St. Pete results year-on-year: Penske rolls on; Dixon moves up

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With the opening round of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series in the books, it’s worth doing a quick look at where each driver finished to kick off their new campaign in comparison to last year.

The Team Penske domination on the streets of St. Petersburg rolls on, and that’s the single biggest takeaway.

Last year, they got all four of their cars in the top five. This year, they got the three full-season drivers again in – so that’s seven top-fives of a possible eight in the last two years for “The Captain’s” quartet. Juan Pablo Montoya, of course, has gone back-to-back.

Of course, that comes with a slight asterisk since Will Power was ruled out due to his mild concussion and didn’t race. Oriol Servia did fine under the circumstances and would have had a better result if he wasn’t caught up in the Turn 4 pileup on Lap 57.

Elsewhere, Takuma Sato, Scott Dixon and Carlos Munoz led the movers forward from year to year. Charlie Kimball had an 11-spot increase year-to-year. For Dixon, who ended 15th last year, seventh was a better result than what he’s generally used to here.

Big drop-offs were felt for Tony Kanaan, down six spots but still in the top 10, Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal who lost five spots apiece compared to last year, and notably, the two official retirements in Sebastien Bourdais and Josef Newgarden.

Drivers with an asterisk listed are rookies. Last year Gabby Chaves was the top rookie in 17th; this year, interestingly, it’s the driver that replaced him in the No. 98 Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Honda in Alexander Rossi who’s ended top of the first-timers in 12th.

It’s a small sample size for sure, but interesting to note as the year is about to kick off and to see who moves where in the points standings.

2016 2015
1 Juan Pablo Montoya 1 1
2 Simon Pagenaud 2 5
3 Ryan Hunter-Reay 3 7
4 Helio Castroneves 4 4
5 Mikhail Aleshin 5
6 Takuma Sato 6 13
7 Scott Dixon 7 15
8 Carlos Munoz 8 14
9 Tony Kanaan 9 3
10 Charlie Kimball 10 21
11 Jack Hawksworth 11 8
12 Alexander Rossi* 12
13 Conor Daly* 13
14 Spencer Pigot* 14
15 Marco Andretti 15 10
16 Graham Rahal 16 11
17 Max Chilton* 17
18 Oriol Servia 18
19 James Hinchcliffe 19 16
20 Luca Filippi 20 9
21 Sebastien Bourdais 21 6
22 Josef Newgarden 22 12
23 Will Power WD 2
24 Gabby Chaves* 17
25 Simona de Silvestro 18
26 Sage Karam* 19
27 Stefano Coletti* 20
28 Francesco Dracone 23
29 Carlos Huertas 24