Friday, March 3, 2023

2023 IndyCar Preview: Which of these “lower” rung Teams will Impress this year?

And is this Finally the season that A.J. Foyt enterprises gives us something to Smile about? Besides Thar Good lookin’ paint jobs…


Whilst everyone’s getting Jones Over IndyCar finally going racing, beginning with today’s practice sessions at St Pete. It’s worth noting two major changes to this year’s NTT IndyCar Series Championship. The first being the cancellation of Double Points for the Indianapolis 500, Hurrah! Although the Bonus points structure for the Top-12 Qualifiers for the Indy 500 remains intact, which I suppose rewards teams for their hard work at Mother Speedway.


Secondly, this year sees the introduction of Shell’s 100% Renewable Fuel being implemented. With “Gen 2” Sugarcane waste being the primary ingredient sourced from Brazil. With Shell V-Power Fuel being the sole source of Indy Cars Ethanol racing fuel.


While here’s a quick look at our remaining three IndyCar Teams on this year’s Grid with Driver changes.


Dale Coyne Racing

Wins: 0

Drivers: #18 David Malukas and #51 R-Sting Ray robb


Thanks Dale, for continuing to be the longest “Vanna, I wanna Buy a Vowell!” Racing Team names on the Grid, Hya! As I’m Hoping David Malukas in the NO. 18 Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports can continue impressing! As David quickly became my second favourite IndyCar Driver last year! And now being 21yrs Old, can “legally” Drink Champagne on the Podium this year, when scoring more podium finishes…


But the biggest concern is how Malukas and His new Race Engineer Alex Athanasiadis, according to Racer’s Marshall Pruett do?


Meanwhile Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 entry is filled by rookie Sting Ray Robb, who finished a distant runner-up to Indy Lights Champion Linus Lundqvist last year, Chirp-Chirp, Bueller?


But I know that IndyCar Radio Announcer Davey Hamilton is ecstatic to have a fellow Idaho native on the IndyCar Grid this year, albeit I really Don’t know what to expect from Sting Ray. While this tandem forms the youngest IndyCar duo and should be fun to watch.


Juncos Hollinger Racing (JHR)

Wins: 0

Drivers: #77 Callum Ilott and #78 R-Augustin Canapino


This is the team I’m most Hopeful for. Since I’ve always been a Fan of Ricardo Juncos, especially building a team from nothing! And I quickly became a Huge Fan of Callum Ilott’s last year, and I expect more good things from the “Plucky” Englishman this year, since both He and JHR seem to Always be “Punching” Above their respective weight!


Not surprisingly, Ilott finished ahead of Jack Harvey, Devlin DeFrancesco and Kyle Kirkwood in the season standings. And that was along with missing one race after breaking His wrist at Indianapolis. And I’d like to Arse-sume that Callum will finish ahead of His P20 results during His rookie campaign.


Yeah, I’d have liked to have missing Indy Lights Champion Linus Lundqvist in JHR’s second seat. But the reality is that the Swedish HotSchue’ didn’t have any Budget to go racing, thanks Penske Entertainment!


And although I Know Nothing about Augustin Canapino other than He’s won an insane amount of Argentine Touring Cars Championships., like 15! I have to say that I’m most impressed by His tenacity to become an IndyCar Driver!


Not only has He never driven an IndyCar before, not to mention presumably on Ovals. He’s also just immersed Himself in a three months crash course to learn English! And Yeah, I know it was only Spring Training. But check out the names He finished Ahead of, Ahem Helio Castroneves…


Thus although I Don’t think it will happen. Canapino gets my nod for second choice for Rookie Of the Year Honours following Marcus Eric, Err Armstrong!


As let’s just give the Argentine rookie Canapino a chance Y’all!


A.J. Foyt enterprises

Wins: 0

Drivers: #14 Santino Ferrucci and #55 R-Benjamin Pederson


And last again, albeit Hopefully this may be the year that the Foyt team actually moves forward? Since every year is slated to be the year that the perpetually underperforming Foyt team is going to improve…


Thus I’m guessing Y’all know about how respected veteran Engineer Michael Cannon left Chip Ganassi Racing this winter, moving to Foyt to Head up it’s Engineering Department. Along with multiple other staff changes. Meaning it would be nice to think that Foyt will improve this season.


Cannon will be reunited with the Great Santini’, ergo Santino Ferrucci in the No. 14 car. As the pair worked together with good results previously at Dale Coyne Racing.


As this will be Ferrucci’s first Full season IndyCar Gig since leaving Coyne for the supposedly “Greener” pastures of ‘RASSCAR-land at the end of 2020.


And you’d have to think Ferrucci will carry the storied #14 further forward than Kyle Kirkwood did last year, with No Disrespect towards Kirkwood. But Thars got to be a certain amount of pressure driving the iconic No. 14, el Correctomundo?


Meanwhile really Don’t know what to expect from rookie Benjamin Pederson, whose Indy Lights seasons were fairly “Pedestrian,” if being Honest. Finishing fifth Overall with His maiden Lights win last year. Makes me think of Devlin DeFrancesco, who finished sixth Overall in Lights before moving up to Indy Cars last year.


Not to mention driving for Foyt, which Ain’t exactly known for enhancing racing careers! So we’ll have to wait ‘N see what Pederson can do in the “double Nickel” Coyote Orange Dallara…