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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
Why gimmicks won't fix Indy 500 qualifying

by Brian Carroccio
Wednesday, November 13, 2013

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Hulman & Co., CEO Mark Miles has a point.

Something needs to be done about Indianapolis 500 qualifying weekend. While there has been the occasional compelling storyline in recent years (i.e. Andretti Autosport’s struggles to qualify in 2011), the process of gaining entry to The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, has been much more routine than drama in recent years. And nothing illustrates that better than the events of the last two years.

Whereas, the last day of qualifying was once characterized by drivers making desperation go-for-broke attempts to make the field of 33, the last two have few years have been well, more about trying to fill the 11 rows of three. This past year, Katherine Legge, who secured a ride the day before final qualifications, secured the thirty-third starting sport at 12:53 p.m., and turned out to be the last qualifier of the day. The remaining five plus hours were spent waiting to see if Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver Michel Jourdain, Jr. would make a qualifying attempt, which due to a poor handling car, never happened. 

Understandably, Miles wants to avoid a repeat scenario. Hours of dead track time do not create value for spectators nor is it the formula to get people in front of the television on nice spring days. Plus, it would stand to reason there was no chance, ABC/ESPN would be interested in covering final-day qualifying as it was the past two years with hours of dead track time. Since, Miles has apparently packaged the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the IMS road course and qualifying weekend with the race for ABC/ESPN, it would also stand to reason that they would have some say in the format of qualifying weekend.

And the rumored changes to the format make sense from the perspective of television and ticket buyers. The field of 33 will be set Saturday, while Sunday will see two sessions to determine the starting order. Qualifiers 10-33 from Saturday will participate in a session for those grid positions, with qualifiers 1-9 from Saturday participating in the Fast Nine Shootout at the end of the day.

In short, the days have reversed. Pole Day is now Sunday, while Bump Day is Saturday. Doing this, Miles has guaranteed there will be on track action both days, adding value for ticket-buyers and guaranteeing on track action for the TV audience. Fair enough.

But let’s be clear: that’s all Miles guaranteed.

However, it wasn't the guarantee that cars would be circling the track that made Indy 500 qualifying compelling theatre. And any notion that Miles' proposal will begin to restore the lost luster of Indy qualifying show a complete ignorance to what made qualifying at Indy great. Yes, Miles’ tweaks may have been necessary to secure the ABC/ESPN deal. But they've moved us no closer to the glory days of Indy qualifying. If anything, Miles and IMS seem to have sadly resigned themselves to the reality those days may forever remain a distant memory.

See, idle track time on the final day of qualifying is not the problem, per se. It’s certainly a symptom of the problem. But the problem is that there are not enough competitors (drivers, teams, manufacturers, etc.) with a compelling enough reason to run. In other words, whether the issue is commercial, too few engines, or adequate return on investment, or a combination of factors, the simple truth is there are not enough compelling reasons to attract more than 33-35 participants. Hence, there is no competition to make the field.

I suppose, there is some intrigue as to who will qualify where, particularly the pole position.

But there is no intrigue as to whether someone will or will not make the field. There is no possibility of an underdog type like Willy T. Ribbs in 1991 erupting in joy after achieving his dream of racing in the Indianapolis 500. Contrarily, there is no possibility a marquee driver from a top team, a la Ryan Hunter-Reay two years ago, might fail to qualify not. We witnessed Bobby Rahal as the defending series champion, fail to qualify in 1993. There was the even more dramatic case of Team Penske in 1995, failing to qualify Emerson Fittipaldi and Al Unser, Jr. after thoroughly dominating the previous year in their purpose built Mercedes 209 engines.

Of course, that brings us to another issue in that the technical diversity and innovation has been absent from Gasoline Alley for nearly two decades now. Gone are the days where we see a rear-engine marvel competing against the powerful, elegant front-engined roadsters. No longer do we have high boost, “stock-block” Buicks competing against the regular race-built engines.

No, there are 33 Dallaras, half powered by Honda, the other half by Chevrolet. Plus, everyone makes the field. Sure, this may be a result of the current economic realities. But let it be known the uncertainty over whether Tristan Vautier will qualify 27th or 28th is not what made Indy qualifying compelling theatre. Speed records, innovation, and the race to be in one of the 11 rows of 3 did.

Nothing about Miles’s plan moves us the least bit closer to that.

Now, as outlined above that may be the predicament Miles finds himself in. Plus, if this is part of what Miles had to do to get ABC/ESPN to cover more than just the race, well, so be it.

But if Miles and IMS want to re-capture the glory days of qualifying, this measure doesn't even begin to address the problem. And while I doubt we'll hear Mark Miles acknowledgement that publicly, I hope for IndyCar's sake, he realizes it privately.

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