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2014 Standings
After Long Beach
Pos. Driver Points

1 Will Power 93
2 Mike Conway 66
3 Simon Pagenaud 60
4 Helio Castroneves 55
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay 54
6 Scott Dixon 51
7 Carlos Munoz 48
8 Juan Pablo Montoya 47
9 Mikhail Aleshin 46
10 Sebastian Saavedra 42
11 Tony Kanaan 40
12 Justin Wilson 38
13 Takuma Sato 36
14 Josef Newgarden 34
15 Ryan Briscoe 33
16 Sebastien Bourdais 33
17 Graham Rahal 33
18 Marco Andretti 32
19 Carlos Huertas 32
20 Oriol Servia 26
21 Jack Hawksworth 24
22 James Hinchcliffe 20
23 Charlie Kimball 17

Wins
T1 Will Power 1
T1 Mike Conway 1

Podium Finishes
1 Will Power 2
T2 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1
T2 Helio Castroneves 1
T2 Mike Conway 1
T2 Carlos Munoz 1

Lap Leaders:
1 Will Power 74
2 Ryan Hunter-Reay 51
3 Takuma Sato 33
4 Scott Dixon 22
5 Mike Conway 4
6 Sebastian Saavedra 3
7 Helio Castroneves 2
8 Josef Newgarden 1


Prize Money
1 Will Power $50,000
T2 Mike Conway $30,000
T2 Ryan Hunter-Reay $30,000
4 Simon Pagenaud $18,000
5 Takuma Sato $17,000
T6 Helio Castroneves $15,000
T6 Carlos Munoz $15,000
T8 Juan Pablo Montoya $10,000
T8 Scott Dixon $10,000
T10 Mikhail Aleshin $8,000
T10 Tony Kanaan $8,000
12 Oriol Servia $7,000
T13 Justin Wilson $5,000
T13 Marco Andretti $5,000
T15 Sebastian Saavedra $4,000
T15 Josef Newgarden $4,000
T17 Ryan Briscoe $2,000
T17 Carlos Huertas $2,000

Entrant Points
Pos. # Entrant Points
1 12 Team Penske 93
2 20 Ed Carpenter Racing 66
3 77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 60
4 3 Team Penske 55
5 28 Andretti Autosport 54
6 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 51
7 34 Andretti Autosport HVM Racing 48
8 2 Team Penske 47
9 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 46
10 17 KV AFS Racing 42
11 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 40
12 19 Dale Coyne Racing 38
13 14 A.J. Foyt Enterprises 36
14 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 34
15 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing 33
16 11 KVSH Racing 33
17 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 33
18 25 Andretti Autosport 32
19 18 Dale Coyne Racing 32
20 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 26
21 98 BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian 24
22 27 Andretti Autosport 20
23 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing 17

Finishing Average
1 Will Power 1.5
2 Simon Pagenaud 5
T3 Helio Castroneves 7
T3 Oriol Servia 7
5 Scott Dixon 8
6 Mike Conway 8.5
7 Mikhail Aleshin 9
8 Juan Pablo Montoya 9.5
T9 Sebastian Saavedra 10
T9 Carlos Munoz 10
11 Ryan Hunter-Reay 11
T12 Tony Kanaan 12
T12 Justin Wilson 12
T14 Ryan Briscoe 13.5
T14 Sebastien Bourdais 13.5
T14 Graham Rahal 13.5
T17 Josef Newgarden 14
T17 Carlos Huertas 14
19 Takuma Sato 14.5
20 Marco Andretti 15
21 Jack Hawksworth 18
22 James Hinchcliffe 20
23 Charlie Kimball 21.5

Pole Positions
T1 Takuma Sato 1
T1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1

Appearances in the Firestone Fast Six
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 2
T2 Scott Dixon 1
T2 Tony Kanaan 1
T2 Sebastien Bourdais 1
T2 Will Power 1
T2 Takuma Sato 1
T2 Marco Andretti 1
T2 James Hinchcliffe 1
T2 Josef Newgarden 1
T2 Simon Pagenaud 1
T2 Jack Hawksworth 1

Qualifying Average
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 2
2 Scott Dixon 6
3 Jack Hawksworth 6.5
4 Marco Andretti 7
5 Tony Kanaan 7.5
T6 Takuma Sato 8
T6 Sebastien Bourdais 8
T8 Will Power 9
T8 Carlos Munoz 9
10 Helio Castroneves 9.5
11 Simon Pagenaud 10
12 James Hinchcliffe 10.5
13 Oriol Servia 12
T14 Josef Newgarden 13
T14 Justin Wilson 13
16 Ryan Briscoe 13.5
17 Mike Conway 14.5
18 Sebastian Saavedra 16.5
19 Juan Pablo Montoya 17
20 Mikhail Aleshin 17.5
21 Carlos Huertas 19
22 Charlie Kimball 19.5
23 Graham Rahal 22
Trying to make sense out of Audi and IndyCar

by Brian Carroccio
Sunday, April 28, 2013

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I suppose, anything is possible. After all, an A.J. Foyt owned car was driven to victory lane on a street course, last week.

Still, the thought of executives at a board meeting in Ingolstadt, Bavaria giddy over the prospect of competing in the Iowa Corn 250? While I'm as intrigued as anyone about the possibility of the legendary racing marque Audi coming to IndyCar, I'm having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around this one.

Of course, this rumor came to light about two weeks ago, when Wolfgang Durheimer, Audi's head of technical development was discussing the possibilities for the legendary racing marque going forward. Durheimer mentioned the set-to-debut 2014 United SportsCar Racing series and the proposed American DTM Series as possibilities for the legendary Four Rings to go racing in the coming years.

And Durheimer didn't stop there.

