Thursday, October 17, 2013

Things to Watch For Fontana

Here are some of the major things to watch heading into the season finale of the 2013 Indycar Season (even though I don't think I will be able watch it myself, but that besides the point) :


Dixon vs Helio
Obviously, the biggest thing to watch is the championship battle between current points leader Scott Dixon and second place contender Helio Castroneves. Dixon has a 25 point lead, but the driver entering the last race with the lead has not won the title since 2008, when ironically enough, Scott Dixon won the title. Still, is that good news for Helio?

Helio Castroneves - Grand Prix Of Baltimore - Day 3
The two championship contenders will have another bout this weekend (Photo: Brian Cleary / Getty Images)

Rookie of the Year Race
Haha, I am kidding. Since Tristan Vautier is the only full time rookie in Indycar, he's got that in the bag. Go Tristan!


Leaders Circle Race
Not jokingly, Tristan Vautier does have to race hard this race despite having ROY locked up. He needs to race hard to finish P22 or higher in the championship to capture a Leaders Circle position. LC is a subsidy program by Indycar that gives $1 million to each entry that finishes P22 and higher. The current outlook is the #55 Schmidt Peterson Entry (Vautier) holding down P22 with 257 points, with #6 Dragon Racing (Sebastian Saavedra) and #98 Barracuda Racing (driven this weekend by JR Hildebrand) both trailing with 230 points. Tristan automatically captures P22 with a finish of P6 or higher.


Ganassi and Honda
Despite being in clear championship form and on the doorstep of winning the Indycar Title, Ganassi is switching from Honda to Chevrolet following Fontana. Don't ask me why, I just don't know...


GoDaddy GoneAway
GoDaddy is leaving Indycar following Fontana, showing they value P30 in NASCAR with great exposure vs winning races in Indycar and limited exposure. Hinch will land on his feet and should still have a ride for next year, which is good. I hope they enjoy their zero wins in NASCAR.

Danica Patrick Danica Patrick drives her #7 Team GoDaddy Andretti Autosport Dallara Honda during the for IZOD IndyCar Series Baltimore Grand Prix on September 4, 2011 on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland.
I believe GoDaddy entered the sport with Danica Patrick sometime in 2007 and 2008. Once she
left for NASCAR, GoDaddy decided to stay in Indycar with James Hinchcliffe.
Two years later, they are leaving Indycar (Photo: Jonathan Ferry / Getty Imgaes)

No Dario
Dario Franchitti (get well soon mate) is still recovering from multiple fractures in the back and ankle, and a concussion following a last lap accident in Houston two weeks ago. Alex Tagliani will be subbing in for Dario for the season finale. This will be the first time we haven't seen Dario in an Indycar since 2008. It will be weird for sure.


One-Offs
Alex Tagliani, JR Hildebrand, and Pippa Mann all have something to prove, with AJ Allmendinger kind of just racing to support Helio. Alex Tagliani is not only out there to back up Scott Dixon, but he is also out there to prove he can still drive. Tags will be looking for a ride in the offseason after being fired from Barracuda Racing after Toronto. JR Hildebrand is in a fierce battle for the full time #98 Barracuda Racing seat next season with Italian Luca Filippi. A good showing would go a long way for JR. Pippa Mann is back again for Dale Coyne Racing. Coming off a good performance at Pocono, Pippa is out to prove the doubters wrong and fight with the best of them. A great race will go a long way to helping her obtain more seat time next season. And since AJ Allmendinger is signed for NASCAR next season, this race is really pointless for him other than him supporting Helio Castroneves as he makes a run at the championship.


What are you most looking forward to?! Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey

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