Monday, March 12, 2012

IndyCar Preseason Fan Survey Results!

On Friday, I asked readers to take a moment and complete a preseason fan survey on how they thought the upcoming IZOD IndyCar Series season would go. The idea was to check out the prevailing wisdom among IndyCar fans, and later match that up with how the season actually plays out.

We ended up with nearly 400 responses, which was a tremendous response. Sincere thanks to all of you who took time to be take part in in the survey. Here are the results below, with commentary.

1) How many different teams will win during the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season?
59% 3-4
40% 5-6
1% 2

This question was interesting because in the nearly 400 responses, not a single individual thought we'd see 7 or more teams win, and only a few people chose the 2-team option.

2) Which engine manufacturer will win the most races in the IZOD IndyCar Series this year?
69% Chevy
29% Honda
2% Lotus

Chevy seems to have grabbed frontrunner status in a solid majority of minds by now. We'll see if Honda does anything to discourage that opinion in the first few races of the year.

3) Will Lotus win a race in the IZOD IndyCar Series this year?
54% No
33% Yes
13% I Don't Know

A bit over 50% of respondents didn't like Lotus' chances to nab a win this year, but there remains some faith among roughly a third of fans.

4) Which of these drivers will finish higher in the final points standings for the 2012 season?
68.7% Tony Kanaan
32.3% Rubens Barrichello

Comparatively slow test times for TK at Sebring compared with a good showing by Rubens hasn't seemingly done much to discourage fans from overwhelmingly going with Tony on this one.

5) How will E.J. Viso do this year?
45% He Should Be Slightly Better Than Last Year
35% He Should Perform About The Same As Last Year
14% He Should Be Much Better Than Last Year
6% He Will Regress, And Perform Worse Than Last Year

It was a mixed vote for E.J., but the good news for him is there are large numbers of fans expecting some manner of improvement out of him this year.

6) Who will be the Sunoco Rookie of the Year?
59% Simon Pagenaud
37% Josef Newgarden
4% Katherine Legge

The response on this was pretty cut-and-dry: Simon is a clear favorite in this category, Newgarden is lurking, and few fans seem sold on Legge's Rookie of the Year chances at this point.

For the remainder of the poll questions, there were many driver options to pick; I'll be listing the six most popular responses on each.

7) Which driver will win the Indianapolis 500?
21% Tony Kanaan
12% Scott Dixon
12% Dario Franchitti
9% Marco Andretti
9% Helio Castroneves
9% Will Power

Tony Kanaan may have not won the Indianapolis 500 yet, but it's apparently not because the fans don't want him to.

8) Which driver will win the the A.J. Foyt Oval Trophy?
31% Scott Dixon
27% Dario Franchitti
11% Helio Castroneves
8% Ed Carpenter
7% Tony Kanaan
4% Ryan Briscoe

The Target Chip Ganassi drivers were extremely strong on this one, although apparently at least some fans see Helio as Penske's best hope of turning the tables on Chip's boys this year.

9) Which driver will win the Mario Andretti Road/Street Trophy?
56% Will Power
17% Rubens Barrichello
6% Dario Franchitti
5% Scott Dixon
4% Mike Conway
3% Ryan Hunter-Reay

I'm not sure the top result here was really a surprise to anyone, was it?

10) Which driver will be 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series Champion?
43% Will Power
17% Scott Dixon
12% Dario Franchitti
7% Tony Kanaan
7% Helio Castroneves
4% Rubens Barrichello

It does, however, look like fans are predicting a change atop the overall standings. Just over 1 out of 10 respondents seem to think Dario will repeat as champ.

One thing is for sure--as the season progresses, I can't wait to see how close to (or far off) the mark we all were.


  1. The only election by the fans that surprises me is the Viso one: I know he will have an improved team this year, both mechanically and with teammates, but he's already found the tires in Sebring and is like a "bull in a china shop."

    1. I voted Viso for "about the same as last year", which isn't saying much really. He finished next to last in points for drivers who participated in every race of 2011. He may be a great guy, but now is the worst of the full-time, non-rookies on the grid in my opinion.

  2. I wouldn't put much stock in the relative times between RB and TK at Sebring. RB said in a tweet (or maybe it was the twitcam Q&A he and TK did Saturday) that TK was the mule doing the full tanks/race stint runs. Rubens not so much.

    I think TK has a leg up come race day just with track familiarity. Rubens could come on toward the end of the season, but I think Power and others will have built insurmountable points leads by then. I remember Zanardi vs Vasser in '96: Jimmy only won that championship because he had a Ganassi car under him and had knowledge that it took Zanardi about 5 races to sort. Then everything started flowing Alesandro's way. If that season had been one race longer, Zanardi would have won three straight CART championships.

    1. I think overall, the times from Sebring need to be taken with a grain of salt. Yes, they're interesting, but ultimately, different drivers and team were working on different checklist items during the test.

  3. Ken @AbuelosDeTreceMarch 13, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    Great Poll! Would have been nice to have had this for last season to see if Dan Wheldon (2011 winner - RIP) or then rookie JR Hildebrand (2nd place) would have even been listed or had any votes. For next year's poll (yes, I think we should do this every year), maybe we should add a choice for rookie driver or Indy 500 only driver.

    As far as EJ Viso goes... Just about every driver made mistakes last year... including Power, Kanaan, Franchitti, etc. There were also a lot of drivers that were 'caught up' in other driver's mistakes, and a lot of drivers that had mechanical issues beyond their control. Yes EJ had a few mistakes of his own last season, but many of the issues were beyond his control. If you eliminate those beyond his control, he would have been right up there easily making the top ten. Go back and look at the stats, and you will see that nearly always gaining positions within the field, many times significantly so. In both Texas races last year, He started at the back and ended in the top ten. He has won the Firestone Tire-Rific award for gaining the most positions in a race (both 2011 and 2010). The final season standings do not always show how good one driver is relative to the other drivers. It's just one measure attempting to take into account many factors. Of course it is the one that counts in the end, but I for one am hoping that EJ Viso has a much improved season. I think that KV Racing may be the team to recon with for 2012 with Kanaan, Barrichello and yes... EJ Viso.