Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What The 2013 Season Taught Us

Sadly, the 2013 Indycar season has come to a close and we must wait a long 5 months for the next season. This provides us a perfect time to reflect on what we've learned the past few months about the current state of the series and it's drivers.

- Let's start with the obvious. Scott Dixon is just as good as he's ever been. One of the gutsiest second half's of a season we have ever seen. After a rough start to the season, Dixie came storming back, winning 4 of the last 9 races. Scott also overcame back to back devastating weekends during the heart of the championship race to pull out his 3 series title. Dixon will go down as one of the greatest drives that American Open Wheel racing has ever seen.

Scott Dixon qualifying for the 2012 Indy 500 (Credit: David Leiting)

- Helio Castroneves has become the poster child of what conservative driving can do for a championship battle. Sure, HC finished every lap this season outside of Houston and, a lot of this can be contributed to his passive driving style all season. But look at Dixon, although he had a few DNF's, his go for it driving style paid huge dividends. At Fontana, when Helio went all out, he was passing cars left and right and contended for the lead all race long. I believe at races such as Baltimore and Sonoma, Helio could have gained many more championship points and capitalized off of Scott Dixon's misfortune.

- Takuma Sato has yet to harness his wild driving style. Throughout the first few races of the season, Taku did a good job of managing races and taking what was given to him. I mean hell, he was the points leader headed into the Indy 500. However, it did not take to long for Taku to start running into issues. Sato didn't even finish half of  the races this season. There was that inexplicable pit incident with RHR at Pocono and, many other DNFs due to driving in too deep. Being unable to rein in his driving style may cost Taku a ride in the future.

- Indycar racing has some amazing future talent. Rahal and Andretti have sputtered in their first few seasons but, they have proven that they have it in them to be consistent race winners.  Then you have a driver like Josef Newgarden, who is going to win his first race any day now. Charlie Kimball, Simon Pagenaud, and James Hinchcliffe all won their first race this season and I am positive they will all win many more. If JR Hildebrand can catch a break with a decent program, I predict he will break through with a race win. Lastly, we cannot forget about Carlos Munoz. Watch out for this kid, I have a feeling he can be a future series champion.
Josef Newgarden pulls out for a qualifying run at Indianapolis (Credit David Leiting)

- Indycar needs more ovals. I have said it before and, I will say it again. I am not one to complain about the Indycar schedule because I am just happy to have the Indycar series. (although, there are plenty of tracks I'd love to see added)  However, after that show put on at Fontana to finish off the season, how can you ignore the fact that more races like that would be absolutely amazing. But hey, you can't go where they don't want ya!

- 2014 might be Will Power's year, finally.. After three straight seasons of being the championship runner up, Will started 2013 in a very unfamiliar fashion. Despite the rough start, Power finished off the season by winning 3 of the final 5 races. Will's biggest win came in the final race of the season where he finally proved he can win a full length oval race/ However, it was not just an oval race but a 500 mile race. Add together his confidence of finally finishing a season strong, the addition of another full time teammate in Juan Montoya, and his ability to get it done on ovals as well as road/street courses, 2014 looks to be the season for Power.

Will Power pulls out of his pits stall at Milwaukee (Credit: David Leiting)

- The DW12 produces some of the most amazing racing on the planet. Although, I am among those who don't think this is the most aesthetically eye pleasing car, I cannot overlook the amazing racing the car has put on for us fans.  2013 had the most amazing racing that I have seen in sometime. The best part, this racing occurred on all styles of tracks.

- We have the best drivers in the world. Whether it's on or off the track, Indycar drivers are second to none. We have drivers up and down the grid who can win any given race, on any given track. Every weekend I can think of 15 or so drivers that have a legitimate chance to take the checkered. Along with being great race car drivers, the stars of the Indycar Series are wonderful people. All of them enjoy being around the fans and are extremely personable. From TK and Dixon visiting the injured fan in Houston, to all the charity work that our drivers do, I believe these are some of the best individuals in sports.

Kanaan and Dixon visit injured fan in Houston Hospital (credit: Tony Kanaan)

- Last but not least, the 2013 season showed us exactly why Indycar is the best racing series worldwide. 10 different race winners, a title comeback for the ages, most passes in Indy 500 history , some amazing finishes, team/driver rivalries, and the deepest series since the mid 90's. How anyone can dispute that Indycar is the best racing on the planet it beyond me!

- Dave Jr

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