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2000 Pre-Season Thoughts

SCHEDULE: For the first time in a while, there are no venue changes. Some dates shuffled around, but we are looking at the same 20 races. That can not be said for just about everything else which saw quite an upheaval.

MISSING: Just about all the Americans, Wally, two teams, Goodyear, the Eagle, and worse of all, Gonzalo Rodriquez, Greg Moore, and Tony Bettenhausen.

ADDED: Two one-car teams (and virtually a new Team Penske), six rookies, the Indy 500 champion, and a new marketing guru.

RETURNING: The defending champion, Mo Nunn, Lola back at Newman-Haas, and of course, Deep Throttle. And maybe Alex Zanardi?

CHAMPION: Michael Andretti. You can bet your house on it. If you're a little leery about that, bet your friend's house.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Kenny Brack. Since you already bet your house, bet your car on this one.

NATIONS' CUP: Well, it certainly won't be the United States of America...

NOTICED TEAMS: There will be three teams everybody will talk about. Two for good reasons -- Newman-Haas (they got the package) and Team Green (they found the groove). One for a good story line -- Team Ganassi.

FORGOTTEN TEAMS: PacWest (again!) and Della Penna (if it wasn't for money problems, Richie Hearn and Diane Holl would have propelled this team into the surprise category).

UNNOTICED TEAMS: Arciero/Team Racing Group. But not for lack of trying.

INDY LIGHTS TEAM: Forsythe Championship Racing. If they come back, and they don't nuke the Swift.

PERPLEXING TEAMS: Team Rahal (will they or won't they?), Walker (pure buy-a-ride or has talent?), Mo Nunn (can they really deliver on all those expectations?), and Team Penske (do you have to ask?).

SURPRISE TEAM: Dale Coyne Racing. Well, we did say it was a surprise.

CAREER ENDER: This year was supposed to be Bryan Herta's last chance. It's over before the green flag even waves. Runner-up -- Richie Hearn for being an honorable guy.

PRESSURE: Patrick Carpentier was never "supposed" to be as fast as Greg Moore. Now, he is expected to be quicker than Alex Tagliani. If he's not...

HIGH EXPECTATIONS: Forget those who are expected to win. The highest expectations fall on Gil de Ferran and Helio Castro-Neves. The completely revamped Team Penske starts and ends with these two. They must deliver for the Captain.

WATCH: Alex Tagliani (don't lose sight of him because of Kenny Brack), Gualter Salles (he's got the Lola-Ford package, and he's done well with a lot worse), Juan Montoya (Toyota or no Toyota, he's still blindingly fast), Roberto Moreno (well, that one's kinda obvious), and Michel Jourdain, Jr. (though, a lot now depends on how the team does without it's owner).

DON'T FORGET: Gil de Ferran (everybody is talking about Helio Castro-Neves) and Adrian Fernandez (all the attention is on Roberto Moreno).

EXCITING: No matter what happens this year, you know Montoya, Papis, Tracy, and Andretti will provide the best excitement.

ENGINES: The Toyota will be fast this year. Guaranteed. The reliability will be the question mark.

DOWN TO TWO: There may be only two [worthwhile] chassis out there, and perhaps the Lola is considered the better one, but Reynard will assuredly not sit back. This could be a very interesting dogfight between them.

LAND OF THE NOT SO RISING SUN: Last year, we asked, "Hattori, Hattori, Takagi -- which one will assume the crown of King Hiro?" Little did we know that would go beyond prophetic, into the realm of downright scary. We didn't find a successor to King Hiro; we found someone to make us totally forget about Hiro. None other than Shigeaki Hattori, as we all came to know and love him thanks to our scorecard. Now, Shiggy has moved his horror act to, appropriately, the IRL. So, who will replace him this year? Nakano or Kurosawa? Do we even care anymore?

FIRST BONEHEAD MOVE: Gerry Forsythe. Just what could Swift possibly be offering to make it worthwhile to lose your Chief Engineer, Team President, driver, assorted other personnel, and now the entire team?

HANDFORD: The new varieties of the Handford devices for the ovals and Road America so far seem very promising. Let's hope so. We need some great racing to overlook the state of affairs in open wheel racing.

Copyright 2000 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.


Read what others said.


