Around the Horn August '12

Hey everyone! Here is another installment of Around the Horn. Each month, we will answer four questions in a nearly identical format that they do on the show from ESPN. Of course, we will be discussing Indycar. It is important for you, the viewer, to tweet your opinion to the participants about their answers! Here are the eight great people and one average person (me) doing it this month:  

  • From, David Bolton, @davidindycar on Twitter, answers labeled as DB
  • Fellow Minnesotan Angie King, @angiewarhol on Twitter, answers labeled as AK 
  • Swingmaster James Alban, @TheKing0fSwing, answers labeled as JA 
  • If he were to get divorced from Paul McCartney, he'd keep his stupid whiny mouth shut. He is the STIG, aka Mathew Gruenholz, @IndyCarStig on Twitter, answers labeled as STIG 
  • From, Tiffany Davies, @Tiffany2978 on Twitter, answers labeled as TD 
  • Around the Horn mastermind Michael Tressler, @mtressler13 on Twitter, answers labeled as MT 
  • The awesome Emily Mugan, @emrymalee on Twitter, answers labeled as EM 
  • The also awesome Jessica Baker, @bakerjm13 on Twitter, answers labeled as JB 
  • Then there is me, @Indycar_MN on Twitter, answers labeled as MH  

1) The First Word (the question currently on everyone's mind)

It has been reported that Graham Rahal did not pick up his 2013 option at Ganassi thus making him the prized free agent. What team do you think he goes to?  

DB- I think this is a no-brainer. Graham will be driving for RLL as a two car team with Takuma Sato. I agree with Graham that Charlie and Graham do not get the same quality of equipment that Dixon/Franchitti do. RLLR will be a team to watch out for next year.

AK- This is a tough one! I don’t see Graham going to Andretti or Penske, that’s for sure. Doubt he’d want to drive for his dad’s team … I’m thinking maybe Dale Coyne (dropping Jakes) or Panther (picking up another driver).

JA- Perhaps the best fit for Graham would be SFHR. With a new race shop in the works, Rahal could definitely bring the sponsors and coin to that team.

STIG- A spot is opening at KV Racing, Grahammo could be going there or with his father. I'd say with Bobby though.  

TD- I think he goes to Rahal Letterman or another mid-sized team. He likes being the star, and he can't be at a second fiddle Ganassi team.

MT- Tough one here. The offseason seems to be a crapshoot lately. I would honestly like to see him at either Penske or RLL.

EM- My gut says that even though he may be carefully evaluating all his opportunities, he will probably end up on his dad's team next season. They had some impressive showings with Sato, and I think he and Graham would make a really strong duo.  

JB- Rahal Letterman, maybe not the best idea, but thats where he will go. Hope he and his dad can get along better that AJ foyt and AJ IV.

MH- I would love to see him reunite with Newman Haas, but given all that happened when he got abondend, I don't see it happening. Rahal Letterman is his best bet.  

2) Buy or Sell (buy = agree, sell = disagree)

Buy or Sell: Someone not named Will Power will win the Indycar Championship.  

DB- I am buying this one. I still think that Ryan Hunter-Reay is the man to beat. You can never predict what engines are going to do so it was a shame that Ryan's went at Mid-Ohio. He is only 5 points out of the lead so I look for him to bounce back at Sonoma.  I find it interesting that if Will has the lead, he maintains it. If he loses the lead, he never seems to be able to get the lead back. Dixon passed him in the pits and took off and left Power.

AK- SELL. I think it’s Willy P’s time. But I’m biased. My girlish heart goes pitter-patter whenever I see him flash those double-birds.  

JA: Buy with the double shock! I'll still put my money on Hunter-Reay! Apologies to Will Power...

STIG- I thought Hunter-Reay was going to squeak by... Good thing i got the full Will Power Warranty (Refunds money, buys Willy P winning the Campionship)

TD- Buy--perhaps it's just my blind optimism, but I want to see another driver win. RHR would be my bet, especially considering he lost the points lead for a blown cylinder.  

MT- Buy. I still think RHR can pull it off if he can put the last race behind him and stay consistent.

EM- Sell it - Will has got a ton of talent on his heels but I don't see him sputtering out before the finish line. He has driven like a maniac this season and he's just got to keep the momentum rolling.

JB- Sell: Will is going to get it done in the end. Its finally his year.

