Thursday, September 20, 2018

INDYCAR: Replacing A Legend?

This autographed Scott Dixon Hero Card was collected for Mwah by No Fenders Shutterbug CARPETS' during a visit to McGilvries in Speedway, IN Wayback in 2013, when he was just a three times IndyCar Champion. (the Tomaso Collection)

As I'd presume it's as Difficult a Task in Indy Cars as it's getting your Lottery Draft Pick correct?

Ah, the life of an aging Blogger, especially one who's learning to reinvent thou Wheel 'O Life right now so to speak, after moving from my comfortable, familiar and enjoyable surrounds of two-plus decades, to who knows where? But I digress...

As I simply type too much for Ye Blog Fantastica, and simply Don't have space to Fit it All in upon these overflowing pages 'O No Fenders, along with the nearly 4,000 Posts over the past 12 years! Now Serving; Oh Never Mind!

Thus, this ultimate thought struck me after reading two articles, well actually "My Gal" Lucy', my trusty Screen Reader read them to me Wayback on Summer Solstice, (June 21st) but; Oh Never Mind!

the first was the IndyStar's IndyCar Insider Jim Ayello's Mid-Season Predictions for the second half with NBCSN Reporter Paul Tracy, who really didn't say anything too outlandish. Especially when deducing that any of the Top-4 Drivers Points-wise prior to Road America could win the title. Really?

But where the indelible PT', nee Thrill from The West Hill, a.k.a. "Mr. Chrome Horne" did throw a Fly into the Ointment Pre-Road America for Mwah, was when Tracy mused how it'll be very interesting to see who McLaren Hires as it's IndyCar Driver next year. is it Fernando, Rossi or perhaps Robert Wickens?

Whilst 'Ol R', aka Indy Cars Curmudgeon Robin Miller's Mid-season Assessment was more upon thou entertaining side...

And then Racer's Marshall Pruett totally spiced things up by speculating 'bout Scott Dixon potentially going to McLaren; Huh?

Fast forwarding a month's time, to when Dixon had just scored his third W' of the season at Toronto, his 44th career victory, and increasing his points lead to a healthy 62 markers over Josef Newgarden. Perhaps by the time this rant rolls out, Dixon will have claimed a remarkable fifth IndyCar Championship?

Which would move him to second place Overall for IndyCar titles, one ahead of Mario Andretti and just two shy of 'Ol SuperTex', aka Anthony Joseph Foyt, Jnr's seven National Championships.

But it was Pruett's story 'bout the possibility of the Kiwi' bolting to McLaren next year that set my mind Ah-Wonderin' just how would the Cheepster' go about replacing Dixon?

Although this seems highly unlikely now, as I'm guessing the McLaren IndyCar project has been put on thou Back Burner for now? And is perhaps Alonso McLaren's "Weak Link" instead?

Nonetheless it made me wonder how do you replace a Legend? Not to mention just who has the most IndyCar Championship Crowns pre-2018? For which obviously el Capitano', nee Roger Penske immediately comes to mind.

As Team Penske by my unofficial count has won a total of 15 titles beginning with USAC thru today's unified IndyCar series. As it seems so strange to have to clarify that!

Whilst Chip Ganassi was nipping at Roger's heels with 11 titles, with Dixon leading it's Drivers pantheon. With the long since defunct Newman Haas Racing having secured 8 Crowns, and Mikey A's squad four.

As I still can't help but think of Chip Ganassi's outfit resplendent in its Target colours, akin to Penske's iconic red & white Marlboro hues, albeit both IndyCar outfits have continued on their winning ways.

As I briefly looked at the Questione of winning Drivers this way since the Team always comes first, and the Driver second. Which I guess is a lot like normal Businesses, or work, Eh? Which is perhaps why Roger's been so successful over his nearly 40 years of Fulltime IndyCar participation.

And whilst Dixon will seemingly be staying at Ganassi for the foreseeable future, since who knows if the McLaren rumour was simply a negotiating ploy? Although I've got ZERO idea when the Iceman's current contract expires?

As Penske simply hires the best Drivers possible, presumably by offering a robust Pay-packet, not to mention almost always having the best winning equipment available.

Nonetheless, Father Time will inevitably beg the question of whether or not Chip Ganassi Racing will continue in the post Dixon era? Since the amazing Kiwi' cannot race forever in Indy Cars. Like just ask Juan Pablo Montoya or Helio Castroneves...

But I really don't see Ed Jones as the solution. And the forced "early" retirement of Dario Franchitti never saw a successor achieve success at Ganassi.

Since I was going to use the word "Worthy" for Dario's successor, but TK' Follow-your-Schnoz! Kanaan certainly wasn't NO Slouch! Although Me Thinks he only won one race with Cheep?

So who would Ganassi hire as Dixon's replacement? especially since Ganassi's only interested in winning. Which begs the question, is there a succession plan in place for other members of the team? Starting with Chip and followed by longtime Lieutenant Mike Hull. And do team owners keep a current "short list" of potential Driver replacements?

Since you can have the best Driver on the Grid, but if the Team's not of the same caliber, then they're probably not going to have the greatest results, i.e.; winning Championship titles, or the coveted Borg Warner trophy.

while I hope I'm totally wrong, but the vaunted Mazda Road To Indy (MRTI) Indy Lights Championship seems quite thin upon producing future IndyCar Stars at the moment, especially with its meager eight car Armada.

Which sadly, makes me think of those long forgotten Portland Days North American Touring Car Championship (NATCC) Support Series with the same meager car count; Remember Them? Chirp-Chirp, Bueller?

(Dixon "Hero Card" c/o No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer CARPETS')