INDIANAPOLIS -- The cancellation of a race set for Aug. 19 in Qingdao, China, left a three-week gap in the Izod IndyCar Series schedule in the heart of the summer.
It's too early for the driver market Silly Season, private testing is limited, and teams and engine manufacturers are severely restricted in what they can do to modify or enhance their cars and power plants. Besides Roger Penske's sons getting into mischief (allegedly), it's a slow time for news.
Back in his days with the Indianapolis Star, my friend and colleague Robin Miller devised an effective and entertaining method for dealing with those occasional lulls: the multiple-choice quiz.
Laced with humor, sarcasm, satire and nuggets of truth between the lines, Miller's quizzes often provoked thought about the issues of the day. And they always kept you laughing.
With that lead-in, I've devised a multiple-choice quiz of my own. Don't get too stressed out about passing or failing; it's purely for entertainment, and there are no right or wrong answers.
Grab a No. 2 pencil and get started!
1. The Lotus IndyCar engine program:
A. Just needs a little more time to become good
B. Shows the little guy can no longer compete with giant manufacturers
C. Should have been stopped before it got started
D. Is making Colin Chapman roll in his grave
2. The best thing about the IndyCar Series' new-for-2012 chassis and turbo engine formula is:
A. The way the cars look
B. The way the cars sound
C. The way the cars race
D. The theoretically lower costs the teams should be enjoying
3. Dallara is Italian for:
A. Fix it again, Tony
B. The nicest building in Speedway, Ind.
C. Built-to-a-price spec cars
D. Price gouging on spare parts
4. The illegal aerodynamic component that Justin Wilson's Texas-winning car was busted for after the race:
A. Did not create a performance advantage
B. Should have been caught earlier by INDYCAR tech inspectors
C. Is an example of how the series shouldn't be micromanaging spec cars
D. Wouldn't have mattered if Graham Rahal had hung on in front for two more laps
5. The most underrated driver in the IndyCar Series is:
6. Indy car racing's biggest surprise in 2012:
7. INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard is least likely to get a Christmas card from:
A. John Barnes
B. The mayor of Qingdao, China
C. Eddie Gossage
D. Tony George
8. Tire supplier Firestone:
A. Saved INDYCAR's bacon by returning this year
B. Has spiced up the racing with its red-sidewall alternate tire program
C. Doesn't get the credit it deserves for its contribution to the IndyCar Series
D. All of the above
9. The biggest personality in the IndyCar Series is:
10. IndyCar's best oval racer is:
11. Who is someone you're not likely to see having dinner with Chip Ganassi anytime soon?
12. What is Bernard's grade, halfway through his five-year contract:
13. IndyCar's best promoter is:
A. Indianapolis Motor Speedway
B. Green Savoree Racing Promotions (St. Pete, Toronto, Mid-Ohio)
C. Andretti Sports Marketing (Milwaukee, Baltimore)
D. Eddie Gossage (Texas Motor Speedway, himself)
14. Best IndyCar Series race in 2012?
A. Grand Prix of Alabama (Barber Motorsports Park)
B. Indianapolis 500
C. Firestone 550 (Texas Motor Speedway)
15. What impact has Danica Patrick's departure had on the IndyCar Series?
C. It opened the door for James Hinchcliffe
D. Who is Danica Patrick?
16. What is the biggest reason for Andretti Autosport's resurgence in 2012?
A. Michael Andretti's overall investment in Indy car racing
B. Ryan Hunter-Reay's emergence as a team leader
C. AA's engineers are consistently getting the most out of the DW12 chassis
D. All the drivers can grow lucky beards
17. Most embarrassing for Roger Penske:
A. Helio Castroneves' past tax troubles
B. AJ Allmendinger's failed drug test
C. Sons Jay and Mark's arrest on Nantucket Island
D. The 1987 PC16 Indy car
18. INDYCAR's biggest gaffe of the season was:
A. The tainted Wilson win at Texas
B. The incorrect penalty assessed to Scott Dixon at Milwaukee after race director Beaux Barfield watched the wrong replay of a restart
C. Cancellation of the China race
D. Allowing "Compressor-gate" between Chevrolet and Honda to escalate
19. The most dramatic moment of the season was:
A. Takuma Sato's failed last-lap pass for the lead on Dario Franchitti to decide the Indianapolis 500
B. Helio Castroneves climbing the fence at Dan Wheldon Way after winning the season opener at St. Petersburg
C. Graham Rahal brushing the wall while leading at Texas with three laps remaining, handing the win to Justin Wilson
D. A June team owners revolt that turned out to be much ado about nothing
20. The number of times Randy Bernard typically uses a form of the word "articulate" in a media interview or speech:
D. 5 or more
21. Best-looking 2012 paint scheme:
22. Most embarrassing moment for an engine manufacturer:
A. Chevy changes all engines at Long Beach; all incur grid penalty
B. Dario Franchitti's Iowa pole-winning Honda blows up on parade lap
C. Lotus cars black-flagged at Indy after 10 laps for being too slow
23. Most entertaining IndyCar driver on Twitter:
24. The driver who deserves to be 2012 IndyCar Series champion is:
A. Will Power
B. Ryan Hunter-Reay
C. Helio Castroneves
D. Scott Dixon
25. The driver most likely to be in the 2013 Indianapolis 500 field: