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2014 Standings
After Pocono
Driver Standings

1 Will Power 446
2 Helio Castroneves 446
3 Simon Pagenaud 402
4 Juan Pablo Montoya 391
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay 388
6 Carlos Munoz (R) 340
7 Marco Andretti 325
8 Scott Dixon 297
9 Ryan Briscoe 285
10 Sebastien Bourdais 271
11 Tony Kanaan 267
12 James Hinchcliffe 266
13 Mikhail Aleshin 263
14 Justin Wilson 253
15 Charlie Kimball 239
16 Jack Hawksworth 227
17 Carlos Huertas (R) 224
18 Josef Newgarden 220
19 Graham Rahal 202
20 Sebastian Saavedra 196
21 Takuma Sato 189
22 Mike Conway 152
23 Ed Carpenter 138
24 Oriol Servia 88
25 Kurt Busch (R) 80
26 JR Hildebrand 66
27 Sage Karam (R) 57
28 James Davison (R) 34
29 Jacques Villeneuve 29
30 Alex Tagliani 28
31 Luca Filippi 24
32 Townsend Bell 22
33 Pippa Mann 21
34 Martin Plowman (R) 18
35 Buddy Lazier 11
36 Franck Montagny 8

Rookie of the Year
1 Carlos Munoz 340
2 Mikhail Aleshin 263
3 Jack Hawksworth 217
4 Carlos Huertas 204
5 Kurt Busch 80
6 Sage Karam 57
7 James Davison 34
8 Martin Plowman 18

Wins
T1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 2
T1 Will Power 2
T1 Simon Pagenaud 2
T4 Mike Conway 1
T4 Helio Castroneves 1
T4 Carlos Huertas 1
T4 Ed Carpenter 1
T4 Juan Pablo Montoya 1

Podium Finishes
T1 Will Power 5
T1 Helio Castroneves 5
2 Ryan Hunter-Reay 4
T3 Carlos Munoz 3
T3 Juan Pablo Montoya 3
T6 Marco Andretti 2
T6 Simon Pagenaud 2
T8 Mike Conway 1
T8 Carlos Huertas 1
T8 Scott Dixon 1
T8 Tony Kanaan 1
T8 Graham Rahal 1
T8 Charlie Kimball 1
T8 Ed Carpenter 1
T8 Jack Hawksworth 1
T8 Mikhail Aleshin 1

Lap Leaders:
1 Will Power 348
2 Helio Castroneves 174
3 Ryan Hunter-Reay 165
4 Ed Carpenter 116
5 Tony Kanaan 79
6 Juan Pablo Montoya 74
7 Takuma Sato 67
8 James Hinchcliffe 56
9 Simon Pagenaud 53
10 Jack Hawksworth 32
11 Scott Dixon 27
12 Marco Andretti 22
13 Justin Wilson 20
14 Sebastian Saavedra 14
15 Graham Rahal 10
16 Mike Conway 8
17 Josef Newgarden 8
T18 Oriol Servia 7
T18 Carlos Huertas 7
19 Ryan Briscoe 5
20 Mikhail Aleshin 4
21 Alex Tagliani 3
22 Sebastien Bourdais 2

Entrant Points
Pos. # Entrant Points
1 12 Team Penske 446
2 3 Team Penske 446
3 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports 402
4 2 Team Penske 391
5 28 Andretti Autosport 388
6 34 Andretti Autosport/HVM 340
7 25 Andretti Autosport 325
8 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 297
9 20 Ed Carpenter Racing 290
10 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing 285
11 11 KVSH Racing 271
12 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 267
13 27 Andretti Autosport 266
14 7 SMP Racing 263
15 19 Dale Coyne Racing 253
16 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing 239
17 98 BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian 227
18 18 Dale Coyne Racing 224
19 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 220
20 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 202
21 17 KV/AFS Racing 196
22 14 A.J. Foyt Racing 189
23 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 112
24 26 Andretti Autosport 88
25 21 Ed Carpenter Racing 66
26 22 Dreyer and Reinbold 57
27 33 KV Racing Technology 34
28 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 29
29 68 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 28
30 6 KV Racing Technology 22
31 63 Dale Coyne Racing 21
32 41 A.J. Foyt Racing 18
33 91 Lazier Partners Racing 11

