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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
So you want to be a Stock Car driver?- Part 2

by Tim Wohlford
Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Sam Hornish Jr.

Last year, hot on the heels of Juan Pablo Montoya's announcement that he was coming to run NASCAR, I wrote an article for AutoRacing1 entitled, “So You Want to be a Stock Car Driver.”

Over the past year I've asked former Indy drivers about their struggles in NASCAR. Most refused – some pointedly – to be quoted on the subject. This week, in the wake of Jacques Villeneuve's announcement that he was starting a NASCAR career, with rumors swirling that Scott Speed was joining Team Red Bull, I started updating last summer's article.

My previous article pointed out the three reasons why today's Indy (CART, IRL, CCWS) drivers have a more difficult time running NASCAR races than the greats of the past:

● Most of the rides that are offered to Indy drivers are not the best rides. As Dan Wheldon told me, there are indeed only 2 or 3 teams a top Indy driver would want to drive for.

● Sponsor obligations mean that drivers can't “cherry-pick” rides in other series. For instance, Tony Stewart's personal services contracts probably include Goodyear and GM, which probably preclude him from running Indy in a Honda-powered car on Firestone tires.

● NASCAR drivers are highly skilled in the specialized demands of NASCAR racing. Many of the techniques that NASCAR drivers use are the direct opposite of open-wheel methods learned in the IRL, CCWS or the Indy feeder systems. Michel Jourdain Jr. said it best: "It's not only like you have to learn. I have to forget about everything I knew before, too." Therefore, even when open wheel drivers do get hired for premium rides they often fail to be as competitive as their teammates.

Indy drivers – especially those with CART, CCWS or IRL wins -- are expected to jump into a car with little effort.

The past year has proved once again that, contrary to expectations, they are subject to that same learning curve as any other rookie. John Andretti told me, “Bottom line is that Nextel Cup racing is the toughest in the world and if someone says otherwise, they haven’t competed in Nextel Cup,” and the past year hasn't proven him wrong. This year, we've seen three more Indy drivers try their hand at NASCAR. Few doubt the driving ability of JPM, Sam Hornish and AJ Allmendinger, but it's obvious that all are still mastering the art of running a Cup car.

Some AutoRacing1 readers will remember my prediction of JPM's tenure in NASCAR: “Juan Pablo Montoya stands a significant chance of being another pointy-nose driver who fails at NASCAR... Odds are that when Montoya is mired deep in the Busch Series standings, when he's tired of using porta-johns (without a bidet), suffering through a season of corn dogs, Holiday Inns and miserable finishes, he'll be heading back to Bernie's World.” To his credit and my chagrin, JPM has done better than I expected, with one win each in Busch and NEXTEL Cup. Chip Ganassi Racing's hardware hasn't gained on the competition, so one wonders what JPM could've accomplished if he'd been signed by one of the top 3 teams.

Still, Juan's experiences confirms my arguments. First, if you're a gifted open-wheel driver, and you jump from Indy (or F1) into NASCAR hoping to bypass the rookie learning curve and contest for wins, you've seriously underestimated the task. Except for the road courses, he's struggling like every other rookie. Radio chatter indicates that fellow Cup drivers don't believe that he's quite got the hang of NASCAR driving. He's 19th (out of 29 drivers that have run every race) in driver's points. Second, like many Indy transplants, he didn't get best equipment. Third, it took an army of lawyers and a bunch of money to get JPM out of F1 contracts.

As we predicted last year, AJ Allmendinger is with Team Red Bull in NASCAR. A new driver with no stock car experience, hired by a new team running a new brand of car, the results have been predictably disappointing.

AutoRacing1 forum pundits have declared that AJ has the best job in auto racing -- “$3 million a year, with Sundays off.” Given AJ's competitive personality, the sudden availability of fellow Red Bull athlete Scott Speed, and the recent strong showing of Brian Vickers at Michigan, AJ can't be sleeping well at night. AJ hasn't bypassed the learning curve, and didn't get into a top team, both confirming my contentions.

At Michigan, Sam Hornish finished 25th in the Busch race, which is the best run of his NASCAR career (7 starts, all in Busch Cup). He came in second in an ARCA race at Michigan, but fellow Indy – NASCAR crossover Robbie Gordon wasn't impressed, noting that Hornish was running a full-blown current Penske Cup car in a field filled with lower-budget Cup castoff equipment. Everyone I talked to at Team Penske repeated the same refrain – no final decision has been made on Hornish's plans for 2008, no doubt waiting for Sam to show better results.

