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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
It's time to again make Indy an IndyCar Mecca

by Brian Carroccio
Monday, May 06, 2013

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There should not be any taxicabs racing at IndyCar's Mecca
Once upon a time, I may have gotten on board with the tradition thing.

But I'll be honest: glorified taxi-cabs running at the Holy Grail of IndyCar, 33 becoming "just a number," and the great Indianapolis 500 used as a political pawn in a sickening power struggle for control of Indy car racing, sort of soured me on tradition.

Jaded, skeptical, and no longer dreaming about the moonlight on the water, I've moved on to a cold reality. A reality that acknowledges the world of sports entertainment, and IndyCar in particular, are vastly different from what they were twenty, even ten years ago. And while sentiment denouncing the idea of an IndyCar race on the IMS road course based on such tangible matters as tradition, seems to be the majority opinion, the reasoning behind such thinking is rooted in an antiquated reality.

Of course, leading the charge against an IMS road race is SPEED's Robin Miller.

In a column last Monday, Miller offered a host of reasons against an IndyCar race on the IMS road course. Citing the late Speedway savior Tony Hulman's example of the circus, Miller argued that for the 500 to remain "special," IMS should hold only one IndyCar race a year.

But here's the thing: the circus, albeit in different forms, has been coming to town multiple times annually since 1994. Yes, IMS has hosted multiple events since 1994, when the Brickyard 400 debuted. Another glaring omission from Miller's article is the fact Hulman and Company, has secured a $100 million loan from the state of Indiana to upgrade the venerable facility. Yes, you read that correct. IMS, which thrived for generations off one annual event, now has three. And while the finances of Hulman and Co., the parent company of IMS, INDYCAR, IMS Productions, and Clabber Girl Baking Powder are not public, it is very clear, they are seeking to do business in a way they haven't previously. The financial reality indicates as much.

And if Hulman and Co., is changing the way it plans to do business, a few issues that Miller did not address need to be raised. To start, if Hulman and Co., is committed to maximizing the bottom line on events at the Speedway, wouldn't an IndyCar event of some kind make sense. Also, what does said change in business plan mean for IMS' second most prestigious event, the Brickyard 400?

Born in an era of Indy car civil war, the Brickyard 400 enjoyed a smashing debut in 1994. A capacity crowd saw a former open-wheel standout Jeff Gordon capture the inaugural running. The Brickyard would continue to thrive for nearly a decade, padding the IMS war chest in Tony George's quest to rule Indy car racing. Ultimately, of course, George succeeded in bringing Indy car racing under the IMS roof in 2008.

Simultaneously, however the bloom slowly began to fade from the Brickyard rose. Boring racing, sweltering heat, and an economic downturn have combined to make for smaller crowds and suddenly the Brickyard is just another race.

Of course, from a financial perspective, the Speedway does profit from the Brickyard. But at what cost?

Remember, the Brickyard gives NASCAR, a competitor of IndyCar, a platform at the Mecca of Indy car racing. NASCAR enjoys a week of media coverage and exposure leading up to the usually dull race. And since NASCAR isn't drawing 250,000 spectators anymore, why would IMS persist in keeping the Brickyard?

Now, as stated earlier, the Speedway needs profitable events. However, it might be better off to look at this way: the company needs more profitable events.

Yes, IMS might make more money by hosting NASCAR for the Brickyard than say an IndyCar road course race. However, such thinking misses the big picture.

While IMS certainly makes money off the NASCAR event, they lose a potential opportunity to invest in, showcase, and promote their own property, the Izod IndyCar Series. Instead, IMS welcomes their sport’s archenemy to their most sacred cathedral.

Instead of Helio Castroneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe enjoying the fruits of Indianapolis' media coverage, and promotion, Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson are the beneficiaries. Instead of paying a bountiful purse to the cash-strapped IndyCar teams, NASCAR teams are the beneficiaries. Instead of Indy Lights and Star Mazda performing of the under card, and gaining the financial and marketing benefits of competing, Grand-Am and Nationwide, get to feast at the Mecca of racing. Instead of providing IndyCar sponsors further opportunities to showcase their products, another opportunity is given to NASCAR sponsors.

And to think, a second IndyCar race is somehow blasphemous?

Unfortunately, ranting about NASCAR's presence at the Speedway may be justified, but it does no good. Further, even if NASCAR were to get the boot from the Mecca of IndyCar, it still doesn't make that clumsy road course layout any better.