MH- Sell, there is no way Power finishes second for the third straight season.

 3) Out of Bounds (topic about something outside of Indycar that impacts Indycar)  

AJ Allmendinger failed his B sample drug test in Nascar and was released by Penske racing. Do you think Allmendinger will come back to Indycar?

DB- I do not see Allmendinger coming back to IndyCar. The allure of big money has kept many open wheel drivers in NASCAR.  Hornish, Stewart, Yeley to name a few. Once you make the big money, you get big hobbies and IndyCar can't support those hobbies. Allmendinger has never shown any interest in the sport since he left CART.

AK- Totally! If Michael Shank can finally get a team going, I see AJ landing there without a doubt.

JA- I would think AJ would come back to IndyCar. But I'm sure the conditions will be very strict. He should be prepared to accept any rules/conditions that IndyCar imposes.

STIG- AJ will most likely stay in Nascar if there is a decent ride available (back to Petty?).. If no rides are available, see him in Grand Am. (AJ Foyt calls me...) "Stig, dont be a knucklehead, i'm hiring him..."  

TD- Do I wish he would? Sure. But do I think he actually will? No. Once you drink the Kool-Aid, it's hard to leave it. Plus, even as part-owner in Michael Shank Racing, he still has no sponsor. Who's going to want to sponsor a guy who (even accidentally) failed a drug test?

MT- I would like to see Dinger back in open wheels, but only after his road to recovery. As struggling as IndyCar is the last thing the series needs is bad publicity.

EM- I would love Allmendinger to come back to Indycar. I think he could still win races despite the field becoming more competitive since he left. But the likelihood of a team with any major caliber picking him up seems far-fetched to me. You just rarely get second chances anymore with so much talent on the sidelines week in and week out.  

JB- Would be nice to see him come back, but no. He will do whatever NASCAR makes him do to get back in over there.

MH- I'd love to see it. It will take Allmendinger a long time to get back to a quality ride in Nascar, but he could jump into Indycar with Shank, who, if they didn't have a Lotus, could be a solid team.

4) Showdown (concluding question) 

In your opinion, which driver has fallen short of expectations the most this season?

DB- This is a tough one but I think I would have to say Marco Andretti. Everything that was written or spoken said he had worked really hard in the off-season, a new car that would favor his driving style,etc.  He's only been competitive on a couple of tracks. The rest, he has been back of the pack. I think Marco has loads of talent but something just isn't clicking.

AK- This is obvious, right? Dario. Besides his incredible win at Indy and a podium in Detroit, he’s been super inconsistent and subpar this season. Someone new to Indycar would have a hard time believing he’s  a 3 time champ.

JA- It has to be Marco Andretti. Yes, he has the last name, but when your teammate is in running for a championship and you're nowhere in sight, somethings missing...

STIG- In all honesty i thought Alex Tagliani was going to be way higher in the points, it just has not been BHA's year.  See them bounce back in 2013.

TD- I can't pick just one, it'd have to be either Ryan Briscoe or Marco Andretti. I would say Dario, but he won Indy so I'll give him a free pass. Briscoe has been decidedly average (or in the wall), and Marco has just been awful. I don't know if it's the learning curve, a lack of discipline, a lack of motivation, or what, but he just hasn't been living up to his family name.

MT- As much as I hate to say it, I feel Dario has. The finishing positions have not been there this year as consistent as the past. I know alot has been out if his control, but you just expect him to dominate every year and he just hasn't this season in my opinion.

EM- I really thought that despite his limited experience in the car, Barrichello would have found a few more top-10's and possibly a podium this season, but it doesn't seem like he has clicked very well at KV. I am hoping he can do better in 2013, because I love his personality and passion. He is a great addition to Indycar and I would love to see him with a win next season!

JB- Marco Andretti, where has he been all season. Virtually no TV time, and no results to speak of. Team can't be to blame since RHR and Hinch are doing well, so this falls on his shoulders.

MH- Marco Andretti. Outside of Iowa and leading at Indy, he has done jack shit this season. Marco has 227 points, while his teammates have 317 (Hinch) and 374 (RHR), but don't worry, IT ISN'T HIS FAULT.  

Thanks to the eight others for doing it! Really appreciate the participation! Anyone have an opinion? Feel free to share with me or any of the other participants.

-Matthew Hickey