Monday, September 2, 2013

German Renaissance in IndyCar racing - Part II

So, are Y'all salivating over what thee answer is to my Questione? A la:

Who was the last German IndyCar driver to race in Indy Cars?

As the name that came most prominently to my lips immediately was Arnd Meier - swearing he was the Dude I saw racing for Dale Coyne in Champ Car all those many Moons ago, I mean Y'all do recall as thee Wurld 'O chumpCarz; Err champ Car Turns, right?

but alas OLD age and the passing of time plays great tricks upon thee mind, eh?

As it was actually the very unknown Michael Krumm who made a few scant appearances for Team PRG/Dale Coyne at the beginning of the new millennium, when I must have watched Krumm at the wheel of one of Coyne’s Lola/Ford’s in 2001, since all I remember is that the last German drove for you guessed I-T! The never ending revolving door of aspiring drivers making 'Hay with Dale Coyne Racing...

Whilst another driver from Der Fatherland to ply his trade in CART was ex-Formula 1 Piloto Christian Danner from 1992-97, while the most prominent German I know from the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) era is Dominic Dobson, (1985-94) who was recently panned by George Phillips; YIKES!  Easy B-I-G Feller, as I think you’re somewhat off the mark there, as I was originally gonna comment upon Oil Pressure’s No. 10 pick for Bad Drivers at Indy, especially since Dobson holds el Special place in my Heart - since after all he was the very first local Seattle driver I ever saw race, no less for my original Hometeam Bayside Racing, so give him a break, wills Yuh George!

And as typical, this story's research is by NO means conclusive towards potential Germans who've previously raced in Indy Cars - so if I missed somebody between the aforementioned drivers, then please forgive me...

Michael Krumm
Team: Dale Coyne Racing
Year: 2001

For reasons unknown I recall watching this driver make his two starts for Dale Coyne in his 'Uber short lived CART career, bursting upon the scene at the '01 season opening race at Monterey, NO! The other Monterey, as in Mexico - running in the heart of an industrial district. As the few thingys I can find upon him claim that it was a collabrative effort actually called Coyne Racing/Team PRG of which I don't recall or have any info upon.

In Monterey, the team's two drivers were Luiz Garcia Jr.,  and Krumm, who both apparently DNF'ed (Did Not Finish) due to engine maladies, most notably their Ford 'lumps having gone KUH-BLAMOE!

Next up Krumm made his second and final CART start at Long Beach to which I don't know the outcome... With Krumm then going onto a career of racing in Japan, having married Japanese Tennis Star Kimiko Date-Krumm in Tokyo in 2001, where the couple resides. And ironically, or Karmically? His last major championship was the  FIA GT1 crown co-driving with some 'Kat named Luhr! As in Lucas Luhr, as apparently Krumm's Japanese links to Nissan have now helped him to get a day's outing at Winton 'Down Under testing a V8 Supercar, driving the Nissan Ultima before Jetting back to Japan to contest a Super GT race...


Arnd Meier
Teams: Project Indy; Davis Racing
Years: 1997-98

Have NO clue who Hasseroder/Marcelo/Hawaiian Tropic was... As this is the entrant's name listed upon Meier's chassis during his rookie season, albeit I'd ARSE-sume that Marcelo was somehow related to the late Jovy Marcelo, perhas? As we all know who that Suntan sponsor is, as I've just learned that Project Indy was an offshoot of Euromotorsports chief mechanic  Andreas Leberle and ironically it was the previous team that Christian Danner had driven for.

And Meier certainly was NO slouch, having finished as the meat in the sandwich of the 1996 German Formula 3 championship, with Formula 1 drivers Jarno Trulli winning the title and Nick Heidfeld third, as Arnd  finished 12th at Michigan in '97 and ironically finished one place ahead (30th) of countryman Danner in that year's points standings.

And I'm noticing a theme here, as the European drivers seem to excel at Road America, which is where Meier scored his best CART result in the '98 season driving the then recalcitrant Lola chassis, bouncing between the T97/00 & T98/00-spec's for the Minnowesqe and virtually unknown Davis Racing team when Reynard ruled the roost. With Meier scoring his career best finish of 10th place at Elkhart Lake before returning to Europe the following season - having just celebrated turning thee B-I-G 4-Oh this March 1st...

Christian Danner
Teams: Euromotorsports; Project Indy; Payton/Coyne Racing
Years: 1993-95, 1997

Christian is the only one of this trio of past drivers (chronicled) to have contested Formula 1, having graduated to the Pinnacle of Motorsports in 1986 upon having won the inaugural European F3000 championship the year prior.

Unfortunately for Danner, he could only find refuge with the Minnowesqe German Zakspeed team, along with stints at Osella, Arrows and Rial, the latter culminating with his best finish in F1 - coming at the inaugural USGP in Phoenix, Arizona, sponsored by Iceberg - which was pretty ironic since the race was held on June 4, 1989 and it was 104 degrees-f, as your humble No Fenders scribe was garnering his F1 baptism that day... As basically Danner was one of the seven drivers to actually finish the race - due to the oppressive HEAT! As Christian just missed out upon the podium with a fourth place finish...

Although I noted 1992-97 above, I couldn't find any data for Christian competing in CART in '92, with his name being listed as finishing 31st in the 1993 CART Point Standings - driving that year for Euromotosports/Andrea Moda/AGIP aboard a Lola T92/00-Chevrolet with three finishes listed, with a best placing of 11th at Road America.

For 1994-95, Danner drove for the relatively  unknown Project Indy team, running a Lola T93/00-Ford with his only two listed finishes being a pair of 12th places at Detroit & Elkhart Lake - finishing 30th in that year's Drivers points standings.

The following year (1995) would include both Christian's highest place finish in a race and the overall points standings, as although the team had stepped up with a Reynard 94i/Ford for Danner that year, he'd drive his old Lola T93/00-Ford to a seventh place finish at the season opening Miami event, which would see him capture 25th in the points standings that year.

, For his final season in Indy Cars, apparently having taken a year off from the 'BIG CARZ, Danner joined Payton/Coyne Racing where he scored another 12th place finish at Detroit in a fairly blase season's run to 31st in the points standings...