Cheat Sheet: Kentucky 2008

Posted by Iannucci | 8/08/2008 | 21 comments »
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This is SPARTA!!!!! Kentucky, that is.

When we last left our beloved IndyCar series, Scott Dixon had notched his 5th win of the year up in Canada, Paul Tracy had driven the wheels of his “crapwagon”, and Andretti Green Racing had quarantined themselves for an in-house Celebrity Deathmatch. Good times for all!

Since then we’ve had an eventful couple of weeks, including announcements of a, uh, “balanced” 2009 race schedule, and a, um, “interesting” new TV package, along with an “intriguing” Robin Miller story that turned out to be wrong. And this is consider “downtime”.

(I have now nearly exhausted my quotation mark quotient.)

Seriously though, who could forget the weekend at Kentucky last year? Not AGR. Tony Kanaan won the race from the pole, keeping his slim hopes of a championship alive. Marco scored a rare Top 5 on an oval. Danica Patrick spun on pit out, flat spotted the tires, zoomed back up to speed, suffered a blowout, spun into the wall and nearly struck the safety truck. Topping it off, Dario Franchitti had the mother of all brain fades by not realizing the race was over and driving up over the back of Kosuke Matsuura’s rear wheel for an epic somersault into the post-race festivities.

And just to add a twist, Hideki Mutoh - who now resides in the AGR stable of drivers - that night in the Indy Lights race won in his Panther Racing entry. Godzilla vs Sparta! Ah, the memories.

Favorite: Tony Kanaan. Last year Nariz won the pole and the race, and other than 2005 he’s never finished worse than 6th here. In 5 years he has led 285 laps at Kentucky Speedway. Can you say “Kan-To-Ky”?

Contender: Dan Wheldon. Despite leading 176 laps in Kentucky, Well Done has never finishing better than 3rd.We still don’t know if the signatures have been applied to his 2009 contract yet, but a win this weekend would go a long way towards completing a deal.

Longshot: AJ Foyt IV. Quattro shocked the world with a third place finish last year, presuming the world is still capable of being shocked after so many “shocked the world” moments in sports over the last couple of decades. If his crew can keep from lighting him on fire – literally – he should be up front again.

Driver to Watch: Sarah Fisher. New and improved, now with real sponsorship added! Sarah returns to Kentucky, a track where she finished 3rd in 2000 and started from the pole in 2002. A lot of time has passed since then, but at the risk of jinxing her let’s note that Sarah has completed well over 1100 laps here without crashing. Of course, she’s never raced here against EJ Viso before.

Danica Threat Level: DanCon Four. Since claiming the pole position for her first start here in 2005 Danicker has had, well, sucked. Two 16th place finishes and an 8th make Kentucky the one super speedway she’s never had any luck at. That is, if you don’t count her incredible near-miss of the Delphi Safety Truck last year.

Drinking Term: “Sarah Fisher”, of course.

Stat of the race: Scott Dixon has never won at Kentucky, finishing 2nd in 2003, 2006, and 2007. Longtime My Name Is IRL reader and noted Dixon antagonista “American Mutt” regularly attends this race. Coincidence?

pressdog says: “Dan Wheldon crawls out from underneath the bus where Chippy tossed him and wins. Dixon does what all fans pay money to see -- plays it safe. Helio challenges but fades at the end. Sarah Fisher gets into a pit brawl with Danica during which I drop my water and pass out.”

Alrighty then. Ready your best "300" references for the comments section, and by all means enjoy the show!


  1. Anonymous // August 09, 2008 4:22 AM  

    If Anthony and the Lilly/Vision crew can avoid fires and miscues, I think he'll be a solid podium finisher.

    If he does have problems, don't be surprised to see him jump out of his car and start hitting it with a hammer.

  2. Anonymous // August 09, 2008 5:39 AM  

    p.s. is anyone else surprised (concerned?) marty roth is starting so far up the grid?

  3. Kohl // August 09, 2008 5:40 AM  

    WEll the planet irl crew is sparta bound from our western-ohio headquarters and hope to see some great action from sparta

  4. Anonymous // August 09, 2008 6:01 AM  

    Other discarded Robin Miller headlines this week:

    "Wheldon Signs Three-Year Deal with Euro Truck Series"

    "Kanaan Starts Own Team, Hires Viso as Second Driver"

    "Milka Moving to F1?"

