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
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
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
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.
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