Throw-down in Chi-town: It’s going to the wire in the Indy Racing League; one last race remains on the schedule, and there’s just three points to choose from between the top two contendahs. Should they both screw up, third place is close enough to steal it away. And it’s an oval race, so it’s a lot more “anything goes” than the last two road/street course races we’ve had. Add in the fact that IRL finishes at Chicagoland Speedway are usually closer than conjoined twins, and we may not know who’s got the title until the last few thousandths of a second.
My picks – man, this is tough. I want it to be Dario Franchitti, and I think that the oval will make it more likely to be. But Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan both know how to win on these things, too. Nothing against Dixon, but if it can’t be Franchitti, I’d love it to be his best friend and huge team player, Kanaan. He was completely unselfish in Sonoma and I think he deserves it for that. But if it is Dixie, he’ll get my respect. In fact, he already has it. Stealthy, solid, consistent and always well-behaved, the New Zealander won a title in 2003 and is worthy of a repeat.
Dream finish? Danica Patrick getting her first win near her hometown of Roscoe, IL. Only bad thing about that is the timing – the interest generated couldn’t be channeled into next week’s race, and it would definitely be muted by the long break until next season starts in March. But it’d still be great for the series, and well-deserved for The Go Girl. (Yeah, I know she’s a Go Daddy Girl, but I like Go Girl better.) Followed by Franchitti for second and the title, with Kanaan and Marco Andretti getting in there for an AGR sweep – they’re my team.
If it’s someone out of the top tier, make it Meira. The dude just deserves a win. But, Panther’s not doing so well lately, and the focus will be on his likely new team mate, Hideki Mutoh, who’s making his series debut. A DRR win by Buddy Rice would be welcomed, and I’d LOVE to see Darren Manning get a victory for the Foyt team.
We’ve had plenty of rumbles and lots of tension between teams and drivers this season, and this last race is a pressure cooker – not only for the title, but for those hoping to prove/improve themselves for next year. It could get pretty interesting out there Sunday. Stay safe, folks! And don’t forget to follow it all with our very own Pressdog, who’s off-leash, on the premises and telling it like it is…