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2014 Standings
After Toronto
Driver Standings

Driver Standings
1 Helio Castroneves 533
2 Will Power 520
3 Ryan Hunter-Reay 464
4 Simon Pagenaud 462
5 Juan Pablo Montoya 428
6 Scott Dixon 387
7 Carlos Munoz (R) 384
8 Tony Kanaan 380
9 Marco Andretti 375
10 Sebastien Bourdais 358
11 Ryan Briscoe 344
12 James Hinchcliffe 330
13 Charlie Kimball 317
14 Justin Wilson 311
15 Mikhail Aleshin 298
16 Josef Newgarden 288
17 Jack Hawksworth (R) 287
18 Graham Rahal 266
19 Carlos Huertas (R) 265
20 Takuma Sato 234
21 Sebastian Saavedra 229
22 Mike Conway 218
23 Ed Carpenter 168
24 Oriol Servia 88
25 Kurt Busch (R) 80
26 JR Hildebrand 66
27 Sage Karam (R) 57
28 Luca Filippi 46
29 James Davison (R) 34
30 Jacques Villeneuve 29
31 Alex Tagliani 28
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 384
2 Mikhail Aleshin 298
3 Jack Hawksworth 287
4 Carlos Huertas 265
5 Kurt Busch 80
6 Sage Karam 57
7 James Davison 34
8 Martin Plowman 18

Wins
T1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 3
T2 Will Power 2
T2 Simon Pagenaud 2
T2 Mike Conway 2
T5 Helio Castroneves 1
T5 Carlos Huertas 1
T5 Ed Carpenter 1
T5 Juan Pablo Montoya 1
T5 Sebastien Bourdais 1

Podium Finishes
T1 Will Power 6
T1 Helio Castroneves 6
3 Ryan Hunter-Reay 5
4 Tony Kanaan 4
T5 Carlos Munoz 3
T5 Juan Pablo Montoya 3
T7 Marco Andretti 2
T7 Simon Pagenaud 2
T7 Mike Conway 2
T10 Carlos Huertas 1
T10 Scott Dixon 1
T10 Josef Newgarden 1
T10 Graham Rahal 1
T10 Charlie Kimball 1
T10 Ed Carpenter 1
T10 Jack Hawksworth 1
T10 Mikhail Aleshin 1
T10 Sebastien Bourdais 1
Manufacturer Standings:
1 Chevrolet 2056
2 Honda 1042

Lap Leaders:
1 Will Power 353
2 Tony Kanaan 326
3 Helio Castroneves 241
4 Ryan Hunter-Reay 167
5 Ed Carpenter 116
6 Juan Pablo Montoya 74
7 Takuma Sato 67
8 Sebastien Bourdais 60
9 Simon Pagenaud 59
10 James Hinchcliffe 56
11 Scott Dixon 44
12 Jack Hawksworth 32
13 Justin Wilson 25
14 Marco Andretti 22
T15 Mike Conway 15
T15 Josef Newgarden 15
17 Sebastian Saavedra 14
18 Graham Rahal 10
T19 Oriol Servia 7
T19 Carlos Huertas 7
21 Ryan Briscoe 5
22 Mikhail Aleshin 4
23 Alex Tagliani 3

Entrant Points
Pos. # Entrant Points
1 3 Team Penske 533
2 12 Team Penske 520
3 28 Andretti Autosport 464
4 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports 462
5 2 Penske Motorsports 428
6 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 387
7 20 Ed Carpenter Racing 386
8 34 Andretti Autosport/HVM 384
9 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 380
10 25 Andretti Autosport 375
11 11 KVSH Racing 358
12 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing 344
13 27 Andretti Autosport 330
14 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing 317
15 19 Dale Coyne Racing 311
16 7 Schmidt PetersonMotorsports 298
17 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 288
18 98 BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian 287
19 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 266
20 18 Dale Coyne Racing 265
21 14 A.J. Foyt Racing 234
22 17 KV/AFS Racing 229
23 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 134
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 5.38
T2 Kurt Busch 6.00
T2 Will Power 6.00
4 Simon Pagenaud 6.92
5 Sage Karam 9.00
6 Scott Dixon 9.61
7 J.R. Hildebrand 10.00
8 Tony Kanaan 10.23
9 Ryan Hunter-Reay 10.38
T10 Juan Pablo Montoya 11.15
T10 Sebastien Bourdais 11.15
12 Ryan Briscoe 11.38
13 Justin Wilson 11.92
14 Carlos Munoz 12.00
15 James Hinchcliffe 12.46
16 Oriol Servia 12.5
17 Marco Andretti 12.69
18 Ed Carpenter 12.75
19 Alex Tagliani 13.0
20 Charlie Kimball 13.23
21 Takuma Sato 13.46
22 Mikhail Aleshin 13.61
23 Jacques Villeneuve 14.0
24 Mike Conway 14.66
25 Graham Rahal 15.0
26 James Davison 16.0
27 Carlos Huertas 16.07
28 Josef Newgarden 16.92
29 Sebastian Saavedra 17.0
30 Jack Hawksworth 17.16
31 Luca Filippi 18.50
32 Martin Plowman 20.5
33 Franck Montagny 22.0
34 Pippa Mann 24.0
35 Townsend Bell 25.0
36 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
T4 Scott Dixon 1
T4 Sebastien Bourdais 1

