Sixteen Takeaways from the 2016 IndyCar Season

jonewdomino.jpg

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.

dixonbirdstxtwittercom

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.

3stoogesofindycar

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.  Continue reading

Advertisements

Watkins Glen Race Review: Paid Plugs Edition

indycarnewlogo

Verizon’s new data plan got more than enough mentions Sunday, but its IndyCar series championship suffered a real blow as viewers’ attention spans were severely tested at Watkins Glen.

Pole sitter Scott Dixon commandingly ran away from the field in another fuel saving snoozer on a roadie, winning by a whopping sixteen seconds ahead of Josef Newgarden. Things at the back of the pack did become interesting though, with exploding Firestones, Will Power practically taking himself out of the points chase and drivers fighting for their jobs. Silly season hung over the paddock like a shroud of Finger Lakes fog.

DixonWatkinsGlenindycarcom.jpg

Photo from indycar.com

Three caution flags flew for a total of nine laps, which at the Glen are long at over three miles. Muscovite Mikhail Aleshin was seemingly victimized by a sniper’s round on lap fifteen, his left rear Firestone exploding in an extremely rare total tire failure. The bumper disintegrated in a spectacular display of collateral damage as he spun, collecting no one and brushing the wall.

aleshinusatoday

Photo from usatoday.com

The SPM jockey, who like many others grew furious after being penalized in qualifications, as usual acquitted himself well in interviews afterward, looked ahead to the next race and further ingratiated himself to a growing number of fans. We envision some sponsorship on those blank red sidepods, and soon.

watkinsglenpodiumsportsusatodaycom.jpg

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Five laps later following the restart, Ragin’ Graham Rahal brought out the second caution when he Continue reading

Celebrating Our Second Anniversary

weepermadness.jpg

IRR celebrates two years of providing unique, unabashed views, racing news and laughs covering IndyCar racing.  It’s been a lot of fun emphasizing the foul-ups, foolishness and frivolity of the sport we love, as well as its riveting beauty. In essence, IRR is to IndyCar coverage what Ted Cruz was to the RNC convention in Cleveland.

1beerIRR.jpg

The hardest working racing site on the web, we’ve churned out over three hundred and thirty articles and posts over the last two years. The best part? It’s all free. Reviewing races and adding some humor to a serious and highly dangerous sport is our mission. We’re delighted to report it’s an ongoing one.

danicasicom

Photo from si.com

It’s been quite a ride, from skewering the untalented though beautiful Danica Patrick and needling her less than entertaining NASCAR series to championing young American IndyCar stars to leading the charge for Mark Miles’ dismissal. Continue reading

Dual in Detroit Predictions & Prognostications: Double Indignity

detroittoledobladecom

Photo from toledoblade.com

After the glory that was the 100th Indianapolis 500, IndyCar’s schedule imposes upon race fans the double indignity of Detroit. Twice. Thank you, Mark Miles. On the desperately needed upside – and in the midst of widespread Post Indy Stress Disorder, or PISD – after Detroit comes more oval track awesomeness under the lights at Texas. Yeehaw!

detroitblightidelectuscom

Photo from idelectus.com

As for the double header on Belle Isle, it’s embarrassing for a number of reasons. A Randy Bernard brainchild, double headers were once an innovative way to stretch the series’ skinny schedule. These throwbacks included double dippers at Texas Motor Speedway – huzzah! – as well as the parking lots of Houston – boo! Now we’re down merely to Detroit’s Belle Isle. Yawn.

detroitusnewscom

Photo from usnews.com

The rat infested island sits in the Detroit River, which falls under the administration of the Water & Sewerage Department. The river’s where Flint residents used to get their water, back when their only worry was drinking treated human waste. Continue reading

100th Indy 500 Preparations Underway: ‘Ex-cellent’ Lazier/Burns Racing

Indy08

The most important race in history rapidly approaches as drivers and teams frantically prepare themselves for the 100th running of the greatest spectacle in racing. IRR’s crack staff has assembled some thoughts on the subject as anticipation builds like a Speedway official spending taxpayer dollars.

buddylaziermotorsportcom.jpg

Photo from motorsport.com

There are six former winners in the field and as is our wont we’re focusing on the most obscure. Fierce competitor and 1996 Indy 500 winner Buddy Lazier is back for his nineteenth extravaganza, with a brand new team called Lazier/Burns Racing. We immediately came up with a signage suggestion for the fledgling outfit, as Buddy and Burns-ie will need all the help they can get this year.

LazierBurnsIRR.png

Lazier’s a sentimental favorite for many, having failed to qualify for the 500 no fewer than six times – including last year. Buddy even finished last once, in 1991. Continue reading

GP of Indy Race Review: Backwards Edition

GPIindycarcom.jpg

Photo from indycar.com

Holding a race at Indy before the 500 is as backwards as a horse wearing riding pants. If the Grand Prix of Indy was supposed to build momentum heading into the 100th Indy 500, then it failed. That is, unless you’re Penske, Menard and Pags.

pagswingpiusatodaycom.jpg

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Simon Pagenaud dominated yet again at the GP, taking his second victory there and third consecutive, to almost nobody’s liking. ABC’s canned intro even rightly called the infield race at IMS “backwards.” In fact, the entire event was ass backwards from start to finish – cars going around the famed track the wrong way, Dale Coyne’s Conor Daly teasing us by taking the lead from out of nowhere, and a Frenchman ultimately winning the damned thing from pole by nearly five seconds.

DalyOdyssey

Pags’ championship points lead is now sizable, with his competitors going backwards. On the flip side, Tony Kanaan‘s not fast over forty farewell tour continued, as predicted. First out of the race, he walled Bourdais just after the green flag flew, before hitting the precarious first turn. Continue reading

Why Menard’s Indy 500 Decision Is So Disappointing

MenardsPensketwittercom.jpg

Photo from twitter.com

In the past, John Menard placed his immense IndyCar sponsorship money for the good of the sport with drivers and teams who needed it – not with super teams who don’t.

On Tuesday Team Penske announced a partnership with the Midwesterner Menard for three races this season, including the all important 100th Indy 500. His sponsorship dollars will go to the irascible Frenchman Simon Pagenaud‘s 22 car for three races, culminating at Road America in Menard’s home state of Wisconsin. This decision by the “Save Big Money” man is highly disappointing, to say the least.

menardsraycarspeedsport-magazinecom.jpg

Photo from speedsport-magazine.com

In one sense, we at IRR appreciate Menard’s recently announced IndyCar backing, which used to be a staple of the series. Like many, we welcome the prodigal billionaire back. Also appreciated are his cars’ distinctive day-glow paint schemes, adding much to open wheel racing’s aesthetic. Last but not least, the billionaire’s backing of the 100th Indy 500 admittedly is also a gracious, though self serving, gesture. But that’s where the rub comes in, as his backing in this case is badly misplaced.

teampenske50thlogo

Citing a lack of “fun,” Menard jumped ship to NASCAR back in 2004 after sponsoring IndyCar teams for twenty five years. Menard’s IndyCar drivers included the late Scott Brayton, Greg Ray and a younger, slimmer and more sane Tony Stewart. Continue reading