Head-to-Head on Indy 500 predictions

Can Montoya do it again?

Keith Ori and Brian Carroccio go head-to-head once again, this time making predictions for next weekend's Indy 500. Prediction for Pole Position. What are the realistic chances Kurt Busch wins? Who has the edge Honda or Chevy? What is the ideal outcome for IndyCar in the 98th Indy 500? What is the worst conceivable Indy 500 outcome for IndyCar? Find out below.

Head-To-Head

Question Keith Ori Brian Carroccio
Indy-only driver you’re most looking forward to seeing Kurt Busch is grossly talented, but driving at 220 mph, in traffic, with no roof, on much smaller radius corners than the Taxis run would unsettle anybody who’s new to it. Of course, this is why it’s not done often, and why it should be exciting to watch. I know a lot of people are going to say Kurt Busch. But for me the choice is Sage Karam. The kid was dynamite on ovals in the Mazda Road to Indy. Depending on how the Ganassi satellite team is, Karam has the chance to be this year’s Carlos Munoz who almost won the 500 last year.
Indy-only driver who would most benefit from a strong showing This is Sage Karam’s big shot any way you slice it. If he finishes well, and particularly ahead of the other Ganassi cars, I can’t help but wonder if he’ll get a late season call up, particularly Briscoe’s season doesn’t turn around. Big chance at the world’s biggest race + being 19 and bulletproof = Frighteningly Exciting!!!! He’s run well at Indy before, and is in a good situation with last year’s pole-winning team. If J.R. Hildebrand can avoid the cataclysmic mistake, a top-5 run is in the cards. And a good showing this month would go a long way towards putting J.R. back on the radar for IndyCar teams.
Do you thoroughly despise the fact double-points are being rewarded for Triple Crown races, or just hate it a little? I kind of get it for Indy with the time and resource commitment, but only for Indy. As it is, it kind of stacks the deck for Penske, Ganassi, Andretti and possibly Carpenter, at the expense of teams with fewer cars and light budgets. #thataintright You’re being too nice. I thoroughly despise it. First off, I thought this was the Indy 500, and it didn’t any gimmicky hoaxes. And get this: should a driver qualify and finish 14th, said driver will earn more points (52) than any of the winners did in the first four races. That’s a complete and total joke!
Between Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay, who would benefit more from a first Indy 500 win? It would be a huge confidence boost for Power on the big ovals, as well as being his first step toward a legacy. After that Vegas crash (Seriously, how high was his car off the ground?) you can’t blame him for being suspect of ovals, but yet he’s starting to win on them. Bravo! Power: He has tons of wins, and is arguably the best qualifier in American Open Wheel Racing. A championship or Indy 500 win, would go a long way to helping him receive the recognition he richly deserves as one of this era’s greats.
Prediction for Pole Position I’m going with RHR- he’s the fastest Andretti car, and they seem to be the fastest team at the Speedway so far this year. I never know what to make of practice times. Was it with a tow, without, were they running full fuel, light fuel, are they sandbagging, etc? That said, I’ll go with four-time Indy pole winner Helio Castroneves. Your boy RHR will join Castroneves on the front row along with J.R. Hildebrand.
Driver you’re most disappointed not to see in this year’s 500 Paul Tracy. I would’ve liked to see him come back at 45 and show some of the kids, and Helio, what driving looks like. I know he’s been put to pasture, but I’d love to watch him go after a second win.. LOVE the PT call but I’m going with Conor Daly. It’s great news for Daly that he has caught on in GP2. It’s awful news for IndyCar that the Brownsburg, IN native isn’t in the series full time, or at the very least, running the 500.
Who has the edge Honda or Chevy? Honda, and specifically an Andretti Honda. The Andretti cars have all been super strong, even uncharacteristically so in the case of Marco. I’m thinking that Andretti Hondas are the McDonald’s Coke of the Hondas- they seem just a little bit better than the rest. Flip a coin. The two are so close, and it seems to change from session-to-session. If I was forced to pick one I’d lean slightly towards Chevy, because of the quality of their teams.
