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2002 Preseason Thoughts

POOK: Chris can say what he wants, but he is the savior for CART. This year will prove it. If not, then enjoy CART's last season.

TURBOS: Enjoy them while they last.

SCHEDULE: It's back up to 20 races. And with some of the deadwood gone, this could be a banner year for attendance.

QUALIFYING: And all the other rule changes. Like them or not, they will inject some new energy into this season.

BRACK: The most successful driver in Team Rahal history (after the boss retired from the seat) is now on the best team in CART (after Penske left). Do you smell championship? Of course.

GANASSI: The Chipster lost his way last year trying to break in two rookies at once. He's back now, and has more teams than Roger Penske. Next, he can enter a team in the American Le Mans Series.

FRANCHITTI: Is everybody forgetting about Dario? Sure, he had an off year, but that's racing. He'll be contending for the championship again this season.

TRACY: Paul? Oh, he'll contend as well. Right up to the three quarters mark.

ANDRETTI: Will be interesting to see how Michael drives this year. Desperate in what might be one of his last chances to win a title or as a wily old veteran?

NEWMAN-HAAS: Solid performances this year, but no bells and whistles.

DA MATTA: Want a dark horse championship contender? Cristiano's your man. Actually, it's not much of a dark horse at all. He's quite capable of taking the Vanderbilt Cup this year. Whether it can be done with Newman-Haas is a question mark.

FITTIPALDI: Christian, on the other hand. Forget about it. He will surely be outdone by his teammate this year.

JUNQUIERA: Too much was expected of Bruno. A Montoya comes along once in a blue moon. And, he had nobody to help guide him. Now with Brack, the pressure is off Junquiera, and he can just worry about honing his skills.

FERNANDEZ: Second year around with all the bugs worked out being a team owner. Adrian is ready to compete again.

NAKANO: Shinji never has to worry about what his boss thinks, as long as he brings Honda's money. Wait, next year, Honda might not be around.

CARPENTIER, TAGLIANI: Great improvement last year. They really started showing their stuff. Now, they have to be serious, and we mean serious, contenders. Player's won't accept anything less.

DIXON: This year will show that Scott is the real deal.

SERVIA: Oriol and Dixon on the same team? That's going to be exciting!

PWR CHAMPIONSHIP RACING: In a sport where nearly every team is named after either the owner, manufacturer, or sponsor, it was a pleasure for this team to be named PacWest. It was a nice name. Now, they change it to PWR generic whatever? Blech!

VASSER: This will most likely be Jimmy's last ride. Let's hope he is able to win another championship with Team Rahal before he retires.

JOURDAIN: Money bought this ride. No question about it. However, this is Michel's best ride ever. No excuses anymore. He either has to prove his old sponsor wrong, or discover Herdez was correct in letting him go.

DOMINGUEZ: Speaking of Herdez, in comes Mario, the newest Mexican hot shoe. He has to show Herdez they were right.

BELL: Sure it's a thin rookie year, but Townsend would probably take the Trueman Trophy is just about any other season.

PATRICK: How many more years will Pat hang on?

KANAAN: Back to a single car, Tony will have to go it alone without his good friend, Alex Zanardi. He's also going to have to lift his team up on his shoulders and carry them.

NUNN: Another bet hedger who is running an IRL team.

PAPIS: Relegated to the Sigma ride, this is Mad Max's last chance to stand tall.

SIGMA: And if Sigma can field a second car, this could be the year they become serious contenders.

TAKAGI: Tora did have a few good runs. A few. Somewhere between knocking other cars off the track. Well, as long as Toyota is happy with him...

COYNE: Will he or won't he? Let's hope so. The fields could use a few more cars.

GIDLEY: Speaking of hoping, come on folks. Let's give Memo a ride!

LOLA: Back from their F1 disaster, Lola is once again the chassis to have.

REYNARD: Speaking of F1 disasters, when will racecar manufacturers ever learn? Despite their denials every single time, entering F1 destroys the rest of their business.

