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The eagerly anticipated follow up to our hugely successful 2017 predictions.
IndyCar’s extremely iffy schedule will seem like a strange, Groundhog Day like replay of last year’s, with merely the single alteration of swapping Watkins Glen for Portland. It’s a bit like exchanging that ugly Christmas sweater for a slightly less ugly – though smellier – hemp sweater. Frankly, we wouldn’t be caught dead in either.
Unfortunately, the static schedule means that once again only a third of the races will be held on oval tracks. Ovals being the fastest, most exhilaratingly entertaining form of motor racing on the planet, that’s just plain wrong. As long time readers know, our laments on this topic are nothing new.
Photo from indycar.com
The new cars, which ironically and happily look an awful lot like the old cars, will impress – aesthetically, at least. Three cheers for the end of the awful aero kit era. Don’t expect speed records to fall at Indy or the other ovals any time soon, though – or a smooth, seamless transition. It’s still IndyCar, after all. The lower downforce levels of the new cars will add some excitement to the racing, as well as to the repair bills for many teams.
Get ready to hear and read lots about brakes and braking as a result of the introduction of new bodies. Translation: massive amounts of front and rear end damage due to near constant contact in the corners on street courses. Also expect electrical gremlins to make aggravating appearances, especially early on in the season.
Of the new teams, the single car and less experienced Harding Racing will enjoy more success with Gabby “Pat” Chaves than Carlin Racing’s Charlie “pinball” Kimball and Max “Paris” Chilton put together. Brian Barnhart haters, prepare yourselves for a rough season.
Michael Andretti’s latest wacko fantasies will include Marco actually being competitive in the car and, even more bizarrely, switching to Goodyear tires – even though they haven’t made rubber for IndyCars in years. Also, running six or seven cars at Indy this season will dilute AA far too much for a favorable result. On the bright side, there’ll be a different team with a perhaps more rational owner in victory lane for a change.
The return of the never has been, more diva than driver Danica for her swan song in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 of course will garner ample attention, while her efforts on track will bear little fruit, as usual. She’ll fail to finish in the top fifteen of her final event, a fitting end to a highly over-sensationalized career. Wonder how many different IndyCar drivers she’ll be dating on her way out?
Mark Miles’ miserable reign over the sport somehow continues, despite the disturbing dearth of ovals in the lineup. His odd obsession with a third engine manufacturer will drag on for yet another year, bringing the same empty suited results. Who’s up for a trip to Mexico City of all places and another boring street circuit in 2019?
Photo from usatoday.com
SPM, or Scott Peterson Motorsport as we’ve dubbed them, has gone totally Canuck with James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens. Good luck with that. The second rate Canadians (it’s a redundant phrase, we know) will remain winless on the season and their French connection at Indy will flop in spectacular fashion. At least for those north of the border utter failure won’t come as a huge shock.
Speaking of lesser talents, since he rudely ignored our advice and refused to retire, here’s hoping for less embarrassingly reckless driving from Tony Kanaan. We’re by no means counting on it, though. To repeat, surely this’ll be the final season for the over the hill geezer from Brazil. With TK as lead pilot, A.J. Foyt Racing won’t come close to winning a race again this year. It’s been nearly five years since Super Tex’s team graced the top of the podium, their only win in well over a decade.
The 102nd Indianapolis 500 won’t be won again by Takuma Sato, thank goodness, nor will it be won by a Frenchman. Obviously you can forget about a first ever female milk taster, too. Instead, it’s high time for another American winner and a first timer, at that. After triumphing in the world’s greatest race, Josef “Cap’n’s pet” Newgarden and Team Penske will win yet another championship. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.
Additional Predictions (free of charge) –
A reinvigorated Graham Rahal will win a race or two this season.
Scott Dixon’s sordid difficulties will continue, as he’ll pose no real threat for the championship.
Ryan Hunter-Reay (with the hyphen here to stay) will return to his winning ways in 2018.
Will Power will go winless on the campaign and deservedly remain at the bottom of his team.