In the first part of our look back at the 2014 Verizon Indycar Series, Jason and Adrian will be covering some of the key, and not so key moments from the season, with each part being published each Monday (Its a long off season right?)
In Part One we look at A to E...
In Part One we look at A to E...
A is for Aleshin
Mikael Aleshin arrived in Indycar to the sounds of disapproving tuts from bloggers and tweeters worldwide but it wasn't long before the Mad Russian started to change people's tune. With an aggressive and hungry driving style, what young Mikael lacked in experience he more than made up for with enthusiasm and we all know that enthusiasm is infectious. Unless of course enthusiasm is dive bombing you into the first corner on a street course but I digress. Although there are still some haters out there, Aleshin did more than enough to turn people around on the stance that he was just a talentless, rich ride buyer and has even bagged himself a few fans in the process. During practice at the season Finale in Fontana, Mikael was involved in a horrific accident that will keep him sidelined for most of the off season but after a promising début year, hopefully the wreck won't put Aleshin off from returning to the series next year and in my opinion the kid has shown enough flashes of raw talent to warrant a another year with Sam Schmidt or another team.
B is for (adopts best crooning voice)..."Back Home Again in Indiana..."
Let's get one thing straight, when it comes to an appreciation for history and tradition Indycar does it better than any other race series and there may be no bigger Indycar tradition than Jim Nabors singing "My Indiana Home" every May at the Speedway. Sadly for us traditionalists, this year saw the last live performance from the great man at the hallowed track. Just how exactly IMS replaces this tradition I have no clue and frankly, I'm not sure they should. It's kind of difficult to find another former TV star who can make grown men weep at a car race just by singing a song. Rumour has it that even tough as nails Texan AJ Foyt has shed a tear or two during "My Indiana Home" renditions. Maybe.
C is for Colombia
The country that famously exports coffee, footballers and the ever lovely Shakira also gave Indycar a record number of full time drivers in 2014. Carlos Huertas, Carlos Munoz, Sebastian Saavedra and some guy called Montoya all lined up in honour of their home country this year and all faired pretty darn well. The proudest moment of all surely came when three of those four men stood on the podium in Houston Race 1. Motorsport Seems to go through phases where every few generations, a country seems to produce a pack of good drivers, in past years there's been an Italian invasion, a Brazilian invasion and even the Indy 500 had a British one headed up by Jimmy Clark and Graham Hill but right now, Indycar has a Colombian crew that in 2014 gained a couple of wins, pole positions and in the process turned a few heads. Couple that with the fact that another young Colombian named Gabby Chaves won the Indy Lights championship and you get the idea that right now, Colombia is where it's at when it comes to Indycar.
D is for Driven
No, not that film, but an attitude, a desire, a dream, let the short clip below explain more...
For more on the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation click HERE
E is for Ed Carpenter Racing
After trying out a full time run on road / street and ovals for the past two seasons, Ed stepped aside from the twistys to let a more accomplished driver take his seat. It could be said, he chose well. Mike Conway, a free agent after leaving AJ Foyt prior to the Finale at Fontana because he was no longer comfortable racing on ovals, some thought his time in Indycar was over, how wrong they were. The season got off to a great start with victory at Long Beach in only his second race for the team. Come May and in steps Ed, he duly obliges with pole for the 500 and was running strongly until a late race incident took him out of the race. Shortly after a win followed at Texas Motor Speedway for Ed before Mike added another victory at the double-day-header at Toronto. The season ended strongly with a podium at Fontana, the last for the team in their current guise before merging with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. It is worth noting that combined, the entrant stands at 514 points, good enough for 7th in the championship.
Part Two, covering F to J will be out next Monday