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

‘Nostalgesic’ and Home Remedies

Hanging On
Here in the middle-west of the USA, winter has seemingly clung all too desperately, truncating the typical spring rhythms. I’ve been guilty of staying too late at a good party myself, not listening to the signs that tell me “you’re done here”.  I often find it interesting how the subconscious / universe / nature / mysterious higher powers so often whisper hints. So often those hints are helpful, if we can be bothered to listen.

Looking Back

I enjoy nostalgia as many of you tens of readers are well aware. I, almost daily, saunter down to the Indycar clubhouse pool, with my white 80s sunglasses, checkered Vans, neon-colored zinc-oxide on my nose, corduroy OP shorts, and faded Spuds MacKenzie beach towel for a dip into the numbers and names of Indycar lore to produce #DZsIndycarTrivia on Twitter. If you have no idea to what I’ve referenced, please spend some time on Google and follow me on Twitter after you finish reading this post. Produced in contrast to the hyper-current, immediacy-addicted world of ‘news first, ask questions later’, my ‘nostalgesic’ was produced to soothe the pains of Indycar’s cycle of ‘bad news’ which seemingly came on a daily basis during the latter half of 2012.

It’s a Trap!

Nostalgia, at it’s best, can use the past to help create a better future. This is the aim of my Trivial fun – to playfully remind or illuminate others to how things actually were before them and by having a clear understanding of the past, we are far less likely to repeat the mistakes. As much fun as I have doing #DZsIndycarTrivia on Twitter, I’ve also heard this little whisper lately to be careful of what’s upcoming… There is a ‘trap’, while only looking backwards out of the family sedan’s rear window – you will most-certainly miss the good bits right in front of you. The actual on-track Indycar product has been quite good out-of-the-box from St. Pete in 2012 to date (Barber 2013), and I’ve been careful to listen to that voice of reason. The perception of how that product is produced however is the problem.

Out the Front Window

Sooooooo… with Pole Day JUST A MONTH AWAY (yes, you read that correctly), I find myself still shaking off the winter doldrums and beginning to turn to that annual automotive congregational feast of racing nostalgia that is The Indy 500. Nothing for me is as therapeutic and this race and all its history and how almost every year adds something great to the lustrous patina of Indycar. How and why the bounty of that feast is so difficult to pass around and feed the rest of the Indycar calendar is subject of much ongoing debate. All I know is that if one is quiet enough to shut out the chatter of the day and simply enjoy the racing, you will more often than not have that satisfied feeling of fullness. I find it a bit like enjoying something like calimari – the more I can compartmentalize the intricacies of the substance and its preparation, the more I’m likely to simply bite into it and enjoy. Not always is that possible however and we should always be conscious of what we consume, so betwixt and betwain we humans often are.  

To Every Thing a Season
So time now for me to look forward, to enjoy it for what it is, and to not forget to savor those most tasty bits for they also are too few and far between. I wish you all good Indycar times with friends and family and if you’ll be at Indy or Pocono, I hope to see you at the track. If not, keep on hanging around the blogosphere or catch me on Twitter for #DZsIndycarTrivia. I’ll keep cooking up fresh questions for you.

"So whadda we do now? …We wait"

The Superbowl not 24 hours old, Indycar fans who populate the Twitterverse almost immediately set about lamenting the amount of time we still have to wait for the 2013 Indycar season to start. 

This reminds me a bit of people (mostly younger, some old enough to know better) who choke down Thanksgiving dinner, speed through valued family time, and wait outside stores to be granted prime ‘Black Friday’ access. I prefer to sit back, wait until mid-December to go cut a fresh tree and decorate it before I go out and begin shopping. Just seems a more natural progression, allowing my enthusiasm to not be stretched to the limit.

So, while I can appreciate the eagerness to begin Indycar anew for 2013, I’m just not quite about to lament yet. I say, “Relaaaax people, there’s too much that must come first.”

Perhaps it is because I’m getting older (sometimes a week seems like three days) and my patience grows with every year, but I prefer that my spring builds up annually, traditionally, and quite steadily around the following events:

1. The NCAA basketball tournament (mid-March to early-April),
2. The Masters ‘gawf toonamint’ (to use the ‘Hootie Johnson’ accent, mid-April),
3. The Kentucky Derby (early May), 
4. The Indianapolis 500 (mid-late May).

It is clear for most sports fans to see that there is MUCH beloved and long-standing tradition in those sporting events and I wouldn’t have it any other way. To fall in-line and march steadily through spring with those grand events is quite comforting (as our good friend George over at Oilpressure.com could most certainly attest). 

So, with apologies to all the über-obsessive Indycar acolytes, my personal clock will only allow the Indycar season to begin in earnest with the 500. Everything else prior, I consider a bonus. With this approach I find myself able to put the near-manic desire for open-wheel engine roars aside until May, leaving myself pleasantly surprised when the Sebring test pops up or the haulers load into St. Pete.

Meanwhile, y’all sit tight until late-March. As I noted back in October, I think the off-season is a GREAT time to bone-up on your Indycar history and maybe never so easy as to play some trivia to pass the time. 

Follow me on Twitter @groundedeffects and you’ll see my (usually-) regular Indycar Trivia question (follow hashtag #DZsIndycarTrivia) which comes out approximately at Noon EST weekdays with the answer to follow approximately 1pm. No money, no prizes, just some Indycar fun over the lunch-hour and possibly some Twitterverse glory should you get an answer right! 

Ol’ Jeff Spicoli had it right while he was learnin’ about Cuba, havin’ some food..’, and certainly there’s nothing wrong with a little feast on our time. So instead of Cuban history, learn some Indycar history in the process.