Wednesday, March 7, 2018

INDYCAR: 2018 Rookie Class - Full Season Contendahs'

As it's almost time to light this candle!

This year's influx of rookie IndyCar drivers has to be the largest in many years, or at least that I can remember. With a total of 9 - if I've done my ryth-Muh-tickin' correctly? Number Nine? No. 9, Numeral Nein?

Yet as Yuhs know, two are waiting in the Wings, and will take Thar Curtain Calls at Phoenix, albeit they're part of a rotating cast 'O seven...

But only three are currently set to contest the full season, and hence most likely one of these three will become the 2018 Rookie Of the year. (ROY)

AJ Foyt Enterprises
Engine: Chevrolet
#4) R-Matheus Leist, Brazil
Age: 19

Career  Highlights
Matheus, albeit I wanna call him Maverick, presumably since I think of Maverick "top Gun" Vinales when Lucy', my ARSE-Steamed Screen Reader reads his name, faux-netically sounding very similar; but I digress...

As the young Brazilian began Go Karting at age 11 in 2009 before finishing runner-up in the 2013 Petrobras Karting Championship.

. He made his Single Seater debut in 2014 and in only his third season won the BRDC Formula 3 title with Double R Racing, who were originally formed by Kimi Raikkonen and Steve Robertson.

Leist tested for multiple GP3 teams in the fall of 2016 before signing with Carlin to contest the 2017 Indy Lights series. As his biggest accomplishment was winning the coveted Freedom 100.

While the Brazilian teenager notched a total of three Lights victories en route to fourth overall, one place ahead of Zachery Claman DeMelo.

Matheus takes over the seat previously held by Conor Daly for A.J. Foyt's team this year, where he'll partner the series "elder Statesman," his countryman TK' Follow-your-Schnoz! Kanaan.

Andretti Autosport
Engine: Honda
#26) R-Zach Veach; USA
Age: 23

Career  Highlights
Zach began Go Karting with his father before reportedly being discovered by Sarah Fisher's father Dave in '09, making the transition to Single Seaters when testing a Formula BMW racecar.

Veach latched onto Andretti Autosport beginning in 2010, where he contested the majority of that season's U.S. F2000 series, before winning the 2011 U.S. F2000 Winterfest title ahead of then Andretti team-mate Spencer Pigot.

After a second season in U.S. F2000, he moved up to the then Star Mazda series, where he finished 10th overall. Next he moved up to Indy Lights in 2013, and finished seventh overall.

Veach contested a second Lights season with Andretti in 2014, where he finished third overall,
while winning three races.

Next he sat out the 2015 season after having surgery on his hand before returning to Lights with Balardi Auto Racing. And once again he mirrored his 2014 season results, scoring another three W's' en route to third overall.

In 2017 Veach was summoned to deputize for the injured J.R. Hildebrand at Ed Carpenter Racing at thee Oh, So Booty-full Barber's Grand Prix of Alabama, finishing 19th before contesting his maiden Indy 500 for A.J. Foyt enterprises in their third entry, finishing P26 after retiring on Lap-155.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Engine: Honda
#6) R-Robert Wickens, Canada
Age: 28

Career Highlights
As I've prattled on here on No Fenders from time-to-time, Robert will forever be known as "thee Young Wicky" to Mwah, which ironically his SPM B-I-G BOYZ' teammate thou Mayor 'O Hinchtown nicknamed him way back during their Champ Car Atlantic days.

And perhaps Messer Wickens, who'll celebrate his 29th birthday two days after his maiden IndyCar race will score a Top-10 finish as a present to himself? Although I'm not trying to place too much pressure on him.

Wickens CV is simply amazing, and out of this trio of IndyCar Drivers has the most impressive results, and simply is a total BAD ARSE!

Robert, or robby as James Hinchcliffe seems to be calling him these days, began as a multi-times Go Karting champion Up North Eh! Since he also resides from Toronto.

Then he began a stellar Single Seater career in Formula BMW USA in '05, finishing third overall and best Rookie finisher. He returned for a second season, now as a Red Bull Junior member and won the Formula BMW USA title at "Sweet 16!"

Then, when I learned of him Wayback in '07 during his move up to Champ Car Atlantic, where I witnessed him win at Portland, he finished third overall, one place ahead of his buddy Hinch', before moving to Europe.

Wickens finished third overall for Carlin in the then World Series by Renault, before finishing runner-up in the short lived three-year iteration of FIA Formula 2, run by Dr. Jonathan Palmer.

He continued his Bridesmaid routine next during his GP3 campaign, behind Esteban Gutierrez, who'd become a Sauber and Haas F1 driver in the future.

In 2011 he returned to the Formula Renault 3.5 series, where he took the title ahead of his team-Mate Jean-Eric Vergne and somebody named Alexander Rossi! As the latter Duo would also graduate to Formula 1.

Wickens became a reserve  driver for Virgin F1, and somewheres along the way I believe he also became a Mercedes Junior Driver, ultimately leading to his racing in the Deutshce Tourenwagen Masters, (DTM) winning six times.

Yet with Mercedes pulling the plug upon its involvement in DTM at the end of this year, he began looking around for new opportunities, being allowed to fill-in for another past Formula Renault 3.5 series champion named Mikhail Aleshin.

As Aleshin, driving for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports last year, was apparently having Visa issues difficulty over the road America weekend, where Wickens stood by, yet only got to drive in Friday practice, before Mikhail arrived from Le Mans to race that weekend at Elkhart Lake.

As Wickens & Hinchcliffe will unofficially form Team Canada 2.0, after the Team Players Days, and with fellow Hoser Zachary Claman DeMelo lining up at St Pete, the grid will swell to three Hosers for the first time in years!