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Ten Best Moments So Far For 2011

As we approach the halfway point of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season, we pause for a break and offer a list of the 10 best things to happen in IndyCar racing so far this year. In no particular order, of course:

Oriol Servia. He’s now fourth in the standings, definitely the hot surprise of the first half. (Not to mention I grabbed him for my fantasy racing team after St. Pete, thereby completing the single greatest free-agent transaction of my fantasy career.)

Mike Conway’s win in Long Beach. OK, so it was followed by the appalling failure to make the field at Indy, but this victory told everyone what some suspected for quite a while: Conway is a first-rate road racer. It also put Andretti Autosport back on the radar.

The Franchitti-Power championship duel. After Will Power’s crash at Iowa, Dario Franchitti downplayed their points battle out of respect for Power. Not only is this good and intense, it’s also civil, sporting competition.

Simona. From her sensational run in the season opener to her courageous return from a bad crash at Indy to her latest recovery from a concussion, Simona de Silvestro has been on our minds. She will be tough again in the upcoming Toronto/Edmonton/Mid-Ohio run.

Dan Wheldon’s Indy win. As surprising as it was, it made the race a talking point the day after. Even casual race fans were into it. As classy as Wheldon was in victory, so was JR Hildebrand in defeat.

Marco’s win at Iowa. Best racing of the year ends with a shake-and-bake of a race on the series’ smallest track. Breathtaking stuff from a guy who needed it.

TK TK TK. If Tony Kanaan hasn’t proven something with his unexpected twists and turns in 2011, he never will. Days before the season opener, he didn’t have a ride. He finished second in that race and is currently fifth in the standings.

Sam Schmidt. He’s dominated Indy Lights for some time, but his step forward into a full-time run at big cars has been quite successful. Tagliani’s pole at Indy was the highlight, but there’s more to come.

Twin races at Texas. Sure, it was a promoter’s gimmick, and it wasn’t necessarily original, but gimmicks can be fun. We give it a 9.5 – as long as the blind draw is dropped for 2012, as expected.

100 years of Indy. The vintage cars alone were worth it, but the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500 went beyond just the expected. A.J. Foyt in the pace car was a nice touch. And the race itself? Out of this world. 

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