Friday, July 24, 2015

2015 IndyCar Season already on its Home Stretch

Whatever the reason, Graham Rahal's having the best season of his IndyCar career this year - Hero Card obtained at the 2014 Sonoma IndyCar race. (The Tomaso Collection)
As what better place to pick up the remaining stragglers in this year's epic Mid Season tome none other than after having actually watched that INSANE Fontana "Rockem-sockem" Oval-fest! Which although it occurred after the season's midway point, I'd say to date, it's the best race of the year! And thus deserves mentioning...

Which surely must make Y'all scratch your heads 'N wonder why the Powers to Be at Starship HC are trying to Kill it Off, eh?

HONDA (11-cars)
AJ Foyt Enterprises, (2) Andretti Autosport, (3) Bryan Herta Autosports, (1) Dale Coyne Racing, (2) Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (1) and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. (2)

As going into St Pete, naturally the two biggest guns in Honda's arsenal were Andretti Autosport and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, with no disrespect to the others, albeit the Chevy teams/drivers have a staggering 150+ to 30+ Me Thinks, edge in victories alone, not to mention having multiple series champions vs. Honda's lone Ace Ryan Hunter-reay...

Andretti Autosport (1 Win)
This team has to be the biggest disappointment to Mwah to date, albeit the team's slowly improving their performance - as who'd Uh thunk I-T! That Marco Andretti would actually be performing better than team leader Ryan Hunter-Reay, who's possibly having his worst season ever at Andretti?

Yet it hasn't been all bad news for Mikey's team, as Carlos Silk' Munoz scored his debutant IndyCar victory at Belle Isle's Double-header weekend, even if  it came in rain induced circumstances, a Win's a Win, Baby!

Which just leads us to the latest good news, although it'll be rough sledding in a Honda powered chassis. Yet nevertheless, I'm extremely happy to hear that my Numero Uno IndyCar driver Justin B-I-G' UNIT Wilson will drive Andretti Autosport's fourth car the remainder of the short lived season's five races beginning at Milwaukee.

As now all we need from  the Andretti camp is to see "Symona-Symona" (de Silvestro) return to the cockpit, with her and Justin Wilson both preferably with Full season drives!

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (1 Win)
This team has probably suffered the Highest of Highs followed by definitely the Lowest of Lows. As let's acknowledge that thee Mayor 'O Hinchtown's unexpected victory at the inaugural Grand Prix of Louisiana at Nola Motorsports Park was most fortuitous, due to the team's daring Pit strategy combined with a Shit-load 'O Yellow flags and wet stuff!

Then the skies literally fell open upon this scrappy racing team, when James Hinchcliffe suffered a major testing accident on the final day of Indy 500 practice, excluding Carb Day. As the 28yr old KuhNuck' lost a major amount of blood due to his soft tissue injury and now is most likely out for the remainder of the season.

With Hinches departure, the team has since gone into patchwork mode, with two talented drivers substituting for James. As first Ryan Briscoe remarkably drove to twelfth at Indy after  starting dead last on short notice.

Not to mention an Oh, So 'Uber impressive drive to the lead at Fontana coming down to the Chequerd Flag before an ultra  scary looking Barrel rolling flip when his car's nose dug into the infield grass after getting a LUV' tap from RHR...

then Conor Daly got the call and impressively deputized for Hinch' at Belle Isle's Double Header with a best finish of 6th place in Race-2, along with running up front in the weekend's first race - before I believe he got caught out strategy-wise due to the rain and was classified P19.

Briscoe and Daly played Leapfrog at the next two  races; Texas and Toronto, which I didn't watch either of - having been in Florence, so don't know how they fared, (having since learned that Conor netted a fine 12th place finish in Toronto in what unfortunately appears to be his final drive of the season) while supposedly Briscoe will take over for the remaining races from Fontana onwards.

As that's as far as I'd gotten Pre-Fontana in this ever mushrooming tome. Which naturally, now it appears I've been saving the best for last, eh?

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (1 Win)
Begrudgingly, as I've not been a fan 'O Graham Rahal's forever now, I'll admit that he's had one Helluva season - to date, probably his best ever since his Champ Car Dazes; Crikeys! Seems a really, really long time ago since I got his autograph at Portland 'Wayback in Twenty-oh-six!

As he's been the fastest Honda nearly A-L-L season long and capped his remarkable string of second place finishes against the superior Bowtie Brigade with a very impressive  drive to victory at Fontana from P17! And then followed this up with another podium next time out at Milwaukee, moving him to third in the points standings; Aye Karumba!

As 'Ol 'PT (Paul Tracy) said it best during the Milwaukee race broadcast, when noting how Graham's a new man ever since he met Courtney (Force) who seems to have had a calming effect upon him, as he's no longer arguing with the engineers on the radio, etc.

A.J. Foyt Enterprises (0 Wins)
Seems like NBC Sports lead announcer Leigh Diffey summed it up best at Milwaukee when he noted how second year driver Jack Hawksworth simply cannot buy a break and just hasn't had any luck this year, while I think it was Townsend Bell noting how he simply hadn't Gelled yet.

'Taku-san, nee Takuma Sato hasn't lit the season on fire yet either, although he has actually run at the front, even leading laps I believe, as like all of the Hondres' with the exception of Graham Rahal, Sato's surely been saddled by Honda's lack of performance - before the Japanese Auto Giant's season began turning around in earnest at Fontana. Although Sato did finish runner-up at Belle Isle's first race.

Dale Coyne Racing (0 Wins)
Don't have a whole lot to say about DCR other then it wins the "booby-prize" for most drivers on its revolving door policy of who'll be driving this week? Although I'm quite happy with the current lineup  of Pippa Mann and Tristan Vautier, especially the latter - who seems quite underrated. As I'd also like to see Conor Daly back aboard a DCR mount, while I'm pretty certain that nobody's missing Francesco Dracone, who I nicked him with the moniker Francesco Floppa; YIKES!

Bryan Herta Autosports (0 Wins)
Really don't have a whole Helluva lot to say 'bout Gabby Chaves debutant B-I-g' CARZ season to date, other than I'm happy the reigning Indy Lights champion graduated to Indy Cars and think he's been doing a relatively good job overall, especially since he's driving for arguably the team with the smallest budget hampered with the Honda Aerokit package!

As Robin Miller eluded to at Milwaukee, the Kid's doing one Helluva Job as Bryan Herta says he's way better than he's currently getting credit for...

16 Rounds (3 Races Remaining)

13) July 18: Des Moines, IA
14) Aug 2: Mid-Ohio, OH
15) Aug 23: Pocono, PA
16) Aug 30: Sonoma, CA

Note: Sonoma's Season Finale is a Double Points race, a la the Indianapolis 500 and thus, anybody 100-points adrift of the leader mathematically could become champion - provided they had a "Clean Sweep" weekend, i.e.; Pole, Most Laps led and the Win, with the Points leader failing to finish...