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All-purpose open-wheel (F1, IRL) racing thread

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by crimsonace, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    Since the motorsports season has begun in the U.S., it's time to look ahead.

    The racing doesn't start for a month in any series, but there are a few stories ...

    IRL: Danica going to AGR. Hornish & Wheldon tied for the title last year. The addition of road courses -- will it push the few American oval-trackers (Hornish) into tintops? Short fields again -- only 18 driver/car combos are registered for the upcoming Homestead test, although Fernandez Racing is expected to add an entry. Most of the names returning are familiar (Hornish, Andretti, Patrick, Franchitti, Kanaan, Castroneves, Wheldon, Dixon, Sharp, Rice, et al). Hopefully, the problems with tire compounds that kept the wheel-to-wheel racing at a minimum last year have been solved.
    CCWS: New Panoz chassis, new TV contract, this was supposed to be a breakout year. But instead, Ford is out, Bridgestone is out, big teams (Forsythe) are cutting back to one car and big drivers (Graham Rahal) are sponsored by Black Paint. Only 16 cars showed up for the Houston test. Of those, nearly half (7) were series rookies. For the first time in series history, there are no ovals on the schedule.

    Last year, it appeared CCWS had momentum and might have the ability to hammer out a good merger with the IRL.

    Now, it appears the IRL might be able to just wait until CCWS's money runs out and then suck up the remains (taking the races it wants -- Long Beach, Cleveland, Edmonton, Elkhart Lake).

    CCWS will limp along this season, although several events will be shuttered. If CCWS turns a wheel in 2008, I'll be shocked.

    Meanwhile, the IRL will continue its annual tradition of pointing the gun at itself and screwing up whatever momentum it can build. The Belle Isle race will be a disaster. This could be their final year at Michigan (a shame), because of the fallout from moving the date to accommodate Belle Isle. Putting Milwaukee back on its traditional post-Indy date will be a big boost, although a Saturday-night shootout at Texas on ABC (which ABC would never do) would be a great follow-up to Indy, instead of two weeks out.

    Predictions:
    CCWS: Junqueira is the guy to beat -- especially with Allmendinger going south -- although Rahal will be the one rookie in contention.
    IRL: Wheldon will benefit from the increased number of road courses. Wheldon, Castroneves & Kanaan will be the top three, with Hornish in the mix if he develops his road-racing ability. Vitor Meira will finally win a race, and Marco Andretti will lose the Indy 500 to Scott Dixon this time.
    F1: I like Raikkonnen a lot, especially with the Ferrari under him.

    March/April/May schedule
    CCWS
    April 8: Las Vegas (street) (first-time event)
    April 15: Long Beach (street) (the crown jewel of the CCWS schedule)
    April 22: Houston (street)
    May 20: China (road (if it happens)

    IRL
    March 24: Homestead-Miami (1.5 oval) (a night race for the first time)
    April 1: St. Petersburg (street)
    April 21: Motegi, Japan (1.5 oval)
    April 29: Kansas City (1.5 oval) (moving this to before Indy is a good move for several reasons)
    May 27: Indianapolis 500 (2.5 oval)

    F1
    March 18: Australian GP
    April 8: Malaysian GP
    April 15: Bahrain GP (where the heck did this race site come from?)
    May 13: Spanish GP
    May 27: Monaco GP
     
  2. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    Re: All-purpose open-wheel (F1, IRL, CCWS) racing thread

    As much I love baseball, the return of auto racing is the true signal that warm weather is on the way!

    As for Bahrain, they've been racing there for a few years now. Expect more. I think Dubai wants a race too. If someone is willing to line Ecclestone's pockets, he'll go anywhere, even at the expense of F1's traditional tracks.
     
  3. brettwatson

    brettwatson Active Member

    Re: All-purpose open-wheel (F1, IRL, CCWS) racing thread

    It's time for Danica to break her maiden, so to speak. If it comes at the Indy 500, so much the better.

    She is poised to become the next American sports superstar, but she has to win a friggin' race. With her combination of beauty and brains, she could give open wheel racing the kind of boost it needs.

    But after watching Sunday's thriller in Daytona, which capped a week where virtually everything went wrong but NASCAR still came out smelling like a rose, I don't think open-wheel racing will ever catch up. Now that Daytona averages twice what the Indy 500 draws in terms of tv ratings, it's apparent the stock car set has won this battle.

    Still, there should be enough residual racing interest for open-wheel to survive, and maybe even thrive...if Ms. Patrick (and AGR) gets it together.
     
  4. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    Re: All-purpose open-wheel (F1, IRL, CCWS) racing thread

    I think they just added Abu Dhabi for 2009, too.

    It would be nice if they would dump the crappy tracks when they add new ones, but quality never seems to enter into it. My absolute favorites are Spa and Suzuka; Spa is perpetually threatened and Suzuka is gone this year, I believe. (I like the F1 layout at Indy, but I realize most would lump that in with the lousy ones.) Seriously, can they just put the Hungaroring out of its misery?

    As for an F1 prediction, I'll go with Felipe Massa. I'm not convinced Raikonnen will be faster, and Massa should have a big advantage in his experience with the car.

