lotus, it looks like some of the pressure will be taken off the shoulders of Honda Performance Development. This will lead to the possibility of the little teams finally getting one over on the big boys, for a while, at least. Ah, peace and harmony in the paddock!
NOT EVEN CLOSE
7. Formula One drivers are too weenie to drive in the IZOD Indy Car Series.
Michael Schumacher was asked if he would race in the Indy 500 someday. He deemed it too dangerous and not all that difficult a challenge. Even the F-1 cast offs would not consider taking on such a dangerous form of motorsport. Almost every driver asked about Indy Car said they had no desire to run in the series, even after their hugely successful careers in F-1 came to an end.
SEE RUBENS BARRICHELLO
It remains to be seen if the current challenges facing Randy and company can be overcome. This is by far a watershed year for the series with far more questions than answers and not a single team is going to sleep very well for the next few weeks. Will Ed get a Honda? Will Tracy really end up with Michael Shank Racing, fresh off their Rolex win? If David can slay Goliath in that venue, then why not in Indy Car?
Talk to you next time!