Pack your suntan lotion, race fans, and put an umbrella in your fruity drink. We’re headed to sun-drenched Miami this weekend for the final race of the 2009 IRL season. I’ve been putting off this week’s picks too long, mostly because it pains me to see it come to an end. Maybe it’s the thought of 2010 without the Milwaukee Mile. Maybe it’s the inability to fathom a six-month eternity before the next flag drops. Or maybe it’s just severe denial that Milka hasn’t been banned from the league yet. Whatever it is, raise your hand if you’ll join the race gIRL on the verge of an open-wheel-induced depression.
It doesn’t matter whether you think BFD stands for Briscoe, Franchiti, Dixon or Big F-ing Deal, it’s hard to deny that this has been one hell of a season. From Helio’s tax evasion scandal to Vitor Meira’s season-ending wall drive at Indy. From TK’s flaming cockpit escape to Carpenter’s stunning head-to-head battle with Briscoe at Kentucky. From the new overtake assistance and downforce options to Danica’s will-she-or-won’t-she Nascar tease. I’d like to say we’ve seen it all this season, but here’s to 2010 being even more exciting. Book your tickets now, my friends, because at the rate we’re going, the only network willing to air the races might be Lifetime. But hey, maybe your wife would watch it with you, right?
I digress. Where’s my Mai Tai? On to the final picks of the season…
I’m going with Briscoe. He doesn’t have a strong history at Miami, but his eyes told it all in Japan. As he sat in the pits waiting for his crew to fix the car following the cone-toting wall debacle, you know how bad he wants it.
My second pick is Castroneves. Since 2002, he’s been in top five every year except 2007. Since he’s not a contender, this could be his way of going out with a bang following his Indy three-peat.
My final pick is Scheckter. He was the pole-sitter in 2005, he’s got a decent record at Miami, he knows the track. And after some disappointing mechanical issues at Kentucky and Japan, I feel like this might be his chance to prove that he deserves a full-time ride in 2010.
At this point, I find it impossible to care about anything beyond this Saturday evening. Words can’t express how excited I am to be in the pits at Homestead. Possibly even more thrilling is the thought of meeting a bunch of my fellow race fans at the Tweetup… or the bars… whatever. The point is it’s a gathering of the masses to celebrate the excitement that is Indy. I’m thankful for everyone I’ve met this season who shares my passion and I look forward to many more years of screaming “Did you see that?!” with all of you.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a plane to catch. You might see me on the beach this weekend, or in the pits, or desperately chasing down the league’s finest in my quest to show them why they should hire me. Wherever I am, you can be sure of one thing: I’m in Miami, bitch. And this weekend, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.