Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Unfamiliar Territory

It was an interesting racing season in 2012 for NASCAR, F1, and Indycar. It was intriguing to see some of the teams win the championship, but even more intriguing was the teams who did not win a championship. In NASCAR, the always dominant Hendrick Motorsports lost to Team Penske. In F1, McLaren and Ferrari, for the fourth year in a row, didn't win the Constructors or Drivers Championship, as Brawn (now Mercedes) and Red Bull have taken those honors respectively, with Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull taking the honors for the third straight season. In Indycar, Chip Ganassi Racing lost the title for the first time since 2007. Team Pesnke, the other powerhouse, hasn't won a title since 2006. Andretti Autosport and Ryan Hunter-Reay took the Championship in 2012.

So now what? Lets look at each series, starting with NASCAR. With the Gen 6 Cars coming into action for the first time, it is tough to predict who will win and who won't. But it's hard to imagine a great team like Hendrick Motorsports faltering in any way, shape, or form. They started strong, but can they keep it up? Tough competition will come from reigning champs Team Penske, as well as Stewart Haas, Joe Gibbs, and Roush Fenway.

Photo: LAT Photographic

In F1, you will most likely see Red Bull domination again. I, for one, am hoping for someone other than Vettel to dominate. A driver change at McLaren might bring some new life to the team with Sergio Perez replacing Lewis Hamilton, who went to Mercedes to replace the retired Michael Schumacher. At Ferrari, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa return for another season. Fernando Alonso, in my opinion, has the best chance to take down Red Bull. Honestly though, it will be hard to top the Bull.

Button and Alonso talking (Photo via Crash.net)

Indycar is different than F1 and NASCAR in that a multitude of drivers have a chance to win the championship. Franchitti, Dixon, Power, Castroneves, Hunter-Reay, Rahal, Pagenaud, Wilson, Hinchcliffe, Hildebrand, Servia, Andretti, and the list goes on. In F1, there are four to six drivers who have a legitimate chance to take the title, and about ten to twelve in NASCAR. I think Ryan Hunter-Reay and Andretti Autosport are strong, but Chip Ganassi and Team Penske will be out for revenge as they look to resubmit their authority.

Scott Dixon of New Zealand, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara, pits during the IZOD IndyCar Series Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 9, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Photo: Jonathan Ferry / Getty Images North America

Will we see the historically dominant teams return to power in their respective series? Let me know what you think.

-Matthew Hickey

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