IndyCar – Game, Set, Match to Franchitti

After dominating nearly every road circuit this year, Power’s lack of oval experience and skill caught up to him in the end. Dario Franchitti’s consistency all season long, as his strong performances on the oval circuits , allowed him to chase down Will Power and take the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series Championship for the second year in a row. Even more impressive is to consider that Dario spent the 2008 season experimenting with NASCAR, but the year prior, 2007, Dario again won the championship. That means Dario has won the championship in the last three years he’s competed in the IZOD IndyCar Series. A perhaps more dubious honor is that Dario is the recipient of the new IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Trophy. I did take note that the Versus crew never did show an up close view of the trophy. One wonders Dario will be the ONLY recipient of the trophy. …as an aside, it would be interesting to have a new trophy for each year’s champion, but that’s a topic for another post.

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It’s very difficult to kind of compare the three [championships], after the 500, to compare each of those. I do believe the competition level in the series is going up. For whatever reason, we at Team Target both Scott and myself maybe didn’t have the speed advantage we had last year. In some cases we have to work harder to finish in the top 5 at races.

So to come away with a championship after a season like that is very satisfying. And we look back to Iowa and think to that gearbox, that took a lot of points away, and from then on it was a real struggle.

But nobody on the Target team gave up. We did our best every single week. We find ourselves here again tonight. It was pretty cool. Great to be out there enjoying that feeling and that moment with my family, my friends, my teammates, it doesn’t get any better than that. — Dario Franchitti, post-race press conference

Power had a twelve point lead headed into the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but Dario has outscored Power by a little more than 13 points per race on the ovals. Dario helped his situation by earning the bonus points for both the pole and the most laps led. However, what really decided the championship was Power’s mistake late in the race. On Lap 135 Power ran his car a bit too high and slid into the Turn 4 wall damaging his right-side front and rear suspension. That DNF and the three bonus points already earned by Franchitti meant the Scotsman only needed to finish P10 or higher to take the Championship. He cut it a little close by finishing P8, but he got the job done.

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Yeah, I mean, last year, watching this race in a back brace. So, yeah, it’s been the best year of my career in motorsports. Obviously very disappointed at the outcome.

But I had come to the realization at, what lap it was, 120 or something, that Dario had led the most laps. We didn’t really have the car to win.

So I had ‑‑ I was pushing it as hard as I could. And I was trying to get around a couple of back markers. And they were running different lines. And it took a bit of my air away and I ended up in the gray.

I was struggling to run anywhere but the top line well anyway. Yeah, you know, like I predicted at the beginning of the season, it was the guy and team who made the least amount of mistakes that would win the championship. But I think next year I’ll come back very strong. — Will Power, post-race press conference

Alex Lloyd secured the Rookie of the Year honors with a strong P12 finish. Lloyd was a bit jumpy on the restarts Saturday night, jumping onto the gas and soaring through the field coming out of T3. You have to admire the aggressiveness, but ya gotta wait for the green. Alex went into the final race leading Simona de Silvestro by 18 points, but Simona and HVM Racing have struggled on the ovals this year so the championship was purely a matter of Lloyd finishing the race. Simona had a great season, however, and ran very strong on the road courses in a car that most would agree is subpar. Sounds like HVM has some good things lined up for 2011, including a new sponsor, so we look forward to seeing more of Simona next year.

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So we came into this year, or I did, with two big goals. One was a good run at Indy 500. Biggest race in the world. Having raced there two years before, and I knew hopefully my experience would help there and we could have a good run. Second was Rookie of the Year, and we got that today. Certainly there’s some points in the year that was disappointing and we didn’t get what we hoped out of it.

But that’s a rookie campaign for you. And it’s working with new guys. Obviously last year the team lost just that and Bill Pappas, their engineer and driver, so we’re working with a lot of new people, new engineering, everything like that, and a new driver.

So it was ‑‑ you’ve got to blend together and get everything working right. And we did that. And we had some good races this year, some very good races, and we’ve had some races that could have been very good. Chicago, we had a gear box problem. We’ve had a couple of things on the ovals the last few races that have really cost us some top-10 finishes. And that’s been frustrating.

But we’ve kept ourselves going and kept focusing the last few races on Rookie of the Year. That’s come up. That’s certainly a great thing for myself and the whole team. — Alex Lloyd, post-race press conference

So now we head into the off-season, and the silliness that typically ensues. Some things that we’re watching include Graham Rahal’s situation, Sarah Fisher’s role in 2011 for her team, new teams, new manufactures for 2012, and we’re still awaiting news regarding the hoped-for race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Graham announced during the Homestead weekend that he and Service Central/NTB have signed a deal for 2011 and are shopping for a team. We’ll see where he lands.

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3 Thoughts to “IndyCar – Game, Set, Match to Franchitti

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Doug Patterson and BJ (Juice) Johnson, said: New Content: IndyCar – Game, Set, Match to Franchitti – […]

  2. ATB73

    Dario did everything he had to do. Ganassi understands the concept of teamwork and knows how to execute. Something Penske has seemingly misplaced. All Will needs is a little patience and a touch of consistently on the ovals and he will be hard to beat. All in all, considering his level of experience at that particular form of racing and lack of substantial help from his teamates, he did a fine job. If he masters the oval, Nobody else is going to win for a long, long time.

    The new chassis / engine cannot come soon enough. That is the only thing that can end the ultra predictable nature of this sport. They must promote this thing next year, especially with the potential for multiple skins and engines. They need to inject interest. Get the word out sooner rather than later.

    Versus. You could pick 5 lucky fans from the grandstands and get a more competent cast of characters than what we have to suffer through with these clowns. END RANT.

    Happy Holidays everyone.

    Its over, and I’m out.

  3. So true, ATB. All your points are spot on. The way Briscoe, Power, and Team Penske lost the last two championships is strange. The type of errors made by the drivers and/or team are very un-Penske like. God help us if Will does figure out the ovals, new car or not, he’ll be nigh unstoppable!

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