Race Weekend Central

An IndyCar Season to Be Thankful For…

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and it’s a time when we all think back on our lives, and especially the last year and consider all of the people and things we are thankful for. The Frontstretch IndyCar staff decided to look back at the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season and do the same thing. So, here are the IndyCar things each of our writers are thankful for.

*From Matt…*

* I’m thankful for the fact that IndyCar will finally see the return of the Triple Crown in 2013. Indianapolis, Pocono, and Fontana give IndyCar three major races that will help keep the series in the news throughout the year.

* I’m thankful to finally have an American IndyCar champion once again in Ryan Hunter-Reay. Apologies to the international drivers who have won the IndyCar crown, but this series is in desperate need of American drivers who can reignite passion for the sport in the United States.

Will having an American champion help boost IndyCar to the next level? Matt Stallknecht thinks so. Photo courtesy INDYCAR LAT USA

* I’m thankful for the possibility of Lotus not returning to IndyCar in 2013. I will however miss being able to use the maligned engine supplier as a punchline in my race reviews next season.

* I’m thankful for Takuma Sato and E.J. Viso’s banzai moves and general haphazardness on the racetrack. Without those two the IZOD IndyCar Series would be at least 75% less entertaining.

* I’m thankful for Will Power’s facial expressions and liberal use of obscene gesturing when he is angry. One can only hope we see the return of the Power-patented “double-bird” in 2013.

* I’m thankful for Bob Jenkins, and all of the incredible and inspiring work he has done as a motorsports broadcaster all throughout his career. His absence will very much be felt next year as the NBC Sports Network looks for someone to fill his role in 2013.

* I’m thankful that IndyCar and Dallara took the bull by the horns and came up with a very safe and raceable car in the DW12. Now if only we can get those aero kits….

*From Huston…*

* That the series doesn’t use a contrived thing like NASCAR’s Chase to crown its champion. For the past four years the Izod Series has come down to the last race with multiple drivers still in contention for the title. And how did they get there? From racing a complete season and tallying up points. The concept is so simple that it almost seems foreign. But for all the things that might need to be changed in Indy, the points system isn’t one of them.

* That we’ve got competition with the manufacturers again. Sure, Lotus’ foray into Indy might have gone poorly but the battle between Honda and Chevrolet was excellent, and they kind of added layer of competition that the series needs. If Lotus can improve on their performance and make it a true three-way battle, then even better.

* That there’s a mix of countries represented with the drivers. No slight intended to American drivers of any kind, but having the mix that Indy has does make for some interesting viewing. Will this aspect continue? I’ve not got a clue, but the more the merrier, and it is a facet that helps grow the sport elsewhere – something that may be needed to keep it running at a high level.

* That the series was incident free with regards to any serious accidents. The crash that took Dan Wheldon’s life caused the 2011 IndyCar season to end ignominiously. But in looking at previous years, Will Power broke his back at Sonoma and Mike Conway endured serious injuries at the Indy 500. This year, however, everyone made it through safe, and that’s a testament to the new car and its safety features.

* That NBC Sports Network picked up Formula One and hired the trio that broadcast those races on SPEED. Both of those additions should bring a little more attention to the oft-forgotten series.

* That with ratings remaining stagnant and attendance varying that we still, in fact, have IndyCar. Though issues with leadership seem to have crept up yet again, we can ignore that and celebrate that series had a new champion this year.

*From Toni…*

* I am thankful that all of the drivers completed the season safe and healthy.

One think all IndyCar fans can be grateful for is that no dorver was seriously injured in a race car in 2012. Photo courtesy INDYCAR LAT USA

* I am thankful for a great season—one of the best in a long time with good racing and a great championship battle. Whether it was the car, or the engines, or the drivers, it was a fun ride.

* I am thankful Simona DeSilvestro will have a faster car next year. Watching her struggle with the Lotus this year was downright painful at times.

* I am thankful that everyone else knew it was the Lotus that was lacking and not Simona—so often careers have died more from a lack of good equipment than a lack of talent.

* I am thankful that IndyCar will return to Pocono next year. It’s my home track and so I admit I am partial to it, but that place was built for Indy cars and it will be good to see them back.

* I’m thankful that Formula 1 is also going to NBC Sports Network. Maybe having the big boys will help give the network a boost to make it seem less like IndyCar is buried outside of the sports mainstream. It is, however, important to mention that while NBC Sports Network might be left field in the world of sports TV, the coverage and the broadcast team do an excellent job.

* I am thankful for the things Randy Bernard did during his time with IndyCar to help get the series back on track. I’m sorry he didn’t get to see it through, but I hope the positive direction he has pointed the series in will continue with his successor.

Most of all, we are all thankful for you, our readers, fans of IndyCar, and for the positive response you have shown to our new venture in covering open-wheel racing here on Frontstretch this year. We’ve enjoyed your feedback and appreciate your support. We’d like to ask for your input one more time this year. We already have some great ideas for new and expanded IndyCar content next year, but we’d also like to hear from you as we make our plans. We’d like to know what you liked and what you didn’t like about what we did this year in our race previews, race recaps, and our Open Wheel Wednesday commentaries.

What would you like to see more of or less of? Would you like more driver centered content? Do you like our round table discussions or would you rather see just straight commentaries in that spot? Do you like the information we provide in our previews and recaps or is there something else we are missing you’d like to see? Perhaps a section in the recaps to update you on the latest Indy Lights results? Let us know about any or all of these things and anything else that’s on your mind. Click on any of our names below to send us a message.

We’ll be back here and there over the offseason but for now, we hope that everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. Eat lots of turkey, watch lots of football, and spend time with those you love!

*Connect with Toni!*

“Contact Toni Montgomery”:https://frontstretch.com/contact/14351/

*Connect with Huston!*

“Contact Huston Ladner”:https://frontstretch.com/contact/40694/

*Connect with Matt!*

“Contact Matt Stallknecht”:https://frontstretch.com/contact/38642/

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