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.