Welcome to the finale of the 2010 season of the IZOD IndyCar Series. It has been a strange run this far through 16 different circuits that all culminates this Saturday night in Homestead Miami.
The Cafes Do Brasil Indy 300 (A delicious coffee by the way) at Homestead is the circle of death for two competitors in the IZOD IndyCar Series as Will Power and Dario Franchitti square off head to head to determine who will win the 2010 series championship. Franchitti is a scant 12 points behind Power, with the advantage of having won the 2009 race and championship on this track just a year ago.
This race will also mark the final race at the Miami track for the time being, as the series and ISC were unable to complete a new deal to bring the track back to the 2011 series schedule.
So the series leaders and the rest of the field are hoping to put on quite a show for the finale of the 2010 season and the track at Homestead, Miami.
The 2009 finale also occurred at Homestead where Dario Franchitti used fuel strategy to beat Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon to become the 2009 series champion. Last year's race was caution free, ending with only three drivers on the lead lap.
Franchitti will be hoping to secure another championship on Saturday night, but will need to overcome a twelve point deficit. The winner of the race gets a ten point gain over second, and there are three bonus points available, so Franchitti could gain the championship by winning pole, leading every lap, and winning the race. Power has many ways to win, but must have a solid showing in order to have a chance.
The rest of the field will hope to keep up and gain a victory for themselves to provide momentum going into the 2011 season.
Homestead has been dominated by Ganassi Racing lately, winning the last four races in a row with Franchitti, Scott Dixon, and Dan Wheldon. Penske does have a lone victory at the track in 2004 with Sam Hornish Jr.
The track is a 1.5 mile oval with three degrees of banking along the straightaways. The turns feature progressive banking between 18 and 20 percent, which basically means the cars can run flat out throughout the track.
This will be the final race in Miami for the IZOD IndyCar Series in the foreseeable future. The track and the series were unable to reach an agreement to continue the race for the 2011 season and it was left off the schedule.
There are a few new drivers back this week. Ed Carpenter returns to his joint Panther/Vision team to run the No. 20 car for Fuzzy's Vodka. Ana Beatriz returns to Dreyer and Reinbold Racing to drive the No. 24 car. Sebastian Saavedra joins Conquest Racing to run the No. 36 car for Eric Bachelart's team.
Qualifications begin Friday at 5 on Versus, and the race will be live on Saturday night starting at 6.
So without further ado, lets go racing! And lets go picking!
First to Crash: Takuma Sato
Just playing the odds here….
Dark Horse: Marco Andretti
Isn’t it about time we see Marco in victory lane?
3rd Place: Dario Franchitti
Dario will have another podium finish on the ovals, coming up just short on the title this year.
2nd Place: Helio Castroneves
Helio’s season could have been a lot different had he not gotten that penalty and actually won the race. He will finish the season strong, perhaps as a momentum builder for next year.
Race Winner: Will Power
Power will have all of Penske’s best stuff to aid him in this race. His oval success has eluded him too many times this year. He will finally get that oval-race monkey off of his back, while getting his first IndyCar Championship on the same night. Will shall get his cake, and eat it too.
I feel like Danica Patrick when it comes to our writer’s pool picks this year, but I had fun. Special thanks to Ryan for organizing this thing all year, and covering all things IndyCar. Can’t wait for next year to start.
Win: Dario Franchitti. I believe in team Ganassi this weekend. They have been very good here and Chip always finds a way to win. Even though I do not want to see Ashley Judd celebrate with the new trophy, I really think Dario two-peats.
Place: Scott Dixon. Seriously, Ganassi owns this track.
Show: Will Power. Penske and his teammates will do everything to get him to get him to the front, but I just don't think they'll have enough for the Target boys.
Dark Horse: Dan Wheldon. Dan has won many times here, but Penske and Ganassi are the class of the field in Miami.
First to Crash: Saavedra. I really dislike the way he left Bryan Herta Autosport. It was downright shameful walking out on the team in the middle of the race weekend. So I am picking out of spite.
Win: For the series championship, Will Power. I know that inevitably, Dario is going to win and Will is going to finish second and lose the championship by one point, but I like the idea of Power’s first oval win much better.
Place: Franchitti. See above.
Show: Dan Wheldon. Showing off in hopes of landing a ride for 2011.
Dark Horse: Ed Carpenter. Everybody loves an underdog!
First to Crash: Milka Duno. Ending her IZOD IndyCar Series career with a bang – literally – as I’ve heard she will not retain her license in 2011.