IndyCar: Points fail to shift too much after Houston doubleheader

Leave a comment

We try to examine the points in the Verizon IndyCar Series on a fairly regular basis, trying to track big shifts or changes depending on certain stretches of races (Here was points post-Texas Motor Speedway, points post-Indianapolis 500, points post-Indianapolis 500 qualifying).

As IndyCar begins its brutal run of six races in four weekends, the fluctuating weather and form of the field meant there weren’t too many changes from pre-Houston to post-Houston.

Points leader Will Power had one of his worst ever weekends in IndyCar, yet retained the points lead and same gap (39 points) to Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves.

All told, only one driver, Sebastien Bourdais, made a massive leap in the standings. The driver of the No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet began the weekend 12th in points and ended eighth, after he was the only driver to score top-five finishes in both races.

There weren’t really any big losers, either, with several drivers dropping two positions from beginning to end of the weekend.

Anyway, here’s a breakdown of the 21 full-time drivers sit now leaving Houston, the second of three doubleheader weekends this season:

Driver		     TMS    HOU    Change
12 Will Power   	1	1
3 Helio Castroneves	2	2
28 Ryan Hunter-Reay	3	3
77 Simon Pagenaud	4	4	
2 Juan Pablo Montoya	7	5	+2
25 Marco Andretti	5	6	-1
34 Carlos Munoz 	6	7	-1
11 Sebastien Bourdais	12	8	+4
9 Scott Dixon		8	9	-1
27 James Hinchcliffe	11	10	+1
10 Tony Kanaan  	9	11	-2
19 Justin Wilson 	10	12	-2
8 Ryan Briscoe  	13	13
98 Jack Hawksworth	16	14	+2
83 Charlie Kimball	14	15	-1
7 Mikhail Aleshin	15	16	-1
18 Carlos Huertas	20	17	+3
15 Graham Rahal 	19	18	+1
14 Takuma Sato  	17	19	-2
67 Josef Newgarden	18	20	-2
17 Sebastian Saavedra	21	21

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.