Monday, June 21, 2021

IndyCar’s Road America “Warriors” Rookie Class

Although it should be Obvious which One’s the Best of these three,


Whilst IndyCar’s vaunted Youth Movement continues soaking up the Headlines, with Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward the NTT IndyCar Series Points leader heading into Road America, and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou nipping at his Heels just One “Marker” behind him. Instead with Kevin Bacon’ Magnussen’s arrival, I found myself very intrigued over what I was originally calling them Road America’s “Ringers.”


And while the two former Haas F1 Drivers soak up the limelight as they join other F1 contemporaries like Sebastien Bourdais, Max Chilton, Marcus Ericsson, Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato. The other two “Fulltime” Rookie drivers aren’t exactly Slouches, while a current NASCAR driver makes his IndyCar debut…


Jimmie Johnson

Chip Ganassi racing #48

DOB: 9/17/75, Age 45

7 Times NASCAR Champion

686 Races/83 Wins/374 Top 10’s/36 Poles (2001-2020)


We All know the story of Seven Times NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson, who’s tied with “The King” (Richard Petty( and the late “Intimidator” (Dale Earnhardt) for most NASCAR Championships coming to IndyCar this year as a Part-time competitor, eschewing the Oval tracks.


And although I could Joke about having to Drink a Shot every time Jimmie Spins Ontrack during his Rookie campaign, One must factor in his insanely limited testing time, having never driven an IndyCar before! Even if the novelty of this late career change is presumably wearing off? Nonetheless I think it’s pretty Cool what he’s trying to accomplish, and I like the fact that it proves it’s Not such an easy switch after all!


Johnson who’s got a new “Teacher” with Scotty Scooter’ Pruett in his ear as his personal Driver Coach, made good use of his private Road America test session to finish P21 in Friday’s First Practice session.


Saturday morning saw Jimmie slide down to P24, before improving one position in Qualifying, P23. Johnson brought out one of the races yellow Flags, Me Thinks the first, when he Spun Off track and Stalled with the Car pointing the wrong way, ultimately finishing 1 lap down in 23rd.


Scott McLaughlin

Team Penske #3

DOB: 6/10/93, Age 28

3 Times Consecutive Australian Supercars Champion

253 Races/56 Wins/106 Podiums/76 Poles (2012-2020)


No matter what you think, New Zealander’ Scott McLaughlin was simply a Bad Arse Tintops’ Driver Down Under! Crushing the opposition whilst driving for DJR/Team Penske en route to claiming three titles between 2018-2020, before coming Stateside to take up his new career as an IndyCar Pilote for El Capitano’, (roger Penske) making his IndyCar debut at the 2020 Season Finale at St Petersburg, Florida.


And although some of the “shine” has disappeared since not only scoring his season’s best result (to date) of second place on his Oval debut at Texas Motor Speedway, making History as part of IndyCar’s first ever New Zealand 1-2. The Kiwi’ did claim (ROY) Rookie Of the Year Honours at Mother Speedway, despite a lackluster 20th place finish after a Speeding penalty in Pitlane.


Yet I’ll find it Uber’ Funny if Romain Grosjean wins Rookie Of the Year season’s Honours in IndyCar, despite not running the first two Oval tracks, since McLaughlin should be the clear favourite…


According to For The Love of Indy’s Raymond Hando, McLaughlin’s Twisties’ (Non Ovals) average finish prior to Road America was 14.4, with a lone Top 10 finish of 8th at the Indy GP.


Friday’s First Practice saw the Kiwi’ finish P8, second quickest of Team Penske’s Quartet, besting Will Power (10th) and Simon Pagenaud. (17th)


On Saturday morning’s second practice, Scott was the slowest Penske in 16th, and Qualified one position lower in P17. And McLaughlin’s name wasn’t mentioned very much at all during the race, where he quietly finished P14.


Cody Ware

Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing #52

DOB: 11/7/95, Age 25

NASCAR: 39 Starts/0 Wins/0 Top 10’s/0 Poles (2017-2021)

2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series LMP2 Am Champion


Of the six IndyCar Drivers in Thar own virtual race, Cody Ware, son of NASCAR Team Owner Rick Ware is the one I know the least about. And I’d say his roundy Round career is lest than flattering, with only one Top 10 Cup lite finish over his combined 73 Trucks, Cup lite and Cup career to date, being a 7th place finish in the 2020 Charlotte Roval, while Cody is currently contesting his first full Cup season this year.


On a side note, Cody’s height is listed as 6-feet 4-inches, which might make him the Tallest Driver in IndyCar? As he might be a Wee Bitamyte’ taller than Graham Rahal?


Ware made good use of his previous Road America testing on Friday,and wound up P22, the “Meat” of a Jimmie Johnson P21 Kevin Bacon P23 Sandwich!


Cody was Dead last Saturday morning, P25 after a Spin and Stalling, then qualified in the same position,25th. But he kept his nose clean and finished a very respectable 19th, one position ahead of Conor Daly.