2007 Preseason Thoughts
PRESEASON: Opportunities missed. Kalkhoven in Antarctica and Robin Miller fired for telling the truth on SpeedTV.com. This season needed to start without the uncertainty that has colored the preseason for the past three years. No such luck!
THE BIG PICTURE: Sadly, despite huge expectations heading into this year, it's the same-o, same-o. However, we're really looking forward to the action on the track with the new Panoz DP01.
KALKHOVEN: We have always given Champ Car’s front man owner our support. We still think that Kevin can figure out how to solve the car count problem but are less sure about how he will address the people problems the series faces, i.e. treating drivers and employees properly. And we would be delighted to be wrong about this and say, “He’s on it.”
FORSYTHE: Yes, Gerry has spent a ton of his own money keeping this series alive. However, running one car is an odd way of keeping the series alive.
GENTILOZZI: Yes, Paul has spent a ton of his own money keeping this series alive. However, running one car is an odd way of keeping the series alive.
BOURDAIS: He’s the guy to beat; he’s the guy who always runs at the front; and he’s the guy who’s won three championships in as many years. If he doesn’t get some real competition soon, he’s going to take up knitting.
RAHAL: There is more excitement over Bobby’s rookie son than we’ve seen in a very long time. Let’s hope he takes the time to really learn Champ Car racing and not just use it as a stepping stone to Formula One. Yeah, right.
NEWMAN HAAS LANIGAN: The NHL goes racing? If Bourdais is the driver to beat, Newman Haas Lanigan, with the timely addition of Mike Lanigan, is nearly invincible.
TRACY: He got overshadowed by Allmendinger last year, and he’s way overdue for some good old fashioned racing luck. Look for him to win a few races if that happens, and of course crash out a bunch of times.
WILSON: We keep predicting that JWil is going to win the championship. But he doesn’t. He does win races and provides plenty of exciting moments, but unless things change radically, we don’t think he’ll be more than a contenda.
POWER: He’s our “stealth driver” – doesn’t attract a lot of attention, but has consistently run up at the front – which is where we think Will is going to run this year. Look for him to take his first win in 2007.
PAGENAUD: Simon outran Graham Rahal, barely, in Atlantics. This time, Simon doesn't have the team, barely, to outrun Graham in Champ Car.
TEAM AUSTRALIA: Of the newer Champ Car teams, RuSport in its heyday garnered much more attention, but the combined efforts of veteran team owner Derrick Walker and entrepreneur Craig Gore may make TA the next big thing when it comes to Champ Car teams.
TAGLIANI: The Energizer Bunny of Champ Car. Tagliani has been on so many teams, we don’t have the space to name them all. We can expect moments from Tags, but not much else.
RUSPORT AND ROCKETSPORTS: Will form a new team called We Will Rock Ru Sportsrockets. Except for Wilson, it will not be a successful venture, until Bronte Tagliani decides to produce a team calendar.
LEGGE: We are concerned that Katherine is being treated like a “girl racer.” The only thing that will cure this is if KL can get out on the track and kick some major ass.
JANI: For starters, his last name is not pronounced like the middle sister of the Brady Bunch (i.e., it’s not Jan–ee), it’s “Johnny” as in “go Johnny go.” On any other team, he would be Rookie of the Year contender. However, on PKV, which has not proven they can win anything, he will be lucky to get a race victory.
PCM MOTORSPORTS: A bold move, but as long as everyone’s patient about results, we think this will be a rewarding move.
FIGGE: We don’t have high expectations for his first year, but unlike some of the “checkbook racers,” Alex is the real deal and will make a great addition to Champ Car.
DALZIEL: You have to talk to a Scotsman to understand how a name spelled like that is pronounced “Dee-Al”, but we know for sure Ryan will be a force to be reckoned with on every road course.
GOMMENDY: Well ... there's always one driver that Deep Throttle needs to slag on. And Gummy-Bear is it.
VASSER: When a team owner has never heard of the driver that just signed with his team, there is a serious problem with how that team operates. And when that team's majority owner is the same guy that owns Champ Car...
JUNQUIERA: Bruno has always been on the verge of losing his ride. Now, he's on the verge of not having a ride.
SERVIA: Even though he never seems to have a ride lined up before the season starts, Oriol keeps showing up and getting work. We hope this continues this year.
PHILIPPE: Does Nelson have a ride or not?
DOMINGUEZ: Does Mario have a ride or not?
RANGER: Does Andrew have a ride or not?
CLARKE: Does Speedy Dan have a ride or not?
HEYLEN: Does Jan have a ride or not?
ZWOLSMAN: Does Charles have a ride or not?
CONQUEST: Do they have a driver or not?
COYNE: We never need to ask whether Dale Coyne will have two drivers. He always does, even if they are applying the driver decals while the car is pulling out for the first practice session.
MINARDI TEAM USA: In reality, an announcement that had no "additional" benefit.
DA MATTA: Keep getting well, Cristiano.
ALLMENDINGER: We must reluctantly award A.J. our annual Roger Penske Don’t Let The Door Hit You in the Ass on the Way Out award. Deep Throttle is very fond of Dinger, but we think it’s a colossal boneheaded move to give up one of the best seats in the series to become a nonentity in NASCARland.
SCHEDULE: Set in Jell-O with lots of air pockets in between race dates.
WE WILL MISS: Racing at Laguna Seca, racing on ovals, even crummy ones, Eric Mauk, Mid-Ohio, Dinger, Lynne, Denver, Carl Russo, and the optimism that preseason is going to ever get better.
WE WILL NOT MISS: Ansan, Pastorelli, Pizza Man, Norman Legault (crap, never mind).
WORD OF THE PRESEASON: Disappointing.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE PRESEASON: 18 -- The number of cars we have accepted in our lowered expectations to start every year.
STAT OF THE PRESEASON: 11 -- The number of confirmed drivers less than two weeks prior to the season opener.
QUOTE OF THE PRESEASON: Heard from many a Champ Car fan, "Just drop the green flag already!"
Copyright © 2007 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.