IndyCar’s final four races: A stat primer on title contenders

Photo: IndyCar
0 Comments

Since Pocono Raceway (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) has returned to the Verizon IndyCar Series calendar in 2013, there hasn’t been a consistent theme yet.

So far there have been four different winners and four different polesitters, only one of whom has gone onto win:

  • 2013: Win: Scott Dixon (started 17th), Pole: Marco Andretti (finished 10th)
  • 2014: Win/Pole: Juan Pablo Montoya
  • 2015: Win: Ryan Hunter-Reay (started 8th), Pole: Helio Castroneves (finished 16th)
  • 2016: Win: Will Power (started 8th), Pole: Mikhail Aleshin (finished 2nd)

With four races remaining in the 2017 season, there’s seven drivers still within realistic title contention, although the top four hold a distinctly better chance given they’re only covered by 17 points.

Here’s how the top-10 in points sits going into Pocono:

  1. Josef Newgarden, 453
  2. Helio Castroneves, 446
  3. Scott Dixon, 445
  4. Simon Pagenaud, 436
  5. Will Power, 401
  6. Graham Rahal, 395
  7. Takuma Sato, 381
  8. Alexander Rossi, 358
  9. Tony Kanaan, 320
  10. James Hinchcliffe, 316

Of the top seven, who are covered within 72 points, here’s their records at the final four tracks in recent years, since the current chassis was introduced in 2012:

POCONO

  • Newgarden: 2013: Started 15th/Finished 5th, 2014: Started 21st/Finished 8th, 2015: Started 4th/Finished 2nd, 2016: Started 2nd/Finished 4th
  • Castroneves: 2013: Started 6th/Finished 8th, 2014: Started 7th/Finished 2nd, 2015: Started 1st/Finished 16th, 2016: Started 4th/Finished 19th
  • Dixon: 2013: Started 17th/Finished 1st, 2014: Started 15th/Finished 5th, 2015: Started 11th/Finished 9th, 2016: Started 19th/Finished 6th
  • Pagenaud: 2013: Started 8th/Finished 6th, 2014: Started 11th/Finished 6th, 2015: Started 2nd/Finished 7th, 2016: Started 14th/Finished 18th
  • Power: 2013: Started 4th/Finished 4th, 2014: Started 2nd/Finished 10th, 2015: Started 3rd/Finished 4th, 2016: Started 8th/Finished 1st
  • Rahal: 2013: Started 16th/Finished 18th, 2014: Started 14th/Finished 19th, 2015: Started 5th/Finished 20th, 2016: Started 11th/Finished 11th
  • Sato: 2013: Started 7th/Finished 22nd, 2014: Started 4th/Finished 21st, 2015: Started 9th/Finished 6th, 2016: Started 3rd/Finished 22nd

GATEWAY

Only Castroneves and Dixon, among the top-seven in points, have past starts there and it was on the old surface. Castroneves scored his second career IndyCar podium finish there in 1999 driving for Hogan Racing, finishing second to Michael Andretti, and he won the series’ most recent race there in 2003. In five Gateway starts, Castroneves has finished seventh, second, ninth, second and first.

WATKINS GLEN

  • Newgarden: 2016: Started 12th/Finished 2nd
  • Castroneves: 2016: Started 4th/Finished 3rd
  • Dixon: 2016: Started 1st/Finished 1st
  • Pagenaud: 2016: Started 7th/Finished 7th
  • Power: 2016: Started 2nd/Finished 20th
  • Rahal: 2016: Started 20th/Finished 21st
  • Sato: 2016: Started 22nd/Finished 17th

SONOMA

  • Newgarden: 2012: Started 22nd/Finished 23rd, 2013: Started 17th/Finished 24th, 2014: Started 2nd/Finished 6th, 2015: Started 2nd/Finished 21st, 2016: Started 10th/Finished 6th
  • Castroneves: 2012: Started 4th/Finished 6th, 2013: Started 5th/Finished 7th, 2014: Started 6th/Finished 18th, 2015: Started 15th/Finished 15th, 2016: Started 2nd/Finished 7th
  • Dixon: 2012: Started 5th/Finished 13th, 2013: Started 2nd/Finished 15th, 2014: Started 3rd/Finished 1st, 2015: Started 9th/Finished 1st, 2016: Started 7th/Finished 17th
  • Pagenaud: 2012: Started 9th/Finished 7th, 2013: Started 10th/Finished 5th, 2014: Started 15th/Finished 3rd, 2015: Started 4th/Finished 16th, 2016: Started 1st/Finished 1st
  • Power: 2012: Started 1st/Finished 2nd, 2013: Started 3rd/Finished 1st, 2014: Started 1st/Finished 10th, 2015: Started 1st/Finished 7th, 2016: Started 4th/Finished 20th
  • Rahal: 2012: Started 13th/Finished 5th, 2013: Started 8th/Finished 11th, 2014: Started 14th/Finished 20th, 2015: Started 6th/Finished 18th, 2016: Started 5th/Finished 2nd
  • Sato: 2012: Started 26th/Finished 27th, 2013: Started 13th/Finished 23rd, 2014: Started 20th/Finished 4th, 2015: Started 18th/Finished 8th, 2016: Started 15th/Finished 14th