    "Roth Racing Hires Barnhart as Crew Chief"

  5. Anonymous // August 09, 2008 7:24 AM  

    An alternative "drinking term" that should be used by only the most experienced drinkers is Brienne Pedigo's favorite "calling the shots". Be prepared for extreme drunkenness when Brienne screams "Roger Penske is 'calling the shots' for Ryan Briscoe". When you are playing the Brienne Pedigo drinking game, she is "calling the shots" for you.

  6. Anonymous // August 09, 2008 8:04 AM  

    Marty Roth(The Sloth) will be last by the fourth lap.
    Marty Roth(the Sloth) worst Indycar driver all time.

  7. Iannucci // August 09, 2008 8:31 AM  

    When you are playing the Brienne Pedigo drinking game, she is "calling the shots" for you.

    That's awesome! This adds a whole new level to the concept.

    On a personal note, I also drink whenever someone says "fuel conservation". It has become the ultimate drinking term.

  8. Anonymous // August 09, 2008 12:09 PM  

    Jeff, have you been anywhere near upright and semi-functional by the end of any of the races lately? Between "calling the shots", "fuel conservation", and "Danica's reporting an understeer" (you forgot to add that one from a previous post) I can picture you comatose in front of the tv...before the first pit stops.....

  9. Iannucci // August 09, 2008 1:55 PM  

    No worries. I have a stunt double who does the drinking for me during the LiveBlogs.

  10. Anonymous // August 09, 2008 3:05 PM  

    Why are Lights and IndyCar drivers being introduced at the same time?

  11. Demond Sanders // August 09, 2008 4:45 PM  

    All of Dixon's wins have come because of his pit location advantage. Including the 500.

    Go back and check. His winning passes come on yellow flag pit stops. They need to change that rule because it creates a huge disadvantage to all non-TCGR drivers.

  12. Anonymous // August 09, 2008 5:09 PM  

    What an absolutely disgustingly fabulous race this has been thus far.

  13. Anonymous // August 09, 2008 5:10 PM  

    After the lap 190 pitstops was tripping over words in confusion like my 89 year old Grandma does.

  14. Anonymous // August 09, 2008 5:11 PM  

    Mike King** sorry triple post.

  15. Anonymous // August 09, 2008 5:59 PM  

    Hey, I guess we can safely move Marty and Milka over Graham and Will2Power at the bottom of the oval power rankings.

  16. Anonymous // August 09, 2008 7:18 PM  

    Hey, our girl Sarah did really well tonight, didn't she? It was so great to see her smiling in the interview.

  17. Anonymous // August 10, 2008 5:53 AM  

    @dale nixon: Why don't you throw that chimp that did the Most Valuable Primate movies in ahead of them as well? I know he hasn't raced yet, but driving these underpowered cars with as much downforce as they have can be done well by about any animal. All you need to be is courageous (or stupid) enough to stay flat out and you are halfway there. Granted, he would need an engineer that has oval experience to set the car up... but I'd tag him as a favorite when he makes his Indy Car debut.

    Seriously though, you swap Will Power and Graham into half decent, new cars (i.e. Milk & "Yip Yip" Donuts' and "Mad Dog" Marty "The Rolling Chicane, my Mom (ego?) says I'm good enough to be in Indy Cars" Roth's cars) and they'd do far better (are they less intelligent or more courageous... I'll have to think that one out... yip yip.)

    Bottom line, they are more infinitely more talented.

  18. The American Mutt // August 10, 2008 12:59 PM  

    Three races in person for me---three wins for Dixon--go figure. I'd be lessed pissed off at Dixon for winning if he ever passed for the lead on the track. Make him pull out of his pit stall like everyone else. Remember that time Dixon passed for the lead and win on the track? When was that?

  19. Anonymous // August 10, 2008 6:22 PM  

    That was never, mutt.

    Goodyear and ESPN has actually down a good job of pointing out Dixon's advantage. Imagine that.

  20. Anonymous // August 10, 2008 9:50 PM  

    This passing in the pits stuff is ticking my off.

    But I really want to know...
    Wasn't there a time when the pole sitter got the #1 pit box? If so, when did it change and why?

    And where, oh where, has Jeff gone?

  21. mikebdot // August 11, 2008 10:19 AM  

    Anyone else wonder how the leader was able to conserve fuel with the lead as Vitor challenged him for the pass for about 15 laps and was still able to stick out on the track for a few extra laps? Same with the last pit stop for Dixon. He was able to stay out for another 3 or 4 laps. I smell something fishy...get rid of the knobs!