Monday, January 22, 2007

2006 Champ Car Review (Part 3)

Mi-Jack:
(Ranger: 10th; Zwolsman: 13th)

Mi-Jack/Conquest soldiered on through another mostly mundane season. The team did however win the Benjamin Says Your Sponsors Name sweepstakes…

As apparently WALLMART du Canada must have given him a years free shopping? Mr. Benjamin would call out the #27 WALLMART/Tide entry of Andrew Ranger during every broadcast, on average 7 times per event…

Rookie Charles Zwolsman meanwhile had a fairly quiet year with occasional flashes of brilliance. Yet as the state of Champ Cars remains dollar orientated, I suspect Zwolsman’s ride will most likely go to another newcomer…

PKV:
(Servia: 11th; Legge: 16th)

Can it really already be a year since perennial Champ Car star Jimmy Vasser made his final race in Open Wheels at Long Beach…?

And yet the team’s chemistry continues to shift every season. This year saw Junqueira’s stand-in the previous year at Newman/Haas, Oriol Servia signed to a full year ride as team leader at PKV. Servia had mixed results along with dubiously writing “OFF” two $440k Lola chassis during the Portland weekend…

Meanwhile Champ Car Female Rookie Katherine Legge had a fairly adventurous season… Legge had multiple run-ins with fellow rookie competitors, but also led several laps on the Milwaukee oval. (Which appears to be Champ Cars final oval track race for the foreseeable future…?)

Legge made the most miraculous recovery when her rear wing disintegrated at somewhere between 160-180mph at Road America. This horrific looking accident saw Legge’s car barrel rolling down the track. The rear half of the Lola chassis broke away and passed her. Yet Legge not only escaped uninjured, she walked out of the medical center before the end of the race, smiled and waived to the crowd…

After winning Portland in 2005 with Cristiano da Matta, the team seemed to be off stride the entire season. It will be interesting to see how the team performs this year as another change of team chemistry is expected…


Dale Coyne:
(Heylen: 14th)

Wouldn’t it be nice to see this ever struggling team claim its very first victory? If effort counted the perpetually under funded “little team that could” would have scored multiple victories by now…

The team started the season with Cristiano da Matta and Rookie Jan “Van Haggar” Heylen. Da Matta then jumped ship in a 3-way driver swap which saw fired Forsythe driver Mario Dominguez as his replacement, while Da Matta went to RuSPORT…

Dominguez actually put in some good drives for the ever trying race team. I believe Dominguez was enroute to Coyne’s first podium when Servia dive bombed Dominguez on the final lap taking both drivers out…

“Van Haggar” soldiered on through countless bouts of banging wheels with Legge along with having a few new teammates. Uruguay’s Juan Caceres did a “one-off” before Forsythe Atlantics star Andreas Wirth contested the final two rounds in his maiden Champ Car season. Coyne has always been willing to give any aspiring driver a chance. Of course cash doesn’t hurt either…

And now the teams should be well on their way towards Sebring for the first Champ Car test of 2007. “Let’s get ready to Rumble…”

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