Handicapping The Rookies: Greenhorns Galore, Part 2


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Previewing the 2018 IndyCar season from the perspective of those nine drivers with a combined experience of the average couch sitting race fan. Tellingly, the mean age of our final five rookies is a ripe 24.8 years old.

This slate of newbies enjoys slightly more experience than those covered in part 1 and also have the distinct advantage of landing with established teams – in a couple cases, even decent ones. Just not in our first instance . . .

AJ Foyt Racing‘s Matheus Leist – only 19 – hails from Brazil like his curmudgeonly, over the hill teammate. His initial IndyCar foray at the Phoenix test wasn’t fortuitous. Leist brushed the wall at least three separate times, and possibly more. On a less expensive note, Matt did manage three wins last year in Indy Lights, including the Freedom 100 at IMS. That’s no doubt a major reason he’s driving for A.J. Matt also scored an impressive nine top fives and two poles in his sole Lights season. Why the 43 year old TK landed A.J.’s other seat is totally inexplicable.


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Zach Veach will have the benefit of top notch equipment driving for Andretti Autosport, if not the most sensible boss. The baby faced 23 year old Ohioan already had two big league starts in 2017, with a best finish of 19th at Barber for ECR (as a stand in for the injured and now unemployed J.R. Hildebrand). Also, he finished 26th in the 101st Indy 500 for AJ Foyt Racing. Zach’s the author of a book for teens and apparently a good friend of Oprah, so watch out.


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Yet another Canuck – just what the series needs – Robert Wickens Continue reading


Everything’s Different! Or: That New Car Smell


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IndyCar finds itself in the midst of change not seen in a decade – welcome change, at that.

The 2018 season excitingly ushers in new cars, a multitude of rookie drivers and even several fledgling teams. There’s a first time reigning champ and let’s not forget new sponsors, either. Lots of ’em – on Graham Rahal’s car alone. Heck, there’s even sort of a new track on the schedule. That is, if you possess little memory and consider Portland a track in the first place.


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Easily the most striking of all the upgrades is the car itself, a real beauty to behold – especially compared to what fans have been subjected to the last three seasons. Continue reading

100th Indy 500 Practice 4: Cautionary Edition


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The normally rideless Rookie of the Year Gabby “Pat” Chaves found him/herself atop the speed charts on the fourth/third day of practice. This extreme oddity – in a Dale Coyne car, to boot! – continues a Honda sweep at the top of the charts. There’s a cautionary note or two that accompany this story, though. First, the speed was tow assisted. Plus, a third Honda engine blew up in as many days of practice, never a good sign. Ryan Hunter-Reay’s AA machine belched smoke rolling to a halt on the warm up lane during the afternoon session.


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After Spencer Pigot’s wreck in his yellow car Wednesday, the series was taking no chances. Perhaps they were being overly cautious, like last year. Either that, or an inordinate amount of debris somehow found its way onto the racing surface. Seemed like an awful lot of cautions Thursday, despite the happy absence of wrecks. The speeds were slower, too. Pigot still hasn’t made it back out in his RLL backup car, which he’d described as “bare.” Probably the cautious thing to do.


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Add another yellow and blue car to the field, as f-ing F1 invader Alexander Rossi – who’s been quick this week for Andretti Autosport – makes the field practically half yellow this year. Ray Harroun’s probably spinning in his grave. We took it to the highest levels.  Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: The Man Who Sold The Indy 500 Edition


Miles Plays Bowie: For the first time in over a century of racing history at the hallowed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500 has a presenting sponsor. Apparently the price Mark Miles demanded for racing’s soul was roughly seven million dollars  yielding three years’ sponsorship, lots of television mentions and many extremely unhappy fans. Even the rather bland 100th running of the Indy 500 logo has been altered, once again proving the old adage that sucky people always sell out. At least it’s Cap’n Penske approved.


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Rahal Samples Sebring: Getting a jump on pre-season testing, Graham Rahal stretched the legs of his steak burger special in Sebring, Florida last week. The session was closed to the public and press – marked beyond top secret, or special access, wink wink – and the car even had that funky zebra paint scheme to camouflage Honda’s highly controversial aero kit updates. Frankly, that camo livery is almost as scary as the kits themselves.


Ride For Sage: Thanks in some small measure to our creative efforts (we’re taking some credit for it, regardless of the reality), twenty year old near sensation Sage Karam landed a ride Continue reading