In case you've been in a coma for the last few days, allow me to summarize.
Danica Patrick. Twin Ring Motegi. Danica Patrick. Champ Car finale. Long Beach. Danica Patrick. Will Power. Danica Patrick. Danica Patrick. Danica Patrick. Danicker Patrick. Danica Patrick.
There, that should be enough of pre-race coverage for this week. Now we can all re-unify, sing another round of Kumbaya, and put twenty something cars back onto a single track with a dash of Milka and Scheckter just to spice things up. Wind up another 1.5-mile oval and away we go.
Favorite: Scott Dixon. Iceman's teammate is the defending champion at this race, but Dan ain't winning anything lately (more on that later). Fully fueled and already looking like the class of the field at both ovals in '08, expect Dixon to build on the 168 laps he's already led this year.
Contender: Tony Kanaan. Last year's pole winner at Kansas ran into some hard luck after a team gaffe ended with Danica! running into him in the pits. In his last 9 races his worst finish was 8th, and that was at Homestead where he was leading until his Dallara got turned into a tricycle.
Longshot: Vitor Meira. The Mirror Man has three podiums at Kansas in his last four races here, so this may be his best shot at scoring that elusive first win all year. So far this has been the season of first-time winners, but odds are that Vitor will extend his record winless streak to 80 races.
Driver to Watch: Tomas Scheckter. Scheckter has finished 7th or better his last three races here and has ALWAYS qualified at least 8th. Let's see if he can shake off the rust in this Luczo-Dragon-Son-of-Penske special.
Danica Threat Level: DanCon 2. DanCon 1 is tempting, but winning back-to-back is hard enough for anyone, let alone a driver with just one win. She is however in the sweet spot of the schedule for her, so if she's going to start thinking about the ICS championship (she is *gulp* third) she might be content to just finish on the lead lap.
Stat of the Day: Dan Wheldon is winless in his last 16 events, which is every race since he won here in Kansas last year. Additionally, Helio Castroneves is winless in his last 18 events, celebrity dancing competitions notwithstanding. That's a full year now of these two top drivers winning nothing - wow!
Drinking Term: “Motegi”, which is Japanese for “The Queen of Lean”. Marty Reid has spent the last few days preparing to say the word “Danica” about a million times for the broadcast.
Pressdog says: “I can't decide between Tony Kanaan -- who is likely smarting (on the inside) over the prospect of an entire year in the Amazon rain forest-sized shadow of Danicker -- and Scott Dixon. Or Helio who needs to redeem himself for brain lock at Motegi. Look for Dixon to get the wick fully out (careful!) and win.”
Clearly the 'dog is covering the bases for all of the leading teams. At any rate, enjoy the show!
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