Monday, February 27, 2023

2023 IndyCar Preview: Will Team Penske Stay on Top?

And will they continue Monopolizing the Top step of the Podium this year?


Holy Six Months Offseason Batman! Are we really about to go racing once again some 175 days later? With the 2023 Season Opener at St Pete this Sunday, March 5th, which Y’all can watch on Big NBC.


This year I’m doing things a Wee Bitamyte’ different. Annd will look first at the four IndyCar Teams whose Driver lineups remain unchanged.


Team Penske

Wins: 9

(#2) Josef Newgarden: 5, (#3) Scott McLaughlin: 3 and (#12) Will Power: 1

2022 IndyCar Champion: Will Power


Whilst it’s not impossible for Will Power to become our latest consecutive IndyCar Champion, I’d say the Odds are firmly against Him repeating this season. Since the last driver to do so was Dario Franchitti between 2009-2011. And only six drivers have done so in the 44 years since the formation of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) in 1979. Those being Rick Mears, Bobby Rahal, Alex Zanardi, Gil de Ferran, Sebastien Bourdais and the aforementioned Dario “REO Speedwagon” Franchitti.


Even more against Power’s Odds was His uncharacteristic winning the title with just one single victory, which I believe the last person to do that was Big Al’, aka Al Unser in 1985.


Yet with Team Penske retaining it’s overly potent lineup, it has to be one of the Odds On favourites to win the IndyCar title again.


As I’d really enjoy seeing ScottyMac’, aka Scott McLaughlin win His first Open Wheel Racing Crown this year. But I suspect it will be Josef Newgarden instead, becoming a Three times IndyCar Series Champion. Since you’ve just gotta think He’s super Hungry after last year’s defeat to Power.


Rahal Letterman Lanigan racing (RLLR)

Wins: 0

Drivers: #15 Graham Rahal, #30 Jack Harvey and #45 Christian Lundgaard

2022 Rookie Of the Year: Christian Lundgaard


The Big News over the ridiculous Offseason was the swapping of Car numbers between Jack Harvey and Christian Lundgaard, which surely was done in Hopes of having the Hy-Vee Car Up front more this year. As Harvey had a miserable first year at RLLR. And while some are saying one of the unspoken stories this year is how will Kyle Kirkwood do? I’d say an even bigger storyline is what will Harvey do this season?


Graham Rahal remains as the team’s leader and is Hoping for a big improvement this year with the return of His former race winning Engineer Eddie Jones, seeing Allan McDonald move over to Harvey’s #30 ride. Yet it appears that it’ll be Christian Lundgaard in the No. 45 leading the way for this Mid-pack team once again., provided He doesn’t suffer a Sophomore Slump…


Meyer Shank Racing (MSR)

Wins: 0

Drivers: #06 Helio Castroneves and #60 simon Pagenaud


Longtime readers of No Fenders will know that I totally Despise that ‘Ol Dancin’ Fool Hulio’. And even though the unofficial “Spokesman” for Just For Men has just won His third Rolex timepiece at Daytona. Along with saying all the right things about His upcoming second Full season at MSR. I’m sorry, but this will be another lost year for Helio Castroneves!


As I’ll even predict it’s His final Full season ride in Indy Cars. And if MSR Doesn’t put Tom “The Bomb” Blomqvist into this car next year, then I Don’t know what MSR’s thinking?


Symone’, aka Pageantry’, nee Simon Pagenaud’s No Spring Chicken either. As the affable Frenchman who was my favourite driver for years will turn 39 ten days before some 500-miler’ Oval race this May. Preceeded by His teammate, the Elder Statesman of IndyCar turning a robust 48 on May 10th. Giving MSR the Oldest Driver tandem on the Grid!


As I really Hope that Pagenaud can improve His results this year, and give MSR something to be excited about. As you’d think having a technical alliance wit Andretti Autosport should produce better results, other than it’s single Indy 500 victory…


Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR)

Wins: 0

Drivers: #20 Conor Daly and #21 Rinus VeeKay


Really not sure why ECR is struggling? As I like both of these drivers who are returning for their second Full season together. But Rinus VeeKay finished 12th Overall. With Conor Daly finishing P17 Overall, behind the Top two Rookies, i.e.; Christian Lundgaard and David Malukas!


Surely Thar Engineering Staff isn’t that bad, but I can only surmise this is where the team’s lacking in performance? Along with having a smaller budget vs. the other three teams with no Driver changes…


And I left out the Boss Fast Eddie’, aka Ed Carpenter. Who’ll continue His Ovals Only programme in the team’s third No. 33 entry, since I’m just focusing upon Full season Drivers instead. Which Arse-sumedly will one day be the bridge to ECR running three Fulltime entries.