Anticipate another entertaining season opener on St. Pete’s street course oddly enough, even without flying aero kit pieces or Juan “street cleaner” Montoya in the field. Less surprisingly, thrilling contests again will ensue at Texas Motor Speedway and Gateway Motorsports Park, both oval races held under the lights. Now if only the egg heads at 16th & Georgetown would heed IRR’s advice and return Iowa’s race to a nocturnal knife fight and bring back excellent tracks like Kentucky, Chicagoland, Michigan and Fontana we’d have more awesome oval affairs to look forward to.
The series’ pair of new Swedish drivers – Schmidt’s Marcus Ericsson and Ganassi’s Felix Rosenqvist – will spend the 2019 campaign stuck in neutral. Suffice it to say their transition won’t be pretty.
A second season running the new cars will make the disparity between the series’ haves and have-nots even greater, unfortunately. Last year saw Penske win yet another 500 and Ganassi take the championship – again. An entire off season of the super teams fine tuning their machines won’t help matters.
Tony “time to call it quits” Kanaan will fail yet again to win a race, merely managing to extend an embarassingly drawn out end to his career for another year.
Likewise, A.J. Foyt Racing won’t win a race for another season, making it nearly six straight years without a single success.
Michael “the brain” Andretti will conceive still more idiotic money making schemes, which of course will go absolutely nowhere. At least he’s no longer in a position to destroy any more historic oval races like he did to Milwaukee.
Happily, Will “sour grapes” Power won’t repeat as Indy 500 winner in the 103rd running. In further good news, NBC’s coverage of the greatest spectacle in racing will outpace ABC’s by a longshot. Judging by the promos from the NFL playoffs in January, it already has.
The series’ only new venue, the Circuit of the Americas road course in Texas, will severely disappoint despite tons of hype and everyone else on the planet predicting terrific racing there. With a dozen similar circuits already on the bill, it’s high time IndyCar realizes it’s not f-ing F1, its races on road courses in particular suck and a return to its oval racing roots is sorely needed.
Nippon Telephone and Telegraph will quickly come to regret their decision to sponsor a series with exactly one Japanese driver, a CEO who thinks visiting Mexico City is a good idea and more redundancy on the schedule than Virginia Democrat debacles.
Like previous years, oval track races will greatly outshine road and street circuit “events” in entertainment value and excitement – despite making up less than a third of the schedule – while lagging far behind them in promotion and attendance. Once again this’ll prove the old adage there’s no accounting for taste.
Expect another forgettable season for Ragin’ Graham Rahal, the oh-so-close son of ‘stache who always manages to come up just a whisker short. At least Graham’s generally competitive, unlike Marco who’s raced futilely for almost a decade now since his last win.
While the addition of Laguna Seca as the season finale will be a definite upgrade over the thankfully now defunct Sonoma snoozer, it’ll be a weak substitute for a race at Auto Club Speedway, the beautiful, breathtaking oval at Fontana.
In a repeat of last year, season champ once again will be Ganassi’s Scott Dixon. It’ll be his sixth title, further securing the Kiwi’s place among the all time greats of the sport.