Looking at past results from the last few years, here’s a few things that immediately stick out:

  • Newgarden and Dixon have made something out of nothing at Pocono, turning often poor qualifying results into great race finishes. At a 500-mile race, it’s fair to say qualifying means less here than at any of the other final four races.
  • Pagenaud has been good but not great at Pocono. As a superspeedway win is the only thing missing from his resume – he got his first short oval win earlier this year at Phoenix – it is the last thing he needs to complete the full versatility checklist.
  • Castroneves can rely on the most Gateway experience among the title contenders, plus his dominance in Iowa, to bolster his championship hopes.
  • Power, last year’s Pocono winner, could parlay himself back into title contention with an encore. He got the gap to Pagenaud down to 20 points after his win and Pagenaud’s accident here last year
  • Rahal and Sato have struggled for results at Pocono. At 58 and 72 points back of Newgarden, respectively, another year where they fail to achieve a needed result will likely knock them from the fringes of title contention out of it entirely.
  • As the series gets closer to the final two road course races, it’ll put a premium on qualifying. Within those above stats at Sonoma, only Rahal in 2012, Pagenaud and Sato in 2014 and Sato again in 2015 have delivered a top-10 finish from outside the top-10 on the grid. Newgarden was able to pull off a 12th-to-second run at Watkins Glen last year but expecting an encore would be difficult; he’ll need to qualify better on this occasion.

Starting this weekend, expect some fireworks as the series begins a three-in-a-row stretch of races in as many weekends before a one-week breather, then the Sonoma finale on September 17.

Peacock to stream all Supercross and Motocross races in 2023, plus inaugural SuperMotocross Championship

Peacock Supercross Motocross 2023
Feld Entertainment, Inc.
0 Comments

NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports announced that Peacock and the NBC family of networks will stream all 31 races of the combined Monster Energy Supercross, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and the newly created SuperMotocross World Championship beginning January 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and ending October 14 in the place where Supercross was born: the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The combined series will create a 10-month calendar of events, making it one of the longest professional sports’ seasons in the United States.

The agreement is for multiple years. The season finale will air live on Peacock and the USA Network.

Peacock will present live coverage of all races, qualifying and heats across both series. The 31 total races will mark a record for the combined number of Supercross and Pro Motocross events that NBC Sports will present in a single season.

NBC, USA Network and CNBC will provide coverage of all races, including the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final, through 2023 and beyond. For more information about the Peacock streaming service, click here.

“With our wide array of live and original motorsports offerings, Peacock is a natural home for Supercross and Pro Motocross races,” said Rick Cordella, Chief Commercial Officer, Peacock. “We’re looking forward to providing fans with an easily-accessible destination to find every race all season long, including the exciting finish with the newly formed SuperMotocross World Championship.”

MORE: A conversation about media rights created the new SuperMotocross World Championship Series

The NBC family of networks has been home to Supercross for the past several seasons and this is a continuation of that relationship. The media rights for both series expired at the end of 2022, which allowed Supercross and Motocross to combine their efforts.

In fact, it was that conversation that led to the formation of the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

The SMX series will begin on September 9, 2023 after the conclusion of the Pro Motocross season. Points will accumulate from both series to seed the SMX championship, which creates a record number of unified races.

“The SuperMotocross World Championship adds a new dimension to the annual Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons that will result in crowning the ultimate World Champion,” said Stephen C. Yaros, SVP Global Media and Supercross for Feld Motor Sports. “We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with NBC Sports so our fans can watch all the racing action streaming live on Peacock and the option to also watch select rounds on NBC, USA Network and CNBC.”

Complete 2023 coverage schedules for Supercross, Pro Motocross and the SuperMotocross World Championship on Peacock, NBC, USA Network and CNBC will be announced in the near future.