Alexander Rossi's 2016 Indy 500 winner (Sidepod reads Napa Auto Parts) with Marmon Wasp in background. (The Tomaso Collection)
Tuh-Duh Ladies 'N Germs', it's that time 'O year again, when your Humble No Fenders Scribe Tomaso rolls out his Uber UN-Scientific choices for the traditional Year's End melee...
2018 IndyCar Champion: Scott Dixon
2018 Indy 500: Will Power
2018 Rookie Of the Year: Robert Wickens
1. Driver of The Year
Winner: Alexander Rossi
Otay, this choice is biased, which I guess All of these are, Eh? As thee Californian Kid's quickly vaulted to the top of my favourite IndyCar Drivers list for becoming IndyCar Champion.
although the obvious choice for this category would be Scotty thee "Iceman 2.0" Dixon, who's probably the Baddest Bad Arse IndyCar Driver currently. Nonetheless, I enjoy rootin' for the Underdog, which Rossi still is for now, especially when it comes to closing out Championships.
Rossi had a very commendable year, scoring 3 Wins and 3 Poles en route to finishing runner-up behind Mr. 9-lifes' Dixon, with his only major blemish being his over-exuberance to hold off Andretti Autosport team-mate Ryan Hunter-Reay at Detroit. After starting the race from Pole and leading most of the way, and instead of finishing second to "The Dude!" He cracked 'N Uncharacteristically crashed into the wall...
Scott Dixon, Will Power, Josef Newgarden, etc.
2. Biggest Disappointment of The Year
Sadly, this is a No Brainer for All the wrong reasons... As thee Young Wicky', aka Robert Wickens, whose rookie IndyCar season was going so spectacularly, ended in a flash upon crashing mightily during the Pocono 500, for which possibly will be his last IndyCar race ever?
3. Race of The Year
Oval Track Winner: Iowa
Although the obvious choice is almost always Mother Speedway, nee Indy. For Mwah, that's too easy of a choice, and instead I'm selecting Iowa simply for the Feel Good factor of thou Mayor 'O Hinchtown getting the "Monkey Off his Back" after the blight of Indianapolis. Not to mention running down the Mighty Penske of Josef Newgarden for the W'...
Twisties' Track Winner: Portland
Yeah, Thars' probably a better choice out there, but for Mwah, even though I decided at the last moment to forego attending my Home Race's return. Along with being biased towards the Rose City for several reasons. I simply found this the most exhilarating race of the season for Mwah besides attending Indy!
As how could Y'all not enjoy the Drama of Not knowing who was gonna win the entire event, with it's surprising outcome...
Road America, Mid Ohio?
4. Most Improved Team of the Year
Winner: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Although the team suffered mightily at some 'lil 'Ol Oval race in May, with Newbie' Race Engineer Leena Gade taking the Fall. Nonetheless the Team was Dramatically Improved Overall, especially with its Rock Star No. 2 Driver Robert Wickens shoring up the previously Topsy-Turvy performances of Ye Mad Rooski', aka Mikhail Aleshin. Not to mention James Hinchcliffe winning at Iowa.
5. Most Disappointing Team of the Year
Winner: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Obviously, the easy choice would be the perpetually under-performing A.J.Foyt enterprises, whilst many would probably single out Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for its humiliating Month 'O May.
And may be it's just Mwah, but it seemed like the Hype surrounding thee Graminator', nee Graham Rahal the entire season, who was supposed to play the Spoiler Role for the title fight simply never showed up.
As the team and Rahal Jnr suffered the entire season to qualify decently, whilst new team-mate Taku-san', nee Takuma Sato took some time acclimatizing to his new surrounds, albeit giving the team it's one true Highlight of the season with his improvable win at Portland.
6. Most Improved Driver of the Year
Winner: Spencer Pigot
My original choice was gonna be Marco Andretti, but even though Marco's season was improved, I'm simply not an Andretti Fan, and Marco shouldn't be toiling in obscurity when comparing his other Andretti Autosport team-mates accomplishments.
Therefore I went with FAST EDDIE'S Wingman, nee Spencer Pigot instead, who although hasn't exactly made waves in Indy Cars, nonetheless he's quietly improved each season to date.
7. Most Disappointing Driver of the Year
Winner: Simon Pagenaud
Although the driver CARPETS' likes calling Pageantry', who's also known here on No Fenders as "symone Pagenoe." Whilst the Frenchman's season wasn't exactly a Bust, nonetheless, he struggled mightily to come to grips with the new UAK, nee Universal Body Kit and never stood atop the podium.
While both Team Penske team-mates racked up multiple Poles and Wins, with 4 Poles and 4Wins apiece if I remember correctly, most notably Will Power's victory at Indianapolis.
8. Comeback Driver of The Year
Winner: Pietro Fittipaldi
Unfortunately we won't get to see the young Brazilian in Indy Cars again next year, which is a Shame. As Pietro, the Grandson of some Dude named Emerson, who's won the Indy 500 twice displayed a most gritty determination to return to the cockpit immediately after suffering a Narly leg breaking accident in sports Cars at the Mighty Spa Francorchamps.
9. "Big Boyz Pants" Award
Winner: James Hinchcliffe
For "Manning Up" and Sitting Out Indy, Not buying A Ride...
As that's the Short 'N Sweet explanation of this Award aptly claimed by its Instigator several seasons ago. As hopefully this will set the correct precedence 'O Not buying A Ride for the Biggest Race of the Year, which is the whole point of having only eleven rows of three taking the Green Flag at IMS on Memorial Day weekend...
10. Rookie of The Year
Winner: Robert Wickens
Although this likeable KuhNuck' really wasn't a rookie experience-wise, nevertheless it was his rookie campaign in Indy Cars, where he Shone Brightly! And probably deserved to have stood atop the podium at least once before that fateful day at Pocono.
Yet Wickens performance was so strong, as I believe he was sixth overall points-wise upon his horrible accident, that he still won Rookie Of the Year (ROY) Honours despite missing the season's final three races.
(Photo c/o No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer CARPETS')