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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

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
Dallara DW12: The 'Ugly Duckling' sure does race well

by Brian Carroccio
Monday, May 13, 2013


Carlos Munoz drives the 'Ugly Duckling' into turn 1 at Indy
She's beautiful on the inside.

I presume you've all heard the expression, which immediately brings to mind a woman, who for whatever sterling qualities she happens to boast, aesthetically speaking, doesn't exactly impress. And when someone notes the fact said woman is "beautiful on the inside," they are telling us to look beyond the immediate, the superficial; to find some greater quality that maybe isn't apparent to the naked eye.

And what does any of this have to do with IndyCar you may ask. Well, if you changed the feminine to the neuter, the expression would be absolutely perfect in describing the current generation Dallara DW12 Indy car.

Disproportionate at any angle, the Dallara DW12 may be the ugliest race car ever built, but when it comes to great racing it has no equal.
Yes, the DW12 doesn't exactly impress at first glance or thousandth for matter. Hideously bloated rear wheel guards, an incredibly narrow front that with no logical fluidity suddenly transforms into an incredibly wide rear, and numerous other less than appealing features, make the DW12 somewhat difficult on the eyes. And while many indicated when the DW12 debuted that we would ultimately grow accustomed to its -- to put it politely -- unique design, I for one am still in growing accustomed process.

Further, these aesthetic shortcomings are arguably exacerbated this time of year. With Indianapolis 500 practice having begun, and many in the IndyCar world intoxicated with nostalgia, inevitably there are bound to be comparisons with the elegant racing machines of yesteryear. And since back-handed compliments are a theme of the day, I suppose the current DW12 design helps keep the romance of Indy car racing's glorious past alive.

Still, sarcasm aside, I must ask: does our continued focus on the DW12's aesthetics (or gross lack thereof) cloud our judgment regarding the current racer? In constantly bemoaning all the current generation Indy racer is not, are we failing to see the car for what it actually is?

Because if we judge from the on-track product, not just in 2013, but last year as well, the DW12 has been nothing short of a smashing success. Yes, unsightly as it might be, when it comes to on-track action and excitement, the DW12 hasn't just been good. Rather, it has arguably been the primary catalyst, in greatly improving the on-track IndyCar product, which is as exciting as it has been in recent memory.

Now, there are numerous examples that can be given for this. However, let's start with the fact the DW12, whether intentionally or not, has greatly leveled the playing field, ad provided a platform, in which more teams can reasonably compete.

Remember, between the merger in 2008 and the first six races of 2012, Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing were dominant, winning an astounding 62 of the 75 Indy car races contested. Penske and Ganassi had mastered whatever intricacies there were to the prior generation Dallaras, rendering the rest of the field, an afterthought.

And while I am not a believer in some egalitarian Utopia, complete and total dominance is well, boring. The advent of the DW12 last season has ended the duopoly and brought more contenders into play. Yes, Penske and Ganassi have combined to win 9 of the 19 races, meaning the rest of the field is only 3 race wins behind equaling their total of the four previous seasons.

Of course, we've seen this in the fabulous start to the 2013 season, highlighted by last weekend's epic finish in Sao Paulo, where James Hinchcliffe passed Takuma Sato on the final corner of the final lap.

Further, the fact we are seeing names like Hinchcliffe, Sato, or Josef Newgarden, who was in the mix during the closing laps, competing for race wins adds to the intrigue. Sato won his first race at Long Beach two weeks before, the first win for A.J. Foyt Racing since 2002. Hinchcliffe, who has won two races in 2013, scored his first career win at the season opener in St. Pete. And although Barber winner Ryan Hunter-Reay won the series championship in 2012, the likable American remains something of a fresh face in victory lane, and the greatest protection insuring Penske/Ganassi dominance doesn't resume.

Now, one could say that parity would have occurred with any new car, the DW12 or otherwise. Further, if could be argued that the current tightness of the field will loosen up as time goes on. Of course, this argument ignores that Penske and Ganassi won the first six races with the DW12, they have won only 3 of the last 13.

Another argument that could be made is that IndyCar regulations are the overriding factor in producing closer, more exciting racing. While that may be true, one cannot deny the fact Dallara has built a fleet of cars for the entire field. Further, Dallara has arguably managed to do something no Indy car designer ever has.

Remember, one shortcoming of prior Indy car designs, and/or the regulations devised by the respective sanctioning bodies, has been the inability to design a racer suitable to the variety of tracks the sport runs. For example, in the early 2000s, CART featured Lolas, Reynards, Penskes and Swifts, which were great on road courses, but made it difficult to overtake on short ovals like Nazareth and the old one mile Chicago oval.

The prior generation Dallara created full-throttle pack racing on larger ovals such as Kansas, Kentucky and Texas, while the racing was more enjoyable on short ovals such as Milwaukee and Iowa.

So far, the DW12 has shown from a racing perspective, it has no such weakness. Its raciness (if that's a word) is transferrable venue to venue.

Both last season and early this year, the DW12 has been racy on tight street circuits. The past two years it put on a fabulous show at Barber Motorsports Park, a track originally built for motorcycles. Last year's Indy 500 will go down as one of the better in recent memory. Full-throttle, pack racing was eliminated at the high-banked 1.5 mile Texas oval saw its best IndyCar race in years. Sure, Belle Isle left something to be desired, although, some of that can be attributed to the track coming apart, and the fact Belle Isle is well, Belle Isle. Hopefully, the 2013 layout will result in a better show.

Yes, Mid-Ohio and Sonoma last season weren't exactly classics. However, the racing at both venues was better last year than before.

In short, any generation Indy car has been able to put on a thrilling show at Milwaukee or Indy. But the DW12 has shined even at venues with a reputation for less than thrilling races, proving to have no weakness on a specific type of track, something one could argue has not occurred in an Indy car in recent memory. While the degree to which the credit should be attributed to Dallara can be debated, the fact Dallara should be credited cannot.

Now, it must be said Dallara has certainly enjoyed some help. Much is of course made of Firestone's engineering excellence in building tires that degrade, but don't suddenly go off a la Pirelli in Formula One. Firestone has been nothing short of a phenomenal partner of IndyCar and deserve credit for the excellent racing, as well.

Still, Firestone did build tires for prior generations of cars. Yet the racing has undergone a dramatic upturn in form since the arrival of the DW12.

To what extent, the reason for this is the car, the regulations, the tires or the teams taking a step forward I'm not exactly sure. However, what cannot be debated is that Dallara has produced a car that has resulted in some of the closest, most exciting racing the sport has seen in years. Whether the series runs a short oval, a big oval, a street course, or a motorcycle track, matters not at all. The show is excellent wherever.

Sadly, I’m not sure Dallara will ever get the credit for this they deserve. However, in terms of on-track competition, the last year and a half has been something of a golden age in the world of Indy car.

Unfortunately, you'd never know it looking at the car.

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