Maybe it's because my interest in the Chicago White Sox has picked up now that they lead the American League Central, maybe it's because I'm still reading every single article on Lebron James and the "Three DB-igos", or maybe it's because I'm 100% addicted to NFL Network's "America's Game".
But the last couple weeks heading into the Brickyard, I just felt like there was a lack of excitement in the air compared to the 2009 race.
And there is some absolute truth to this. Ticket sales are down, the biggest storyline coming into this weekend was from a Nationwide Race with Edwards and Keselowski, and then the soon to be second voice of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway tweeted this:
"is it the heat...or is the Nascar buzz gone in Indy?"
So combined with heat that is 130-something degrees trackside, and I can 100% see why the excitement is down a little bit.
But last I checked, Jimmie Johnson is still on a roll, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart are fan favorites, and THERE'S A RACE AT THE HISTORIC INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, so get pumped racing fans!
(Oh wait... there's a Sunday race in Edmonton too? Really IZOD IndyCar? Tsk tsk... The only way you will get noticed is if Danica wins, and even then, it's not good that she can only win on international territory.)
With that said, I'll be picking my top four drivers to watch out for from both races, with my fifth and sixth pick predicting who will crash first.
1. Juan Pablo Montoya, Target (Earnhardt Ganassi Racing)
Alright, maybe I'm not going out too far on the limb for picking the Pole leader, especially considering he dominated the pack in his rookie year at the Indianapolis 500 in 2000, or his second place finish in 2007 behind Tony Stewart.
But on the flip side, Montoya hasn't won a race since 2007 (he is an astonishing 1 for 163 in his NASCAR career up to this point), is 21st in the points, and has crashed two of the past three races. So maybe this is a lot more of a wildcard pick then at first glance.
But you know what? Not only do I think Juan Pablo will finish in the top three, I'm rooting for him to win. After last year's entire debacle (did he go too fast in the pits or not?), I truly felt bad for the guy.
So mark it down... Juan Pablo Montoya will be drinking the milk in 133 degree weather.
Side-note #1: I was standing in Montoya's pit when the penalty occurred. I had never been in the pits of a race before, but after he sped off, the gas can seem to come off his car in a strange way as if his car l had left too early. And there was an eerie sense that something majorily wrong just took place, like when you throw a football against the side of a house on accident and absolutely hope it did no damage, but deep down inside you know it probably tore off a shingle or two. So you just ignore it, only to later find an angry neighbor pounding on your door the day of your 16th birthday. That's what Juan Pablo speeding off felt like.
Side-note #2: In what way, shape, or form is the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500, and the Brickyard considered the Triple Crown of racing for Ganassi? Are you kidding me? This is easily the most completely out of nowhere, far-fetched, media-made frenzy that just randomly could be made up to attempt to make a story-line because it's a slow week. Let's at least switch up the venue and add Darlington to the list.
2. Tony Stewart, Office Depot / Old Spice (Stewart Haas Racing)
Doesn't this just feel like "Smoke" is due for a victory? Only once in his 11 year career (2008, which had five second place finishes) has Tony Stewart gone 0 for the first 20 races, and even then that could be considered a fluke.
3. Danica Patrick, GoDaddy.com (Andretti Autosport)