The IZOD IndyCar Series has the opportunity this weekend in Baltimore to have its 11th different winner in 16 races this season, which would tie a mark set in 2000 and 2001, in the old CART days.
Here’s who has won thus far in the exciting and often unpredictable 2013 season:
- James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport, St. Petersburg (first career win), Brazil, Iowa
- Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport, Barber, Milwaukee
- Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Enterprises, Long Beach (first career win)
- Tony Kanaan, KV Racing Technology – SH, Indianapolis 500 (first Indianapolis 500 win)
- Mike Conway, Dale Coyne Racing, Detroit 1
- Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports, Detroit 2 (first career win)
- Helio Castroneves, Team Penske, Texas
- Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Pocono, Toronto 1 & 2
- Charlie Kimball, Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing, Mid-Ohio (first career win)
- Will Power, Team Penske, Sonoma
So, who are the likely candidates to be lucky number 11 and tie that mark this weekend? Here’s some gentlemen (and women) to watch:
- Dario Franchitti, Target Chip Ganassi Racing. He’s driving too well to have not yet broke his winless drought of late, which dates to Indianapolis 2012 overall and on a road or street course since Toronto of 2011. He’s as fast as ever with four pole positions and has finished third four times this year. He just feels due.
- Justin Wilson, Dale Coyne Racing. He missed Baltimore in 2011 due to injury and started seventh and finished 17th a year ago. But he has two street course podiums this year (Long Beach and Detroit 1) and has been particularly on form of late.
- Sebastien Bourdais, Dragon Racing. A double podium in Toronto was needed for both driver and team and he’s been better since the engineering change to Tom Brown. A Firestone Fast Six qualifier at Baltimore a year ago, knows his way around the circuit and a solid upset pick.
- Simona de Silvestro, KV Racing Technology. You might not think of her off the top but she starred at Baltimore two years ago and wasn’t able to show herself last year with the woefully underpowered Lotus engine. In need of a big weekend beyond the midpack, and with St. Petersburg as her best race this year, she could surprise this weekend.
- Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He and teammate James Jakes have each had a second-place on a street course this year but I’d peg Rahal a bit higher this weekend as he was woefully unlucky not to win, or podium, after a sensational qualifying performance at Baltimore in 2011. The key as ever for him and the RLL team is nailing the setup off the truck, because far too often in 2013 they’ve been playing catch-up. A few races into working with new engineer Neil Fife, formerly of Dragon, things might be turning around for young Rahal as he has one of his better weekends of the year last weekend in Sonoma.
- E.J. Viso, Venezuela-Andretti Autosport-HVM. A fringe entry here but Viso’s qualifying efforts earlier this year were very stout. Any chance of a win this weekend would come with a solid run on Saturday. After a lackluster stretch of races, this sort of feels like a weekend where Viso could pull a proverbial rabbit out of his hat.