Monday, September 2, 2013

Where IndyCar Stands After Baltimore

As IndyCar heads into their 34 day Labor Day/Autumn break, a lot was shaken up after Baltimore. Let's cover all the bases for you:

  • Helio Castroneves leads Scott Dixon by forty-nine points with three races to go. Simon Pagenaud is third after his victory seventy back with Marco Andretti a point back of Pagenaud and Ryan Hunter-Reay another three back of Andretti.
  • Only the top eleven remain mathematically eligible for the championship. That would mean Justin Wilson, Dario Franchitti, James Hinchcliffe, Will Power, Charlie Kimball and Tony Kanaan still have a shot. However, these drivers are only eligible if Castroneves does not run the remaining three races. Should Castroneves start the remaining three races and AJ Allmendinger run Fontana, the most points a driver could gain on Castroneves is 145. Knowing this fact, should Castroneves start race one at Houston, he will eliminated Kanaan from championship contention but the top ten in points will still have a mathematically shot at the title.

If you are trying to keep track of who is mad at who, here you go:
  • Scott Dixon thinks Beaux Barfield should be fired.
  • Bobby Rahal was mad at Tony Kanaan. But they're making up over Lebanese food and wine.
  • S├ębastien Bourdais is mad at Simon Pagenaud. 
  • Justin Wilson is mad at S├ębastien Bourdais. 
  • Scott Dixon is also mad at Graham Rahal and Will Power.
  • Graham Rahal was a little peeved at Tristan Vautier after Saturday incident in qualifying.
  • It seems Dario Franchitti is still mad at Will Power.
  • Who knows how Roger Penske feels about Marco Andretti.
Where we also stand is believing this weekend next year will be the final race of the season and we don't even though where that season finale will be. Fontana seems the obvious choice but that was rumored to move to June. Either way it appears Fontana will be in the heat of summer after the race was moved to October this year to avoid that. Baltimore is moving to another date not just next year but it appears 2015 as well because the convention center which is used as the IndyCar paddock has been reserved for Labor Day weekend 2015 by the American Legion. Could it move a few weeks up in August? Sure, but it will be just as hot and humid as it has been the last few years. My take: Don't run an IMS road course race in the beginning of May (or at all), move Baltimore to early May when it's cooler.

Going back for a second, the 2014 season could be over by this time next year. Think about that? Even if the season started the week after the Super Bowl in February, that's still only seven months of racing and five months off. How is that any different than starting late March and going to mid-October and taking all but one day of September off? Not to mention, if Fontana is going to be the 2014 season finale and that race will be Labor Day weekend, when are you running it? Saturday night against the first Saturday night of the college football season, Sunday night against the NASCAR race at Atlanta or avoid that and race it Sunday afternoon in the heat of the afternoon in Southern California or race it Monday night against really nothing but against at least one college football game?

And international exhibition races aren't going to draw new fans to the series. By the way, what is going to draw current fans to tuning in for exhibition races? They don't count for anything, the drivers have nothing to race for unless there is a large prize and they could be on at an ungodly hour. I am all for international races but just as exhibitions make no sense. 

Now the series is off but don't worry, there is PLENTY OF TIME to talk about the 2014 schedule, 2014 silly season and there many other racing series still in action. Stay tuned.