As we get set for the 2017 racing season, I'll tell you one storyline that really intrigues me: Neil Alberico running another Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season with Carlin.
The 24-year-old had success at each level of the Mazda Road to Indy, but frankly was disappointing in his rookie Lights season in 2016. I always wondered if that wasn't just an issue of acclamation to a new car and new team. 2017 should answer that. A really nice guy with a really good resume, if Alberico is going to shine in Lights, the time is now.
Fast start for Ed Carpenter Racing: Looks like Phoenix Raceway was a good testing ground last weekend for Ed Carpenter Racing. Carpenter himself had a good run at Phoenix last year before a late mistake ended his night. Add the maturity and bravado of veteran JR Hildebrand and the team looks to be stout for their April return for the Phoenix Grand Prix.
That said, tests are exactly that. It's difficult for me to tell where every team is through test results, as different teams may be working on totally different things. Still, having the two fastest cars seemingly beats the alternative.
Bourdais-Coyne combination could prove fruitful: I was happy to see Sebastien Bourdais put up good testing results for Dale Coyne Racing. Bourdais hooking up with Coyne reminds me of Justin Wilson's run with the team. Take a talented veteran compatible with a team, and trust the driver to advise engineers from a session to session basis. It worked for Wilson and there's no reason to think it won't for Bourdais.
Keep it pointed forward: You never want to see anyone make contact with the wall, but there is always analysis done to see what can be learned. Graham Rahal, in one of three Hondas that crashed in Phoenix (Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi were the others – and all three incidents were in Turns 1 and 2), said holes in the car's undertray makes for difficult aerodynamics.
To be fair, incidents at the test were not isolated to Honda. Hildebrand also made contact in his Chevrolet, but it was after he damaged his front wing from contact with Will Power.
Feeling like a grandpa watching the Grammys: Did you watch the Grammys? Few things make me feel so old. There were a few highlights for me: notably, anytime anyone I had heard of was honored. I also thought the Bruno Mars tribute to Prince was outstanding. I'm not a huge Bruno Mars fan, but the guy is a flat entertainer. His talent seems to be as limitless as his energy. I thought he stole the show.
I also appreciated Adele's candid "do-over" during her George Michael tribute. I was a huge Michael fan and think he was a visionary who tinkered with things until he found them perfect. As a result, I thought Adele made the perfect tribute without even realizing it.
As a kid, I loved "Men at Work" and was thrilled when they won "Best New Artist" Grammy in 1983. Lead singer Colin Hay said "We are the Men and we'll see you again."
Unfortunately, I'm still waiting.