Seven of the former Champ Car drivers have been designated rookies for the year and that's probably a good thing with so many ovals on the schedule. But watch out for those guys at St. Pete next weekend, and at the Glen, Mid Ohio and Sonoma. Danica will finally win a race this year but she will not be able to match her teammates' speed on a regular basis, nor the racecraft of Tony Kanaan. Marco will probably take a road course win but let's hope he learns how to handle a loose race car on ovals or he will have plenty of DNF's just like last year. Will Power or Justin Wilson will probably win an oval race, maybe at Chicagoland Speedway, once they've got their oval legs and nothing to lose in the season finale. Wheldon can challenge for the season title if his crew corrects their pit and race tactic errors from last year, but crashing in qualifying doesn't bode well for Danny-boy. Methinks he may be trying too hard. Vision just might have it together to get someone in victory lane if Homestead qualifying is any indication. Bruno Junqueira knows the fast way at Indy so he could challenge for several wins this year if the team gives him the proper support; but I doubt it. It should be fun to watch.
My pick for the season title though is Helio Castroneves. I have had toruble being a Penske fan since his teams won Indy so often but I always liked Rick Mears and Sam Hornish, plus he's given Ryan Briscoe a new lease on his racing life with the ALMS Porsche ride and now a season seat in Indycars. Lord knows Helio has always been fast wherever he goes, and despite two Indy 500 wins, he's never been a season champion. Now it's his turn. Tony Kanaan will be right there with his childhood karting buddy, and Scott Dixon will certainly be in the mix as well.
So there you have it - one man's view. The usual suspects. A few surprises. All together now: let's go racing!