We’re so excited the season finally starts this week and wanted to get some thoughts down on what we’re watching for, liking, disliking, etc. So read on for The Good, The Meh, The Bad and The Ugly.
- The wait is nearly over. ’nuff said.
- Ruuuuuuuubennnnsssssssssssss – 19-year Formula 1 veteran Rubens Barrichello (@rubarrichello) has joined @kvracing and we could not be more delighted. He’s gonna be a joy to watch race.
- DW12 – We’ve been okay with the look of the new car from the photos we’d seen, but seeing in person is believing. In motion and with a nice livery, DW12 looks like an IndyCar, but it’s kinda edgy and different too. Fans at @InfineonRaceway for the late February Chevy test were commenting that it looked like a blend of a Dallara, the Batmobile and a Corvette or other sportscar. The general tone of the comments we heard was positive, and race fans are excited for the new car as well as engine competition. (We agree!)
- Despite the 2011 season ending with tragedy and heartbreak, the momentum and vibe are still rolling and increasing for IndyCar. Positive changes in the staff and plans for the future (can you say Turbo?), as well as a larger field than anticipated for 2012 have IndyCar fans revved and ready to see it unfold.
- Activation. More and better. It’s happening and we love it.
- Only a month ’til our first in-person race, the always-awesome Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. You just gotta be there: historic, well-run and always a blast!
- The double-edged sword that is Danica is now NASCAR’s problem. We don’t dislike the lady, and are grateful for what she did to help IndyCar, but one tiny 5′ person cast a huge shadow across the other personalities in the sport and became a distraction for her race team. It’ll be good to see other drivers move into the spotlight.
- The schedule – yes, you read that right. It’s just in the “Meh” category and not “The Bad.” We DO need more ovals, but only if they want us and we can race there successfully and safely.We’re not worried for the long-term – we’ll get more ovals back as we grow and learn the new car’s safety level at banked tracks. <soapbox> But we’re already burned out on the complainers who want more ovals and whine that they’re quitting as fans, etc. We wish they’d pipe down and recognize the situation for what it is, and then get off their butts and go to the oval tracks so they can be profitable. </soapbox>
- The sting of losing @DanWheldon is still very real and present. St. Pete was his adopted home town, and various touches are being planned in rememberance. The city has renamed the street at Turn 10 after Dan, a monument is being designed and his little sister @hollywheldon will waive the green flag and present the winner’s trophy at the @GPSTPETE. All lovely tributes, but we deeply wish the man with the teeth and the shoe collection was still here pranking folks…
- The engine shortage situation, particularly at Lotus. We understand that they got a late start but wish there would be enough supply for the demand so more teams could race full-time. As it is, we expect the full-time ranks to swell a bit starting with Indianapolis.
- Several drivers we’d like to see are not currently with a seat. @PaulTracy3, @PippaMann, @WadeCunningham, @Plowey (we’re happy he’s racing in ALMS, but hate it he’s not in an IndyCar), @TomasScheckter, @biaracing and others are still working their angles to see if there’s a way to participate this season.
- Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE @TonyKanaan, but oh man, the paint on his car is just, well, blinding. At the @InfineonRaceway (or is that InfiNEON?) test, there were jokes flying about the eye-searing color. (“DayGlo…we built the black light right in!” “Now you see me, now you can’t see,” “The Geico gecko just changed his blues name to Blind Lizard.”) For safety’s sake, we think each track should hand out a do-it-yourself kit and instructions for observing the #11 car through a shoebox pinhole projector.
We’re counting down to Friday morning, when the practice sessions begin and the season is finally underway. You can find links to schedule, broadcast and pit assignment details and other information on our St. Pete page . Is it Friday yet?