Appearances in the Firestone Fast Six
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 5
T2 Helio Castroneves 4
T2 Will Power 4
T3 James Hinchcliffe 3
T3 Scott Dixon 3
T3 Jack Hawksworth 3
T7 Simon Pagenaud 2
T7 Josef Newgarden 2
T7 Tony Kanaan 2
T7 Sebastien Bourdais 2
T11 Takuma Sato 1
T11 Marco Andretti 1
T11 Sebastian Saavedra 1
T11 Mike Conway 1
T11 Juan Pablo Montoya 1
T11 Ryan Briscoe 1
T11 Luca Filippi 1

Qualifying Average
1 Helio Castroneves 5.53
2 James Hinchcliffe 6.90
3 Ed Carpenter 7.00
4 Luca Filippi 7.66
5 Simon Pagenaud 7.69
6 Will Power 7.76
7 Scott Dixon 8.84
8 J.R. Hildebrand 9.00
9 Sebastien Bourdais 9.76
10 Carlos Munoz 10.3
11 Tony Kanaan 10.53
12 Ryan Hunter-Reay 10.61
13 Juan Pablo Montoya 10.84
14 Takuma Sato 11.69
15 Kurt Busch 12.0
16 Marco Andretti 12.61
T17 Josef Newgarden 12.92
T17 Ryan Briscoe 12.92
19 Justin Wilson 13.0
20 Jack Hawksworth 14.5
21 Mike Conway 14.66
22 Mikhail Aleshin 14.84
23 Graham Rahal 15.38
24 Sebastian Saavedra 16.53
25 Charlie Kimball 17.15
26 Carlos Huertas 17.84
27 Franck Montagny 21.0
28 Pippa Mann 22.0
29 Alex Tagliani 24.0
30 Martin Plowman 24.5
31 Townsend Bell 25.0
32 Jacques Villeneuve 27.0
33 James Davison 28.0
34 Sage Karam 31.0
35 Buddy Lazier 33.0
Houston IndyCar postscript

by Brian Carroccio
Wednesday, October 09, 2013

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Dario Franchitti gets up into the catch fence on the last lap
It was not IndyCar’s finest moment.

Sure, it was encouraging to see a corporate heavyweight get behind The Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston. And when the track actually was green, the quality of racing was on par with what we’ve come to expect from the racy DW 12.

Still, whether it was the litany of caution periods throughout the weekend, the problems with the racing surface which caused delays both Friday and Saturday, three fumbled standing starts, the confusion regarding the starting order of Sunday’s race, or the horrific final lap accident involving Dario Franchitti, Takuma Sato and E.J. Viso, the Izod IndyCar Series had something of a forgettable weekend in Houston.

Below, we will take a look at the stories making headlines from this past weekend in Houston in a statement/answer format.

Dario:

By now, I presume you’ve seen the scary video of Franchitti’s last lap accident with Takuma Sato and E.J. Viso from Sunday. Franchitti, of course, was launched airborne into a catch fence after colliding with Sato, ultimately suffered a concussion, broken back, broken ribs and a broken right ankle. Thirteen spectators and one IndyCar official also incurred minor injuries.

The general consensus in the aftermath was understandably one of relief. Franchitti, of course, has been launched airborne previously, most notably back in 2007, when he had separate airborne incidents in back-to-back weeks at Michigan and Kentucky. The Kentucky incident, of course, came after the checkered flag when Franchitti was unaware the race was over, and went over the top of Kosuke Maatsura, who had lifted off the throttle after the checkered flag.

In both instances Franchitti landed on the roll cage, and was able to walk away shaken but uninjured. This was different, as Franchitti got into fence, reminiscent of Jeff Krosnoff’s fatal accident at Toronto in 1996, which also resulted in the death of race marshal Gary Arvin.

Luckily, Franchitti escaped with only injuries, in what can only be considered a testament to the incredible strides made in race technology, the safety of the Dallara DW 12, and probably some very good fortune.

The Catch Fence:

The fencing at Houston also managed to keep Franchitti inside the track and away from the spectators. So, from that perspective one could correctly point out the fence “did its job.”

But the fact that parts of the fencing came apart and flew into a crowd of spectators cannot be overlooked. We here at AutoRacing1.com have begun acquiring data regarding the fencing, and are hoping to have sometime within the next week.

Delays:

As previously mentioned, issues with the track surface resulted in delays both Friday and Saturday. Now, I understand the PR spin (I’ve done such spin before myself) that the promotion team had only 5 days to erect the course, as the Houston Texans hosted a game the Sunday before. Also, I’m aware the turf blocks from the Reliant Stadium playing surface happened to be stored in an area of the parking lot which apparently contributed to wearing down the race surface resulting in an undesirable bump on the front straight.

