Friday, December 23, 2016

2016 Motorsports Christmas List

It is that time of year again and I don't know about you but it feels Christmas is getting here quicker than ever before. It won't be soon until the 2017 motorsports season gets rolling with the Dakar Rally and Supercross followed by a handful of endurance races from Dubai to Bathurst to Daytona and then NASCAR will be on track for Speedweeks and a few weeks after that a plethora of series such as Supercars, IndyCar and Formula One will be under way. Until then, let's hand out a few gifts that could make the 2017 a little bit better.

To Pocono Raceway: Wet-weather tires for ovals. That way it won't have to host three Monday races ever again.

Also to Pocono Raceway: A return for the 3/4-mile oval that way Indy Lights, silver crown, Pro Mazda, U.S. F2000 could run as support races to the IndyCar race. And I guess NASCAR could have the East Series run there on the Cup weekends.

With that out of the way, let's hand out series specific gifts and we will start with IndyCar:

To KV Racing/Carlin: Funding to keep that car on the grid for the 2017 season and be able to put a competent driver on the grid. Maybe someone like Sage Karam or Jack Hawksworth or RC Enerson.

To all other IndyCar teams: A smooth and affordable transition to the universal aero kit for the 2018 season and regulations that grandfather in all aero kit pieces from the 2015-2017 that way there is plenty of spare pieces for teams and it can help curb spending for not only full-time teams but Indianapolis 500 one-offs as well (this is for you Dreyer & Reinbold and Lazier Burns Racing).

Another gift for the to teams and many drivers: More horsepower and less downforce for the oval races, especially the short tracks of Phoenix, Iowa and Gateway. Because never has a fan said they want to see an oval race with cars low on horsepower and a push-to-pass button.

Now for some Formula One-related gifts:

A handful of races with three or four teams with at least one car in the fight coming toward the end of the race.

Spreading the races out so teams aren't frantically bouncing around the world.

Liberty Media Group not butchering the series and not taking the U.S. television coverage from NBC Sports.

Now some NASCAR-related gifts:

A minimum ride-height that gets the cars off being suction cupped to the race track and prevents cars from getting the front end torn off if a car spins through the grass.

The restrain not to turn the Brickyard 400 into a restrictor-plate race.

A return to Memphis International Raceway for the Grand National Series and the Truck Series.

To North American sports car racing:

The return of the Paul Revere 250. I am not sure what series it could run the race. IMSA is busy that weekend at Watkins Glen. PWC probably wouldn't be welcomed at Daytona. Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge? Maybe.

To IMSA DPi teams:

A class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

To Formula E:

Races between Thanksgiving and the beginning of March. Because it makes no sense to have one race in a four-and-a-half span. Maybe go to South Africa or Australia or New Zealand or somewhere in the Middle East.

To MotoGP:

What can you give to the series that already has everything? A return to Laguna Seca? And a round at Barber Motorsports Park. Yes. These have been on the Christmas list for a few years but until they happen they are staying on the list. How about I throw Dorna Sports a brain to realize giving beIN Sport the U.S. broadcast rights of MotoGP was moronic as now about 25 people can see the top motorsports series in the world?

To the FIA World Endurance Championship:

A round at Road America because Austin appears to be on its last legs.

Now for some driver-specific gifts:

To Fernando Alonso: A shot at Le Mans with Porsche.

To Jenson Button: Rides in the Suzuka 1000km, FIA World Rallycross and the Indianapolis 500.

To Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen: Brakes. Lots of brakes.

To Will Power: Diapers and baby wipes.

To Scott Dixon: A sponsor and a stunning livery.

To Oriol Servià: One final full season in IndyCar.

To Josef Newgarden: A NASCAR simulator seeing as how he will be in Cup within the next five years.

To Jimmie Johnson: A new trophy case. He might need it.

To Martin Truex, Jr.: Reliable engines when he needs them the most.

To Shane Van Gisbergen: His own private plane for all his traveling to and from Australia for races.

To Johnny O'Connell: An in-face apology from A.J. Foyt.

To Michael Shank and Katherine Legge: A Honda engine and a DW12 chassis for the Indianapolis 500.

To Antonio Giovinazzi: A shot in the Sauber seat.

To Alex Bowman: A full-time Cup ride.

To Adrien Tambay: Boxing lessons and a rematch with Olivier Panis.

To Nico Rosberg: A canoe. He is going to need a new hobby.

To Felix Rosenqvist: A shot in Formula One. Unfortunately, it will have to be at Manor but it is a start.

To Matthew Brabham: An LMP2 ride in either the WEC or ELMS because he is the top silver driver in world.

To Laguna Seca: Stability in operators. Just have it be a group that keeps the doors open and can figure out how to get the best out of the limited amount of events the track can hosts in a year.

To people who bought tickets to the Boston Grand Prix: A full refund.

To Nelson Piquet, Jr.: A ride in the Pau Grand Prix.

To Stewart-Haas Racing: Patience as the team switches to Ford.

To Andrew Palmer: A full-recovery from his injuries suffered at Lime Rock Park.

To Brian Scott, Tony Stewart, Mark Webber and Johnny Mowlem: Peaceful retirements.

And to the rest of you, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and hopefully an extended weekend seeing as how Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. Wherever you are, I hope you spend the holiday with the people you love the most and get to create many wonderful memories for years to come. Coming up for the final week of 2016 will be a few more sets of predictions for the 2017 season.

Merry Christmas from For The Love of Indy.