Friday, May 3, 2013

Around the Horn: May '13

In another establishment of the series "Around the Horn: Indycar" based off the ESPN show Around the Horn, the panel and I look at recent happenings in Indycar and discuss our views on the issues at hand. Enjoy! This month's panel:

  • From Open Wheels . com David "D Sizzle Bolton, @davidindycar, answers are DB
  • From Open Wheels . com Ross "Omar" Fujibayashi, @fujis123, answers are RF
  • My personal friend James "Swinger" Alban, @TheKing0fSwing, answers are JA
  • Co-founder of Indycar ATH Michael Tressler, @mtressler13, answers are MT
  • Fellow blogger Gina Navarra, @OfficialGinaN, answers are GN
  • No introduction. Mathew Gruenholz, @IndycarSTIG, answers are STIG
  • The perfect badass Emily Mugan, @emrymalee, answers are EM
  • Then there's me, @Indycar_MN, answers are MH


First Word  

Oriol Servia has been once again canned from a ride, this time at Dreyer and Reinbold. Lack of funding will cause the team to shut down following Indianapolis. Your thoughts?  


Oriol Servia - Honda Grand Prix: Day 1
Oriol at St. Petersburg in 2013 (Photo: Getty Images)

DB: I feel bad for Oriol but if DRR wants to compete in the series, they need to work harder than ever.  When the going gets tough, the tough get going.  There should be no handouts for them, they need to make it on their own.  

RF: The business of motorsports is a real bitch. The problem is I don't know what else IndyCar can do to promote these drivers. Unless they go to what has kept sports car relevant through a down economy which is brand identification. Aerokits!  

JA: Shocked, first and foremost.  I know most people, including myself, are hoping for an eleventh hour turn of fortune for him and his team.  Just a shame for one of the coolest drivers I have ever met!  

MT: First off I'm gutted for Servia to have this happen again. It's always tough to see a team fold, especially when it's a team as classy as DRR. I'm hoping something can come together for them but at this point it seems like they got the business end of the shaft.   

GN: I really hate for this to happen to both the team and Servia. I feel that he can do very well if he is with a team that is both capable of producing ideal results and has the sponsorship necessary to thrive in the series. Hopefully there is a team interested in picking him up, even if it's only for a few races.  

STIG: Bad luck for team DRR (who's been in Indy since early last decade) and especially Servia, He has had an up hill battle most of his professional career.  I would say that they"ll find more funding to continue, but that looks bleak.  

EM: It's unfortunate to lose any driver or team, but in the end that's the nature of racing. Definitely a shame after the good start Servia had.   

MH: It is tough to see any team go because of sponsorship, but it is a part of the sport. I am happy Indycar hasn't stepped in because they can't afford to give handouts.  


Buy or Sell  

Will Power will not be able to recover from a rocky start to win the Championshp.  


Will Power - Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Will Power at Long Beach 2013 (Photo: Getty Images)

DB: Buy- Don't get me wrong, Will is going to win some races but I don't think he is going to be able to win the championship.  The competition is so fierce and the new car has really leveled the playing field that I think his slow start is going to prevent him from winning the championship.  

RF: This is a toughy. I'm going to say Buy. I think we see a changing of the guard continuing from last year.  

JA: Sell, for now.  Its a long season, there are courses coming up that favor possible wins or podiums for Power.  If he doesn't catch fire in the next 3 races, he will not be contention for the championship...  

MT: Sell. If anyone can come back from a rough start it's Power. I still see Will being a threat later on.  

GN: Sell. I actually feel like this is better for him to have a rocky start rather than start the season dominating the series. It's a great motivator for his team to figure out exactly what they need to do to return to winning form. We're only three races in; he definitely has time to recover!  

STIG: SELL... Will WILL bounce back, he has overcome greater odds even later in the season than this.  When Will wins his first race of the year, he'll start rolling out more "W's."  

EM: Sell! I have a feeling any driver contending for the championship will face bad luck and unfortunate circumstances at some point this season, and the field is deep enough that points should stay tight. He has to pick it up, but he's not out of it yet.   

MH: I am going to buy! I am losing faith in him lately. He has been sluggish in the race despite some good qualifying efforts. It's weird not seeing him win! 


Out of Bounds 

Bernie Eccelstone is making a big push to buy the rights for Long Beach and plans on hosting an F1 race there which would ultimately force Indycar out. Do you see this happening?  


James Hinchcliffe of Canada drives the #27 Andretti Autosport Dallara Chevrolet during practice for the IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 19, 2013 on the streets of Long Beach, California.
Hinch driving through downtown Long Beach 2013 (Photo: Getty Images) 

DB: I do not see this happening as the city of Long Beach would have to spend a considerable amount of money to bring the facilities up to F1 standards.  I don't think the tax payers in Long Beach would be thrilled that their tax dollars would be spent on something like this.  I think IndyCar will be back there next year and for many years to come.  

