Friday, May 27, 2016

Tribute to the Fuson Form Chart

The 1976 Indianapolis 500 souvenir section produced by the Indianapolis News.
Something I always looked forward to each May was the Fuson Form Chart. This page of analysis was penned by Wayne Fuson, sports editor of the Indianapolis News, which was the afternoon paper in Indianapolis.

It was included in the souvenir preview section and was a staple of pre-race coverage. He had an engaging, unique style patterned off horse racing forms that was eminently readable and entertaining. It rated the jockey (driver), horse (car) and stable (team), advising readers how and where to place their bets in a good-natured, humorous manner.

Wayne Fuson's predictions for 1976. 
Mr. Fuson died in 1996. I had hoped his contributions would have been recognized during all the hoopla surrounding the 100th Indianapolis 500, but, sadly, I did not see anything about him and his Form Chart.

So consider the following a bit of a tribute to Mr. Fuson:

Car 3 Helio Castroneves 3-1
Jockey out of classy Team Penske stable looks to be the fourth four-time winner in 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Horse looked a bit lame in qualifying, but bet the rent money to see if the Yellow Submarine surfaces in Victory Lane.

Car 9 Scott Dixon 3-1
Jockey is reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion and former 500 winner (2008). The Chip Ganassi stable has been underwhelming this month, but never count him out. Dig deep in your shopping cart for a big bet.

Car 22 Simon Pagenaud 4-1
No mistaking this jockey’s mount – it’s the familiar fluorescent yellow of Menards cars of the past, though it’s out of the Team Penske stable. Jockey has been the hottest in the Verizon IndyCar Series with three consecutive wins entering the 500. As the young people might say, go big or go home.

Car 2 Juan Pablo Montoya 4-1
Jockey knows his way around the venerable oval with two wins in three starts, including last year. Another strong contender out of the Team Penske stable, the classy Colombian is a strong bet across the board.

Car 5 James Hinchcliffe 4-1
Canadian jockey made triumphant comeback after near-fatal crash last year to claim first Indy pole. Never mind the exchange rates; wager high.

Car 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 5-1
Jockey delivered ultimate prize for Andretti Autosport two years ago after thrilling duel with Helio Castroneves. His car is yellow, but you shouldn’t be when it comes to placing your bet.

Car 12 Will Power 5-1
Jockey had to settle for Place in last year’s race and has his sights firmly set on Win. Go Down Under your mattress if you need to find the cash to place on this determined Australian.

Car 21 Josef Newgarden 5-1
Young jockey was ousted from pole spot by James Hinchcliffe at the end of qualifying. Chevrolet mount has been quick all month. Bet the mortgage money today, and maybe you’ll burn your mortgage after the race.

Car 15 Graham Rahal 8-1
Son of 1986 champ Bobby would love to add to the family legacy.  Goes to the post 26th, not an ideal spot but not impossible, either – Johnny Rutherford won his first 500 from 25th. It’s only money.

Car 27 Marco Andretti 8-1
It’s been 10 years since jockey was pipped in the final few hundred yards by Sam Hornish Jr. in his first 500. The Andretti Curse doesn’t date back to the first Indianapolis 500 – it only seems that way. Dig up that can of money in the backyard if you must. You might be drinking something more than Snapple after the race.

Car 20 Ed Carpenter 10-1
Jockey, a two-time pole winner, has had a quiet month out of his own stable. Stepson of Tony George could keep some of the winnings in the house, so to speak, if he can pull off a victory. Don’t imbibe too much Fuzzy’s Premium Vodka before deciding how much to wager.

Car 29 Townsend Bell 10-1
Jockey runs only the Indianapolis 500, with a fourth in 2009 and a ninth in 2012. Part of resurgent Andretti Autosport stable.

Car 26 Carlos Munoz 10-1
Consistent jockey at Indianapolis. Probably not the winner, but if you can get a bet down for a top 10, take it.

Car 42 Charlie Kimball 10-1
Mount has new look and number for jockey out of Chip Ganassi stable. Underwhelming month, which may mean something or nothing – he finished third last year. Bet on a top 10.

Car 7 Mikhail Aleshin 12-1
New version of the Mad Russian executed (got away with?) some incredible lines in qualifying. Comes out of easy-to-root-for Schmidt Peterson stable. Put down a ruble or two. Can’t hurt.

Car 6 J.R. Hildebrand 15-1
Jockey was one turn away from glory as a rookie in 2011. If you believe in redemption, redeem a few cans and bottles and place your bet.

Car 10 Tony Kanaan 15-1
The 2013 500 champ seems to be rounding into form after lackluster month – and season. Put a few bucks on his nose for old time’s sake.

Car 14 Takuma Sato 18-1
Nearly won in 2012, winding up in the wall in the closing laps after duel with Dario Franchitti. His A.J. Foyt stable has struggled mightily this May, though this Japanese jockey has been a bright spot. If you have a yen for nostalgia, bet him across the board.

Car 11 Sebastien Bourdais 20-1
Frenchman out of KV stable won the Champ Car Series title four years in a row, but has been less than spectacular on ovals. Only if you have a spare franc or two.

Car 77 Oriol Servia 20-1
Capable jockey part of Schmidt Peterson stable, which features Hinchcliffe. Place a top 10 bet if you can.

Car 18 Conor Daly 20-1
Like Ed Carpenter, jockey has a connection to Brickyard royalty – he’s the stepson of IMS prez Doug Boles. Bacon-sponsored car went up in smoke before the green flag last year, so this year has to be better, right? Go easy.

Car 98 Alexander Rossi 20-1
Rookie Jockey has one of the most beautiful cars in the field, and his number (98) has proud winning heritage (Troy Ruttman, Parnelli Jones, Dan Wheldon). Bet on him for Rookie of the Year, but save the heavy stuff for the future.

Car 24 Sage Karam 20-1
Promising young jockey on the comeback trail after losing his ride at the end of last season. Give him time.

Car 61 Matt Brabham 25-1
Rookie jockey has fine bloodlines – granddad Sir Jack ignited rear-engine revolution in the 1960s while dad Geoff was an Indy regular for more than a decade. Someday, maybe.

Car 19 Gabby Chaves 30-1
Scout’s honor: second-year jockey could surprise. If you like long shots, Gabby might be your guy.

Car 41 Jack Hawksworth 33-1
Owner A.J. Foyt certainly knows the way to Victory Lane. Put a bob or two down on the young Englishman if you like because of A.J.

Car 4 Buddy Lazier 33-1
1996 champ has been saddled with subpar mount the past few years. If you’re the nostalgic type, take some of the money you would’ve used for that new Delta Faucet and put it on Buddy to Show.

Car 63 Pippa Mann 33-1
Lone female jockey racing for very worthy Susan G. Komen Foundation. Perhaps you should use your money for that instead.

Car 8 Max Chilton 33-1
Rookie jockey out of Chip Ganassi stable made a few waves after the Phoenix race by questioning the intelligence of his fellow competitors. Then he said hello to the walls at IMS on first day of qualifying. Easy does it.

Car 35 Alex Tagliani 33-1
Former pole winner has had a rough month out of the A.J. Foyt stable. Capable jockey deserves better. Save your money for another year.

Car 16 Spencer Pigot 33-1
Rookie jockey has come through the ranks after winning Indy Lights title last year. Give him time.

Car 88 Bryan Clauson 33-1
A real racer, jockey stays busy on the short tracks. Perhaps you should spend your money at Jonathan Byrd’s instead.

Car 25 Stefan Wilson 33-1
Brother of Justin Wilson making his first 500 start. Englishman has slick-looking car, but save your quid.

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