Quite coincidentally, as A.J. Foyt might say on a lucid day, there are exactly sixteen items of note from the racing during the past six months. Next year, seventeen’ll be a real stretch.
In keeping with our sixteen predictions for 2016 theme, the obligatory season-wrapping follow-up’s a veritable “no brainer” as the kids used to say. As obvious as signing . . .
Josef Newgarden, Who Is Awesome: After winning Iowa and driving brilliantly again all year, Newkid’s highly sought after. According to some trigger-happy know nothing speculators, he’s already doing a Penske seat fitting in Montoya’s former car. We had “What’s Wrong With” Juan’s ouster a while ago as it’s overdue, but aren’t buying the Newgarden to the Cap’n rumors just yet.
Photo from twitter.com
Dixon’s Decline: In a well publicized piece, IRR exposed the dreadful season and finale Dixie endured along with his helmet. He’ll have at least one new teammate next year as well as a new sponsor. It’ll be interesting to see how the 2015 champ bounces back.
Ganassi Target-less & Driver-less: Who’ll fill Kanaan’s seat remains to be seen, as well. For the aging TK we suggest a nice, cushy Dario-like coaching gig rather than another embarrassing year of racing.
Pags Finally Produced: Penske’s prickly protégé won the championship, but hasn’t won the 500. There hasn’t been a French Indy 500 winner since someone named Chevrolet in 1920, although it should be noted that Frenchmen won back to back in 1913-14.
Photo from twitter.com
Marco’s Mediocrity: And that’s putting it charitably, which leads us to . . .
Andretti’s Autopsy: The team’s a case study in disarray on a consistent basis. Sure they won the 100th Indy 500 – on fumes, mind you – but what have they done lately? AA – and more particularly its owner – continue to flail about, like a bunch of millennials without a phone.
Rossi’s Choice: The F1 invader won the 100th Indy 500, the 500 ROY and 2016 ROY plus made his F1 race debut all within the last year. Alex remains the other high profile coveted free agent, but as someone described it Josef’s the first domino who needs to tumble.
Aero Kits Killed Off: Thankfully the madness is finally kaput and the series finally saw the error of its ways. The racing suffered along with spectator safety and teams’ pocketbooks. They were fun to make light of, though.
A.J.’s Overdue Goodbyes: In perhaps the most obvious call of the off season, the legendary Super Tex needs to clean house with his drivers like he did with engineering. Happily, deportations won’t be needed in these two cases.
Photo from racer.com
A Decent Season: Excepting for a few of the lesser road courses, the racing was surprisingly entertaining. That said, there are some forgettable tracks in the lineup, even apart from the French-ified finale.
Photo from examiner.com
Ragin’ Graham Rahal: Graham had another admirable year, racing towards the front and winning at Texas. In reality though he fell short of expectations after a breakout 2015 season. How’s married life treatin’ ya?
Daly Odyssey Update: Cut loose by Coyne and replaced by another Frenchman, it was a challenging year for the Hoosier rookie. On the upside, his step dad’s IMS President Doug Boles so he’ll land a ride somewhere.
Mark Miles’ Miserable Schedule: Adding East St. Louis to the lineup – as a reward to Ferguson, we can’t help but wonder? – is in no one’s best interest. We’re considering showing up at the race just to make it entertaining, so be forewarned.
Television Ratings: NBCSN’s coverage was adequate again, while ABC’s continued to be lacking. Frankly, beyond that this subject really doesn’t interest us much since we’re always watching and never counted in the ratings. Are you with us?
Finally, how ’bout that ever improving IRR coverage, huh? Comments like “keep up the good work” and “love your stuff” make it worthwhile. While we love our followers, it’d be nice if more people purchased a t-shirt or three.