Around the Horn: September '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:

Here are the nine of us doing it this month:

  • Open-Wheels contributor Tiffany Davies, answers labeled as TD, @Tiffany2978
  • Open-Wheels contributor David Bolton, answers labeled as DB, twitter handle @davidindycar
  • ATH mastermind Michael Tressler, answers labeled as MT, twitter handle @mtressler13
  • Swingmaster James Alban, answers labeled as JA, twitter handle @TheKing0fSwing
  • Hashtag Master Angie King, answers labeled as AK, twitter handle @AngieWarhol
  • STIG. Mathew Gruenholz, answers labeled as STIG, twitter handle @IndycarSTIG
  • The amazing Jessica Baker, answers labeled as JB, twitter handle @bakerjm13
  • The always nice Emily Mugan, answers labeled as EM, twitter handle @emrymalee
  • And then there's me, answers labeled MH, twitter handle @Indycar_MN

1) The First Word: Who will win the 2012 Indycar Championship?

TD: Ryan Hunter-Reay. I just have a feeling that it's his time, that some driving universal force wants an all-Amercan guy to win the Championship. But anything can happen, and anything probably will.

DB: RHR will win the 2012 IndyCar Championship. Penske has not won the championship since 2006 with Hornish and hasn't won the Indy 500 since 2009 with Helio. As much as everyone talks about Penske dominance, they are not winning what counts. Power should have sealed the deal already but hasn't. He has struggled on ovals again this year and Fontana will be much the same. It's all about RHR and Andretti Autosport in the finale.

MT: Let me just say it has been a Hell of a season for the championship. I am sticking to my guns and going with the same guy that I have went with all year. I still think RHR can pull this off. It's going to be a tough one but I just have this gut feeling he can do it.

JA: "Flyin" Ryan Hunter-Reay! With 4 wins this season, and possibly a 5th at Fontana, I see him as the champion!

AK: Well, it's hard to say until the checkered flag drops. All I can say is this: whoever wins will need a lot of Will Power. (See what I did there?)

STIG: Will Power WILL WIN.... Maybe. I'm not ure of the win scenarios but we've all seen the 11th hour Will Power Hour go sour, so he just NEEDS to finish in the top ten and needs to stay THE (expletive) OUT OF TROUBLE!

JB: Still going with will power, I've said all season that I think it's his year!

EM: The season has been pretty bonkers up until this point and I could really see it going either way. Just glad it's coming down to the last race!

MH: Ryan Hunter-Reay will win and Will Power will lose the championship by a small margin for the third year in a row.

2) Buy or Sell: Ryan Briscoe will be back with Penske in 2013.

TD: Sell--Briscoe hasn't lived up to expectations. While some may argue a pole at Indianapolis and a win are enough to keep you in your seat, Penske expects far more from his drivers. Good is not good enough, he expects perfection.

DB: Buy. I really don't understand why he would lose his seat at Penske. Ryan can still finish 5th in the points. Yes he only has 1 win but he has been very consistent. Is anyone going to do better? I don't think so.

MT: I feel Briscoe could be the odd man out. Unless he can bring in some good sponsorship I just feel he won't be back. He has all kinds of talent, but the sad thing is just having talent and being able to drive isn't enough these days.

JA: Sell....Hate to say it, but unless Power or Castroneves retire, Briscoe County Jr. is out...

AK: Buy. I don't have a real good reason for it, just a feeling. The Three Pensketeers will return for another season.

STIG: Buy it. Briscoe will be at Penske next season, no DERPs at Indy, a race win, and semi decent points position. Next year will be a different story i believe.

JB: Sell- he just doesn't produce the kind of results that Penske is used to.

EM: With the possibility of RHR going to Penske, and considering Briscoe has spent the year preparing for this situation, I'm inclined to sell.

MH: Sell because he doesn't bring sponsors to the team, which kind of stinks.

3) Out of Bounds: Should Ryan Hunter-Reay have received a penalty following the second to last restart at Baltimore?

TD: No, the rules are that you go when the green flag goes. Not his fault that Briscoe's P2P didn't work and he fell asleep at the wheel.

DB: RHR should not have received a penalty. He did not accelerate until the green flag waved and it was within the restart cones. If he was wrong, Simon and Scott would receive a penalty also because they accelerated at the same time. For whatever reason, Briscoe just did not get going.

MT: This is a tough one. It was a judgement call and let's just say I'm glad I wasn't the judge. Did he jump the start? Possibly. Should he have been punished? I really don't know. Now, in my opinion I think it was the right call.

JA: Negative...I've watched the replay numerous times, it appeared to be a perfectly timed restart. It may have been the restart of his career!

AK: No. From what I understand of the rules (which isn't a lot), he did not have to wait for the leader. He saw the green flag and floored it. The end.

STIG: Ryan did what so many of us do in the Online racing community have done (but in real life) He timed the restart PERFECT. Barely a second earlier would be a penalty, he did what he had to do for his championship hopes.

JB: It's hard to tell from the replays, but in my opinion he wasn't past the cone and he should have gotten a drive through. Think indycar was just looking for the drama of the championship going to the last race.

EM: It seemed to me like this was Indycar's goof, not RHR' weren't even lined up properly on restarts and not splitting the chicane made for some odd dynamics. I think he played fair and square, but the circumstances certainly gave him an advantage.

MH: I think RHR lagged behind to get a perfect jump which I think isn't all that great, so maybe they should make a rule about that because the first two rows were barely side by side and the rest of the field was single file. But no penalty. 

4) Showdown: Which current full time driver will be without a full time Indycar ride in 2013 (excluding retirements)?  

James Jakes of England drives his #19 Boy Scouts Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara during practice for IZOD IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Baltimore  on September 1, 2012 on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland.

TD: Toughie, but if I had to pick, it would be a member of the Viso/Conway/Jakes trio. Viso had shown a lot of progress early in the season, but has reverted back to his old self as of late. Conway hasn't had the best of luck, so I think AJ will stick with him for the time being. Jakes is inexperienced and has a great mentor in Wilson, but I just don't know if he's had the results that Coyne can justify.

DB: My first choice is Mike Conway. Mike is a great driver so it has nothing to do with him but has everything to do with Foyt Racing. They just don't have it and Mike will get the blame. My second choice would be James Jakes just because this is his second season and he is still finishing worse than 20th in the points.

MT: A subject I do not look forward to at all every year. Silly Season. It used to be you knew who was in or out. Now it's a crapshoot. Just look back at the past two seasons only. Dan Wheldon(who is still greatly missed by myself and I know many others), Alex Lloyd, Jay Howard, Pippa Mann, Tomas Scheckter are just a few names of talented drivers who encountered the problem of not landing a full time ride. So for me it could come down to anyone from Briscoe, Sato, Conway or anyone really. I don't feel any job is safe anymore. Too many determining factors. But I'm not sure if we will see Conway back next season.

JA: Mike Conway jumps out on that list...I think his days are numbered....

AK: I'm going to go with James Jakes. I forget he's a full-time driver as it is.

STIG: I would say possibly James Jakes, but a driver that needs a wake up call (Michael giving him an ultimatum) to up his game is Marco Andretti, no matter what his last name is he needs to kick it up a gear. Harsh, maybe. Fair? Darn right.

JB: Simona will be hurting. I don't think she will be able to slot into any current team full time. I do still expect to see her in some races though!

EM: I would say Ed Carpenter but...haha

MH: Marco Andretti needs a huge wake up call, as does Ed Carpenter, but I'd say James Jakes and Mike Conway will have a rough time getting a ride in 2013.

Let us know what you think.

-Matthew Hickey