Chat with John Oreovicz
Oreovicz attended his first Indianapolis 500 as a teenager in 1978 and still hasn't broken the open-wheel racing habit. He has covered nearly 300 Indy-style races for National Speed Sport News and many other publications around the world and co-authored "A Winning Adventure," a history of Honda's successful Champ Car engine program. "Oreo" resides in western Indiana within earshot of his home track, the Putnam Park Road Course.
Send your questions now and join John in The Show on Monday at noon ET!
Oreovicz Archive: Columns
Buzzmaster (12:07 PM)
Oreo will be here in a couple of minutes!
John Oreovicz (12:09 PM)
My apologies for coming on late. My small town country bumpkin internet service dropped the ball on me.
Just how big are the problems over at Andretti Green?
John Oreovicz (12:12 PM)
I think to some extent it is sensationalized. Clearly there was an issue between the teammates last year. Kanaan signed a new long-term contract so he must be satified that they are going to get the situation under control. But it could be interesting this year if they do not win a race early this year.
Who will be the Next IRL Champion? Do you think it will be Kanaan or will Dixon repeat?
John Oreovicz (12:14 PM)
I think Dixon is going to repeat as champion. Having Franchitti at Ganassi will strengthen the team. You can tell Dixon was disappointed with how he defended the first title and he will not let it happen again. Kanaan should be in the Top 3 and Ryan Briscoe will also have a very strong run.
Was it frustration among the teams' performances at Adretti or is there a real dislike among the teams?
John Oreovicz (12:18 PM)
I think it was a combination of both. The teams struggled with their road coarse set ups in 2008, and Franchitti leaving may have caused that. And I think there may be some personality issues there. Kanaan may rightfully feel he does not get enough attention from the public, and he is teamed with Danica who gets 98% of attention and Marco Andretti who gets 50% of the remaining 2%. So it is easy to see how he could get frustrated even though the team is treating him fairly. But Franchitti did a good job of easing the tensions.
What continued improvements will we see with the IRL as we move on with the merger?
John Oreovicz (12:21 PM)
Obviously we have already seen the influx of teams which has boosted the size of the grid which helps the public image of the series. Behind the scenes the Indy Car series or teams have hired some of the best champ car officials and I think they are trying to work hard to shorten yellow flag periods and have the races run more efficiently. The league is still struggling to land a title sponsor. They have been trying for a few years now and were reportedly close with a few companies before the economic meltdown. The IRL will also take a good look at adding some of the other key champ car races, like Portland and Cleveland, for 2010 and beyond.
John, John, don't you know, small country bumpkin towns don't like the internet, or dancing. Just ask Kevin Bacon.
Best track on the circuit?
John Oreovicz (12:22 PM)
I would say my favorite oval is Richmond. I just like the old school charm of it and it is pretty exciting to see those cars whip around and 180 doing 16 second laps. I am told it is a great track for NASCAR too.
John Oreovicz (12:24 PM)
As for current road courses I like Watkins Glenn the best. The track and the history in the area make it very special.
Will we see more drivers leaving open wheel to drive NASCAR?
John Oreovicz (12:27 PM)
No. Except for maybe Danica. You cannot deny the fact that the Indy car driver who have tried NASCAR the last few years, have not done well. More than anything that highlights just how radically different American stock car racing and open wheel racing have become. Up until forty years ago they were pretty similar, but these days the form of racing is so spcialized that once you become accustomed to one it becomes very hard to change over. Now the very best guys could probably do it. I think if Jimmie Johnson came over and drove for Ganassi, for example, he could win a race within a year.
John (St. Louis)
Has the IRL been effected by the economic problems like they have in NASCAR?
John Oreovicz (12:30 PM)
The IRL has been effected but not to the extent NASCAR did, but they had more fat to trim than the IRL did.
Do you think the IRL is on to something, as far as their schedule? It's much more compact than the NASCAR schedule.
John Oreovicz (12:32 PM)
I'd say that you could argue both ways. Yes the season does not intefere with football and is compact, but we are in a 7 month offseason right now. I think it makes it difficult to maintain fan interest right now, and now many of the teams have to have winter layoffs. It creates a frantic season and a too relaxed offseason. I think the season should be extended and start earlier, in late February or early March.
ray gordon reid hendersonville tn 37075
question to john .O at 12.15 PM HI JOHN HOW WILL DANICA DO THIS YEAR
John Oreovicz (12:34 PM)
I think that results wise, she will not do as well as she has in past years, but I think her driving will be better. Competition is getting tougher. I do not see her winning a race this year. I think she regressed a bit in 2008, and will improve in '09, especially in a contract year.
John Oreovicz (12:36 PM)
Again sorry for the techincal problems and being distracted by my little boy as I multi-task here today. We'll chat again soon, when the internet is working in my part of the world again!
SportsNation on Facebook
THIS WEEK'S CHATS
- 11:00 AMNoleNation's David Hale
- 12:00 PMNFL with Dan Graziano
- 1:00 PMCubs, Sox with Levine
- 1:30 PMMichael Wilbon on NBA Finals
- 2:00 PMBoxing with Brian Campbell
- 2:00 PMNFL blogger Kevin Seifert
- 2:00 PMNASCAR with Terry Blount
- 3:00 PMFantasy's Stephania Bell
- 3:00 PMGolf columnist Bob Harig
- 4:00 PMHornsNation's Strickland
- 4:00 PMNFL with James Walker
- 11:00 AMFantasy's Eric Karabell
- 12:00 PMNFL with Matt Williamson
- 12:00 PMDawgNation's David Ching
- 12:00 PMMusician Darius Rucker
- 1:00 PMNBA Insider Chad Ford
- 1:00 PMMMA with Brett Okamoto
- 2:00 PMSweetSpot's Schoenfield
- 3:00 PMNHRA's A. Brown, C. Force
- 3:00 PMFantasy NASCAR Focus
- 4:00 PMGatorNation's Mike DiRocco
- 4:00 PMNFL blogger Mike Sando
- 5:00 PMWeAreSC's Garry Paskwietz