Wednesday, March 26, 2008

IndyCar season preview-part II

Taking it team-by-team (must be read and hummed aloud to the cadence of the Micheal McDonald hit of the similar name).

Ridebuyer is happy to present the following team-by-team look into the 2008 IRL IndyCar season. Feel free to print the subsequent posts and compile your own personal Ridebuyer media guide. (Seriously, if anyone does this, DUI yourself into the nearest pond. Immediately.)


What to Know:
Eric Bachelart's team finds itself in the same boat as the other former-Champ Car squads attempting to make the big IndyCar "switch." Aside from having two drivers with zero oval experience (Franck Perera and Enrique Bernoldi-more info on Bernoldi here), the team also has had nearly no time to develop (if that's what you call it) and test their new IndyCar equipment before Saturday night's season opener in Miami. That said, the team has experence with ovals in the sense that Bachelart and co. ran in the IRL in 2002 (Can you say Laurent Redon?) before returning to Champ Car and solely concentrating on three-day festivals o' speed.

As for the drivers, Bernoldi has a decent amount of F1 experience and Perera finished second in the Atlantic Championship last season. It is a given that both drivers were able to parlay these rides with considerable um, personal sponsorship. But, it is what it is.

Eric Bachelart is a true racer. He has never had a lewd amount of funding to make things happen the easy way for his team (or even when he was a driver, for that matter). The team should be able to adapt, and the process will be made easier by some longtime crew members who have been around the block in racing. (Including this guy, who I'm told looks like me.) Top ten finishes on road/street courses for Conquest team seems equitable enough. On ovals, battling with likes of Roth and Duno is likely.

Dale Coyne Racing:

What to know:

Much of what was said about Bachelart can be applied to Dale Coyne. He has been around the open-wheel world for some time, and has never had tons of cash to make things simple. Despite what the Coyne Racing link on says, DCR will field two cars this season. Bruno Junqueira (playing to role of grizzled-veteran) has one mount, while Mario Moraes (the brash, unknown rookie trying to make a name for himself) will steer the team-car. If this seems oddly familiar to you, you are not alone. Coyne clearly ripped-off the storyline of Driven when assembling his team:

Sly, er Junqueira, that is, has the most oval experience of any Champ Car refuge and was bloody quick in his experiences in the 500. (Pole in 2002, led 12-laps in 2004, four career starts total.) As for Jimmy Bly (or Mario Moraes, whatever), he is young, really young. Like born in 1988, young. He does not have much (any) experience in high-horsepower cars, coming from various F3 series' and much karting. Ovals will be an issue (see a theme here?). Aside from that, I'm told the ladies think he is dreamy... Can't argue with that.


Much like Conquest, top tens on road/street circuits are possible for the Coyne crowd. Junqueira could go higher and could surprise at Indy come May. The huge ace-in-hole for this team is Bruno, as he can likely set-up the car for Moraes and help him attempt to unlock the secrets with regards to oval-related whathaveyous. Hey, anyone who started their racing team running SCCA in the 70's, and and has been in Indy-type cars ever since 1984 (without funding from drug running), well, you Dale Coyne might be Ridebuyer's hero.

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