With a predictable outcome, if not a whimper, the 2011 racing season ended Sunday (at least for the big five series). Even if it wasn't 2011 champion Sebastian Vettel on the top step of the podium (only second, poor thing), it was his teammate, as Red Bull Racing dominated the last Formula 1 race of the year.
To which I say, yawn.
I suppose we'll look back on these years in F1 and think they were amazing ones, for what Vettel accomplished (he set a record for the number of pole positions in a season, for instance), but mostly one person dominating a season's racing is pretty boring. Just ask NASCAR fans about the last five years.
But everything changes. I suppose it's true of all sports, but it seems especially so for racing: it's hard to predict anything.
In 2011, reigning and five-time champion Jimmie Johnson was defeated and Tony Stewart became the new NASCAR champion in an epic, down-to-the-wire battle. The American Le Mans Series and Grand-American Racing (sportscar series, both) offered predictable champions who led most of the season and last-race battles for the championship, thanks to multi-class racing (yet another reason to love it!). IndyCar saw some great racing and a fierce battle championship fight, right up until the wind was taken out of all sails in the last race of the season with the horrific accident that claimed the life of Dan Wheldon, the reigning Indy 500 winner.
I don't think anyone would have predicted Wheldon would win at Indy (nor be gone forever at Vegas), or that rookie Trevor Bayne would win the Daytona 500. Or that Stewart would win five of 10 races in the chase to seize the NASCAR crown. Nope, you just never know what will happen. And maybe that's why we love it.
All I know for sure? The counter on the Grand-Am site tells me there are just 61 days until the 2012 racing season begins with the 24 Hours of Daytona. I can wait. Barely.
What are you all looking forward to seeing in 2012?