Welcome to Nashville, where the only thing more grating than listening to some yodeling wannabe trying land a record contract is the uneven concrete surface at the Nashville Superspeedway. Tires will be chewed and drivers will be shaken, and all the while you and I will look on in amazement from the cameras atop the competitors Dallaras.
Speaking of being jostled around, when the dust settled on qualification for Saturday's Firestone Indy 200 the two points leaders (Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti) found themselves in the front row, while the recent helmeted gum-flappers (Tony Kanaan and Sam Hornish Jr) landed next to each other in the second row.
Guess we'll find out quickly how sorry Nariz really is.
OK, on to list for "Most likely to claim that awesome guitar trophy".
Dixon - He won here last year, he won at the Glen last week, and he's starting from the pole position. All he needs to do is drive like he's trying to escape that giant pink bunny.
Franchitti - Won this race two years ago, leading the points this year, and starting right next to Dixon. It's his new hometown, so maybe a whole bunch of Judd women will show up in giant hats to cheer on My Husband.
Kanaan - He's won here before and he's finished in the Top 10 every time he's raced here, so yet again he will factor into the decision.
Hornish - Would you believe this is an oval in which he's never visited Victory Lane? It's true, despite leading 195 laps - more than anyone ever. Watch your sidepods, Tony.
Wheldon - Top 5 in 3 of four tries but like Hornish he has no awesome guitar in the trophy case. He needs to find Dr Evil and get his Mojo back soon, baby.
Patrick - 7th in '05 and 4th last year, plus she was second or third in practice times this week. If she wins the awesome guitar, do you think she'll jam out to "Back In Black" or "Cult of Personality"?
Andretti - He finished 8th here in his rookie season and is looking a lot better lately. Maybe he kept those gloves Scheckter threw at him back in Texas for good luck.
Sharp - One of two drivers (along with Uncle Sam) to participate in all six races in Nashville, and like Hornish he's got a big donut in the win column. I wonder if pouring Patron in the tank would make the #8 go faster.
Meira - In four races The Mirror Man has led 114 laps but has managed only one Top 10 finish. Poor Vitor should be sponsored by Kleenex for all the tear-inducing heartbreak his fans suffer through.
Carpenter - Ed's a capable driver, but in 58 career starts ECG has ONE Top 5 finish. Don't take this the wrong way Ed, but maybe you should consider talking your stepdad into letting you run the team so Wade Cunningham or Alex Lloyd can get into that car.
Scheckter - Five starts, never better than 10th. What? Come on, he's gotta be better than that, right?
Simmons - He started 15th last year but worked his way up to 7th, although the way things looked in practice for RLR he's gonna need a lot of luck to repeat that feat.
Foyt - Well, he's finished every race here. No better than 12th, but brought it home every time. A Sunday drive on a Saturday night, I suppose.
Rice - In four starts he's made the Top 10 once. Yuck. The bar is low, Buddy.
Matsuura - Three races, one running at finish. Since we're talking about music and guitars it should be noted that he may soon be singing "I can't drive (number) 55". Har-dee-dar.
Manning - Man, if he thought last week was physically exhausting wait until Danger Mouse gets a load of this bump-fest. Hold on to your hollyhocks, lad.
Fisher - Three starts, 145 of 600 laps completed, no running at finish. Close your eyes and cross your fingers, FishHeads.
Castroneves - You were thinking he'd be higher after his recent spell of bad luck? Sorry. One word, Helio: Exorcism.
Money Says: Money is not yet saying, as he is en route somewhere along the East Coast. If he pops up with a pick we'll let you know.
Enjoy the show!
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