Thursday, March 27, 2014

Crystal Ballin' 2014

Ah, yes. The waiting is over. It's all to be done.

The newest of Indycar seasons is upon us and in keeping with my ill-advised tradition of making predictions, the time has come again.  Rather than summarize my previous predictions, feel free to examine those thoughts from 2009, 2012, and 2013.  Seers of sooth, sayers of all, gather 'round whilst I make the following lead-pipe cinches:

St. Pete - A new tradition was born in 2013 and a previous non-winner will win here. Odds are heavily against me as there have only been two in the history of St. Pete (Graham Rahal and James Hinchcliffe), but the first race of the season is always a wild-card in my opinion and this year's first-time Indycar winner will be... Carlos Munoz.

Inaugural GP of Indy - A new tradition is born at IMS and I'll predict a rain-shortened race, finishing under the red flag, with the winner not being the one who lead most of the race.  2014 and inaugural GP winner will be Will Power.

Indy 500 - I'm pleased (and TK is as well) to report that back in 2013, and for the first time in 7 prior years, I did NOT pick TK to win the 500, thus allowing Murphy's Law to present him with his first Borg-Warner likeness. This year though the 'double' will actually come to be synonymous with grabbing the GP of Indy and the Indy 500 in the same year.  2014 Indy 500 winner = Will Power.

Triple Crownin' - Pocono and Fontana makes up the remaining two-thirds of the Fuzzy's Triple Crown. Again there will be a different winner at each race, so the winner of Pocono for '14 will be Marco Andretti, and the Fontana winner will be Tony Kanaan.

Elsewhere - The remainder of the season will largely be as many before it - entertaining with smatterings of controversy. Other race winners in 2014 will include Dixon, Pagenaud, Bourdais, Montoya, Wilson... hell, even Sato will get a win this year. Championship Controversy will abound because people will be tracking the points in both the 2013 and 2014 formats.  Replete with ballyhoo and consternation, the storylines following Indy will revolve around two points formats and who would be where. I predict the winner of the 2014 season championship would not have won under the 2013 points system. OH, THE HAND-WRINGING!

Verizon - A slow start, but major May-centric advertising blast will continue through the middle of the season with their logoed 'Red-V' on signage as far as the eye can see both in person and on TV. Nice, but how long before the public tunes it out as background noise much as the original IZOD campaign became tiresome?

Regardless, we'll have another enjoyable season with some slight momentum going into 2015...

Oh, yes.  2015...
Aerokits: Finally. In keeping with a previous prediction (under '2013' in that 2011 post) though, the visual and performance differences will be negligible to the average viewer, leaving many asking the question - "Just what in the wide, wide, world of sports was the point of aerokits anyway?!" 

Motors: A (new) third powerplant finally (European) badged and in development, two entirely new venues scheduled for 2016, the loss of one storied venue, and the ever-present B&C (ballyhoo and consternation) in the off-season.

Teams: Two more teams will call it quits just prior to 2015 (one will fold, one will join Formula E) and one new, hugely optimistic (and former IMSA) team will join Indycar. Car count will sit at 20 this time next year with further consolidation of smaller teams.

TV: ABC will perform marginally better, NBC Sports will crush them again however in terms of production and fan preference, just not in the ratings... yet.  Ratings will hold at their '13 levels and the Sunshine Squad will note that upticks in ratings at a few events signal things are on the right path. Overall, the ratings will be the same for the season which will be cause for ongoing concern by entitlement sponsor Verizon.

Management: Between the typical controversies, proclamations, hints, appointments, firings, and typical squabbles of the Indycar ilk, management will stay largely behind-the-scenes for better of worse. Fans will need to get used to paying no attention to the 'man behind the curtain', the great and powerful Oz will speak only as necessary. 

Despite the advent of what will be presented as new 'traditions/improvements/enhancements', Indycar will look largely the same by the start of 2015 that it did at the start of 2012, albeit with a slightly elevated financial situation. 

The glacial rate of decision-making (largely caused by the ongoing and misplaced placation of the freshly consolidated owners), will stagnate what minor growth has occurred.

Suddenly, like a thunderbolt, the decree from management will come that this is the very best that Indycar can expect.  The reverberations will at long last be enough to silence the long-time, ever-shinking, and stunned 'traditionalist fanbase' aged 45-95.

Conclusions - Enjoy what Indycar provides you, for it is all you shall have and all you shall expect to get. The sooner you can accept this, the happier you will be.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Training

The newly minted, pre-season Indy Fans Tweet-Up was a success by all accounts (I wasn't able to attend much to my chagrin), although I was there in spirit - a cantankerous, mean spirit to some perhaps. I'll admit the Polar Vortex had it's grip on me as I was preparing the trivia contest for the Tweet-Up.