Will the ABC broadcast be unforgivably awful, typically rotten, or just mediocre? Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever might be the nicest guys in the world, but they have the charisma of wooden cigar store Indians as announcers. For years it’s seemed as though ABC is trying to do actual harm to their chunk of the IndyCar property, and if the Indy GP’s supermodel coverage (pretty but vapid) is any indication, this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Bestwick is a plus, but not enough. I’m going with Dismal. Just Mediocre. Yes, names will be mispronounced. Certainly key passes and important storylines will be ignored. The less-than-subtle undercurrent of blithe indifference, synonymous with ABC’s Indy coverage will again be on display. No, we won’t be retiring Robin Miller’s “Always Bad Coverage" moniker any time soon. That said, Allan Bestwick’s professionalism will differentiate this broadcast from many of the unforgivably awful, disgracefully unprofessional ones we’ve seen in recent years.
Potential Sleeper Ed Carpenter. I mean, hell, why not? He’s an oval specialist at his home track. I mean, literally, his home track, and if he wants to have a larger legacy than, say, AJ Foyt IV then this is where it happens. You know he’s brave (“I only want to do the super dangerous races.") and he knows his way around. A.J. Foyt IV? OUCH!!! I’m also not sure I’d call Ed a sleeper. But since you picked Carpenter, I have no reservations choosing the man who was THE SHOW in 2013, Carlos Munoz. The Colombian’s performance as a “true rookie" (I’m not counting Montoya and Castroneves, who in my opinion were not true rookies when they won) was the best since at least Jacques Villeneuve in 1994.
What is the worst conceivable Indy 500 outcome for IndyCar? A car in the stands. It’s a truly awful scenario, and I’ve had a concern about it since Tony Renna’s car supposedly wound up on the wrong side of the fence and a couple of others got to OMG height . I know some work has been put into the DW12 to allay some of its early flight tendencies, but it’s still a Black Swan type concern because the impact of such an event would be so disproportionate to its probability. God willing, such a scenario will be avoided. Sticking to the on-track action, I’m going to say a Kurt Busch win. While I know I’m going to get labeled a “hater" for saying that, there is absolutely zero positive P.R. spin you can put on a NASCAR driver showing up to Indy, having never raced an Indy Car, and winning the sport’s Crown Jewel prize.
What are the realistic chances Busch wins? ZIP. I’ll be shocked if he finishes. There’s about a million ways for this to go wrong, and while I think he’ll be on pace, I think his ‘experience’ will ultimately work against him. Minuscule. I credit KB for quickly getting up to speed in practice. But as you said, 7 pit stops, managing fuel, running in traffic, etc. have a tendency to expose weaknesses.
What is the ideal outcome for IndyCar in the 98th Indy 500? A Josef Newgarden win. I’d wish Sage Karam as well too, but a victory by a 19 y/o rookie who nobody even picked up for full season would just make so many people in IndyCar look stupid that the series might die of chagrin. Totally agree on both points. And if the prospect of Newgarden and Sarah Fisher drinking milk next Sunday doesn’t melt your heart, you have no capacity for human emotion.
What are the chances of a Newgarden victory happening? I like his chances. Maybe not as much as RHR’s, but I like them. He’s hungry, talented and has enough IndyCar experience to keep it clean. I’m not as optimistic. Young Josef finds victory lane in 2014. I’ll just be surprised if he and SFHR can beat the Penske, Ganassi, and Andretti Armadas at Indy.
So give us your prediction to win the 98th running of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing I’ll be diplomatic and state that Brian and I don’t share the same opinion of the driver Brian will be selecting. I do believe an Andretti car will win it this year as they seem to have things pretty well figured out, but I’m going with RHR. Hard to pick against RHR, who is absolutely at the top of his game right now. Say what you will about Marco Andretti, but he’s already come within yards of winning the thing. Also, with Tony Kanaan’s win last year, Marco has assumed the star-crossed role long held by father Michael: best Indy 500 driver of his generation to have not won the race. You know Marco will lead laps, you know he’s going to be fast. I think he’s finally refined his craft enough to close the deal, and if an Andretti can ever have an iota of luck in the last 20 laps, there’s a good chance this could be Marco’s year

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