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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
IndyCar Fontana postscript, and so much more

by Brian Carroccio
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

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2013 champion Scott Dixon
We’ll get to the IndyCar finale at Fontana shortly.

To begin, however, we received a fair amount of response to last week’s article on Dario Franchitti’s at Houston, some of which was positive, some of which took exception. One executive with an internationally renowned track design company, who asked to remain anonymous, wrote the following:

“Dear Brian,

I would like to compliment you on your review of the catch fencing situation in Houston. It is by far the most objective commentary that I have seen.”

I would like to publicly thank this individual not only for his or her kind words, but for taking the time to share their expertise, by passing along detailed information regarding the procedure for erecting world-class race facilities.

As you might imagine, not every respondent sang the praises of AutoRacing1.com. And while we welcome differences of opinion, allow me to be very clear on the following.

Any suggestion that AutoRacing1.com would advantageously incorporate Franchitti’s accident, which featured deadly objects flying in the direction of spectators at high speeds, as part of some larger, ongoing agenda to discredit IndyCar, is moronic. The agenda of AutoRacing1.com is to provide our readers with informed commentary of the happenings within a sport we love.

Now, if the result of that commentary so happens to reveal a less-than-favorable portrayal of IndyCar, well then, so be it. I will simply offer the thesis that IndyCar has repeatedly displayed an uncanny ability to paint a less than favorable picture of themselves, often in the absence of any assistance from AR1.

I’d also like to point out that the most comprehensive discussion of what happened on the final lap at Houston two-and-a-half weeks ago appeared in this very space. Whereas one longtime IndyCar journalist, who professes to be an “expert,” responded to fence poles flying at spectators by saying “the fence did its job,” AR1 either directly or indirectly brought attention to the following pertinent questions:

Is there a written standard that IndyCar has with all its facilities? Does IndyCar simply go by the FIA's approval or non-approval? If so, what standard does the FIA apply? Is that standard written? Was Houston in compliance with that standard? Is that standard different in America than elsewhere?

Or is the process "rubber-stamping" in nature? Is the process deliberately vague to diffuse blame? And if there is no firm standard with regard to fencing, is it reasonable to presume there are not firm standards with regards to other components of the track? Did the fact that the Houston track was only erected late Thursday evening allow for proper oversight?

Now, I will say that a reasonable discussion can be had regarding what degree IndyCar was accountable for what happened at Houston relative to the promoter, and other involved parties. AutoRacing1.com is willing to have that conversation.

However, when there are deadly objects flying at spectators, the questions raised by AR1 last week were more than fair. In fact, it arguably would have been immoral to have not asked them.

Onto Fontana:

For the second straight year, Auto Club Speedway (ACS) in Fontana, California, hosted the Izod IndyCar Series season finale. Will Power, who won race two at Houston, scored the second oval win of his career on the 2.0 mile D-shaped oval modeled after the historic Indy Car venue Michigan International Speedway.

And as we have come to expect with the Dallara DW 12 chassis, the racing at Fontana was stupendous. The question for IndyCar going forward with ACS centers around the crowd.

Now, all indications are the fine people at ACS are working to build the event as the regular season finale. But if IndyCar is going to hold it's season finale, 30,000 people at a venue with a capacity of 85,000 is not going to suffice. IndyCar needs to make its events look "big-time," on television and swaths of empty seats don't make the event look major.

Again, I am willing to give this time, particularly with an eager promoter, racy track, and the possibility of the season ending ceremony in Southern California. But if Fontana is going to be the permanent host of the IndyCar finale, a stronger paid attendance is an absolute must, going forward.

Speaking of the Season Ending Ceremony:

I don't live in Indianapolis.

But it didn't take a rocket-scientist to figure out Sunday evening was going to be, by any measure, the biggest regular-season game in the history of the Indianapolis Colts, with Denver Broncos quarterback and Colts legend Peyton Manning playing his first game at Lucas Oil Stadium as a Bronco. 

