Yeah, I know, I’ve been gone a while. I could try to explain my absence but there’s little fun in such, much as there’s little fun in explaining how Butler missed defeating Duke by roughly the same margin Ed Carpenter missed defeating Ryan Briscoe last fall. (DAMMIT!!!)

It would be more exciting to envision my departure as a 10-day penalty served for an inadvertent word butcher attack on Graham Rahal. And an involuntary departure at that. Say, something like I was rendered unconscious while out for a stroll, waking up a dozen hours later in a dumpster in Columbus with the word “OBVIOUSLY” tattooed on my forehead. But that didn’t happen, I swear. Speaking of, pardon me while I take care of an administrative requirement once and for all.

Dear Mr Rahal,
Please accept my apology as I sincerely promise never to make light of any words you may or may not overuse. You are a fine young driver with a great future, one in whom Americans will take great pride for many years. In fact, to represent this I will heretofore refer to you most respectfully as “The Grahamerican”. And I’ll never, ever, EVER mention the O-word again.
Sincerely, Iannucci

OK, with that out of the way, the IRL is now rolling along towards race number three, which in all likelihood will have difficulty living up to the excitement of the first two. Brazil – which by the way is having even more calamitous weather problems than it did last month – was an unprecedented festival of street race passing, and the subsequent race in St Pete was a spectacle of the future of racing. Marco and Viso each led, The Grahamerican and Simona were racy near the front, and Rafa notched another quality finish that has him 5th in the championship standings. If only these drivers could start winning some races we’d be on to something.

However, race number three appears like it might well be the first snoozer of the season. Oh, there’s a beautiful track with a beautiful museum smack dab in a part of America that isn’t known for it’s IndyCar fanbase (Will McCarty aside). There’s even a chance that bona fide “road course specialist” Justin Wilson could give Dreyer & Reinbold their first win since the Clinton Administration. But there’s little if any chance for passing, as I may have mentioned a year ago and Dylan is mentioning now. With the track’s current configuration it looks nothing will help - not Charles Barkley, not Taylor Hicks, not even that creepy giant metal spider that lurks at the facility.

But no matter, because today’s news relates to a better place, as fan-friendly Vision Racing has announced a partnership with Panther Racing that will allow Ed Carpenter a chance to extend his streak of two-straight top-8 finishes at IMS. (And yes, two can be considered a streak.) Added to last week’s announcements of John Andretti’s ride with his cousin’s team and Alex Tagliani’s über-classy addition of Bruno Junqueira the total number of entries for this year’s running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing looks almost...quantitative.

Here’s the unscientific but up-to-the minute tally of entries:
5 from Andretti Autosport (M Andretti, J Andretti, Kanaan, Hunter-Reay, Patrick)
4 from KV Racing Technologies (Moraes, Sato, Tracy, Viso)
3 from Target Chip Ganassi Racing (Bell, Dixon, Franchitti)
3 from Team Penske (Briscoe, Castroneves, Power)
2 from Dale Coyne Racing (Duno, Lloyd)
2 from De Ferran Luczo Whatever (Hamilton, Matos)
2 from Dreyer & Reinbold (Conway, Wilson)
2 from FAZZT Racing (Tagliani, Junqueira)
2 from HVM (Baguette, de Silvestro)
2 from Panther Racing (Carpenter, Wheldon)
2 from Sarah Fisher Racing (Fisher, Howard)
1 from Bryan Herta Autosport (Saavedra)
1 from Conquest Racing (Romancini)
1 from Foyt Racing (Meira)
1 from Newman/Haas/Lanigan (Mutoh)
1 from Walker Racing (Gordon) – this could partner with another team

That’s 34, and that doesn’t even count the The Grahamerican, who at the very least has GOTTA be with a Rahal Letterman entry. Add another from Team 3G for my very distant cousin named Antinucci, a ride for AJ Foyt IV at grandpa’s team, and maybe a third D&R car for Ana Beatriz or Tomas Scheckter and we’re up to 38 – and a very probable 38 at that. We’re just a Roger Yasukawa and an Oriol Servia away from 40.

And (Jack Arute voice) this is one of the rare instances in life when it’s considered good to be over 40...and yes, that punchline totally deserves an eye roll and a groan.


  1. Anonymous // April 09, 2010 6:48 PM  

    Thanks for the link!

    40 might be attainable. The only thing is, if 38 cars confirm, would that keep away some of the one offs who wouldn't problably quailify. On the other hand, a lot of the full time team drivers are new to ovals, and thus maybe the one offs with Oval specialists feel that they can in fact beat them.

    All I want is to see Milka Duno go home. Thats all. I'll be a very happy person when/if that happens. She wrecked on a pace lap...