1999 Pre-Season Thoughts
One thing is guaranteed. We will have a new CART Champion. Another thing is guaranteed. It
will be another year of close, exciting, thrilling racing action. Then, we will have the
Hawaiian Super Prix to top if all off. What part of 1999 could you possibly not be looking
forward to? (Okay, okay, Detroit. But let's not go there. For now.)
In no particular order:
TOYOTA: A make it or break it year for them. Wait a minute; we said that last year...
PENSKE: Will the master give up making his own chassis? Or will this be a repeat of 1994?
Technically, the new Penske holds a lot of promise. And the greatest wild card. Wait a minute;
we said all that last year...
AL UNSER, JR.: Personal concerns at home may prevent Little Al from doing much this
year even if the Penske proves to be a winner.
REYNARD: They can do what no other previous chassis manufacturer has been able to do --
maintain their position on top while also running a Formula One effort.
SWIFT: They need to make a greater gain than they did last year, or their stock may
drop a bit.
LOLA: Poised for a surprise season?
GOODYEAR: With the last minute blow of Newman-Haas jumping ship to Firestone, you can
stick a fork in Goodyear. They're done for.
TEAM GANASSI: Four-peat? Why not?
TEAM GREEN: Finally recaptured some of the championship performance from 1995. Now, if
they can only keep their members from going after each other's throat.
PACWEST: Which Bruce McCraw team was the most messed up in 1998 -- the Vancouver Canucks
or the PacWest Racing Team? Considering the Canucks are still messed up in 1999, it doesn't bode
well for the racing team.
NEWMAN-HAAS RACING: Jumping to Firestone even at the last minute has just made them an
instant serious contender. For Andretti that is. Fittipaldi will still prove to be the most
overrated driver on the CART circuit.
ALEX ZANARDI: Love him or hate him, you cannot deny that donut man brought immense
excitement to the series the previous three years. He will be missed.
MAX PAPIS: Now that he has a solid ride under him, will he replace Zanardi on the
BRYAN HERTA: He finally proved he can win a race. Now he is going to have to prove
that he should be the number one driver on this team with Papis knocking on the door.
TEAM RAHAL: With Bobby Rahal devoting all of his business energies to running the team,
with Max Papis ready to interject an aggressive style to this team, with Bryan Herta's head's up
driving style possibly rubbing a little off on Mad Max, this team may be ready to become the
next Team Ganassi.
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Are his testing times for real? Is Patrick finally ready to reveal
his promising talents? Is he even ready to usurp Greg Moore as team leader? Doubts will linger
until he does it in a race. Consistently.
TONY KANAAN: Guaranteed first win this year. You can take it to the bank.
HELIO CASTRO-NEVES: It's a good thing that this talent found a ride after losing out in
the Bettenhausen financial crunch. It's too bad that this talent found a ride with Hogan
ROBBY GORDON: To paraphrase the immortal words of Junior Johnson: Robby Gordon has
finally found a team owner he can get along with. The question is, whether Gordon, the owner,
can get Gordon, the driver, to finally settle down.
SCOTT PRUETT: Many, including this columnist, said Pruett switching to Arciero-Wells was
the dumbest move since Scott Goodyear jumped to Bernstein Racing. However, Pruett does have a
knack for knowing about something before anyone else does.
PJ JONES: Many have said that PJ has the talent, but did not have the ride. Well, maybe.
Here's his chance to prove the naysayers wrong.
JIMMY VASSER: Everybody is calling for Dario Franchitti to take over the top spot. Not
so fast. Jimmy will be the one back on top when 1999 is all said and done.
PAUL TRACY: The one year when most people have finally caught on and are not counting
Tracy as a serious contender will probably be the year that Paul finally gets his act together
and has the last laugh.
DELLA PENNA MOTORSPORTS: More money = better results? For Richie Hearn's sake, we hope
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Give him the Rookie-of-the-Year title right now. There isn't even
CRISTIANO da MATTA: Talented enough to give Montoya a run for his money, but on the
wrong team to make a dent.
LAND OF THE RISING SUN: Hattori, Hattori, Takagi -- which one will assume the crown of
King Hiro? Does it really matter?
DENNIS VITOLO: Only seven races to poke fun at him. Can't figure out whether that's
good or bad...
Copyright © 1999 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.