    I don't have a prediction on IRL or CCWS, although I'll actually pay attention to Champ Car this season since (a) I'll be working and/or attending the races in Vegas and Phoenix, and (b) I can root for Paul Stoddard and Graham Rahal.
     
  5. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    Re: All-purpose open-wheel (F1, IRL, CCWS) racing thread

    Crimsonace wrote:
    Now, it appears the IRL might be able to just wait until CCWS's money runs out and then suck up the remains (taking the races it wants -- Long Beach, Cleveland, Edmonton, Elkhart Lake).

    CCWS will limp along this season, although several events will be shuttered. If CCWS turns a wheel in 2008, I'll be shocked.
    ---
    Which is what some of us would happen all along, Tony George simply waiting CART/Champ Car out until sponsors pressed for Indy exposure (Target first, then Marlboro and others) and then cherry-picking racetracks.
    With that, I figure Belle Isle is a one-off and Michigan will remain. Long-long term, the IRL would like to bring back the 500 Triple Crown (using Fontana (!) and Michigan as the other two races), but first it wants to find a series sponsor not named Pep Boys or Northern Light. That will take a while.
     
  6. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    Re: All-purpose open-wheel (F1, IRL, CCWS) racing thread

    Unfortunately, Penske has just recently announced a five-year deal with Belle Isle.

    I'd like to see Michigan, California and Indy in the "500" Triple Crown (reminiscent of the old Indy-Michigan-Ontario Triple Crown), which IMO would give the series a ton of momentum. But alas, the IRL hasn't done much right in the promotional area in years. Why expect anything to change now?
     
  7. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    Re: All-purpose open-wheel (F1, IRL, CCWS) racing thread

    Didn't know the length of the Belle Isle deal. Is Penske back in the race track and promotion biz? I do remember one really good CART race there, at least from the standpoint of cars dirt-tracking around corners and banging off each other to pass. But just one.
    Speaking of the Triple Crown, I wouldn't mind seeing Pocono back on the schedule, but it would cost millions to get that track up to spec for open wheel, and the doc who owns it isn't one to spend money.
     
  8. JackS

    JackS Member

    Re: All-purpose open-wheel (F1, IRL, CCWS) racing thread

    Belle Isle was horrible when it was in CART. No place whatsoever to pass. Has the course changed at all?
     
  9. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    Re: All-purpose open-wheel (F1, IRL, CCWS) racing thread

    Belle Isle is a terrible track.

    And yes, Penske is promoting it. It was the outgrowth of him spearheading the Super Bowl XL committee in Detroit.
     
  10. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    Re: All-purpose open-wheel (F1, IRL, CCWS) racing thread

    Two weeks to Australia and the beginning of F1.
    Three weeks to Homestead for the start of the domestic season.

    And, suddenly, Champ Car has the month of May open. The China race slated for May 22 has been moved to October (and, IMO, probably won't be held at all). CCWS has already lost Denver, and a few others -- including new venues -- are on life support. I'm not exactly bullish on Champ Car to begin with, but I didn't expect to see the series begin to disintegrate this quickly -- getting to the point where even Robin Miller is blasting Kalkhoven/Gentilozzi/Forsythe in print.
     
  11. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    Re: All-purpose open-wheel (F1, IRL, CCWS) racing thread

    Homestead last night ...

    Nice to see that with all of the changes in motorsports (the new taxicabs with spoilers, Ethanol in IndyCars, and the biggest news of the century -- Danica to AGR -- taking place :) ), nothing really changes.

    Just follow the red cars.

    Dan Wheldon is turning into the Jeff Gordon of open-wheel racing, except he's not a household name and Gordon never shared Wheldon's fashion sense ... the guy wins, and he's as far from a "good ole' boy" as possible. He dominated yesterday, the 6+-second margin of victory the 13th-largest in IndyCar Series history.

    Brazilians Castroneves and Kanaan are feuding (neither was much of a factor yesterday), and nobody really knows what it's about ... if this were NASCAR, the Frances would be arranging a Turn 3 fistfight in the next race :).

    Looks like the pressure is getting to Danica -- she had two massive spoiled brat episodes in two nights. First, she has a bad qual run on Friday and storms off without speaking to the radio crew (she did speak to the print media, apparently). Saturday, she spins & hits the pit wall, goes flying into her trailer (radio booth guy: "I'm glad a veteran like Bob Jenkins gets to do that interview") and sits in the corner for her punishment. Bob Jenkins tells us that even her husband Paul is keeping his distance.

    She's getting some estrogen-laced company. Milka Duno is running 10 races this year and gives the IndyCar Series *3* female drivers, along with Patrick and Sarah Fisher (who outperformed Danica all weekend despite being in inferior equipment).

    Oh, and Vitor Meira is the IRL's answer to Michael Waltrip. He's always there at the finish (4th place again last night), but he never wins.
     
  12. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    Re: All-purpose open-wheel (F1, IRL, CCWS) racing thread

    Vitor Meira '07 = Raul Boesel '93
     
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