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1997 U.S. 500 Thoughts

RACE: This is the true definition of irony. In 1996, everybody talked about how the Indy 500 would be a disaster at the start with all the inexperienced drivers in the field. It was the U.S. 500 that ended up with the multi-car crash at the start. This year, everybody talked about how nobody was going to finish the Indy 500 because of the unreliability of the new engines. It was the U.S. 500 which almost saw this scenario unfold. Just 10 cars running at the end and only 2 on the lead lap.

TRACK: Michigan always has been a track where attrition is the main story. Last year, after the repaving, it appeared that would be a thing of the past after two successful races where the attrition rate was a wee bit better. But, the Michigan curse is back.

SCHEDULE: This race is the exact reason why I don't want the season to end with a 500 mile race on a superspeedway like they are going to do with Fontana this year, and apparently next year as well. It is too much of a crapshoot to possibly decide a championship.

POINTS: You know it's a bizarre race when Vitolo, Matsushita, and 3 Toyotas all score points in the same race.

ANDRETTI: Pretty much the fastest car on the track during the race. I guess since the Indy 500 no longer exists, the Andretti "luck" has been shifted to the U.S. 500.

ZANARDI: Another penalty, another win from last place. This is starting to become ho-hum... Alex has the points lead, and I'm wondering just who is going to stop him now.

TOYOTA: Give credit where credit is due. Despite Jones' explosion, the other 3 Toyotas finished the race. Then again, even the NY Jets won a game last year.

RAHAL: Maybe Bobby was another victim of being Vitoloed, but Rahal seemed to put himself in a position with no escape, and he should have known the unpredictable nature of the driver he was about to attempt a pass on.

CHASSIS: Three wicked wall slamming crashes, and all three drivers get out and walk away. A major testament to the safety designs of these CART cars (although the Parker crash was way too reminiscent of Senna's fatal crash). Perhaps the only thing that CART can brag about in this race.

DE FERRAN: Don't look now, but de Ferran is third in points despite not winning a race this year. He has quietly collected his points, and finishing second or third in 4 of the past 5 races certainly helps.

TRANSMISSIONS: Seven cars dropped out due to transmission problems. Only three dropouts were caused by engines, two by turbos, and two by electrical, seven in total. When have you ever seen transmissions causing just as many DNF's as all those others combined? Especially on an oval.

BERGER: Forget the U.S. 500. Formula 1 is where it was at this past weekend. When was the last time we saw those teams and drivers on top a Grand Prix? And the Berger saga was one for Hollywood. First he suffers from a sinus infection forcing him to take very powerful antibiotics. They are so strong, he is forced to not taking them on race weekends because of the side effects. That only causes his infection to run rampant, and he is forced to undergo surgery. That only causes the infection to get worse, and he is forced to miss 3 races. In the meantime his father is killed in a plane crash, his replacement turns in some amazing results, and he announces that he will not return to Benetton next year and may not return to F1. He finally returns to action in the race he considers to be a home-like Grand Prix. He then goes out and wins the pole and dominates the race from start to finish. Fact is truly stranger than fiction.

Deep Throttle

Copyright 1997 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

 
 
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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