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2003 Preseason Thoughts

THE GOOD: CART is alive! And reasonably well with a great prognosis.

THE BAD: One has to shake their heads everytime they read on other web sites and bulletin boards how it is great driver so-and-so is coming to the series since there is, or going to be, or could be, a race in his country. Well, that's fine and dandy, but last time we checked, eleven races, over half the schedule, are in the United States of America. Which means, using the same logic, over half the drivers should be Americans. As a matter of fact, that's the way it should be, criticism of being politically incorrect be damned. Say whatever you want, but history has proven time and time again, that for an individual sport to be successful in America, it must have predominantly American participants. And, whatever you may think, CART is still an American sport.

AND THE UGLY: Not since the days of Randy Lewis, Dennis Vitolo, and Hiro Matsushita, have we seen a Wankers 'R Us group like this. Joel Camathias, Roberto Gonzalez (if he shows up), and Tiago Monteiro have no right being in this series. Just imagine if Alex Yoong had gotten a ride.

FAST GUYS: On the plus side, there are still some mighty fast guys who will keep our eyes on the front such as Bruno Junquiera, Paul Tracy, Patrick Carpentier, and newcomer Sabestien Bourdais.

RICH GUYS: Outside of the ride buyers, there are some good rich guys -- those owners who decided to support the series, some without full sponsorship packages and rent-a-drivers, instead spending some of their own money.

AND IDIOTS: The so-called journalists who did nothing more than regurgitate IRL press releases without doing any research themselves, and declared CART dead and buried.

POOK: Now that Pook has outdrawn Tony George and saved CART, maybe we can call on him to deal with Saddam Hussain.

SCHEDULE: How do you spell record-breaking attendance? 2 – 0 – 0 – 3. Look for even bigger numbers than ever as Pook’s band of maverick road racers hits the road again.

JUNQUEIRA: Bruno has developed into a world class open wheel racing star. And yet, he remains a hell of a nice guy with virtually no attitude. If the stars align correctly, look for him to claim the championship in 2003.

TRACY: Last year, we wrote about the true winner of the 2002 Indy 500, "Paul? Oh, he'll contend as well. Right up to the three quarters mark." Ditto.

CARPENTIER: Patrick began flirting with greatness last year. As one of the few drivers who will be with the same series and team as last year, he has a distinct advantage over the rest of the field. If the flirtation leads to a full blown love affair, look for Pat’s face near the Vanderbilt Cup in November.

BOURDAIS: The fastest rookie as well as the rookie with the best team. The Trueman award should be a runaway.

TAGLIANI, GENTILOZZI: This is going to be one fun pairing to watch.

VASSER: Last year, some people thought he was headed for retirement. After last year’s dominating run at Fontana, our Valley Boy is only headed for more racing, with this year’s Swedish owned American Spirit team.

FERNANDEZ: Adrian has a terrific organization, great sponsorship, and a nice girlfriend. So why hasn’t he been winning? Organizational issues were cited in 2001 and frequent injuries in 2002. What’s it going to be in 2003? Maybe some race wins?

MANNING: It anyone can upset Bourdais for the Rookie of the Year, it's Darren.

MORENO: So, Pupo is back! Roberto is a hero to all middle age balding guys.

SERVIA: Oriol needs a teammate. Badly. Otherwise, he will only have moments of glory.

HUNTER-REAY: Don't be surprised if Ryan does quite well this year despite having a Reynard, because he has what Servia doesn't, a teammate, one of the finest teammates in racing history.

JOURDAIN: Michel proved he had something last year, but without Vasser as a teammate, and his continuous cautious style, 2002 may have been his peak.

LEMARIÉ: Patrick is the darkhorse in the Trueman race.

DOMINGUEZ: Mario should not have won either Surfer’s Paradise or Rookie of the Year last year. If he cannot pull together a valid win this year, let someone else have his Herdez seat.

NEWMAN-HAAS: Best performance by a team in a leading role. Expect at least one more championship this year, the Vanderbilt Cup or Trueman Rookie of the Year. Maybe both. Stock up on those Cuban cigars, Carl.

PATRICK: Pat has outlasted and outclassed the defecting CART owners and pioneers. He's owed some well-deserved luck.

GANASSI, GREEN, ANDRETTI: Winners of this year’s "Roger Penske don’t let the door kick you in the ass on the way out" award

LOLA: Whoever Lola wants, Lola gets.

