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Rank Driver Points
1 Will Power 671
2 Helio Castroneves 609
3 Scott Dixon 604
4 Juan Pablo Montoya 586
5 Simon Pagenaud 565
6 Ryan Hunter-Reay 563
7 Tony Kanaan 544
8 Carlos Munoz 483
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10 Sebastien Bourdais 461
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13 Josef Newgarden 406
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15 Justin Wilson 395
16 Mikhail Aleshin 372
17 Jack Hawksworth 366
18 Takuma Sato 350
19 Graham Rahal 345
20 Carlos Huertas 314
21 Sebastian Saavedra 291
22 Ed Carpenter 262
23 Mike Conway 252
24 Oriol Servia 88
25 Kurt Busch 80
26 J.R. Hildebrand 66
27 Sage Karam 57
28 Luca Filippi 46
29 James Davison 34
30 Jacques Villeneuve 29
31 Alex Tagliani 28
32 Townsend Bell 22
33 Pippa Mann 21
34 Martin Plowman 18
35 Buddy Lazier 11
36 Franck Montagny 8
Heady times for first-year driver Jakes

IndyCar rookie ready for go at Indy 500
Monday, May 09, 2011

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James Jakes
The rising sun May 12 will elevate the temperature along with the anticipation of seven drivers seeking to compete in the Indianapolis 500 for the first time. James Jakes, a 23-year-old Orlando resident by way of Leeds, England, isn't immune.

He might have driven in GP3 and GP2 on some of the grandest stages in Europe, but the first-year IZOD IndyCar Series competitor says nothing else compares to the 500 Mile Race. Emerging from the Pagoda for driver introductions to be greeted by the brightly colored sea of spectators, the pageantry of the ceremonies and the solemnity of the playing of "Taps" - with the bonus of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway marking the 100th anniversary of the race - will be a special occasion in Jakes' blooming career.

"I want to call it a sporting event but it's a global event," says Jakes, who will participate in the Rookie Orientation Program on the 12th before joining all entrants May 14 for practice on the 2.5-mile oval. "Everybody knows what Indy is, and when people are talking about it it's bigger than a one-day sporting event.

"You obviously have a lot of people telling you how it's going to be, but I've tried to lay back and take it as it comes. I'm trying to stay calm about it, but I do get excited from time to time. It's going to be a spectacular time."

First comes the evaluation program, which consists of turning 10 consistent laps at four speed phases: 200-205 mph, 205-210, 210-215 and 215 or more. INDYCAR president of competition Brian Barnhart expects drivers to complete at least three phases during the 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. session.

"It isn't until you get fully involved with it that you realize the process," Jakes says. "Until a couple of months ago, I thought we'd have a few test days the week before and then we'd go race. It's a long process, and it's great because it gives rookies a chance to get up to speed and there is a lot of fine-tuning of the cars. I'm so excited to get going there."

The Dale Coyne Racing driver will have Alex Lloyd as an oval racing sounding board for the remainder of the season, just as he has worked with four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais on the four road/street courses. Bourdais will return to the team for the five non-ovals on the calendar starting in July. 

"I think you have to be open; I have nothing to base it on," Jakes adds. "There's so much information that you just have to take it all in and use it. Don't go in with any preconceived ideas or it could backfire. I've never driven on an oval so it's going to be difficult, and what a one to start on. That's one of the reasons why you just have to be open-minded and take it as it comes.

"There's a lot of running, which is good. Indy will give us that whole week to build up and it should be a great (qualifying) weekend. Before you get to the four laps of qualifying I think you'll have a good idea of where you are. It's full power all the way around, and it's not as if a driver carrying 10 more miles an hour is going to happen. You're going to know on the Thursday or Friday where you're at, and if it's looking good you should be able to qualify. If it's not, then you just have to try to find something in the car, in yourself or the lines."

Jakes' No. 18 car has been running at the finish in three of the events - with a high placing of 15th in all three - and has advanced an average of eight positions in each.

"We've been quick in the races, but we're just taking too long to get up to speed in qualifying," he says. "What I've seen is what separates (the IZOD IndyCar Series) from a lot of other series is that even if you're at the back of the field you can race through and get a good result. We got up to second at St. Pete. We were quick. I made too many mistakes or we could have had a good result.

"Indy is a long race. You just have to be patient, have a good strategy and anything can happen."

Jakes was a late addition to the Coyne car, getting in two days of testing at Barber Motorsports Park preceding the season opener a week later on the temporary St. Petersburg street course that included the debut of the double-file start/restarts. Two months later, he's convinced heading across the pond was the correct career decision.

"The exposure that IndyCar offers in the series, the TV is great," Jakes says. "For me, it was the right decision with the new car coming next year. Having to learn the tracks and then developing the car next year would have been doubly hard. Get the tracks out of the way this year. OK, there might be some additions, but you'll have driven on an oval so it was important to learn the tracks this year and there should be some good results out there for us."

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