With so much of the discussion in the last week after the MAVTV 500 about either the race itself or 2016 schedule discussion with Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, very little time and energy has been spent on actual racing notes with just five races remaining in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Without further adieu, here are some interesting stats, streaks or droughts that drivers will need to either continue or snap starting next week in Milwaukee:
- Will Power asked “what are we doing?” in the immediate aftermath of Fontana. What the defending champion hasn’t been doing lately is scoring podiums. Since his runner-up finish at the Indianapolis 500, Power has two fourths and three finishes of 13th or worse; he’s lost 21 points to teammate Juan Pablo Montoya since Indy and now sits 46 points back with five races to go. It’s not insurmountable, but Power will need to claw back points soon if he is to retain his crown.
- Points leader Juan Pablo Montoya is riding a streak of seven consecutive top-10 finishes since the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, where he finished third. It’s the longest consecutive top-10 streak this season; Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan are currently riding three-race streaks.
- Through 11 races, both Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud are the only two drivers to have started in the top-10 in every event. Even more impressively, they have 10 top-five starts in 11 races, with only one start apiece outside the top-five. Despite Pagenaud’s excellent qualifying, his finishes haven’t matched; he has only one top-five finish eight races after two in his first three.
- While Graham Rahal has gotten a lot of deserved publicity, Marco Andretti has been on a quiet roll since the Indianapolis 500. Five top-six finishes in the last six races have seen him jump from 13th in points to sixth; he was 76 points back of Montoya after the Indianapolis GP and is only 99 points back now, after finishing ahead of him in three of the last five races.
- With Sage Karam finishing fifth on Saturday, it means all 20 drivers who have run eight or more races in the 11-race season have at least one-top 10 finish on their scorecard. Additionally, James Hinchcliffe, Tristan Vautier and Simona de Silvestro, all of whom have driven less, have top five results (win for Hinch and a fourth apiece for Vautier and de Silvestro).
- Thus far this year, in 11 races, there have been eight winners, 16 podium finishers and 20 drivers with at least one-top five. By contrast to Formula 1, there have only been three winners, six podium finishers and nine drivers with at least one top-five in eight races.
- Four drivers have run all 11 races with no DNFs: one is Montoya, one is Andretti, and the other two are James Jakes and rookie Gabby Chaves.
- With Karam, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ryan Briscoe and Ed Carpenter leading their first laps of the season Saturday, it means 25 different drivers have led at least one lap of competition thus far this year. Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports have all had four different drivers lead for them this year. RHR has only one top-five finish this year, at Barber in April, some seven races ago.