What does IndyCar do? Schedule their awards ceremony to begin at about kickoff time of the Broncos-Colts game.

I suppose there could be a good reason for this. However, the NFL schedule is released every April. To my knowledge, IndyCar booked its banquet facility about a month ago. And I must ask: how can IndyCar tell a sponsor they are serious about maximizing value for that company's brand when the season-ending ceremony was scheduled parallel to the biggest regular-season sporting event in Indianapolis history?

Please, someone tell me: how if you are IndyCar do you respond to such a question?

Dixon:

I don't mean to short change the incredible season 2013 Izod IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon had. While I was highly critical of his comments asking for Race Director Beaux Barfield to be fired after Baltimore, the Kiwi was easily the best driver in the series from Pocono forward this year.

Also, my thoughts regarding Dixon and his place in IndyCar history have been detailed previously.

Not to Be Persnickety But….

I was very happy to see James Hinchcliffe return to Andretti Autosport next season with a fully sponsored effort courtesy of United Fiber and Data, a York, PA based company specializing in fiber networking and broadband solutions.

While it’s good to see any new sponsor come into the sport, the UFD announcement represents the continuation of a trend that has probably been ongoing for about a decade and a half: the ever-widening chasm between IndyCar and consumer brand companies.

Simply put, if the sport is going to reach a broader audience, it needs to be relevant to companies that produce brand products a broad audience uses. Thus, finding a way to lure consumer brands back to the sport is vital.

TV:

Of course, consumer brand companies will return to the sport in greater numbers if and when the television value improves to a level that makes their participation appealing.

Now, as a general practice, I tend to be philosophically opposed to the idea of purchasing television time, something AR1 President Mark Cipolloni suggests in this article. Simply put, purchasing time on TV takes what should be a cash-producing asset (TV rights) and turns them into an expense that requires selling ad time to offset that expense.  In addition, IndyCar does get paid by ABC for the five races it currently broadcasts, so we'll not talking about buying TV time for all the races.

That said, the numbers Mark cites are incredibly compelling. And the fact IMS and IndyCar continue to bank the measly checks they receive from NBCSN while sponsors such as Go Daddy, HP and Izod head for the hills, makes you wonder whether Hulman and Co., is serious about growing IndyCar going forward. Or are they……

Waiting for NASCAR:

I continue to be flabbergasted by members of the IndyCar media, who persist in articulating the fallacy that NASCAR’s arrival at NBC Sports in 2015 will help IndyCar. One IndyCar media member noted that IndyCar “awaits,” NASCAR’s moving to NBCSN in 2015.

Yes, I can barely contain myself.

While I make this point in more detail here, let the record show there is no historical evidence of any kind supporting this preposterous notion. None! Contrarily, there exists a preponderance of evidence suggesting NASCAR will use its prominence at NBCSN to further marginalize IndyCar.

Sure, I suppose some unforeseen scenario may occur, where there is integration and promotion between the two. I also imagine there may be an opportunity here and there to use a NASCAR race as a lead-in to promote an IndyCar race here and there.

But I know this for certain: The next time NASCAR and IndyCar collaborate in way that commercially benefits each party will be the first. I also know NASCAR did not go to NBCSN for the purposes of IndyCar. And if you remember NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France made it very clear this summer: NASCAR has zero interest in any collaboration with IndyCar. In fact you can bet NASCAR would like nothing better than to kill off IndyCar and take whatever sponsors, teams and events are left behind, including making the Indy 500 a stock car event.

A Few Quick Things:

--Rahal Letterman Lanigan had something of a forgettable season in 2013. If they are to take a step forward in 2014, a good place to start would be the ovals. Other than Graham Rahal’s fifth place finish at Iowa, RLL scored no finish better than twelfth in the oval races between James Jakes and Rahal.

--If NAPA is so morally opposed to the actions of Michael Waltrip Racing earlier this season at Richmond, why are their logos still on Martin Truex’s car?

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

Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

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