There is talk of a swan song, since this two miles of high-speed wonder will not grace the 2008 ICS schedule and may never return.
There is talk of protest, as fans who otherwise did not show up at the track are now up in arms at the schedule omission.
And there is talk of the Danica! finally - perhaps reluctantly - making it to Victory Lane.
Oh, how I love Michigan. If Bryan Herta and Alex Barron can win here...oh, I am just so pumped for the Firestone Indy 400.
The funny thing is that last year - pretty much every year - I was psyched to watch this race and yet I didn't see a single lap because of rain and ESPN. I was quite tweaked, so hopefully the chaos of that event won't repeat itself. This is a premier IndyCar event, and I always ALWAYS get excited for races at MIS and Texas. If the race is long and the track is wide then My Name Is IRL is ALL OVER IT.
But enough serendipity - here is the ranking of favorites.
Wheldon - Remember him? Here's a fun stat: Dan's actually led more laps this season than any other driver. He's also had podium finishes the last three times here, so beware the Thunda.
Dixon - Three wins in a row, but never better than fifth at Michigan. Pfft. Whatever. I've picked him three races in a row, so I'm spurning the hot hand here.
Franchitti - He's starting on the pole and he's leading in the points. While Iceman has been ticking off wins Mr Judd has been finish first or second the last three races. He's hotter than Beckham, baby.
Hornish - Last year he suffered from "Mechanical" failure, but before that Uncle Sam had three straight Top 5s. He's never won here, although because of his NAPCAR aspirations he may be the only guy to drive here in 2008. Excuse me while I vomit.
Patrick - Mike King picked her, and I said because of her weight advantage and her skill at finishing longer races, this was her best shot after Indy. She's also got a good shot at Kentucky and Chicagoland, but that doesn't mean she's the favorite.
Kanaan - He's listed as a precious winner when he raced in CART in 1999, but he's finished no better than fourth (twice). But he's Tony Kanaan, and he's ALWAYS in contention.
Castroneves - Sure Spiderman won the race last year, but before that victory Michigan was very cruel. Like no better than 10th the last three years type cruel. Good news, Helio: Detroit is coming up soon.
Scheckter - He won here and was leading lap times in practice. Vision has looked solid on superspeedways, and Scheckter has been the standard bearer for the once mocked team. Oh, he won at MIS racing for Old Man Cheever in 2002.
Sharp - He's old and he's doing well without being on a big team. This makes him a "crafty veteran". He qualified fourth and there's lots of room for block parties, so expect more crafty madness this week.
Meira - Anyone else remember Meira furiously trying to chase down Castroneves last year? Listening to the IMS Radio team I got the impression Meira was charging hard en route to yet another runner-up final.
Rice - Geez, it's feast of famine here. Buddy has a win, a place and then no better than 11th in his other three attempts.
Andretti, Carpenter, Duno, Fisher, Foyt, Herb, Hunter-Reay, Manning, Matsuura - To varying degrees, these folks are just trying to get by. I dare say on this track Carpenter looks the strongest, but none of these folks are winning on Sunday. Sorry, but I'm still rooting for you...well, most of you.
Money says: "Oh man....uh....Dixon."
He's so pumped he's stupefied. I don't know about you, but I'm not thinking about any swan song until the race is over. Four hundred miles of three-wide and 220 MPH, here we come. Enjoy the show!
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