RF: I do see it happening. As much as we all love seeing IndyCars running by the Queen Mary, Formula 1 money is a hard one to pass up. I see this actually replacing the New Jersey race that we haven't heard poop about.  

JA: With the success last year at Austin, I cannot see this happening.  The IndyCar race at Long Beach is always quality racing with a beautiful backdrop.  Dear Bernie, stay away from Long Beach...  

MT: I'm going to call this a wait and see issue. I see a lot of money being spent to make it happen to upgrade the paddock and track to meet FIA standards. My other question is will they alternate between LB and COTA like Germany with Hockenheim and Nurbugring. If that's the case it's truely a bad idea.  

GN: I do not see it happening. IndyCar will do everything they can to keep the Long Beach event as one of their staple races. Plus, I believe Bernie needs to focus on making sure that the Circuit of Americas race that they already have in Texas can succeed in the long-term since it is has only happened one time.  

STIG: Unfortunately this is a distinct possibility, Bernie gets mostly what he wants and ratings are hurting at that event with IndyCar.  The fan turn out though is typically always packed, so that might save the event for the Indy folks.  IndyCar will have to hold its ground and I hope they do.  How many years would Bernie keep it going before ditching?... (Searching for a 'Weekend at Bernies' reference) 

EM: I think F1 would find more success setting up their own street circuit in a larger market, but that's just my two cents.   

MH: It won't happen. If it does happen, it will ruin the race and the city will have to go through a major face life. Typical Bernie trying to earn an extra nickel and dime.


Conclusion  

Who wins at Sao Paulo and who is a dark horse pick to run well?  


Pre-race festivities at the 2012 Sao Paulo Indy Grand Prix (Photo: AP)

DB: I'm going with RHR to win the race.  He finished 2nd last and I think he gets the W this time.  I'm going with 2 dark horses: Marco as some think he's not real but I think he's due for another top 3.  My other pick is Tagliani who was on fire the last half of 2013 but this year has been struggling to qualify and then getting tangled up with others so far this year.  

RF: Pagenaud gets one with Vautier as the dark horse.   

JA: I think "Flyin" Ryan Hunter-Reay shall be victorious after finishing 2nd last year.  My dark horse pick is Sebastien Bourdais....  

MT: I think it's time for Dario to come out of his slump and win this week. My dark horse pick is going to be Josef Newgarden. 

GN: Helio will win! I also think Tristan Vautier can run well again like he did at Long Beach - hopefully he won't fall victim to pit road incidents this time!  

STIG: Power adds his first notch in the win column, Servia is the determined (trying to save his team) darkhorse.  

EM: Would be great to see Hinch get another W. For my dark horse pick I'll go with Bourdais. 

MH: My pick to win is Takuma Sato, don't see why he can't go back to back. Dark horse is James Jakes, who ran well there in 2011.


Please tweet your responses or use the comment section located below to share your thoughts! Thank you!

-Matthew Hickey

1 comment:

  1. "Oriol Servia has been once again canned from a ride, this time at Dreyer and Reinbold. Lack of funding will cause the team to shut down following Indianapolis. Your thoughts?"

    It is never good to see a race team shut down. Listening to Robbie Buhl on Trackside earlier this week its no doubt that they want to stay in the series. I hope something can be worked out, but who knows what will happen. Oriol is one IndyCar's most underrated drivers. He has had a couple of good runs at Indy the last 2 years. A darkhorse for Indy? You bet!

    "Will Power will not be able to recover from a rocky start to win the Championshp"

    For now I'll sell. Only three races into the season, I think we should wait until maybe August to decide if Power is a title contender. What doesn't help Power is that that after Sao Paulo, the majority of the oval races are up next on the schedule and given his history on ovals.....thats not good, but lets see what happens. Once Will gets going, watch out.

    "Bernie Eccelstone is making a big push to buy the rights for Long Beach and plans on hosting an F1 race there which would ultimately force Indycar out. Do you see this happening?"

    I don't see this happening. It would cost $100 million dollars (from what I've read) for the Long Beach circuit to be Formula One capatible. Not to mention the hefty $25 million dollar sanctioning fee to host a F1 race. Long Beach is still one of the premier street races in IndyCar and I think it should stay in IndyCar. Also, starting next season Formula One will race twice in the United States at COTA and the new temporary circuit on the Jersey Shore with the view of the Manhattan Skyline. F1 had their chance at Long Beach in the late 70's-early 80's...sorry Bernie.

    "Who wins at Sao Paulo and who is a dark horse pick to run well?"

    I'll go with Helio to win. It would be cool to see him (or the other Brazilians) win in their home country. Remember when Andre Riberio won in Rio in 1996 and how the fans went crazy in the stands? It would be great to see that kind of reaction in the Salbadrome. As for the darkhorse I'll take Vaultier, who can possibly be the third first time winner of 2013.

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