Road warriors

Posted by Iannucci | 8/21/2008 | 6 comments »
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With two more twisties upon us in the coming weekends and the My Name Is IRL TSO Fantasy team languishing in 84th place, it behooved your humble host to try to figure out who exactly would fit the bill as the 2008 King of the Road. And so the data was summoned and brought forth, so with any possible typos notwithstanding here are the results for each driver who participated in the St Pete, Watkins Glen, Mid Ohio and Edmonton races, ranked by average finish.

1. Kanaan: (3, 3, 7, 9) 5.50
1. Castroneves: (2, 16, 2, 2) 5.50
3. Manning: (13, 2, 8, 10) 8.25
4. Hunter-Reay: (17, 1, 10, 8) 9.00
5. Dixon: (22, 11, 3, 1) 9.25
6. Servia: (7, 23, 5, 5) 10.00
7. Briscoe: (23, 12, 1, 6) 10.50
8. Wilson: (9, 25, 11, 3) 12.00
9. Power: (8, 15, 4, 22) 12.25
10. Rice: (15, 4, 20, 11) 12.50
11. Rahal: (1, 8, 16, 26) 12.75
11. Viso: (4, 10, 22, 15) 12.75
11. Mutoh: (6, 9, 9, 27) 12.75
14. Patrick: (10, 14, 12, 18) 13.50
15. Junqueira: (24, 6, 13, 14) 14.25
16. Wheldon: (12, 24, 17, 7) 15.00
16. Foyt: (11, 19, 18, 12) 15.00
18. Carpenter: (18, 17, 15, 13) 15.75
19. Meria: (19, 22, 6, 19) 16.50
20. Moraes: (16, 7, 24, 20) 16.75
21. Bernoldi: (5, 21, 26, 16) 17.00
22. Andretti: (25, 5, 25, 17) 18.00

(Results from the Long Beach event were excluded because of the difference in race cars, as were results for drivers who only participated in some of these events. Sorry, Mr Tracy.)

As you can see there are a few drivers outside of the Big Three who have excelled on road courses, although the two that jump out are Darren Manning and Ryan Hunter-Reay. When bimergification occurred earlier this year, the conventional wisdom then was that the refugee, err, transition drivers would be able to hang or possibly even better the IRL regulars on the road and street courses. Well, wisdom rarely is conventional, and aside from Graham Rahal’s win at St Petersburg the fact is the former Champ Car teams haven’t exactly set the world on fire on the non-ovals. Oriol Servia notwithstanding.

Still, the road courses have resulted in an unusual jumbling of the regulars. You cam make your own case for which is the most unusual result so far.
• Darren Manning, surprisingly in 3rd?
• Scott Dixon, slumming in 6th?
• Marco Andretti, dead effing last?
• Dale Coyne’s Bruno Junquiera, bettering a Ganassi driver (Dan Wheldon)?
• EJ Viso, tied or ahead of three AGR drivers?
• Graham Rahal, having progressively worse results?

Take your pick, and pick your fantasy team accordingly.


  1. Pat W // August 21, 2008 4:16 PM  

    Conventional wisdom was right. OK not up front, but excluding the Big Three who IMO have a car development advantage...

    Even with 'em, Servia, Wilson and Power are in the top ten. 3/10 ain't too bad when you count how many actually raced in CC last year - of that bunch only Rahal and Junky are further back. Viso, Moreas and Bernoldi were never in Champ Car.

    Viso doesn't surprise me, he only sucks at ovals - and Watkins Glen.
    Would have loved to have seen Doornbos on an oval..

  2. Anonymous // August 22, 2008 5:26 AM  

    And the rumor is that Danica and Marco might run A1GP if AGR buys the team? Oh yeah, the US will be right on top in that series with those two.

  3. Fred Hurley // August 22, 2008 6:26 AM  

    Doornbos WILL end up in an Indycar at some point. He's too good to not attract interest, he can bring Red Bull Bucks, and he's too old to be given a legit shot at F1. And there are a bunch of people in the Indycar paddock who know him and respect his talent.

  4. Fred Hurley // August 22, 2008 6:44 AM  

    Also, one note about the fantasy team picks: Sure, Dixon has been surprisingly mediocre on the twisties, but then again, he's still well into the top 10, and he's been running for a championship all season. Isn't it possible that he's been running conservatively on road courses all year to help protect that championship? I know accidents on ovals get the press, because they can total a car quickly, but aren't turn one pileups that take out innocent drivers as collateral way more common on road courses? I mean, PT's made a freakin' career of that, no? And you can't fight history - Dixon's a great driver, on big ovals, short oval, mid-size ovals, road courses, street circuits, flowing tracks, and technical tracks. He's a great drivers, and he's entering his prime. The fact that America doesn't consider him the best driver in the country is a crime. So he's the first pick on my fantasy roster this week. It's just the smart pick, after all. I MIGHT have picked Helio, in a desperation effort, but with the car change and the fire ... not so much.

  5. Anonymous // August 22, 2008 4:32 PM  


    Homestead--Viso crashed TK with a huge lead

    Texas--Marco/RHR screwed the pooch when either could have caught him

    Nashville--fuel run

    Kentucky--fuel run, pit given lead

    Edmonton--fuel win with timed race bonus

    Indy is his only win the doesn't contain a dot dot dot, and if you make the man turn out of his pit stall he may not have got the lead back from Vitor for those closing laps.

    This year has seen almost zero green flag pit stops. They guy with the front stall is going to gain a second every stop on everyone else. Furthermore, (I don't feel like doing the math again but...) if you average his finish on tracks that require braking, and letting off (ya know, more than turning the fastest car left) his average finish is worse than sixth. I'd hardly say he's the best driver in the league, let alone the country. He's had a lucky season with an enabling race control. TK and Helio are both better than he is.

    Countering view points are essential. Your turn sir.

  6. Anonymous // August 23, 2008 2:25 PM  

    Did Champ Car merge with IRL or do I have this reversed. It looks to me by the look of the schedule that CC won this war !!!!