In 2013 the new cars will have been paid for, so perhaps more team budget can go into variable costs like running at more events. Hopefully the season can grow by 2 – 3 dates next year, primarily focused on beginning the season earlier, perhaps the week before the superbowl. Starting the season off at Phoenix and then a couple weeks later running a single day, made for TV, Monday night affair at Homestead (under the lights to shroud the lack of fans) another 2 weeks to either a slightly earlier St Pete or Houston race followed there after by whichever of those hadn’t occurred already.
But that’s for 2013 which has little business being in a 2012 season preview…
Stuff You Should Be Aware of for 2012…2012 Will be the Year of Ryan Hunter Reay
After blundering through first half of the 2011 season filled with a variety of mental misques, Ryan finished the season from Iowa on as hot and reliable as nearly anyone. He had the third highest average finish behind Dixon and Dario. Ryan has been fast in the both the practices and ill fated runs his teams have had in the 24 hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. He has been near the top of the charts at many of the preseason testing sessions and he looks comfortable being the team leader at Andretti Autosport. This is his year to emerge from being a race winner to having the maturity of being a championship challenger.
The 2012 Rookie of the Year will Be Simon Pagenot
The ROY this year probably would only be an interesting contest if Rubens were allowed to play. Josef Newgarden would be a strong favorite in any year that didn’t feature an ALMS Prototype champion who also happened to have already cut his teeth in Champcar and a couple IndyCar cameos last season. But this is not that year. The other driver eligible for the ROY is Katherine Legge. No offense to Katherine but based on the preseason evidence, at least initially, success at Team Dragon Lotus will be measured in little things … like getting the car painted …JR Hildebrand will be Your 2012 Indy 500 Champion…
Truth In advertising…On occasion this site masquerades as being something other than the JRH Internet fan club. But not today. Wrongs will be righted, Justice will prevail and JR will close the deal in 2012. Patience, intelligence and superior hygiene will prevail as the well balanced and surprisingly quick Lotuses of Alex Tagliani and Oriol Servia have engines blow while running 1 / 2 with 50 laps remaining, JR will race by to the lead and become the new king of fuel management as the hard charging Scott Dixon runs dry on the back stretch of lap 200. Then JR will Drink the milk, kiss babies and cure leppers.
Rubens is a big boy, he’ll do well for himself and likely win a race or two…But most importantly he’ll have a blast in the series and will enjoy a season racing with friends, not back stabbing enemies. What Emerson Fittipaldi discovered 20 years ago is still true, the IndyCar paddock, while on occasion fiercely competitive with each other, understands the meaning of Competitive Brotherhood.
Right now I have Tix in hand for Barber, Indy and Milwaukee. Fontana is a 50/50 proposition and Mid Ohio as it does every year will depend on the Heat and Humidity Index. I hope that the weekend at Barber will reignite my passion for this site. This off season has nearly killed it. I hope to continue building a portfolio of images on and particularly off the track to share with everyone via links to my Smugmug account.
Last November I created a limited edition calendar from images I had taken in 2011. 10 copies were made and distributed. I purposely didn’t want to create something that might compete with the IndyCar charity calendar. I received a number of comments and suggestions from either people who received the calendar or who saw the individual images as I posted them during the season encouraging me to make some of these available for people to purchase. So if you might be interested in purchasing an 8 by 10 for an autograph session or some other purpose go HERE…find an Image you like and click the "Buy" button in the upper right above the Image.
And Here’s to a GREAT 2012 season!