Thursday, December 18, 2014

Shooting Stars - 2014 edition: Road to Indy Hot Schues'

Continuing with this theme of profiling just some of the myriad 'O Rising Stars, primarily in Open Wheels,  with my original draft weighing in at 5-pages, per my usual, I've decided to split I-T into another two-part harmony. This time focusing upon the Stateside feeder series, with a last minutes nod to a current Sports Car BAD ARSE Hombre still dreaming of  winning the Indianapolis 500!

Although this theme is getting a 'Wee bit long in thy tooth, nevertheless not as near as long as the current chassis/engine package has been 'round, but it's become  quite redundant hearing how even though the series is lacking in quantity, it's not lacking in quality when it comes to driver talent.

Yet, I'd have to agree with this assessment, even if getting tired of hearing I-T, like isn't this true in a-L-L of the Feeder series? But just ask Open Wheel Standout Mathew Brabham how stiff the competition is, after the 'Aussie had simply walked away with the lower Mazda Road To Indy ladder rung series, claiming both the  FF2000 and Pro Mazda championships in convincing fashion.

Alas, Brabham, albeit in his Rookie season, a la Bloody Jack Harvey, has found the heavier  Indy Lights chassis more difficult to drive, and hence, it's been somewhat of an uphill battle to adapt to the 'Ol School Dallara IPS V-8 chassis which apparently still utilize, GASP! manual shifting; aye Karumba!

Meanwhile Gabby Chaves and Brabham's team-mate, the affable (and funny) Zach Veach, who's in his second Lights season have run up front all year long, with Veach scoring his breakout victory at  the season opener in St Pete, while ex-GP2 and Formula 1 hopeful Luiz Razia has constantly been at the sharp end  of the grid this year too.

As Brabham continued his winning ways by "Breaking his 'Duck" upon becoming the debutant Indy Lights winner during the Indianapolis Grand Prix weekend upon the  newly repaved road course, with Razia also claiming his inaugural Lights victory at Mother Speedway's Round-2 of the Double Header race weekend.

Hence, all five of these drivers, with NO disrespect to the other competitors are surely potential rising Open Wheel stars, albeit it was somewhat disheartening to hear Mikey Andretti say he wasn't  gonna buy any of the new Dallara IL15/AER Turbo-4 chassis next year. (As obviously somebody found Mikey some Dinero since Shelby Blackstock's just been announced graduating to Indy Lights to drive for Andretti Autosport next year...) Whilst it's been GURR-REAT! Seeing  a new name added to the championship conversation with the emergence of Balardi Auto Racing this season...

The Bloody Brit' Jack Harvey had his breakout weekend by winning both rounds of the Double Header format at the storied Mid-Ohio permanent road course venue, vaulting himself into second place in the points behind front runner Gabby Chaves, not Pedro; Hya! And third place Zachery Veach...

Point Standings
1) Chaves: 431
2) Harvey: 413
3) Veach: 407

Going into the penultimate round, Zach Veach ultimately got his wish of winning on the famed Oval, albeit Andretti Autosport team-mate Mathew Brabham led for quite awhile before a late race restart after Luiz Razia caused a yellow-flag to be unfurled, saw Veach pass Brabham for the lead and  hold onto win with Gabby Chaves third, while Harvey had a somewhat quiet day, finishing P5...

Point Standings
1) Chaves: 466
2) Veach: 459
3) Harvey: 443

Had NO idea I'd be there live  in person, albeit I missed Saturday's Race-1 when attending the IndyCar 'B-I-G BOYZ autograph session, as it took us nearly the entire  Lights race  to get up to Turn-7 where there's NO loudspeakers or video  screens following collecting half of the Indy Cars field's "John Hancock's!" So really don't know what happened and couldn't hear the results... Which on Sunday I'd discover that Jack Harvey had walked I-T! (Saturday) With NO mention of Zack Veach; Hmm? Having now found out he finished seventh.

Watched Jack Harvey simply run away 'N hide on Sunday, although Gabby Chaves did what he needed  to do, running all alone in second place, as the two championship protagonists disappeared from the rest of the field, with all of the fighting being over the podium's final step... And although Harvey did everything possible, i.e.; starting from Pole, leading wire-to-wire, fastest lap, etc, Chaves  won on the title via (second) tiebreaker, due to his propensity of second place finishes, as that was fun watching both drivers doing their jobs! While apparently Veach had a lackluster weekend and  was never in the championship title fight...

Final Point Standings
1) Chaves: 547
2) Harvey: 547
3) Veach: 520

Only two names I know in this series is points leader Spencer Pickett and Shelby Blackstock who's the son of Big Time Country Star Reba McEntire...

And having re-read Ryan's MRIT Mid-Ohio update, it's good to hear that there's two aspiring 'KuhNucks in the series, both being winners - with Scott Hargrove and Garett Grist  standing atop the podium, as we need  more than just thee Mayor 'O Hinchtown (James Hinchcliffe) flying the maple leaf in Indy Cars...

Unfortunately I DON'T follow this MRIT feeder rung at all, and thus, won't even pretend to know who any of the rising stars are, which after all, is why there's always Junior Open Wheel Talent to fall back upon, even if Ryan's currently busy changing diapers, as Congrat's Daddy! But now get back to work and post some more news 'bout the Up 'N Comers; Hya!

Originally wasn't in the plans to feature this category, since after all this is  a story 'bout single seaters! Yet, then again, there's so many single seater Feeder Series Boyz, aka Toyota Atlantics, etc who got squeezed out from progressing to IndyCar during that 'lil thingy called "The Split!"

Thus,  upon listening to a very entertaining Speed Freaks interview with a name I've heard of before, nee 19yr old Shawn Rayhall, whom I'd originally wondered if he was an unknown Rahal bro, Hya! I decided to include this BAD ARSE racer along with "the Taylor Brothers," while who knows whom I'm forgetting on the European side of the ladder, eh?

With another pair of Up 'N Comers being the "Brothers Taylor," aka Jordan & Ricky who are also pretty BAD ARSE Sports Cars piloto's on their own right, as the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree, eh? As in Y'all may have heard of their father Wayne Taylor, right?