Well, if all goes according to plan, seems its basically official for Newman/Haas/Lanigan. After racking up two wins in 2008, they will return with cars for Graham Rahal and Robert Doornbos. Seems like a formidable duo for 2009 and it will add to the IRL rookie race too as I am sure they will classify Doornbos as a rookie due to his lack of oval experience.
For those of you IRL fans that don't really know who Robert Doornbos is, he was a multiple race winner in '07 with Minardi USA in Champ Car (basically now HVM). Earlier rumors had him going to HVM to run a second car, but obviously if this holds true (which I feel confident in saying now) he will not be running beside the ICS resident bad boy Ernesto Viso. He had some memorable runs in 2007 and was definately one of the top 5 drivers. He infused the field with some much needed charisma which made the few viewers of the races love him. He even managed to upset Seabass at Mont-Tremblant, look for video below.
Anyways, as a CCWS crossover fan, I'm quite happy to get another one of our drivers into the series even though it could mean losing Justin Wilson. But I'd rather see NHL run 2 cars. Either way it seemed like J-Dub was on the outside looking in, atleast for the NHL seat.
But, listen to this, I was in class today, and some joker in the crowd looked over and saw me surfing on the IRL site and said to me...
"Did you hear Milka Duno was going to be running with NHL in 2009? They are
going to run three cars, Boobies kid, Robert Doorknobs, and Ms. Grand-Am
I just laughed at him and told him to smoke the hippy hay after class and I continued on with my studies...............
your not serious are you? are you shitting me?
Duno really is running with NHL? She has another sponsor willing to pay out big bucks?
Wow... well, I feel stupid...
Well, I guess we can take it as a positive that NHL will be running 3 cars this year. I wonder if she will be running 08 (02 + 06)? But I mean, it's Newman-Haas-Lanigan, that team is quite possibly one of the more storied teams in AOWR. Driving a NH(L) car is an honour and the list of drivers who drove their cars is splendid.
- Alan Jones
- Mario Andretti
- Teo Fabi
- Paul Tracy
- Nigel Mansell
- Roberto Moreno
- Micheal Andretti
- Christian Fittipaldi
- Christiano da Matta
- Oriol Servia
- Bruno Junqueira
- Sebastien Bourdais
- Graham Rahal
- Justin Wilson
- Robert Doornbos
- uh... Milka Duno?
Well, I guess she can be the first women to lay claim to driving for NHL. And hell, she led more laps last year then Quattro, Power, Carpenter, Bernoldi, Moraes, and Ms. GoDaddy.com. And any feuds between Danica and Milka will have a little more emphasis if Milka is in a competitive ride I guess. Uhm, and maybe D&R can fill her seat with someone more talented? I heard Marty Roth is available.
But in all seriousness, I guess there must be some positives. Maybe Milka was in the same situation Katherine Legge was in with Dale Coyne in CCWS. Legge was always plagued with the sub-par equipment while Bruno would get the top car leaving Legge to run laps down and encounter many mechanical failures. Maybe getting out of a sub-par team like D&R and into a top tier team like NHL will get force her to put up results, as she doesn't have that crutch to lean on when she does poorly.
And you can only assume that if she is still a backmarker with NHL that she will atleast be a little bit more competitive on ovals atleast. Instead of being 7 laps down in a D&R car, she might simply be on the tail end of the lead lap or simply one lap down in an NHL car.
We are also guarenteed 2 more cars with Duno and Doornbos all but confirmed at NHL. And depending on how much moolah Duno is bringing, it might had made the Doornbos deal possible using some carry over cash from Duno to fund part of RD's ride. Let's face it, it seems that either with this new sponsor she is supposed to have lined up to pump money into her system, or with CITGO, Milka Duno was going to be on the 2009 IRL grid whether you like it or not. If Duno at NHL means adding 2 cars instead of Duno at D&R adding 1 car, I'm all for it.
Now, Robert Doornbos and Graham Rahal will still both be very competitive with NHL, but with Milka Duno as the team leader (due to age of course, and perhaps IRL experience), will they be able to hold everything together. There will be towels flying all over the shop in Lincolnshire, and the engineers will know the wrath of a womens scorn. Perhaps it will be a benefit as GR and RD are probably too easy on those engineers anyways.
Now the question shifts to D&R, and whether they manage to wrangle together another car as it seems they were counting on Duno for one of their cars.
"I don't know what we'll end up as, one or two cars, and we're also working on
some single-race deals like Indy and a couple other tracks." Dennis
Hopefully they can pull together something for Townsend Bell, as I'd love to see him as a full time guy, and it would bump the car count up. Atleast this ride buyer has talent.