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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
After 2011, what do you do with 80 IndyCars?

by Mark J. Cipolloni
Monday, July 18, 2011

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What do you do with 8o unused IndyCars after this season?
Scott Morris/AR1.com
After this racing season the IndyCar paddock has around 80 IndyCars that will become, for all intents and purposes, useless.  Sure, they can be used as show cars, but you don't need 80 cars for that.  Other than that, 80 perfectly good IndyCars will sit in garages collecting dust.  Meanwhile, the Indy Lights series has been contemplating what will be their next generation car.  I say it should be the existing IndyCars, detuned to be made economical to run in a development series.

In NASCAR, the top-level Sprint Cup series owners pass their used cars down to the Nationwide Series.  They eventually find their way down to ARCA and regional NASCAR series.  A "NASCAR Car" looks the same - same size, same shape, same weight - regardless of what step in the development ladder you are on.

The benefits are many.  I quickly came up with ten: 

  1. The lower rungs of stock car racing get the cars at significantly reduced cost
  2. Each rung on the ladder is one step removed state-of-the-art wise from the rung above
  3. A stock car looks like a stock car, looks like a stock car, at all rungs of the development ladder
  4. Up and coming drivers get experience driving cars of the same size and weight as the top level series, but with less horsepower
  5. Having "bigger" cars will elevate the status of Indy Lights to the viewer
  6. Young drivers worldwide will be attracted by the opportunity to drive an IndyCar with less horsepower at an earlier age.
  7. IndyCar drivers who are out of a ride for a season due to lack of sponsorship, or even retired IndyCar drivers, will be more inclined to race in Indy Lights, thereby elevating the status of Indy Lights and validating whether a new up and coming hotshoe really has what it takes.  Currently, IndyCar drivers feel it is too damaging to their career to take a step down to Lights and run a race or two. 
  8. TV ratings for Indy Lights will increase.  NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers run the Nationwide and Truck series all the time, which boosts interest in them.  That is how these lower rung series get better TV ratings than IndyCar.
  9. Mechanics, engineers and drivers in Lights will get experience working on and setting up a car that is more adjustable than the existing Lights car, or other 'spec' cars such as F2, GP3 or GP2.
  10. The bigger cars have more surface area so a Lights team owner could get a bit more sponsorship money from a potential sponsor because their logos will be much more readable to spectators and on TV.

Cost

The first reaction I got in the IndyCar paddock last weekend to this idea (originally floated by Indy Lights boss Roger Bailey) was that the IndyCars are too expensive for the Lights team owners to afford.

But are they?

With 80 cars soon to go into mothballs, there are enough spare cars and parts to supply an entire 26 car Indy Lights grid for three or more years without spending a dime.  Well, OK, the IndyCar team owners are not just going to give their soon to be worthless cars away for free.  Most owners we talked to said they would be happy to get $10,000 to $25,000 for each one.  Sitting in the corner of their garage collecting dusts would net them zero revenue.  If the Lights series would decide to replace the car with a new one, team owners would have to fork out much more than that for new cars and spares.

A typical development series, such as GP3, offers a cost-effective formula for budding racers, with budgets amounting to about $880k USD per year. But that is only a 280 HP car and the car itself is much smaller than an F1 car or IndyCar.  Performance-wise, too big of a step from IndyCar in my opinion.

What about engines, the single most expensive part of any race car?  I dropped by and spoke to Honda HPD boss Erik Berkman about whether Honda had a cost effective, lower HP, engine that could be run in the used IndyCars.

"Honda would welcome the opportunity to supply engines to the Indy Lights series, " said Berkman. 

"I think we have the perfect engine.  Our ALMS LMP2 turbo V6 engine makes 450 HP."

With the IndyCar engine making around 650 HP in the current car, a step down to 450 HP for Lights would be enough to reduce the speed of the car so development drivers could learn to handle the big cars, but it would also reduce the running stress on the entire drivetrain, thereby reducing wear and tear elsewhere on the car.

"I cannot give you exact numbers," said Berkman, "but I am sure we could provide the LMP2 engine, which is an endurance engine made to run many miles between rebuilds, for Lights at a price I think that could work for the Indy Lights team owners."

According to the regulations an engine for the LMP2 category cannot cost more than $100,000. For 2011 a race engine must be able to last 30 hours before being revised, while the revision costs cannot exceed $50,000. In the coming years the running time is set to increase from 30 hours to 40 hours and then to 50 hours - more than enough for an entire Lights season,

This engine cost is higher than the current engine, but the teams would save money on the cars.  However, if the engine can indeed be made to last 50 hours between rebuilds, there would need to be just one engine rebuild per year at the beginning of the season.

"I would even be willing to share the Lights series, with say a Mazda," said Berkman.  "I am sure the two companies could agree to match both engines so the performance is the same and I would love to talk to IndyCar about it"

Since the Lights cars do not make pitstops, fuel mileage differences between the two engines really would not matter.

I asked former IndyCar champion and current co-IndyCar team owner Jimmy Vasser about the idea.  "I think it is a good idea if the costs are similar," said Vasser

I asked him, "as a former IndyCar driver, would he be more willing to drive an occasional Lights race if it was in the big cars instead of the smaller Lights car?  "Yes, definitely," said Vasser.

I asked IndyCar team owner Dale Coyne what he thought of the idea and his reaction was, "That is what Roger Bailey proposed and I think it is a great idea.  They is what IndyCar should do.  What are we going to do with all these cars after this year?"

I spoke to former IndyCar driver and Lights team owner Bryan Herta about the idea, and he thought it was a good one if the costs to run the bigger car would not increase his annual budget. 

"I can buy a set of uprights for my Lights cars for 1/4th the price it costs for the current IndyCar," said Herta.

But why are they 4 times more expensive?  There certainly is not 4 times as much material to make them.  From everyone I talked to in the paddock, they felt that the parts could be made in the USA for a lot less money than Italian manufacturer Dallara is charging. 

However, it may be a mute point.  With 80 leftover cars there are enough spare parts to supply the field for 3 years without making or buying any new pieces.

As it turns out, Tony Cotman of NZR Consulting, who works as a technical advisor to IndyCar on many fronts, has been studying this issue for the series for quite some time.

"We have, and continue to, evaluate that option," said Cotman.  "We need to evaluate it seriously and look at it in parallel with other options.  The advantages of using the existing car I agree with.  It ultimately will come down to cost and the direction the series wishes to pursue in the future. The vehicles performance, relevance and engine regulations are all a large part of that equation."

I asked other Indy Lights team owners what they thought.  They all said that if the costs were what they spend today, around $750K per year per car, it's an idea worth exploring.

Herta had organized a Lights team owners meeting in Toronto to discuss a number of issues facing the series, including whether the series needed a new car.

The general consensus was that the owners cannot afford a new car and maybe they should just update the existing car with a new body kit and wings.

Better yet, why not pass down the 80 existing IndyCars to Lights and make it a series that young drivers worldwide would clamor to get their hands on?

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