Some of you may recall last off-season I spent many lunch hours posing Indycar Trivia questions to you via twitter just for a something to keep the Indycar home fires stoked a bit. I learned as much as anyone by doing it and in light of not being able to attend, much as I'd like to have, I offered my dastardly services to the kind and ever-gracious folks (@openwheelmom and @PippaMann) who organized the pre-season Indy Fans Tweet-Up which occurred last Sunday, March 16.

Granted, I made it fairly difficult, but based on my experience over last off-season (which made me realize I'm far from knowing as much about Indycar history as I think I do), making the quiz too easy would make the contest reliant on just a few questions to make the difference. Never was it my intention to make it humiliating, only to make questions that enlighten or give pause to think about Indycar for a bit, while rewarding those who are supremely studious. 

I suppose if I was a professor of Indycar Trivia, my "college-aged me" would think I was a real hard case probably. I guess I can live with that since I learned the most from those hard cases who challenged me. In my view to properly test knowledge, I posed questions as fill-in-the-blank type... none of this multiple-choice garbage.


Here is a copy of the quiz questions that assaulted, presented to Tweet-Up attendees, with the winner (@HinchFanatic) scoring 8.5 of 15 possible and taking from the prize table a genuine Mayor-of-Hinchtown-autographed, race-worn, helmet visor.  If you wish to play along for yourself without peeking at the answers at the bottom of this post, score one point for each correct answer (or half-points per the question). 

15 questions and 15 minutes to complete.

Are you ready? annnnnnnnnd, BEGIN!

Trivia Quiz Contest Form
1. Name the 2013 Season Sunoco Rookie of the Year.

2. In 2013, how many times did a race winner start from the pole position?

3. Of the drivers who finished in the Top 10 in points, name the only one whose best race finish in the 2013 season was 3rd.          

4. Who was the only driver to sport the number 63 during the 2013 season?

5. 2013 Champion Scott Dixon won 4 races, but finished outside the top 10 in how many races?                                   

6. From what position did Tony Kanaan start to win the 2013 Indy 500?

7. What former winner drove the Pace Car for the start of the Centennial 2011 Indy 500?

8. Name the only 2 drivers to win Indy 500s in 3 different decades (1/2 point for each correct).

9. Who currently holds the record for fastest race lap at the Indy 500?

10. Dan Wheldon was the most recent driver to win the Indy 500 with the number 98. Name the other two drivers to win the Indy 500 with this number (1/2 point for each correct).

11. Name the track at which A. J. Foyt got the final of his 67 Indycar wins.

12. Which engine manufacturer is currently credited with the most pole positions and most wins in Indycar history?           

13. Which currently active Indycar driver has the most career Indycar wins?

14. Of Indycar drivers with more than 20 wins, name the one whose average starting position of 1.98 is the best.           

15. Name the Indycar driver whose final career Indycar win was also the site of his first Indycar win at Long Beach.    

You may have noticed a bit of a pattern - 5 questions on the 2013 season, 5 on the Indy 500, and 5 of general Indycar history. Of course this was on purpose, OCD rarely relinquishes it's grip once taken hold. Below are the answers to the quiz:

...nope farther down still...

1. Tristan Vaultier
2. 3 (Barber, Toronto 2, Fontana)
3. Marco Andretti
4. Pippa Mann
5. 8
6. 12th
7. A.J. Foyt Jr.
8. Bobby Unser ('68, '75, '81) and Rick Mears ('79, '84, '88, '91)
9. Eddie Cheever Jr. (38.119 sec. / 236.103mph, Lap 78 of 1996 race)
10. Troy Ruttman (1952), Parnelli Jones (1963)
11. Pocono
12. Offenhauser
13. Scott Dixon (33)
14. Mario Andretti
15. Michael Andretti

Friday, March 14, 2014

Glampty-Dance, Here's Yo Chance, So do The Glamp!

Oh, hello there.

Yes, friends, it has been a while, but with the off-season turned chock-a-block with new-season goodies, many things are looking up for the Indycar season - 2014.

