So, with two races being run in a row that means I get two chances at getting this race weekend picked right. With the double-file restarts and the apparent vulnerability of the Penske/Ganassi onslaught I may need both chances. This year has been a surprise to even the most optimistic Indycar fan. Who knew the Indy 500 pole and race win would have NEITHER Penske nor Ganassi claiming victory? Who knew that we would have two race winners not from the Penske/Ganassi stable by this time? Who knew that a one-off would win Indy?
But with all that in mind, we now turn to the first oval racing segment of the 2011 season were if Penske/Ganassi were to make a comeback this is where it would start. Considering how bad their month of May went you've got to think they're going to go Mortal Kombat on the smaller teams starting NOW.
…but which driver leads the charge at the doubleheader at Texas?
THE FAVORITE (BEST PENSKE/GANASSI DRIVER): SCOTT DIXON
Indy was HIS. I was waiting for everybody to run out of fuel and the lead to cycle back to him. I imagine he was waiting for that too. If any of the Penske/Ganassi drivers retake their rightful place in victory lane on an oval it's got to be him. I say look for him to be the man during Race 1.
THE BEST OF THE REST (BEST NON-PENSKE/GANASSI DRIVER): DANICA PATRICK
Before she takes her talents to Daytona Beach next year this is basically her last best chance at another Indycar win. With all the ISC-owned tracks are no longer on the schedule and Motegi will be run on the roadcourse format, this looks to be it. She ran strong here last year as the night progressed so look for her to make her moves during Race 2. Whether or not if she makes the final left turn to victory lane depends on how many Penske/Ganassi cars are still left in her way when the checkered flag falls.
THE MILKA DUNO BACKMARKER AWARD: SIMONA DE SILVESTRO
She may say this is her favorite oval besides Indy, but old backup car "Porkchop" has seen better days compared to the other cars in the field. On the 1.5-mile ovals you NEED the best possible equipment. When her primary car went up in flames during practice at Indy her chances at any race this year did as well (especially on the ovals) until 2012. On top of that her confidence probably isn't back to 100% and may not be until Toronto (where the 2nd road-course segment of the schedule begins).