Which is why there's no reason for the Indy cars to run it unless they were to modify it to use more on the oval and take the 'Mickey Mouse-ness' out of it. The road course, in its current configuration, can be used as part of an IndyCar championship weekend, but not for the Indy cars.

Indy Lights, Star Mazda and US F2000 would run the road course as part of the championship weekend a la the Brickyard Super weekend. As for the Indy cars? They would run a second oval race on championship weekend, ideally Saturday evening of Labor Day Weekend.

Here's how it could work. IndyCars would practice and qualify Thursday night. Ideally, this would be televised. On Friday, the junior series would all practice, qualify and race. The hook would be that three championships would be determined in one evening. Afterwards, the facility would then be transferred back to oval configuration for Saturday.

Then would come Saturday night under the new lights the Speedway plans to put in.

With the qualifying order set, the Indy cars would have a warm-up in the late afternoon. At around 7:15 p.m, the green flag would fall on a 160 lap, 400-mile IndyCar finale, paying double points and a very large purse. The bonus points for this event would also be double.

Just think about the potential scenarios. The fact there are double points awarded at the last round, means it is unlikely the championship battle is wrapped up beforehand.  A whole host of drivers might be still in contention for the title.

And these are merely the tangible benefits. IndyCar would benefit enormously from all the media attention IndyCar preceding the race. Throw in the chance for one fan to win $1 million if the driver they pick wins the race - that gets more fans engaged.  There could be a ceremony following Sunday night in Indianapolis with ABC television crews (note we did not say NBC Sports Network TV crews) still in town, without teams having to travel. With date equity, Labor Day weekend, or another weekend if that works better, would becomes synonymous with (insert sponsor name here) IndyCar Championships at the Brickyard presented by (insert sponsor name here).

Now, there are inevitable questions that arise. For example, what about the NHRA Nationals which run in Indy on Labor Day weekend. Well, the NHRA runs its final round on Monday, so IndyCar being on Saturday night may actually be able to gravy-train off the NHRA. Further, the Saturday evening slot avoids a direct conflict.

Perhaps, more importantly, the question of whether a second oval race somehow tarnishes the Indy 500 must be raised. Well, I would offer that if anything were to taint the 500, it would be a NASCAR race - Taxicabs are not IndyCars.  Why are they racing at the Mecca of IndyCar and diluting the prime product?  It will be a cold day in hell before the France family allows IndyCars to race at NASCAR's Mecca - Daytona. However, it seems my opinion tends to be the minority in this case.

Nevertheless, I would contend a unique second event on the oval does not undermine the Indy 500. Sure, if the second event was simply another 500-miler that would be a different story, But in this particular case you keep the Indy 500 unique, while creating a whole other unique event; an event, in which IMS can sell corporate sponsorship, profit off the gate, redistribute some of the profits to its teams, all while not having to pay a sanctioning fee; an event in which the IndyCar champion is crowned as the sport's greatest cathedral.

Now, I am well aware, the traditionalists will be out in full-force crying blasphemy. They'll say such an idea undermines the Indy 500, as if running toilets around the Brickyard somehow doesn't. They'll whine about the small crowd, as if 15,000 at Fontana is a better way to end the season.

But removing NASCAR from the Brickyard (and throw in Moto GP while you're at it) makes IMS the Mecca of Indy car racing. Further, Hulman and Co., utilizes its greatest racing asset to create a one-of-a-kind IndyCar championship event; an event that creates a thrilling conclusion to the season every year.

Of course, such an event would certainly have its detractors, and it would not be in line with the Brickyard's many traditions. However, that may in fact be, the best argument for it.

Brian Carroccio

A Few Quick Things:

***I'm not a huge believer in luck. However, Will Power seems to have some of the most rotten luck I've ever seen.

***If there is a good explanation for KV Racing Technology running Tony Kanaan out of fuel when he had a chance to win in his hometown race, please pass it along.

***Despite the amazing finish in Sao Paolo, I fear IndyCar set a dangerous precedent not penalizing Takuma Sato, who clearly blocked not once, not twice, but three times in the closing laps.

***Speaking of Sao Paulo, the crowd looked quite robust, at least on television. Recall our article, from this past February regarding IndyCar racing overseas, particularly the part about expanding in South America.

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