TOYOTA: What a conundrum. The new kid on the block forces CART's engine decisions, and now they may not play in the sandbox after all.

PENSKE: Is there anybody else who believes Penske will field a car or two in CART this year? We do. We just don't know when, but if so, it will be after Indy.

INDY: If virtually all the CART drivers end up going back to Indy, what would have been the purpose of the IRL?

WORD OF THE PRESEASON: This is easy -- credibility. CART needs to get it back.

HISTORICAL STAT OF THE PRESEASON: Thanks to Penske, Gil de Ferran misses out on the possibility of being only the second driver in history to win three national titles in a row, and the first ever for CART.

STAT OF THE PRESEASON: Very small grids make it pretty easy to split the field between real drivers and rent-a-rides.

QUOTE OF THE PRESEASON: Chris Pook on his confidence, "People write and talk of the doom and gloom of 2002, but anybody who wants to have a bet on how we're going to be in 2004, I'm happy to take your bets. Let's put them in an envelope and see who picks up the money in a couple of years."

RUNNERUP QUOTE OF THE PRESEASON: Chris Pook on looking ahead, "I can't change the past, but I am going to change the future."

Copyright 2002 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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Predicted Final Season Results
1. Kenny Brack
2. Dario Franchitti
3. Jimmy Vasser
4. Michael Andretti
5. Cristiano da Matta
6. Paul Tracy
7. Scott Dixon
8. Patrick Carpentier
9. Alex Tagliani
10. Bruno Junqueira
11. Tony Kanaan
12. Townsend Bell
13. Christian Fittipaldi
14. Oriol Servia
15. Adrian Fernandez
16. Max Papis
17. Mario Dominguez
18. Michel Jourdain, Jr.
19. Tora Takagi
20. Shinji Nakano

Predicted Rookie Season Results
1. Townsend Bell
2. Mario Dominguez

Predicted Nations' Cup Results
1. Brazil
2. United States
3. Canada
4. Sweden
5. Scotland
6. New Zealand
7. Mexio
8. Spain
9. Italy
10. Japan

Other Predictions
Tony George will declare victory when a Penske car wins the Indy 500, forgetting that the whole reason he started the IRL was to keep out the kind of money Penske brings. Paul Tracy gives Wally Dallenbach a big hug. Wally faints. Mexico City has the largest racing crowd in modern history. IMS quickly begins new grandstand construction. Memo Gidley will sub in a race and drive to victory. Yeah, we made this prediction last year (and it almost happened!), so we can't resist making it again. Toyota wins Motegi. Honda announces they will build a CART engine for 2003 rules, simply so they can win at Motegi. Tony George will sign Joe Heitzler to a five year deal to make sure that everyone at IMS is clear on what a skill set is and what their individual sets contain. Chip Ganassi's difficulties in keeping up with his schedule due to multiple race teams causes him to be the first human being to be cloned. Paul Tracy will discover true love with the stripper of his dreams, Bubbles Le Tour, and gain back ten of the pounds he's lost in the offseason. He will then find religion and apply for the job he's always wanted -- CART Steward. Road America will flood twice as bad as last year. Chris Pook will hire Charlton Heston to part the waters, and the race will be the most exciting of the year. Michael Andretti will be leading Indy with less than 10 laps to go, his car will break, and a Penske car will win. Did you expect a new prediction this year? Jaguar will finish behind the Minardis, but Niki Lauda will proclaim that he was the smartest man in the world for firing Bobby Rahal and taking over the team. The European press will agree. Bryan Herta will win Laguna Seca. In the American Le Mans Series. Tony George suddenly realizes the IRL has solved nothing. Big money teams with big time sponsors still dominate, foreigners make up most of the grid, outside of a few choice rides, everybody is buying their way into the series (including a go kart racer with no racecar experience), and the sprint car driver is nonexistent. Tony, seeing what Don Panoz has done, realizes his mistake. He breaks away from the IRL, and forms the American Indy Racing League.
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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