It’s raining here in The Southland, as the tv and radio people like to call this part of the world, so I’m sitting in a dry office instead of getting sunburned or going blind from sunscreen (which is what happened to me the previous two years) on a bleacher opposite pit row. The weather forecast suggests decent weather for qualifying tomorrow and Sunday’s race.
My real disappointment is that I may have blown my chance to check out Natacha Gachnang, if she’s here this weekend.
I’m actually looking forward to Long Beach, and not because it’s nearby. It’s actually one of the best of the street races because it’s unpredictable. In recent seasons dominated by Penske and Ganassi, this race was won by Mike Conway (2011) and RHR (2010). Dario and Will Power took it the previous two years. Before that you reach back in the CART era where Sabby Bourdais won it 3 years running (2005-2007) for Newman/Haas, then Paul Tracy with two back-to-back wins (2003 and 2004).
This is also a course that loves selected people. Multiple winners include Bourdais (3 times), Paul Tracy (4 times), and Little Al Unser (6 times). Multiple wins often come in clumps: Unser put four together (1988 to 1991); Mario Andretti split his three wins across 4 years because his son shoe-horned in for 1986. And so on.
We’re currently in the longest stretch of unpreated wins (not counting the F1 era from the early 1970s). Since I like to play the statistics, I think we’ll have a former winner back in winner’s circle this year. That narrows it down to:
Dario: I’ve been shocked at how crappy he’s been running so far. I think this has to change.
Sabby Bourdais: maybe, but I just doubt it. He’s my dark horse.
Paul Tracy: I have no idea if he’ll have a ride this weekend or not. I say no way even if he makes the field.
RHR: He’d be my favorite because this course loves Andrettis, both as drivers and owners; but I don’t think it’ll happen.
Mike Cownay: Foyt’s pit crew will set him on fire before that happens.
Helio: Maybe but I just don’t feel it.
Will Power: I’m trying not to let my emotions cloud my prognostication. I don’t want Power to win, but I think he will.
So there it is. Power to win, with Dario my back-up and RHR if Dario’s car is still shite.
Call your bookie and break the bank at Monte Carlo, baby.
… Actually if I were God, Barrichello would win.