GP of Indy Predictions And Prognostications: Peripatetic Edition

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The IndyCar series is finally back on the move again after a momentum killing three week pause. Teams temporarily postpone their peripatetic ways – at least for a passing period – while staying put at IMS for the entire month of May.

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Last year we predicted lots of signage at the Speedway, as sponsors’ ads crassly covered the joint. This year for the few thousand wandering around IMS there’ll be plenty of signage again, along with tons of tarp-age and also the predictable first lap pileup and carnage. On the upside, at least there’ll be a surprise winner.

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Expect to see tarps covering empty seats at the Speedway again this year, as IMS has been taking lessons from the NFL’s attendance challenged Jacksonville Jaguars. Furthermore, there’ll be plenty more seats that go uncovered, either by tarps or by fans’ fannies. The 100th Indy 500 is sold out, but for obvious reasons the GP remains far from it.

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We can’t help but wonder how a season ending 400 miler on the IMS oval would compare to the crash fest GP attendance-wise. We’re confident the racing would be superior. IRR’s been calling for an Indy oval race finale instead of the Grand Prix for some time now, as among the benefits would be a lessening of late season traveling for series participants and fans. After all, Boston’s abrupt cancellation already started that trend.

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Moving right along, it’ll be another typically terrible trip to the Speedway for Andretti Autosport, whose lineup of Hunter-Reay, Munoz, Rossi and of course Marco has only one competent driver in the bunch. We recommend making at least half the stable migratory, sending them off to greener pastures in places like F1. Speaking of which, the visiting f-ing F1 invaders like Max Chilton will do well for a change on Sunday, as the infield road course is precisely the sort of half-assed track they’re used to across the pond.

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Now for our special prediction of the race, which is fairly settled. Tony Kanaan‘s not fast over forty farewell tour will continue with another poor result for Ganassi. Sending Sage Karam packing last year instead of TK is looking more and more foolish for the widely traveled – and just plain wide – owner.

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First out of the race will occur early on – as in first turn, first lap – if history holds. The roving Russian Mikhail Aleshin tends to exit early at the Indy GP, including spectacularly in 2014 when he smashed into the stalled pole sitter Sebastien Saavedra, and will continue his destructive ways. Thankfully SeeSav’s since been shuffled out of the series, due in no small part to his dismal failure to launch from pole a couple years ago. Aleshin could soon be following in his footsteps.

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Wanka virus afflicted Will Power won from pole last year – talk about exciting! – and will most likely take the top starting position again this year, though happily his result will vary greatly. Hilariously, he hasn’t won a race since. His French teammate Simon Pagenaud will be another real threat for pole coming off his win here in 2014 and a crepe hot start this season. Pags’ success ensures his wandering ways have come to an end with Team Penske – at least for the foreseeable future – with any potential mass deportations notwithstanding.

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Our pick for race winner is the itinerant James Hinchcliffe, who’s already driven for three teams in his short six year career. The snakepit definitely owes the migratory Mayor, as he’s been abused repeatedly on the makeshift circuit, including being concussed and knocked momentarily unconscious in the inaugural GP of Indy. Hinch’s team SPM already owns one win on IMS’s access roads and surprisingly will return to its winning ways this weekend. If this prediction sounds familiar, it’s because it is. After all, some objects – and predictions – are immovable.

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