Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Picks for 2011 (with guests!)

This is an very unscientific poll. Which really means "the people Tammy could get to answer questions," even if they're not the most racing savvy.... (Thanks to Simon and frequent guest Steve Ulfelder!)

Tammy: American Le Mans Series
Shane: Formula 1
Miruna*: IndyCar. At least Indy has two guys trying for the title, not the whole group trying to catch the guy so far ahead that there's no way it'll happen, like F1.
Chet**: ALMS
Steve: Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. OK, I’m biased: I have several friends in this series; my company, Flatout Motorsports, built the Mazda MX-5 that won at Laguna Seca; and this is the only pro series I have any shot at ever actually driving in. But all that aside, Continental Tire features lots of elements race fans love: true production-based cars, multi-class competition, six or eight different marques with an honest shot at winning, and of course hard doorhandle-to-doorhandle racing.
Roger: ALMS
Simon: IRL

(*Miruna is a lifelong F1 fan.)
(**Chet is married to me and thus, I did not have to pay him to say this.)

BEST RACING ACTION (duo, teams, class, etc.)
Tammy: ALMS GT class
Shane: ALMS GT class
Miruna: Flying Lizards Porsche v. Risi Competizione Ferrari, last lap, Laguna Seca, ALMS GT class
Chet: ALMS GT class
Steve: There was lots of action in the Rolex Series Daytona Prototype class this year, as various teams did their damnedest to knock off Chip Ganassi Racing. For me, the best kept secret in bigtime racing is NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck series. While the Sprint Cup guys are calling their brokers all day, and Nationwide just doesn’t have enough strong competition, the truck guys race hard all night long, strategy be damned.
Roger: Hendrick Motorsports (NASCAR)
Simon: IRL

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT (individual, team, series, etc.)
Tammy: Lewis Hamilton
Shane*: The 2012 IndyCar. An ugly, shitty spec racer somehow manages to get uglier, less compelling and loses its biggest star (Danica) to the second ugliest, shittiest spec series on the planet.
Miruna: All other Formula 1 teams besides Red Bull Racing.
Chet: Anyone wrecked out by Jamie Melo**
Steve: Hmm, are Danica Patrick and Dale Junior (yeah, yeah, I know he made the Chase. Yawn) even disappointments anymore, or have we come to expect their midpack finishes? I was disappointed that Brian Vickers and Red Bull racing didn’t mount a better effort in Sprint Cup; I think Vickers is a true wheel man just waiting for the right ride.
Roger***: The San Francisco Giants!
Simon: The decline of Williams F1

(*Shane is never one to hold back.)
(**Jamie Melo drives for Risi Competizione in the ALMS GT class. We are Corvette Racing and Flying Lizard Porsche fans in our household.)
(***Roger is Tammy's father. He doesn't know much about racing.)

Tammy: That Fernando Alonso wasn't as annoying as usual.
Shane: More manufacturers announce a return to Le Mans. Toyota and Nissan, specifically.
Miruna: Bruno Senna doing OK in F1. I didn't realize HRT was that bad.
Chet*: That Jamie Melo isn't the one killed in Dead Man's Switch, my wife's book.
Steve: The Indy 500, with JR Hildebrand wrecking in the final corner!
Roger: Danica Patrick
Simon: That Dan Weldon struggled to get a drive this year.

(*OK, I might have to pay my husband for that one.)

MOST ANNOYING (individual, team, series, etc.)
Tammy: Kyle Busch (with Fernando Alonso as a strong runner up)
Shane: The US media's continual fascination with NASCAR, the continued plight of Dale Earnhardt Jr., and the first true hissy fit/meltdown that Danica Patrick has in NNS.
Miruna: Whiny Massa (That's Felipe Massa, F1.)
Chet: Jamie Melo
Steve: The answer to that question is always Kyle Busch.*
Roger: Kyle Busch*
Simon: I'll take the 5th on that one. :-)

(*This is why I adore Steve, even though we've never met, and why Roger and I are related.)

Tammy: Leena Gade, Race Engineer, Audi (first female race engineer to win Le Mans). (That's her in the photo.)
Shane: Jenson Button. Classy, seemingly a nice guy, unperturbed, loads of money, great taste in cars, and quietly loves watching as his success and demeanor cause Lewis Hamilton to slowly fall apart. Either that or Valentino Rossi, because the man seems incapable of not having fun in life.
Miruna: One of the guys in the winning Audi R18 at Le Mans.
Chet: I'm pretty satisfied being myself.
Steve: You know who I never liked as a driver but enjoy as a team owner? Michael Andretti. He’s got a strong IndyCar operation going, and he seems to take the whole thing seriously but not too seriously … I like his approach to the whole circus.
Roger: Helio Castroneves
Simon: Me 20yrs ago, starting out all over again. :-)

Tammy: This year: Jimmie Johnson might take it. Next year: ABDPODEJ (Anyone But Danica Patrick or Dale Earnhardt, Junior. I'm not happy saying it; I wish they'd fulfill their promise. But I don't see it happening.)
Shane: (for 2012) Button edges Vettel in F1 in 2012, but only barely. Corvette finally wins an ALMS GT championship, Sebastien Ogier wins in WRC and Valentino Rossi finally comes on form with his Ducati and wins MotoGP over Casey Stoner. NASCAR and IndyCar manage to go another entire year without me noticing, unless there's a giant fiery wreck somewhere, or Dale Jr. announces he's gay or is actually an illegal alien or something to really piss his fan base off.
Miruna: Dario Franchitti to take the Indy title again.
Chet: Whoever gets the most points with clean racing.
Steve: I wish I’d been asked this a few weeks ago, when many had declared Jimmie Johnson out of the Sprint Car running. I knew that dude would get back to the front. He is Joe Montana: makes it look easier than it is, always seems to show up when the money’s on the table. Although I and millions of others would like to see someone else win the crown, Number 48 will be Sprint Cup champion yet again.
Roger: The Oakland Raiders!
Simon: Anybody but the Raiders...

What do the rest of you think?


  1. BEST RACING SERIES: ALMS, Pirelli World Challenge gets honorable mention.

    BEST RACING ACTION: ALMS GT, nothing else even close.

    BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: ALMS prototype field being nearly nonexistent.

    BIGGEST SURPRISE: Dan Wheldon and BHA winning Indy.

    MOST ANNOYING: Bernie Eccelstone

    WHO YOU'D MOST LIKE TO BE: A guy in the broadcast booth John Hindhaugh or with Varsha, Hobbs, and Matchett.

    YOUR PICK FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP: 2011 - Tony Stewart, Dario. 2012 - Button, Power, Flying Lizard. Future - Simon Pagenaud

  2. Ooh, Rick, how could we overlook Bernie for most annoying?! Agreed on the rest too. And oh, to be a fly on the wall for the broadcasters' off-air comments? That would be fun!