2005 Postseason Thoughts
CHAMPIONSHIP: Sebastien Bourdais once again was clearly the class of this field and deserved to take the Vanderbilt Cup. However, the championship this year was marred by repeated cases of Bourdais punting Paul Tracy and suffering virtually no consequences for it.
TRACKS: We miss the classic road courses at Road America and truth be told, the classic speedway at Indy. The racing for the most part wasn't overly exciting in 2005, and we think the choice of tracks may have something to do with this.
BOURDAIS: His team, Newman-Haas, is arguably the best Champ Car has to offer. He has talent to spare, a charming girlfriend, and one of the sharpest minds in motorsports. We have to ask, why has Sebastien done so little to market himself in the U.S.? This man needs an agent! Badly!
SERVIA: Oriol wasn't on anyone's list for Driver of the Year except for ours. He finally got great equipment and a win. Moreover, he drove the wheels off every car he whether it was a Coyne car or Newman Haas Lola.
WILSON: Long, tall Justin was the only driver who could hold his own against the terrible twosome of Bourdais and Tracy. While they were fighting each other, Justin managed to win two races and could have won a third. We predict he will become the next breakout racing star of the series.
TRACY: Not everyone likes dead on honesty, immense talent, and occasional bouts of ego. We do, so we continue to admire Tracy even when his bonehead mistakes cause us to call him out for it. This was neither his best nor his worst year, but it was one of his unluckiest, thanks to some of his own doing.
JUNQUEIRA: Speaking of unlucky, you can't get more unlucky than Bruno was this year, losing most of his season due to inept drivers in the Indy 500. Looking forward to better days from him.
ALLMENDINGER: A.J. made some big mistakes in 2005 that made his season a disappointing one instead of a promising one. We still think that Dinger is all that, but he has to conquer his own demons first before he can become the winner we know he can be.
VASSER: Jimmy actually had a decent season, and we were thrilled to see him podium at Las Vegas. That said, we know his best days as a driver are behind him. Will he be back? We hope so, if only because when he’s good, he’s abso–f’ning–lutely good, in a Mr. Big kind of way.
TAGLIANI: Alex certainly fit better with Derrick Walker and Team Australia than Paul Gentilozzi and Rocketsports, and we hope he notches a win or two next year.
GLOCK: Our preseason pick for Rookie of the Year, Timo made us (and himself!) look good.
DOMINGUEZ: We continue to admire this now seasoned Mexican driver. Mario did a fabulous job of jumping into a Forsythe ride with virtually no preparation.
RANGER: Andrew was a conundrum. Moments of greatness mixed in with moments of disappointment. Then again, he is only 17-years-old, so that's to be expected.
DA MATTA: However, for Cristiano to have moments of greatness mixed in with moments of disappointment is not to be expected. And, not proper for a seasoned and championship winning driver.
BREMER: Ronnie was one of the newcomers who suffered with money woes.
PHILIPPE: No question Nelson deserved the Most Improved Driver award. And, we have to admit, he was impressive down the stretch for a kid we mistook for a girl the first time we saw him, and who seemed out of his depth for a very long time. The question is, how much more will he improve before his much more talented brother, Richard, shows up on the scene.
WIRDHEIM: It would be nice to see what Bjorn could do with a decent ride.
HUNTER-REAY: One of our favorite American drivers, Ryan had a very disappointing season. Another American victim due to lack of sponsorship?
MARSHALL: No will power.
POWER: You gotta love a driver called Will Power.
R. SPERAFICO: We thought Ricardo was the talented Sperafico...
A. SPERAFICO: Why did Alex bother?
LAVIN: A surprising returnee midyear.
DALZIEL: It will be very interesting to see where Ryan's career goes and what PKV is going to do with him.
ZWOLSMAN: Charles is a fine Atlantics' champion and deserves a chance at the big leagues. We deplore another web site's attempt to taint his name due to his father's antics.
DEL MONTE: We prefer Del Monte as a ketchup, thank you very much.
LEGGE: A winning woman driver that didn't depend on sex appeal. There's something the IRL won't be able to copy.
ATLANTICS: Never have we looked forward to a series, including the Champ Car World Series, like we are for the new, revamped Atlantics series. This could be the greatest open wheel series in 2006.
INSPIRATION OF THE YEAR: Cost of Long Beach Grand Prix: About $15 million. Cost of Toronto: A few million. Cost of having Kalkhoven and Forsythe kick Tony George's butt yet again: Priceless.
RULES: We love Tony Cotman. We don't always agree with TC, but he has made the whole issue of rules be less troublesome than at any time in recent years. Great job.
TELEVISION: Improving. Being on two networks is weird, but an improvement on Spike TV in 2004. The production was exceptionally superior, but we miss Tommy Kendall.
BEST RACE OF THE SEASON: We're going to say Montreal. A first time winner made for an unforgettable race. If you weren't moved by Timo Glock's plight and Oriol Servia's win, you have no true passion for open wheel racing.
PASS OF THE SEASON: Take your pick -- Paul Tracy moving up through the field at Las Vegas or Justin Wilson pulling a Paul Tracy style pass on Paul Tracy for the win at Edmonton.
EVENT OF THE SEASON: Hands down, Edmonton. They had an awesome crowd, great racing, and fans that can out loyal any in NASCAR. A tremendous addition to the Champ Car schedule, Edmonton shows the promise of becoming the racing jewel of the North.
WORST RACE OF THE SEASON: San Jose. There were no passes for position and the track's many deficiencies made the Champ Car event a snore fest and a costly one at that due to broken equipment. However, it was a huge hit amongst the fans. Imagine how gaga they will go when they actually see a good race.
WORST EVENT OF THE SEASON: Playing second fiddle to the third tier of NASCAR made the "Double Down in the Desert" the least appealing event of the year (though, at least it actually ran, unlike Korea). Fortunately, it will not be repeated next year.
STAT OF THE SEASON: Despite all the coming togethers with Paul Tracy, Sebastien Bourdais still completed 1,300 out of 1,310 laps.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE SEASON: Bourdais will now attempt to become the first driver to win three consecutive championships since Ted Horn did it from 1946-48.
QUOTE OF THE SEASON: Kevin Kalkhoven and his power of positive thinking, "I am concerned with making sure we eliminate this concept that American open-wheel racing is dead or in trouble. The old format of American open-wheel racing has got problems, but the new format doesn't."
QUOTE OF THE SEASON RUNNERUP: A telling statement from Kevin Kalkhoven give us a glimpse into why CART ultimately failed and Champ Car is rebounding, "Once we got to Long Beach last year and the owner situation stabilized, we worked together incredibly well. Without any serious dissension in the owners' meetings, we've been able to move forward."
SCHEDULE: The 2006 season is not as beefy as we would have liked, but the series continues to move forward, and the announcement of a return to Road America bodes well.
Copyright © 2005 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.
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