TURBOS: They're back! For two more years. Enjoy them.

WE WILL MISS: Dario, Scott, and Tony. And not just because they hold the porta potty door open for certain blonde girls. The Chicago race because the people are so great to us there. And we hope, please God, that we won’t be missing our favorite road race, Road America at Elkhart Lake.

WE WILL NOT MISS: Rent-a-rides from Japan, Twin Ring Motegi, Chip Ganassi swearing, and engine manufacturers who care more about beating each other than they care about auto racing.

GIDLEY: America wants Memo. It's as simple as that.

WORD OF THE PRESEASON: Excitement. It has returned to the series.

HISTORICAL STAT OF THE PRESEASON: Only two rookies have ever won the CART championship -- Nigel Mansell in 1993 and Juan Montoya in 1999. It is conceivable Bourdais could make it three.

STAT OF THE PRESEASON: Nine rookies. It will certainly make for some very "exciting" moments during the season.

QUOTE OF THE PRESEASON: Derek Daly on the defecting car owners who set out to destroy CART last year, "These guys had no business making the decisions at CART when so clearly their only interests were their own."

RUNNERUP QUOTE OF THE PRESEASON: A repeat of a quote last year by Chris Pook, "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." Wonder if anyone will take that bet this year...?

Copyright © 2003 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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Predicted Final Season Results
1. Bruno Junqueira
2. Patrick Carpentier
3. Sebastien Bourdais
4. Paul Tracy
5. Alex Tagliani
6. Jimmy Vasser
7. Adrian Fernandez
8. Darren Manning
9. Robert Moreno
10. Oriol Servia
11. Ryan Hunter-Reay
12. Michel Jourdain
13. Patrick Lemarié
14. Mario Haberfeld
15. Mario Dominguez
16. Rodolfo Lavín
17. Tiago Monteiro
18. Joel Camathias
19. Roberto Gonzalez

Predicted Rookie Season Results
1. Sebastien Bourdais
2. Darren Manning
3. Ryan Hunter-Reay
4. Patrick Lemarié
5. Mario Haberfeld
6. Rodolfo Lavín
7. Tiago Monteiro
8. Joel Camathias
9. Roberto Gonzalez

Predicted Nations' Cup Results
1. Brazil
2. Canada
3. France
4. England
5. United States
6. Mexico
7. Spain
8. Portugal
9. Switzerland

Other Predictions
Tony George shows up for a press conference in May with the IRL struggling to fill the 500 field, Honda and Toyota financially driving Chevy and the small teams out, and Bernie Ecclestone threatening to move the USGP away from Indy, and declares, "Yes, I bring my pacifier to work everyday." After another year of backmarker status, Mario Dominguez says, "We deserve a break this year, because nothing has gone our way." Fontana draws 64 people to the IRL race and 64,000 fans to the CART race. Yet, National Speed Sport News says that CART is incapable of counting, and thus declares the IRL the more successful event. Realizing that since it's a night race, you must therefore count the actual seats at night, Dave Reininger is seen wondering the Cleveland stands late in the evening with a flashlight. Six different British teams are announced during the season. All say that Johnny Herbert will be driving for them. Roberto Gonzalez's sponsorship never materializes. Gonzalez announces he will run with Team Rahal. His sponsorship never materializes. Gonzalez announces he will run with Conquest Racing. His sponsorship never materializes. Gonzalez announces he will run with Fittipaldi. His sponsorship never materializes. Gonzalez announces he will run with PK Racing. His sponsorship never materializes. Gonzalez announces... Dana Brewer ... ah, never mind... Roberto Moreno wins a race. Roberto Moreno cries. Cleveland will rock, Denver will bump, and Miami will grind. Bryan Herta will win at Laguna Seca ... in one of his karts. A certain website will start listing the names of every citizen in China to show why it is a good idea for CART to run a race there. Paul Tracy will jump in a car at the last minute for Indy, he will be leading with less than a lap to go when Tony George will press the sprinkler system button. Scoring will revert back to the previous lap under the new rule, giving Helio Castroneves the win. Helio will shout, "He passed me in the rain! He passed me in the rain!" Ryan Hunter-Reay's name will be the most misspelled name on the Internet. Tony George announces at the end of the year that he is disbanding the IRL and moving the Brickyard 400 to Memorial Day Weekend, renaming it the Indy 500. IRL fans finally admit they've been dupped.
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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