IndyCar: Stats of note and points through two races

1 Comment

Here’s a few stats of note and Verizon IndyCar Series points through two races:

  • Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach winner Mike Conway is the only driver to have led laps in both races (1 at St. Petersburg, 3 at Long Beach). With 16 spots gained from start to finish, he was also the biggest mover on Sunday.
  • Already, 11 different drivers have made the Firestone Fast Six in two races. The only driver to make it twice is Ryan Hunter-Reay (qualified third at St. Petersburg, pole at Long Beach). The 11 that have made it are: Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, Takuma Sato, Sebastien Bourdais, Simon Pagenaud, Scott Dixon, Will Power, Tony Kanaan, Josef Newgarden and Jack Hawksworth.
  • Five drivers: Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Marco Andretti and Jack Hawksworth, have qualified in the top 10 in both races.
  • In two races, Juan Pablo Montoya, Charlie Kimball, Graham Rahal and Carlos Huertas have yet to crack the top 15 in qualifying.
  • Power and Pagenaud are the only two drivers with two top-five finishes in the first two races. Additionally, they’re the only two who have scored top-10s in both races.
  • Just one more point separates third (Simon Pagenaud, 60) from the tie for 18th (Marco Andretti and Carlos Huertas, 32) as does the gap from first to second. There’s a gap of 27 between first and second and a spread of 28 from third to 19th.
  • Poor Charlie Kimball has had mechanical issues in both races, and ranks last in the standings. He should improve going to Barber, where he has two past top-10 finishes in three starts.

INDYCAR 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

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

Getty Images
Leave a comment

If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.