Cheat Sheet: Indianapolis 2008

Posted by Iannucci | 5/25/2008 | 0 comments »
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This is Indy. The big one. The Queen Mother of all Queen Mothers. Legends are both built and destroyed at this two and a half mile cathedral of speed, where 33 drivers entrust in their engineers and pit crews the lifetime dream of one day finding their name and face etched into the most honored trophy in racing. And though four men in this 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 have already achieved this, they will gladly join with the 29 others racers in another quest for victory and the famed bottle of milk awaiting the winner.

They all will race, here, men and women, from six different continents, at speeds approaching 230 miles per hour...(Jack Arute voice) and they do it all today.

Favorite: Scott Dixon. In speaking with many people around the speedway this weekend there hasn’t been one person who didn’t think Dixon had a shot at making this a very boring race. A win at The 500 is the only thing missing from his IndyCar resume, which is no longer filed under “road course specialist”.

Contender: Helio Castroneves. You can’t go against the guy who has already won twice, who’s driving for an owner who has won this race 14 times. Wait, why isn’t this guy the favorite?

Longshot Hideki Mutoh. Tomas Scheckter is the popular pick here, and Vitor Meira looks his year might be turning around, but Mutoh will be driving with the same team and number that won last year. He’s not Dario Franchitti, but with a little luck he may not need to be.

Driver to Watch Graham Rahal. Yesterday at driver introductions the cheering for Rahal rivaled that of anyone but Danica!. More than Wheldon or Dixon and up there in the neighborhood of Marco, Sarah Fisher and Tony Kanaan. Something is up with this kid who nearly cracked the Top 11, like he might actually be a better driver than his father.

Danica Threat Level: DanCon One. Someone mentioned to me the over/under in Las Vegas for cars finishing the race is 15. Limited practice is sunshine this month and 11 rookies are a likely recipe for carnage, and if there’s one thing Mrs Hospenthal does effectively it’s bring the equipment home. Oh, and she’s been pretty fast here as well, and not just with autographs when exiting the ladies room.

Stat of the race: Tony Kanaan has led 202 laps here, including laps in all six of his previous Indy 500s, and still hasn’t won. Maybe Michael Andretti keeps him around so they can commiserate.

Drinking term: “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”. Here here!

pressdog says: The ‘dog didn’t make the journey to Indy, and I forgot to ask him. My bad, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t say Iceman. He’d just say it a little more creatively, like “Break out the cans of whoop-ass as Iceman leads all 200 laps!” Then again, maybe not.

Footnote: How the heck did I get through this entire post without mentioning Dental Plan Dan? That can't be right.

Time to head out of the Brazil Coffee Company and off to the SouthWest Vista. Wherever you are today, enjoy the show!