Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2011 INDYCAR Season Preview

The 2011 INDYCAR Season kicks off this weekend down at the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. INDYCAR will have 17 races during the 2011 season and will be in the last year of the current car package for the IZOD IndyCar Series. Old equipment, new drivers, new tracks, and new rules highlight the 2011 season, IndyCar Garage looks ahead for the 2011 season gives predications for the awards at the end.

1. The 2011 season will feature the 9th consecutive season of IndyCar equipment being used. 2012 will bring INDYCAR new chassis, engine manufactures and aero kits. The field should be filled throughout the season as most teams will look to use up all equipment before it turns into show car material for next season.

2. Graham Rahal, Charlie Kimbal, J.R. Hildebrand, Oriol Servia, and Ana Beatriz are among a handful of drivers that will have full-season rides for 2011, that weren’t competing fulltime in 2010. Kimbal with Ganassi and Hildebrand with Panther will be the leaders for Rookie of the year.

3. INDYCAR dropped all tracks associated with International Speedway Corporation (France family) for 2011 and moved toward a bigger relationship with Speedway Motorsports Incorporated (Bruton Smith). Chicago, Kansas, Homestead and Watkins Glen all were dropped from the schedule and replaced by New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Milwaukee, Las Vegas and the new Baltimore Grand Prix. All four new tracks should be better promoted and attended than the ISC tracks from 2010.

4. Double file restarts, new pit lane selections, stricter qualification limits, and restarts toward the flag stand all will be new in 2011 for INDYCAR. Double file restarts were originally scheduled for ovals only, but were later added to all races (Holy Cow Barber and Mid-Ohio). Pit lane selections will be based off qualifications from the previous track and will fall in line with the Oval/Road Course format. Also new is the 105% rule, all cars have to be within 105% of pole speed in order to compete in the race, goodbye Milka Duno. Lastly, in more of a NASCAR type start, the green flag will be waved as cars are within a couple hundred yards of the flag stand and not coming off the last turn. This should add more excitement to restarts, especially being two wide, and give drivers more opportunities to pass. The lucky dog was considered for 2011, but was voted down by the fans at 5 to 1 opposition.

Predications for the 2011 INDYCAR Season

2011 IZOD IndyCar World Champion: Helio Castroneves
2011 Indy 500 Winner: Ryan Briscoe
2011 A.J. Foyt Oval Champion: Scott Dixon
2011 Mario Andretti Road/Street Course Champion: Will Power
2011 Rookie of the Year: J.R. Hildebrand
2011 Most Popular Driver: Simona De Silvestro
2011 Las Vegas World Championship extra participants: Alex Zanardi, James Stewart, Robby Gordon, A.J. Allmendinger, Nelson Piquet Jr.