Hornish again proves my point – even with a top-level team he isn't bypassing the learning (and un-learning?) curve.

Those drivers join a long list of Indy drivers, whose results are a decidedly mixed bag. Tony Stewart, the undisputed leader of the Indy-to-NASCAR drivers, is a real threat to win his third NEXTEL Cup Championship, recently winning the Brickyard as well as at Watkins Glen. Casey Mears won a race this year, some 6 years after his last CART ride. While not running as strong as his Hendricks teammates, he's currently 16th in the points, and starting to show promise.

Some Indy drivers are notable by their absence in NASCAR. Sarah Fisher returned to the IRL after having disappointing results in NASCAR's Grand National West series. Paul Tracy returned to CCWS, never landing sponsorship to capitalize on his relationship with Richard Childress. AJ Foyt IV is probably trying to forget NASCAR, safely back in the IRL.

The rest of the open-wheel alumni continue to struggle. Robbie Gordon and JJ Yeley are mired mid-pack in the points, and Yeley just lost his premium ride for next year. John Andretti found another Cup ride, albeit with a bottom-tier team that never puts him in contention for the win. Michel Jourdain led a few laps at Watkins Glen, but is still in search of a full-time ride. Scott Pruett has run 3 Busch series road course races this year, losing his most promising run when Juan Pablo spun him out in Mexico.

So, if NASCAR is tougher than it looks -- in some ways the exact opposite of driving an Indy car -- why would Scott Speed, Dario Franchitti, Sam Hornish and Jacques Villeneuve want to try out NASCAR? What would motivate virtually every IRL and CCWS driver to maintain relationships with NASCAR people? Well, let's grant Hornish the benefit of the doubt – maybe they do get restless, maybe they just love to drive cars.

Maybe racers just want to compare themselves to drivers of all series, as well as the greats of the past.

However, we can't discount the appeal of MONEY and JOBS. In their top 3 series, NASCAR has around 100 full-time rides. For the most part, they are not rent-a-rides, but actually pay the driver to run. Better yet, a popular driver can actually make more money in NASCAR's third-level Craftsman Truck Series than virtually everyone in the CCWS, and most in the IRL. NASCAR owners actually break even, or even turn a profit, with their racing ventures.

By comparison, probably half of the CCWS rides need the driver to bring his own sponsorship, or a very large wallet. The combined number of full-time paying Indy car rides is certainly under 40, and probably closer to 30.

The CCWS drivers have very little chance at lucrative personal services contracts, with the IRL drivers doing only a little better in their quest for endorsement gigs.

Quite frankly, if Scott Speed has become accustomed to living like a millionaire while running F1, he'd have to make quite a financial adjustment to run the IRL or CCWS. In contrast, it is estimated that Dale Earnhardt, Jr's annual income is in excess of $20 million, almost twice the sum total of the 2007 money in CCWS. Tony Stewart's new contract gives him $5 million a year in base salary, plus winnings, endorsements, service contracts, etc. Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti's income this year will probably not exceed the winnings of the Busch series champion for 2007.

To that end, Champ Car's Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing merged operations with NASCAR's Robert Yates Racing, joining Penske and Ganassi as former CART teams in NASCAR. The marriage was “arranged” (highly encouraged? Shotgun wedding?) by Ford Motor Company. The new team, dubbed “Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan” -- “Why NHL” in Ford-speak -- is supposed to provide Yates Racing with the engineering prowess of the Champ Car people.

If the Yates cars suddenly develop the ability to run on the ceiling at 150 mph, we'll know that the Champ Car people have done their job, but right now they haven't had enough time to change the logo stickers on the team haulers. Carl Haas is open with his expectations – he gets half ownership in a NASCAR team, a huge hedge bet in case of CCWS's demise, and perhaps a NASCAR franchise in the future.

Finally, NASCAR might have to do some soul-searching. Suddenly, they've got drivers named “Jacques,” “Juan,” and maybe “Michel,” two F1 drivers, three former CART teams, in a series where TRD is spending millions to put Toyota in victory circle. Is NASCAR well on its way to becoming like CART in the mid 1990's, albeit with the largest track owner firmly in charge?

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