2001 Postseason Thoughts
CHAMPIONSHIP: A great battle between two great drivers, 11 different winners, 19 different podium
finishers, and 22 different top four finishers (out of the 25 regular drivers).
DE FERRAN: Everybody knew he had potential. Some said he was too nice. Others said he was too
conservative. There were some who said he would never be more than an overachiever on small teams and wasn't
strong enough on ovals. They were all wrong. He's nice and shrewd. He's smart and aggressive. He's
an overachiever and a force on ovals. His last turn, last lap outside move on Kenny Brack at Rockingham put
any remaining critics to bed. And winning back to back championships puts Gil in unique company.
BRACK: With his road racing background in F3000 and his oval experience in the IRL, one would have
figured Kenny was a shoo-in once he got on a roll. They always say you first have to lose a championship before
you can win one. Brack lost this championship. Now that he is moving to Chip Ganassi's team, Kenny should be a
sure thing in 2002.
CASTRONEVES: Needs more development before he can topple his teammate, but don't ask us where he is
going to get that in 2002.
PENSKE: Hey Roger, don't let the door hit you in your ass on your way out.
ANDRETTI: If any driver finished third in the championship, most people would be saying great job.
Then why is it that when Michael finishes third, everybody is saying he is getting too old? Andretti is still
one of the best out there and still a contender for the title.
DA MATTA: A lot was expected of him when he moved to Newman-Haas, so in that respect, Cristiano's season
was a disappointment. However, he did easily outdo his teammate, but then that's no surprise.
FITTIPALDI: Speaking of da Matta's teammate, let's face the truth. Yes, Christian is a decent driver
who can get some results, but if his surname wasn't Fittipaldi, would he still have this ride?
PAPIS: Two victories. Sixth in the championship. And he gets fired. Mad Max has not lived up to his
promise, and what could have been a breakthrough season turned out to be overshadowed by his teammate who Papis
knocked out twice this year. You don't get to keep your ride after that.
RAHAL: We could say that the team did their best while Bobby was taking care of Jaguar, but that would
be mean. And it probably wouldn't be true ... this time. But still, one has to wonder about this team.
FRANCHITTI: An off year, but he did finally get married to Ashley.
DIXON: The revelation of the season. This is one driver most fans can't wait to see perform next year.
JUNQUEIRA: He was the F3000 champion coming in with high praise and expectations of taking the rookie
of the year, like we predicted. However, expecting Bruno to make lightning strike a third time and follow up what
Zanardi and Montoya did was a bit absurd. For a rookie, Junqueira had an excellent season, winning once and
running quite well at times. Sure he made rookie mistakes, but he deserves another year as he still has room to
GIDLEY: Don't get us wrong, we're one of Memo's biggest cheerleaders. However, statistics can be
misleading. Yes, he scored three less points than Junqueira in much less races, but generally speaking Junqueira
outdrove him. Yet, that doesn't mean Gidley should be discarded. He showed moments of brilliance, and without
any benefits of a testing program, he was always behind the eight ball on race weekends. Memo still has a lot
of promise. If there is justice in this world, someone will give him a proper chance.
GANASSI: Well, the great rookie experiment didn't work. Now that Penske will be out of the picture
again, expect Chip to be back on top.
CARPENTIER: Finally, the nice Canadian shows his stuff.
TAGLIANI: Alex may not have won a race, but like his teammate, a revelation of a season.
VASSER: A hugely disappointing season. Was it just an off year, or is Jimmy finished? Moving to Team
Rahal will give us the answer.
MORENO: Critics were probably too hard on Roberto. He had a decent season, and deserves to keep his
ride if there is money available.
TRACY: We're not even going to bother saying anything -- it's like shooting fish in a barrel.
FERNANDEZ: Suffered through all the growing pains of being an owner/driver. Adrian is hoping that is
all past him heading into his second year.
SERVIA: Oriol was always exciting to watch, even if his team wasn't up to his talents.
JOURDAIN: Michel was given many opportunities to succeed. He never made the most of them.
TAKAGI: To many drivers, he is aptly named -- Tora, Tora, Tora.
HERTA: Was it the team or was it Bryan? It was hard to tell, during good or bad times.
ZANARDI: A Greek tragedy. Alex never got back into the groove this year, and then when he finally did,
DRIVEN: Little did we know that our joke
prediction would actually be an understatement as CART fans ran out of movie theaters screaming in horror.
RACE OF THE SEASON: Well, duh -- Michigan.
PASS OF THE SEASON: Well, duh -- de Ferran on Brack for the win in England.
STAT OF THE SEASON: Both years de Ferran won the championship, he won two races in each year, five
poles in each year, and he never led the most laps.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE SEASON: Four drivers won back to back national titles in the CART era (Rick Mears,
Bobby Rahal, Alex Zanardi, and Gil de Ferran). Five drivers did it in the USAC era (Jimmy Bryan, AJ Foyt twice,
Mario Andretti, Joe Leonard, and Tom Sneva). Three drivers did it during the AAA era (Tommy Milton, Louis Meyer,
and Rex Mays). Only one driver won three consecutive national championships -- Ted Horn from 1946-1948.
QUOTE OF THE SEASON: How can it not be Paul Tracy's comment after the pit lane exit incident at Laguna
Seca, "They ought to get a circus clown to run this series."
QUOTE OF THE SEASON RUNNERUP: Logically, it would be Chris Kneifel's response to Tracy, "The first time
I heard what he said I cracked up."
SCHEDULE: Years from now, racing historians will look back at the 2002 season as a significant moment
in CART's history. Whether it's a revival or the death knell, we'll just have to wait and see.
Copyright © 2001 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.