Finishing Average
1 Helio Castroneves 5.81
2 Kurt Busch 6.00
3 Will Power 6.09
4 Simon Pagenaud 6.72
5 Sage Karam 9.00
6 J.R. Hildebrand 10.00
T7 Scott Dixon 10.18
T7 Carlos Munoz 10.18
9 Juan Pablo Montoya 10.45
10 Ryan Hunter-Reay 10.72
11 Ryan Briscoe 11.75
12 Marco Andretti 12.125
13 Carlos Munoz 12.375
T14 Oriol Servia 12.5
T14 Justin Wilson 12.5
16 Alex Tagliani 13.0
17 Sebastien Bourdais 13.25
18 Charlie Kimball 13.625
19 Mike Conway 13.66
T20 Jacques Villeneuve 14.0
T20 Ed Carpenter 14.0
22 Carlos Huertas 14.25
23 Mikhail Aleshin 14.875
24 James Hinchcliffe 15.125
T25 Takuma Sato 15.5
T25 Jack Hawksworth 15.5
27 Sebastian Saavedra 15.75
28 James Davison 16.00
29 Josef Newgarden 16.375
30 Graham Rahal 16.625
31 Martin Plowman 20.5
32 Franck Montagny 22.0
33 Pippa Mann 24.0
34 Townsend Bell 25.0
35 Buddy Lazier 32.0

Pole Positions
T1 Takuma Sato 2
T1 Will Power 2
T1 Helio Castroneves 2
T4 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1
T4 Sebastian Saavedra 1
T4 Ed Carpenter 1
T4 Simon Pagenaud 1
T4 Juan Pablo Montoya 1

Appearances in the Firestone Fast Six
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 4
T2 Scott Dixon 3
T2 Will Power 3
T2 James Hinchcliffe 3
T2 Helio Castroneves 3
T2 Jack Hawksworth 3
T7 Simon Pagenaud 2
T7 Josef Newgarden 2
T9 Takuma Sato 1
T9 Marco Andretti 1
T9 Sebastien Bourdais 1
T9 Tony Kanaan 1
T9 Sebastian Saavedra 1
T9 Mike Conway 1
T9 Juan Pablo Montoya 1
T9 Ryan Briscoe 1
Trying to make sense out of Audi and IndyCar

by Brian Carroccio
Sunday, April 28, 2013

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I suppose, anything is possible. After all, an A.J. Foyt owned car was driven to victory lane on a street course, last week.

Still, the thought of executives at a board meeting in Ingolstadt, Bavaria giddy over the prospect of competing in the Iowa Corn 250? While I'm as intrigued as anyone about the possibility of the legendary racing marque Audi coming to IndyCar, I'm having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around this one.

Of course, this rumor came to light about two weeks ago, when Wolfgang Durheimer, Audi's head of technical development was discussing the possibilities for the legendary racing marque going forward. Durheimer mentioned the set-to-debut 2014 United SportsCar Racing series and the proposed American DTM Series as possibilities for the legendary Four Rings to go racing in the coming years.

And Durheimer didn't stop there.

"Another opportunity can be IndyCars, that I also think is still very popular,” he said. “The Indy 500 is an outstanding race. That's about all I can see right now."

Interesting.

Now, there are thousands of directions one can go with this, as Durheimer's comments probably left more questions than answers. Still, let's begin with what we do know.

Clearly, Audi wants to have a motor sports presence in North America, something they have stated on the record numerous times. Clearly, given the company's enormous success the logical place to presume they would compete is sports cars. While numerous examples of Audi's success can be given, the marque has won 11 of the last 13 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Of course, many will point out the Daytona Prototype class rules and specifications for next year's merged United SportsCar Racing have yet to be determined. Thus, any speculation about Audi's interest without knowing the regulations is difficult.

What seems fairly certain is Audi wants no part of Formula One. Despite the company being continually linked with a move to F1, Audi has repeatedly and firmly denied such rumors. In May of 2011, then head of Audi Motorsport Wolfgang Ulrich said "There's a very good reason we're not in F1. There's no relevance to the road." Ulrich went on to note that sports cars were much more relevant. Further, given Porsche's more recent comments about F1 racing becoming too focused on tire performance, one has to imagine little has changed. And that is not even bringing the astronomical costs of F1 into the equation.

Still, if F1 makes no sense, IndyCar would seem to make even less. For one, the IndyCar product suffers from incredibly little exposure even in its home base of North America. Durheimer, of course, wondered aloud if IndyCar was still popular, which makes me wonder: has he seen the television ratings?

