Well my predictions for who would be the first teams on the new Chevy party boat was wrong. (in that Ganassi & Dreyer Reinbold were not part of the Friday announcement, yet many agree Chip is still very likely between his NASCAR success with Chevy, and the monkey see, monkey do mentality of Ganassi/Penske.)
When I was a guest the other night on The Inside Line, I addressed the issue of how great this is for American fans. Yes, obviously it is nice for sponsors to see an American make. Yes, this will be more attractive for TV viewers. Yes, competition will only get better now. Yes, Chevy will put more “rears” in seats for American ovals not called “the 500”.
Will it also mean better success for American driver? Yes! Will this mean the super team for Americans (Andretti Autosport) will join the party? NO! This team now minus TK, is exclusively home to drivers who technically are legally eligible to run for President of the United States. (Native born citizens if you missed Civics 101. Yes all three are too young still according to the law. So my geek joke is flawed!)
But why would the 21st century version of All-American Racers not go to GM? Well two simple reasons. First; Mikey owns a chain of “Powersports” dealerships, HONDA dealerships! Arguably some of the biggest Honda bike dealerships for many a miles around here.(In and around the Nazareth, PA region) They only keep moving locations into bigger buildings.
While patriarch Mario gets a brand new Ford loaner every year for life, he (Mario) did win the Daytona 500, Indy 500, F1 World Championship, CART championship, and 12 Hours of Sebring all for the Blue Oval. Well sadly Michael did little of this with an American make other than his 1991 CART championship driving the Newman/Haas Chevy. (Ironic)
Second and maybe most important; if Darth Penske will be with Chevy and most likely so will Chip, Andretti Autosport can become the TOP Honda team by de-facto. In 2010 Andretti Autosport was the lone non-Target/Penske team to win races with Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Tony Kanaan taking Long Beach and Iowa respectively. If they can get one or two wins as the Bronze Honda team, imagine suddenly being the Gold “flying H” effort? I mean do you really think KV, or Conquest will get the top spot? (if so can I interest you in a bridge in New York?)
Sam Jr back to the IZOD IndyCar series in 2011? Where are the winged pigs?
When asked at Friday’s press conference about Sam Hornish Jr.’s 2011 plans. Darth Penske replied “I find your lack of faith, DISTURBING.” Ok not really. He did tell Race Fan Radio (Which is located under the 2012 Chevy announcement On-Demand here)that they will have Helio, Will, and Ryan running three cars full time in 2011 & that “…and we’ve got some opportunities with Sam, but we will wait and see until we end the season”
Did Penske just “accidentally” spill the beans on Sam Hornish being at the 2011 Indy 500? Will Sam Jr be the Penske “Satellite team driver” to rival the rumors of Graham Rahal being the same for Ganassi? We now have to wait and see. This “Silly season” is downright insane lately. But it would make sense that the second winningest driver in IndyCar series history, who won most of those events in a Chevy may be part of the 2012 return. (they like to exclude Cart & USAC Gold Crown from these numbers for wins)
I just hope that maybe Penske might kick it REAL OLD SCHOOL in 2012! Maybe convince Sunoco to sponsor Hornish, make the car blue and yellow, maybe buy the number 66 from Sarah Fisher Racing. I mean who wouldn’t love the tribute?