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Friday, March 12, 2010

IndyCar Season Preview: Team 3G

Team 3G attempted to run its first IZOD IndyCar Series season last year with professional Hollywood stuntman and former NASCAR competitor Stanton Barrett behind the wheel. Unfortunately, a lack of funding and poor performance led to a rotating musical chair of drivers for much of the season, with IndyCar vet Jaques Lazier and former Firestone Indy Lights competitor Richard Antinucci also answering the call.

The team was consistently toward the back of the pack, unsurprising for a start-up outfit without many sponsorship dollars or a driver with a full season in IndyCar under his belt. (Believe it or not, Lazier has missed multiple races in every season he's competed in IndyCar.)

This year, the team will skip the season opener in Brazil, but will again contest the full schedule. This time, the plan is for Antinucci to take the helm of the No. 98 Dallara-Honda for the whole year, while Barrett and Lazier may split time in a second car if funding permits. Devoting the lead car to only one driver for the full year will undoubtedly help performance, as driver and team can develop chemistry with one another.

Antinucci is no slouch, either. He competed in all nine Indy Lights road course races in 2007, winning two of them to finish 15th in points. He ran the full schedule in 2008 and finished second in points, scoring another two road course wins in the always-competitive No. 7 Dallara of Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Antinucci was also able to score second-place finishes on the ovals at Homestead and Indianapolis, as well as a handful of other strong finishes.

While Team 3G is nowhere close to being a superpower in the IZOD IndyCar Series, they have laid the groundwork for a competitive team in the future by signing Antinucci to race for them this season. If the team can stick together, and provide Antinucci with proper equipment to showcase his talent, they may surprise with a few strong finishes in 2010. If not, expect more of the same black No. 98 bringing up the rear of the field.

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