Now 'Glamping' (Glamorous Camping) is the latest development for those inclined to be nearest the action and not at a distant or ratty hotel come raceday. IMS seized an opportunity to capitalize on this and the new 'Glamping' zone is set for the infield this May at the Greatest Racecourse in the World((tm), I think)

It also spawned a nice twitter interchange among some of us with a predilection for 80s/90s club rap and, given my penchant for parody lyrics here on the blog, one song became clear to me as the semi-unofficial, not-at-all-in-accordance-with-copyright-law, unapproved Glamp Camp Song of 2014 - Glampty Dance. The "Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground, is a staple of dance parties since it was released in 1990. Classic braggadoccio rap lyrics over a great funky drum and bass loop mixed with memorably humorous and well-paced lyrics, the original with video can be heard here.

And now for your entertainment, set the original track on your iPod/YouTube player/CD player and sing along as I present to you, the parody lyrics - Glampty Dance:  

All right!
Stop whatcha doin'
'cause I'm about to ruin
the style of campin’ that ya used to.
It looks funny,
but IMS makin' money, see
so, yo world, I hope you're ready for me.
Now gather round
I'm the new camp in town
and my tent's laid down on th’ Innerground.
I drink up all the Fuzzy’s that ya got on ya shelf
so just let me introduce myself
My name is Glampty, pronounced with an 'Ampty'.
Yo ladies, oh how I love like to Pamp’ thee.
And all the fires in the Coke-Lot – please allow me to stamp thee.
I'm campin' tall, y'all,
just like Benny Benassi
and if ya not, ya fall like a pit wall Ganassi.
I like to chill,
I like my camp funky,
I'm spunky. I like a Brazilian named ‘Junqy’.
I'm sick wit dis, straight gangsta camp
but sometimes I get all Natty-up
I'll eat up all your Cheez-Its and your Ramen Cup
hey yo track girl, c'mere-are ya tattedup?
Yeah, I saw ya tatts.
Look at me, I'm clean
It never stopped me from gettin' mean
I'm a freak
I ask the girls 'show your b**bs'
I once got busy in an infield bathroom
I'm lazy.
Driving to track is crazy.
They say I'm a newbie but it just don't faze me.
I'm still seein’ all the tramp-stamps
and I see ‘em from my own camp

The Glampty Camp here’s yo chance to do the Glamp
Do the Glampty Camp, come on and do the Glampty Camp
Do the Glampty Camp, just watch me set a Glampty Camp
Do ya know what I'm doin', doin' the Glampty Glamp
Do the Glampty Camp, do the Glampty Camp

[Verse 2:]
People say "Yo, Glampty, you're trailer’s funny lookin'"
that's all right 'cause I get things cookin'
Ya stare, ya glare, ya constantly try to compare me
but ya can't get near me
Givin' out booze, tunes, see, and a dance floor, B,
all the girls they adore me
Oh yes, ladies, I'm really bein' sincere
'cause I’m not stuck in traffic, I can service ya here.
My camp is big, uh-uh I'm not ashamed
Big like a compound, I'm still gettin' laid
I get paid by the glampers, ya know I'm in charge,
both how I'm livin' and my camp is large
We like to get ‘you know’, we getting freaky like Juno,
I use a word that don't mean nothin', like 'Duno'
I sang on Drivewhutchalike, and if ya missed that,
I'm the one who said just ‘show ‘em all ya tramp tat’.
Also told ya that I like to camp
Well, yeah, I guess it's obvious, I also like to Glamp.
All ya had to do was give Glampty a slot
and now I'm gonna rock this spot...


Oh, yeah, that's the break, y'all
Let me throw a little firepit right here, yo
Oh, yeah!
Now that I told ya a little bit about myself
let me tell ya a little bit about this camp
It's real easy to do--check it out

[Verse 3:]
First I’m camping in my 30 cause my Prevost is broken
Shakin' and twitchin' and my transporter’s smokin'
Crazy wack campy
People say ya look like Martha Stewart on crack, Glampty
That's all right 'cause my camp is in motion
It's supposed to look like a mosh or a commotion
Anyone can camp this way
This is my camp, y'all, Glampty’ Glamp’s my name
No two people will Glamp the same way
Ya gotta glamp, turn Indy night into day.
Humpin', funkin', jump right,
jig around, rockin’ ya campsite,
and when the yellow shirt chump blows a whistle in ya’ camp
tell him step off, I'm doin' the Glamp.


Race Fans, do the Glampty Camp, do the Glampty Camp
Track Workers, do the Glampty Camp, do the Glampty Camp
Die-hards, do the Glampty Camp, just keep on doin' the Glamp
Yellow-shirts, do the Glampty Camp, do the Glampty Camp

Let's get stoopid!


Once again, the Innerground is in the house
From the Greatest Spectacle in Racing,
keep on doin' the Glampty Camp,
and to the Coke Lotters,
peace and glamptiness forever…