USA Day: Five US scene drivers for F1

USA Day: Scott Dixon, Indianapolis 500, 2008, 470150

There’s no United States Grand Prix this year so it’s USA Day at F1 Fanatic with a series of America-themed articles.

Which drivers in the American racing scene whould head over to Formula 1? Here are five of the drivers I’d like to see make the switch from NASCAR and Indy Car.

Scott Dixon

New Zealand’s Scott Dixon has an excellent pedigree in Indy Car Racing. He won the Indianapolis 500 this year (above) and is leading the re-united series convincingly.

Dixon came heart-brakingly close to winning the title last year, only to run out of fuel on the last lap of the season.

Kyle Busch

American NASCAR star Kyle Busch, 23, is expected to do a make an appearance in a Toyota F1 car in Japan at the end of the season. Busch drives a Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and leads the championship with four wins at the time of writing.

We’ve seen former F1 cars turn to NASCAR in recent years but I think it would be fasincating to see how a driver who’s spent his career racing almost entirely on ovals would cope with Formula 1. And having one of NASCAR’s top drivers do it would be a huge publicity boost for F1 in America.

Marco Andretti

You can take your pick of the PR-friendly drivers in Indy Car who could make the jump to F1: Graham Rahal, son of three times CART champion Bobby Rahal; Or Danica Patrick, possibly the only professional racing driver who could generate more hype by arriving in F1 than Lewis Hamilton did.

But Andretti, the third generation of the dynasty beginning with 1978 F1 champion Mario, is probably the best bet. He may have looked rough around the edges in recent races, but he showed tons of skill on his debut in the series in 2006 – particularly when he led commandingly at a damp Watkins Glen before being taken out by Eddie Cheever.

AJ Allmendinger

I was hugely disappointed to see Allmendinger switch from Champ Car to NASCAR in 2006. At the time he had won several road course races on the series and looked like one of American’s most promising open wheel racers.

His NASCAR career to date has not been much to write about. I’d like to see him back in a single seater, maybe even an F1 car.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Yeah, I’m still banging the drum for Montoya. He’s wasted in NASCAR, and I think he’d be right at home in the 2009 spec low-downforce F1 cars.

Read more: 10 of the best… American F1 drivers

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20 comments on USA Day: Five US scene drivers for F1

  1. Steve K said on 16th June 2008, 5:33

    Said-Heads Unite!!! A fun guy to root for.

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th June 2008, 9:10

    Franchitti’s definitely another worthwhile pick. I’m really disappointed he missed the Indy reunification year by going to NASCAR. At the very least I hope he goes back to Indy Cars.

  3. the limit said on 17th June 2008, 18:09

    With Kyle Busch, he is extremely aggressive and fast. This season his has an axe to grind after being dropped by Rick Hendrick for Earnhardt JNR.
    By testing with Toyota in F1, he is effectively telling the NASCAR community just how good he is, that he could drive in ‘any’ series.
    Could you imagine how embarrassing it would be for NASCAR, if this year’s champion walked off to join a F1 team for 2009? I can’t see that happening, too much pride at stake, and all ‘I’ can see is a bigger and better deal for Busch to keep him in NASCAR.
    Scott Dixon is definately worth a shout, saw him race two months ago in person. Hes quick, has the right attitude, and has plenty of experience.
    Montoya’s boat has sailed. He’ll never return to F1, which is a terrible shame for us all. The bottom line is that Juan Pablo raced for two teams that were competitive at that time, Williams and McLaren, and for whatever reason, was unable to win the championship.
    I don’t believe this was entirely down to him, or his personal performance, but that doesn’t alter the facts.
    However, it is still a terrible waste.

  4. Eric said on 28th July 2008, 21:07

    Danica! Come on are you serious, she is the most over rated driver in open wheel history! Maybe your not familiar with the IRL, most Americans call it the DRL (Danica Racing League) she is a joke and deserves about 1/10 of the press she receives. As for Kyle Busch, I am not dumb enough to watch NASCAR, but I read an article where he was talking about his F1 “test” he was going to have and he said the racing in F1 really isn’t that good so after he tests for Honda he will wait for Ferrari or Mclaren to offer him a ride. As you Brits say what a wanker!

  5. Paige said on 10th August 2008, 18:14

    I’ve been a Jeff Gordon fan for a long time. In my opinion, he’s the most talented driver to race in NASCAR in its history. He’s the all-time winningest driver in NASCAR on road courses and is by far the best driver on them, and had several impressive drives on them early in his career when he was inexperienced on them. He’s beaten current F1 drivers Bourdais (twice) and Piquet in the Race of Champions event, an event he very well could have won in 2005 if not for a gearbox failure at the start in his race against sports car great Tom Kristensen. He’s actually gotten a F1 offer in the past from BAR, and he had an impressive drive with Williams in the “Tradin’ Paint” event in 2003. He’s too old now, but he could certainly have been a great F1 driver, perhaps even a world champion.

    Kyle Busch is an impressive and highly talented young driver. He’s adapted to road racing very well this year, winning the Nationwide Series race in Mexico City and the race at Infineon this year. He’s probably the most talented driver to enter NASCAR since Jeff Gordon, and I would argue he’s the most talented young American driver in the world today. Furthermore, he’s proven quite versatile, racing (and winning) in everything from stock cars to sprint cars to modifieds to late-models. He’s definitely got the talent to race in F1.

    Among IndyCar drivers, Scott Dixon is by far the most deserving. He’s the best driver in the series and has had a long record of success to merit a shot at F1.

    Another IndyCar driver I think should get a look is Ryan Briscoe. He is an extremely gifted driver who has had some erratic luck and performances, but nonetheless has tons of speed. He is getting it together this year now that he finally has a quality ride at Penske, as he’s scored two wins (including an impressive trouncing of the field at Mid-Ohio.

    Some other quality IndyCar drivers include Will Power, Justin Wilson, Graham Rahal, and Ryan Hunter-Reay. The first three were quality Champ Car drivers who are stuck in Champ Car teams that made the switch and are behind the curve competitively with the dominant IndyCar teams. Hunter-Reay has done an impressive job in recent years in sports cars and got his first win at Watkins Glen this year. These are the only other drivers who I think are F1 worthy.

    Marco Andretti is a good driver, but one who is pretty overrated. He’s had good performances on road courses, but he’s been pretty easily outclassed by other drivers on them and has been pretty inconsistent.

    Danica Patrick is a horrendously overhyped driver who has done absolutely nothing to justify it. She didn’t win in a single lead-up series to IRL, and her only win in IndyCars was due to a fuel-mileage strategy. She was in the best car in the field last year with Andretti-Green, and she got her butt whooped by teammates Franchitti and Kanaan. (Not to mention Dixon, Wheldon, and Hornish, who were in inferior cars.) She’s good, but she’s at best an average IndyCar driver. There’s no way she’s even close to having the talent to race in F1.

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