Predicted Final Season Results
1. Michael Andretti
2. Paul Tracy
3. Dario Franchitti
4. Christian Fittipaldi
5. Adrian Fernandez
6. Kenny Brack
7. Max Papis
8. Juan Montoya
9. Roberto Moreno
10. Jimmy Vasser
11. Helio Castro-Neves
12. Tony Kanaan
13. Alex Tagliani
14. Gil de Ferran
15. Patrick Carpentier
16. Mauricio Gugelmin
17. Michel Jourdain, Jr.
18. Gualter Salles
19. Mark Blundell
20. Cristiano da Matta

Predicted Rookie Season Results
1. Kenny Brack
2. Alex Tagliani
3. Oriol Servia
4. Shinji Nakano
5. Norberto Fontana
6. Takuya Kurosawa

Predicted Nations' Cup Results
1. Brazil
2. United States
3. Canada
4. Scotland
5. Mexico
6. Italy
7. Columbia
8. England

Other Predictions
Everybody will still hate Tony George. Andretti and Tracy will have a coming together. They will blame each other. Their fans will blame each other. Their owners will blame each other. Carl Haas will throw his cigar at Barry Green. They will all kiss and make up. Once Chip Ganassi starts losing again, his whining will return. Midway through the season, people will be begging for the return of Wally Dallenbach. Paul Tracy will lead the movement. Team Rahal will blow at least one race for one of their drivers. When Kenny Brack wins his first race, IRL fans will jump up and down proclaiming how great their series is because one of their drivers won a CART race, totally forgetting that Brack represents everything that the IRL distastes about CART -- a foreigner bred on road racing who bought his first ride. Tony George will piss off Bernie Ecclestone, and the United States Grand Prix will be no more. Cleveland will be great. So will Michigan. Detroit will suck. So will Vancouver. It will rain in Portland. It won't at Laguna Seca. It will be too damn cold for Nazareth. It will be too damn hot for Michigan. No fans will show up in Rio. The promoters will disappear without paying anyone. CART will insist on going back. IMG officials will be booed at Cleveland. Just because. Bryan Herta will win Laguna Seca. Even if he's not driving. Mario Andretti will win Le Mans! And finally, everybody will still hate Tony George.
 
 
2008 Thoughts
Long Beach

2007 Thoughts
Preseason Las Vegas Long Beach Houston
Portland Cleveland Mont Tremblant Toronto
Edmonton San Jose Road America Belgium
Holland Surfers Paradise Mexico City Postseason

2006 Thoughts
Preseason Long Beach Houston Monterrey
Milwaukee Portland Cleveland Toronto
Edmonton San Jose Denver Montreal
Road America Surfer's Paradise Mexico City Postseason

2005 Thoughts
Preseason Long Beach Monterrey Milwaukee
Portland Cleveland Toronto Edmonton
San Jose Denver Montreal Las Vegas
Surfer's Paradise Mexico City Postseason

2004 Thoughts
Preseason Long Beach Monterrey Milwaukee
Portland Cleveland Toronto Vancouver
Road America Denver Montreal Laguna Seca
Las Vegas Surfer's Paradise Mexico City Postseason

2003 Thoughts
Preseason St. Petersburg Monterrey Long Beach
Brands Hatch Germany Milwaukee Laguna Seca
Portland Cleveland Toronto Vancouver
Road America Mid-Ohio Montreal Denver
Miami Mexico City Surfer's Paradise Postseason

2002 Thoughts
Preseason Monterrey Long Beach Japan
Milwaukee Laguna Seca Portland Chicago
Toronto Cleveland Vancouver Mid-Ohio
Road America Montreal Denver
England Miami Surfer's Paradise
Fontana Mexico City Postseason

2001 Thoughts
Preseason Mexico Long Beach Nazareth
Japan Milwaukee Detroit Portland
Cleveland Toronto Michigan Chicago
Mid-Ohio Road America Vancouver German
England Houston Laguna Seca
Surfer's Paradise Fontana Postseason

2000 Thoughts
Preseason Miami Long Beach Brazil
Japan Nazareth Milwaukee Detroit
Portland Cleveland Toronto Michigan
Chicago Mid-Ohio Road America Vancouver
Laguna Seca Gateway USGP Houston
Surfer's Paradise Fontana Postseason

1999 Thoughts
Preseason Miami Japan Long Beach
Nazareth Brazil Gateway Milwaukee
Portland Cleveland Road America Toronto
U.S. 500 Detroit Mid-Ohio Chicago
Vancouver Laguna Seca Houston
Surfer's Paradise Fontana Postseason

1998 Thoughts
Preseason Miami Japan Long Beach
Nazareth Brazil Gateway Milwaukee
Detroit Portland Cleveland Toronto
U.S. 500 Mid-Ohio Road America Vancouver
Laguna Seca Houston Surfer's Paradise Fontana

1997 Thoughts
Miami Surfer's Paradise Long Beach Nazareth
Brazil Gateway Milwaukee Detroit
Portland Cleveland Toronto
U.S. 500 Mid-Ohio Road America
Vancouver Laguna Seca Fontana
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