Friday, July 15, 2011

The Friday 15: Mid-Canadian Stint Edition

As usual, with Fridays that aren’t part of an IndyCar race weekend (boo!), it’s time to take a look at the Top 15 drivers in the IndyCar points standings. Points behind is noted, with +/- position change since the last installment in red. Things are definitely a little more static towards the top this week, so you'll probably start to see more gradual changes to the point standings. You may well note some minor snark, but we won’t be calling anyone a wanker. We’ll leave that to the pros.

1) Dario Franchitti, 353 points, (Unchanged)
There aren’t a metric ton of hardcore IndyCar fans at my work (something I keeping working to change), but two of them came up unsolicited and said less than flattering things about their irritation with Dario and Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Could it be…we have a “heel” (in wrestling terms) for IndyCar? Some of the attitudes I’m hearing from fans remind me of when folks were cheering against the “almost perfect” 2008 New England Patriots.

2) Will Power, -55 points (Unchanged)
Will’s tirade against Dario and Race Control will not soon be forgotten, but neither should be the fact that he’s a couple more bad finishes away from being realistically out of the overall championship hunt. With Edmonton looking more and more like it’ll be a crash-filled grudge match, managing to stay clean there will be a must.

3) Scott Dixon, -83 points (Unchanged)
Scott Dixon’s comments last weekend give us the idea that Target Chip Ganassi and Service Central Chip Ganassi aren’t exactly buddy-buddy. He still doesn’t have a win on the year, but he’s a threat every week. Apparently, he’s also a threat if Graham Rahal gets in his way.

4) Oriol Servia, -121 points (Unchanged)
Simply put, Servia is not getting enough airtime on Versus or ABC given the fact he’s a contender each week and is P4 in the standings. Let’s see some more of those Telemundo sidepods, if you please.

5) Tony Kanaan, -132 points (Unchanged)
It was a rough week for Tony and KV, but you don’t get the feeling it hurt the lightning in the bottle they’ve seemed to catch so far this year. When TK is a threat to win most weeks, I think the series is better and more interesting for it.

6) Ryan Briscoe, -134 points (Unchanged)
Briscoe was the lone bright spot for Penske in Toronto. The last two races have seen better results for him, but this team still just seems off this year, if not downright snakebit at times.

7) Marco Andretti, -137 points (+1)
Marco didn’t endear himself to many of his fellow drivers with a late incident, but he manned up and took the blame for it. It partially obscured a great drive all the way to 4th place for Marco, after starting well towards the back. Who else loved the Dr. Pepper livery, by the way?

8) Graham Rahal, -145 points (-1)
Graham’s late tangle with Scott Dixon at Toronto cost him a spot in the standings and probably another podium finish. Despite that, he’s really coming into form lately. It should be an exciting rest of the season to see if he can make that jump.

9) JR Hildebrand, -160 points (Unchanged)
Hildebrand kept it relatively clean and finished well in Toronto, something many of the veterans couldn’t claim. He also extended his Rookie lead over James Hinchcliffe. When Hildebrand is on his game, he really does look like a seasoned vet out there.

10) Alex Tagliani, -180 points (Unchanged)
It’s sounding better and better that Tag has a secured seat for this year and beyond, but we still don’t have “official official” confirmation on any sort of a deal. In other news, apparently Tag and Will Power are still buddies, despite Tag being the first entry on Will’s “wanker” list.

11) Danica Patrick, -180 points (Unchanged)
Danica’s No-DNF finish streak looked to be in jeopardy late last Sunday, but apparently someone found a wing for her car and so she got back in and finished. Does anyone else think she just doesn’t look like she’s enjoying life right now?

12) Helio Castroneves, -181 points (Unchanged)
The year Helio would just as soon forget continues. Two steps forwards, one step back.

13) Vitor Meira, -182 points (+3)
Vitor jumped up three spots thanks to a P5 last weekend. It was made all the more impressive by the fact he had early contact, but the way the Toronto went, who didn’t have contact?

14) Takuma Sato, -186 points (-1)
Taku’s ramming of Danica Patrick is going to be lumped in under KV Racing’s pretty awful outing at Toronto Sunday. Lapses are frustrating when you know a driver can be fast, but this season is beginning to resemble the horrors of 2010 again.

15) James Hinchcliffe, -195 (Unchanged)
Like many other drivers at Toronto, Hinch found a potentially very good finish taken away by a late incident. He actually lost a bit of ground to JR Hildebrand in the Rookie of the Year fight, but he’s still right in the thick of it.

Dropping out of the Top 15? That’d be Mike Conway, down 2 spots to P16. Meanwhile, outside the Top 15, our big gainer among the full-time drivers was Ryan Hunter-Reay—after his Toronto podium finish, he’s up 2 spots to P18. Both of those Andretti drivers are capable of winning or podium finishes in the next few races, so keep an eye out for them to jump up if they can just stay clear of the chaos.

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