Jul 9, 2013, 7:00 PM EDT
The IZOD IndyCar Series’ Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco marked the end of the series’ four-race run of ovals. The teams won’t have another run on one until the season-ending MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway at Fontana in October.
Exiting Detroit, Marco Andretti and Helio Castroneves were tied for the points lead on 206 apiece. Four races later, Castroneves leads Andretti’s teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay by 23 points (356-333), with Andretti 55 points behind in third.
Castroneves won at Texas to kick off this four-race oval stretch and has added top-10 finishes in the other three races. The Team Penske driver is the only driver in the field to have completed such a run on the diverse stretch of ovals: 1.5-mile (Texas), 1-mile (Milwaukee), 0.875-mile (Iowa) and 2.5-miles (Pocono).
Although Hunter-Reay and Andretti are further back, their results have not matched how well they’ve run. On pure pace, Andretti Autosport Chevrolets have been the fastest cars throughout the run of ovals. They’ve grabbed 12 of a possible 20 top-five starting positions in the four races, led 542 of 888 laps (61.03 percent), and won at both Milwaukee with Hunter-Reay and Iowa with James Hinchcliffe.
Hunter-Reay and Castroneves have scored 186 points apiece on all ovals this year, with Castroneves outscoring Hunter-Reay by eight, 150-142, in the last four races. Tony Kanaan (166), Ed Carpenter (145) and Andretti (140) round out the top five of those who have scored the most oval points this year.
Andretti, twice a polesitter in this stretch, had the hardest luck because leading at Pocono made him a victim of his own success. As he spent 88 laps in the lead, he burned fuel faster rather than those who could sit behind in the draft to save fuel and run longer. The Hondas had a slight advantage anyway.
Elsewhere in the points, Hinchcliffe has advanced four spots from ninth to fifth after Detroit, despite his first lap exit at Pocono, while Takuma Sato has, since Indianapolis, dropped from second to 10th in points.
See a comparison of where the points are now compared to where they were before this four-race run of ovals, below:
Exiting Detroit 2, Round 7 Exiting Pocono, Round 11 1. Marco Andretti, 206 Helio Castroneves, 356 2. Helio Castroneves, 206 Ryan Hunter-Reay, 333 3. Ryan Hunter-Reay, 191 Marco Andretti, 301 4. Scott Dixon, 186 Scott Dixon, 291 5. Simon Pagenaud, 177 James Hinchcliffe, 272 6. Takuma Sato, 175 Tony Kanaan, 271 7. Justin Wilson, 169 Simon Pagenaud, 269 8. Tony Kanaan, 160 Justin Wilson, 253 9. James Hinchcliffe, 154 Will Power, 243 10. Charlie Kimball, 149 Takuma Sato, 241