Now, the Indianapolis 500 would entice a lot of manufacturers, Audi included, but what else?

Remember, the current IndyCar philosophy regarding rules and engine leases runs completely counter to the way Audi has traditionally conducted its racing endeavors. Audi, of course, has long been known as an innovative, cutting-edge company, a spirit they take to the race track. Currently, IndyCar's business model with regard to engine manufacturers places cost-containment as paramount to innovation. The series controls the price of lease agreements, and forces the manufacturers to adhere to very specific guidelines regarding said agreements (the recently departed Lotus withstanding).

Audi, on the other hand, usually competes as a factory team. And what direct relevance does a modern IndyCar have to a road car? Chevy and Honda clearly derive exposure from competing in the series. However, their current participation seems more branding and advertising than technical and engineering oriented. Could you picture Audi supplying a back marker IndyCar team because they had to fulfill certain contractual obligations? Me neither.

In short, I can't see any obvious draw for Audi, other than maybe displaying their proficiency in formula racing.

Now, I've tried to look for something beneath the surface that may be driving Audi's interest. For example, could Audi be badging the old Lotus/Judd engine?  Clearly, that's not happening.

But what about some sort of change within the company? For example, Honda in the early 2000s couldn't say enough bad things about the Indy Racing League. They referred to it as a low-tech, amateurish series. However, as CART began to deteriorate, Honda changed their tune, and began supplying the series in 2003. Is there a change within Audi that would possibly make IndyCar more appealing?

Maybe.

Last fall, Audi commissioned the building of a $1.3 billion plant in San Jose Chiapa, Puebla, Mexico set to open in 2016. The plant will produce an estimated 150,00 units annually, and 9,800 direct and indirect jobs, building the next generation Audi Q5 SUVs. The Puebla location was chosen over potential American sites such as Chattanooga, TN. Mexico's more favorable export laws and the debt crisis in Washington, D.C. were cited as a few of the reasons why.

Now, don't misinterpret Audi's intent. They seek a North American site, with access to the USA market. Sure, the United States is still reeling from the financial crisis of a few years ago. Still, Audi's sights are firmly set on the American market. The Puebla plant gives them a corridor to America, while also allowing them to export under more favorable terms than if they were located in say, Chattanooga. But to be clear, Audi is still interested in the American market, and why wouldn't they be.

It's IndyCar I'm not so sure about.

Of course, we'd all like to imagine IndyCar strategically aligning itself behind the scenes with a behemoth manufacturer such as Audi. We'd love to imagine IndyCar attempting to partner with an Audi in an attempt to parallel the company's North American expansion. And considering 21.2 million people live in Mexico City and the surrounding metropolis, we'd probably love to believe IndyCar sees some potential to revive the event that was so successful with CART/Champ Car in conjunction with Audi building a plant in nearby San Jose Chiapa, Puebla.

We'd like to, but can we?

If you remember, when news broke that Audi was considering IndyCar, it was from all indications, news to IndyCar.  When learning of Audi's interest Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Jeff Belskus noted that he would "reach out to them."  In fact, SPEED.com's Marshall Pruett reported that Belskus reached out to Audi AG and Audi of America Monday, April 15th, the day after the story was run on numerous publications.  Yes, that tells me Belskus probably heard about Audi coming to IndyCar the same way the rest of us did: reading it online.

In short, I seriously doubt there is anything of consequence here. I doubt that IndyCar has been wooing a global manufacturer with a global brand synonymous with innovation and excellence to join the series. I doubt IndyCar has connected the dots between Champ Car's successful event in Mexico City and Audi's intent to build a plant in nearby San Jose Chiapa, Puebla. I have little doubt Carlos Slim and Bernie Ecclestone have.

Believe me, I want to believe Audi is on its way to IndyCar. I want to believe we will say the Four Rings competing with the Chevy bow tie and Honda "H." I want to believe Audi's interest in IndyCar is an indication the series is working behind the scenes to build its global brand in conjunction with globally recognized partners.

Unfortunately, this desire to believe, is all I really have to offer.

Brian Carroccio

Brian Carroccio lives in Rockville, MD, and has been an IndyCar Columnist for AutoRacing1.com since August of 2012. He is a huge fan of the Washington Redskins and Manchester United.  Email Brian at
bricarr2@aol.com and follow him on twitter @BrianC_AR1.

Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

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