"Another opportunity can be IndyCars, that I also think is still very popular,” he said. “The Indy 500 is an outstanding race. That's about all I can see right now."

Interesting.

Now, there are thousands of directions one can go with this, as Durheimer's comments probably left more questions than answers. Still, let's begin with what we do know.

Clearly, Audi wants to have a motor sports presence in North America, something they have stated on the record numerous times. Clearly, given the company's enormous success the logical place to presume they would compete is sports cars. While numerous examples of Audi's success can be given, the marque has won 11 of the last 13 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Of course, many will point out the Daytona Prototype class rules and specifications for next year's merged United SportsCar Racing have yet to be determined. Thus, any speculation about Audi's interest without knowing the regulations is difficult.

What seems fairly certain is Audi wants no part of Formula One. Despite the company being continually linked with a move to F1, Audi has repeatedly and firmly denied such rumors. In May of 2011, then head of Audi Motorsport Wolfgang Ulrich said "There's a very good reason we're not in F1. There's no relevance to the road." Ulrich went on to note that sports cars were much more relevant. Further, given Porsche's more recent comments about F1 racing becoming too focused on tire performance, one has to imagine little has changed. And that is not even bringing the astronomical costs of F1 into the equation.

Still, if F1 makes no sense, IndyCar would seem to make even less. For one, the IndyCar product suffers from incredibly little exposure even in its home base of North America. Durheimer, of course, wondered aloud if IndyCar was still popular, which makes me wonder: has he seen the television ratings?

Now, the Indianapolis 500 would entice a lot of manufacturers, Audi included, but what else?

Remember, the current IndyCar philosophy regarding rules and engine leases runs completely counter to the way Audi has traditionally conducted its racing endeavors. Audi, of course, has long been known as an innovative, cutting-edge company, a spirit they take to the race track. Currently, IndyCar's business model with regard to engine manufacturers places cost-containment as paramount to innovation. The series controls the price of lease agreements, and forces the manufacturers to adhere to very specific guidelines regarding said agreements (the recently departed Lotus withstanding).

Audi, on the other hand, usually competes as a factory team. And what direct relevance does a modern IndyCar have to a road car? Chevy and Honda clearly derive exposure from competing in the series. However, their current participation seems more branding and advertising than technical and engineering oriented. Could you picture Audi supplying a back marker IndyCar team because they had to fulfill certain contractual obligations? Me neither.

In short, I can't see any obvious draw for Audi, other than maybe displaying their proficiency in formula racing.

Now, I've tried to look for something beneath the surface that may be driving Audi's interest. For example, could Audi be badging the old Lotus/Judd engine?  Clearly, that's not happening.

But what about some sort of change within the company? For example, Honda in the early 2000s couldn't say enough bad things about the Indy Racing League. They referred to it as a low-tech, amateurish series. However, as CART began to deteriorate, Honda changed their tune, and began supplying the series in 2003. Is there a change within Audi that would possibly make IndyCar more appealing?

Maybe.

Last fall, Audi commissioned the building of a $1.3 billion plant in San Jose Chiapa, Puebla, Mexico set to open in 2016. The plant will produce an estimated 150,00 units annually, and 9,800 direct and indirect jobs, building the next generation Audi Q5 SUVs. The Puebla location was chosen over potential American sites such as Chattanooga, TN. Mexico's more favorable export laws and the debt crisis in Washington, D.C. were cited as a few of the reasons why.

Now, don't misinterpret Audi's intent. They seek a North American site, with access to the USA market. Sure, the United States is still reeling from the financial crisis of a few years ago. Still, Audi's sights are firmly set on the American market. The Puebla plant gives them a corridor to America, while also allowing them to export under more favorable terms than if they were located in say, Chattanooga. But to be clear, Audi is still interested in the American market, and why wouldn't they be.

It's IndyCar I'm not so sure about.

Of course, we'd all like to imagine IndyCar strategically aligning itself behind the scenes with a behemoth manufacturer such as Audi. We'd love to imagine IndyCar attempting to partner with an Audi in an attempt to parallel the company's North American expansion. And considering 21.2 million people live in Mexico City and the surrounding metropolis, we'd probably love to believe IndyCar sees some potential to revive the event that was so successful with CART/Champ Car in conjunction with Audi building a plant in nearby San Jose Chiapa, Puebla.

We'd like to, but can we?

If you remember, when news broke that Audi was considering IndyCar, it was from all indications, news to IndyCar.  When learning of Audi's interest Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Jeff Belskus noted that he would "reach out to them."  In fact, SPEED.com's Marshall Pruett reported that Belskus reached out to Audi AG and Audi of America Monday, April 15th, the day after the story was run on numerous publications.  Yes, that tells me Belskus probably heard about Audi coming to IndyCar the same way the rest of us did: reading it online.

In short, I seriously doubt there is anything of consequence here. I doubt that IndyCar has been wooing a global manufacturer with a global brand synonymous with innovation and excellence to join the series. I doubt IndyCar has connected the dots between Champ Car's successful event in Mexico City and Audi's intent to build a plant in nearby San Jose Chiapa, Puebla. I have little doubt Carlos Slim and Bernie Ecclestone have.

Believe me, I want to believe Audi is on its way to IndyCar. I want to believe we will say the Four Rings competing with the Chevy bow tie and Honda "H." I want to believe Audi's interest in IndyCar is an indication the series is working behind the scenes to build its global brand in conjunction with globally recognized partners.

Unfortunately, this desire to believe, is all I really have to offer.

Brian Carroccio

Brian Carroccio lives in Rockville, MD, and has been an IndyCar Columnist for AutoRacing1.com since August of 2012. He is a huge fan of the Washington Redskins and Manchester United.  Email Brian at
bricarr2@aol.com and follow him on twitter @BrianC_AR1.

Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

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