It was a pleasure to watch Dario Franchitti and Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon drive superb races to finish one-two at this year’s Indianapolis 500 with Dario scoring his third win in the 500 in the past six years, a tremendous accomplishment. My congratulations to Dario and Ganassi’s team.
It was also intriguing to watch Brad Keselowski emerge this year with Roger Penske’s team as one of the fastest, smartest drivers in NASCAR. Keselowski showed his many strengths by outduelling five-time champion Jimmie Johnson to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup title. Keselowski did it in only his third full season in the Cup series and that says a lot about how good he is. It was also Penske’s first top level NASCAR championship in more than twenty years of trying.
But without doubt, the highlight of the year for me was the DeltaWing’s successful debut at Le Mans and its even better second start and strong finish in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in October. As we all know, motor racing today is starving for new and different ideas and concepts. The innovative spirit that drove the sport through most of the 20th century has been squeezed ever tighter by the powers-that-be. Spec car thinking abounds today in most sanctioning bodies and the days of revolutionary new cars have vanished into the murky mists of history.
So it was great to see the DeltaWing fly and do it well, showing the many naysayers that a dramatically different concept can work at least as well, maybe better than anything out there today. The car went through a difficult birth; spurned by IndyCar, scoffed at by many vocal critics, and discouraged in some political backrooms of American racing. So it was encouraging and even a little heart-warming to see the likes of Dan Gurney, Duncan Dayton, Don Panoz and Nissan get their minds around the concept and put their collective time, effort and money into bringing the DeltaWing to life.