But this notion that the series and the promotional team had only 5 days to get the course ready is frankly, a load of balderdash. The series had a year and a half, as the announcement for the race was made March 28, 2012.

And I have to ask the following: were there any feasibility tests done with the surface? Did IndyCar consider that the surface might reasonably change in the time between their race and the Champ Car event in 2007? Are feasibility tests at such temporary circuits a realistic possibility from an economic standpoint? Certainly, one would have to imagine that the Reliant Stadium parking lot would be more easily available than say, downtown Baltimore.

Further, knowing there was a Texans game the Sunday before were adequate measures taken to expedite preparation time?

Whatever the case, the result was the series and the promotional team looked unprepared and amateurish. And for a sport desperately trying to rebuild its brand, such avoidable missteps must stop.

But I’ll give the series this:

In the aftermath of this weekend’s less than stellar display, IndyCar President of Competition Derrick Walker stepped to the forefront and took responsibility for the mess. Walker gave us no PR spin, no BS excuses, rather a simple, forthright, “it’s not acceptable,” when asked about the missteps in Houston in an interview with Marshall Pruett of Racer.com

Now, Walker did go on to explain some of the obstacles the series faced in erecting the Houston layout.  Fair enough.

However, he stated numerous times in the interview and in numerous ways that measures would be taken “to head off these catastrophes before they happen.”

Folks, that is what you call leadership; something Indy car racing has been desperately in need of for decades. Finally, it seems they have found someone in Walker who displays the unique attributes necessary to negotiate the rough waters of the IndyCar paddock.

Walker commands both the respect of technical and commercial folk alike, as he has enjoyed success in both areas of the sport. He possesses the rare gift of someone who can be honest and forthright without offending. He can articulate a contrary viewpoint without being argumentative, and not disenfranchising the person with a contrarian view. He is respected and admired, yet still approachable, and not viewed as distant or aloof.

In short, he is exactly what IndyCar needs.

Now, the appointment of Walker has yet to show any tangible results in TV ratings or commercial growth. However, the silly divisions that once characterized the paddock are so 2012. And we may one day look back on 2013 as the year that saw the emergence of Walker to a leadership role within the sport.

TK:

A very poorly kept secret was officially confirmed Friday, when it was announced 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan would join Chip Ganassi Racing in 2014 with backing from NTT Data. Also, of note, was the announcement that the Ganassi team was switching from Honda to Chevrolet engines.

While some are forecasting dominance for Chevrolet in 2014, I have long noted that Honda is an incredibly proud company, which will not take this announcement lying down. If anything, the Ganassi-to-Chevrolet news is welcome in my mind, as an indication that genuine manufacturer competition has returned to the sport.

As for Kanaan, his moving to Ganassi should improve his chances of repeating as Indy 500 champion, and contending for wins on a regular basis. My question is whether this was the best move for Ganassi.

While I have no intention to impugn Kanaan, whose record speaks for itself, he will be 39 in December. Since 2004, the only driver to have won an Indy car style race after his 39th birthday is Franchitti (2012 Indy 500).  Before Franchitti, one would have to go back to Adrian Fernandez, who won three races during the 2004 IRL season to find a driver to have found victory lane after turning 39.

Further, Kanaan boasts only two victories in the last 5 years, both on ovals. If you want to find a victorious drive on a road course at the age of 39, you must go back to Michael Andretti (Long Beach, 2002). And in an IndyCar Series that has skewed more towards road and street course racing in recent years, Kanaan boasts a mere 3 road and street course podiums over the past five seasons, and only 4 top-5 qualifying efforts. Also, TK has been out qualified by his lesser-heralded teammate 7-5 this season on road and street courses.

Would Ganassi have been better off with James Hinchcliffe or Sebastien Bourdais? Would an aggressive play for young Conor Daly have made more sense? Or will the resources of team Ganassi be just what the doctor ordered for Kanaan?

Time will tell.

I’m just not sure this is the super-team some are predicting. Franchitti turns 41 next May, Kanaan will be 39 in December. And while there are historical examples of Indy car drivers excelling in their 40s, there are very few recent examples forecasting huge success for the likable Brazilian.

A Few Quick Items:

--I hope the three aborted standing starts this past weekend, do not encourage the series to abandon the idea. Standing starts are a sight to behold, and presuming the anti-stall systems are sound, safer than rolling starts.

--If you want a compelling reason why IndyCar should end its season Labor Day weekend, compare the TV ratings between the Baltimore race and this past weekend's races - they plummeted over 50%.


--Speaking of TV ratings, Notre Dame hosting USC at 7:30 p.m. on the evening of the Fontana race, does not forecast well for the IndyCar finale. You also have to wonder if IndyCar accounted for this when scheduling the Fontana race, particularly considering their broadcast partner NBC is airing the game on network television.

Brian Carroccio is an IndyCar Columnist for AutoRacing1.com. He can be contacted at BrianC@AutoRacing1.com.

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