- The Scores from Long Beach
- A guess about trends from the Race Score World Championship
- And, something approximating a preview of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
Let's get to it!
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Scorecard
Here's the scorecard from Long Beach:
- On a day when gaining positions was tricky we get a pretty clean look at the tiers of drivers in this race. For my money, there were five. Tier 1: Dixon and Castroneves. Tier 2: Montoya, Pagenaud, Kanaan, and Bourdais. Tier 3: Newgarden, Andretti, and Munoz. Tier 4: Saavedra, Rahal, Hinchcliffe, and Hawksworth. Tier 5: Everyone Else.
- Let's talk about a couple of drivers. First, Connor Daly. Daly made the most of an opportunity on this weekend. With relatively little practice (and in relatively terrible equipment) he managed the best Race Score of any Tier 5 driver. That's a result for him. Some IndyCar team (or Gene Haas) better hire this man next year.
- One more driver mention. Let's talk about the race run by Simon Pagenaud. In my opinion, it was his best performance of the year. Couple that with his relatively racy practice times from Barber so far, I think he might finally be poised to make some noise with the new team.
- Finally, here's the question I've been pondering: Should I start paying more attention to Marco Andretti? Or, is he going to Rahal me? (Yes, as far as I'm concerned that's a verb now, read any of my old posts to figure out why. I want to love you, Graham, I really do...)
Race Score World Championship Table
Here're the updated RSWC standings:
A Guess about Trends
Looking at the RSWC table up there, we see pretty quickly that there is more overlap for point-scoring between St. Petersburg and Long Beach than between either and NOLA. This could mean a few different things:
1) Rain racing is weird and NOLA was an anomaly
2) The teams that scored at both St. Petersburg and Long Beach are overall dominant teams.
3) The Chevrolet areodynamic package is good on street courses.
I'm willing to buy into 1 and 3 a little easier than 2. I'm very interested to see how the Hondas perform in this weekend's race, as it is the first non-flat track of the year. Will that make a difference? (Early returns from practice say no...)
Finally, I'm disinclined to believe that this year is just going to be a Penske-Ganassi fest, as conclusion 2 might suggest. Look at Josef Newgarden and Sebastien Bourdais. They're both point-scorers in multiple events, and both are at smaller teams. Now, I think both are talented drivers. I voted them numbers six and eight respectively this last week in my contribution to the WFOpenwheel Power Rankings. But, they are both Chevrolet teams. That might have something to say about matters. We'll continue to follow this.
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Preview
Here's last year's scorecard from Barber:
I wouldn't read too much into these numbers, since last year was a rain race, and (as I said above) rain racing is weird.
Here are the things I think we can take into account from years past at Barber, however:
- Strategy will matter a ton.
- The good teams will be good.
Here are the unknowns, as far as I'm concerned for this year's race:
- How will the new aerodynamics affect the racing?
- Will the results be "more of the same," or will racing in the dry on a non-street circuit matter?
That's all the trouble that I'm going to cause this week. I'll see you out there on Twitter (@ScoringIndy) and then back here next Friday with all the analysis from Barber!