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IndyCar’s on-track stories to come over the final 3 races

Sep 11, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT

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It might be – scratch that, is easier – to ask the questions yet to be determined in the IZOD IndyCar Series season, and silly season, over the next few weeks before the Shell Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader October 5-6.

It’s been a year for the series that has featured an excellent on-track product for the most part, save for a couple caution-infested wreck fests. Still, there’s a number of things on-and-off track to sort out here between now and Houston. We’ll just rattle them off, starting with the on-track in this post and the off-track in a separate one:

ON-TRACK

  • Can Helio Castroneves finally seal the deal for his first title? The Brazilian leads Scott Dixon by 49, Simon Pagenaud by 70, Marco Andretti by 71 and Ryan Hunter-Reay by 74. Realistically it will be just between the top two if Dixon can claw back the gap, and for any of third through fifth to have a shot, Castroneves must hit trouble in Houston. Thus far the model of consistency, Castroneves has completed all 2,003 laps this year.
  • Will IndyCar tie, or break, the different number of race winners? There’s been 10 so far and with three races left to go, talents such as Dario Franchitti, Justin Wilson and Andretti are among those who haven’t won yet. Consider Ed Carpenter is your defending champion at Fontana and there’s still a good five or six drivers who you could see breaking through to tie the record of 11 (set in 2000 and 2001, in CART), or set a new record of 12 or 13 this year.
  • There’s also a chance IndyCar could hit 20 podium finishers this year. Thus far 18 drivers have and some of the potentials who could but haven’t yet are Carpenter, E.J. Viso, JR Hildebrand, and Oriol Servia.
  • The Manufacturer’s Championship is also up for grabs. Honda and Chevrolet are square on eight wins apiece, and 120 points. Whoever wins two of the next three – first to 10 wins – takes the crown this year. Either Chevrolet defends or Honda has its first since the return of engine competition.
  • Will prior Houston experience pay dividends? Eight drivers projected to race next month have started at Houston in either Champ Car or Formula Atlantic (Sebastien Bourdais, Oriol Servia, Graham Rahal, Simon Pagenaud, Simona de Silvestro, Justin Wilson, James Hinchcliffe, Will Power) and will likely have a leg up from the off. 

  1. indycarseries500 - Sep 11, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Rooting for Pagenaud to steal this championship.

  2. Jeff - Sep 11, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    Rooting for everybody except Helio.

  3. snoopyo - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:12 AM

    I got a feeling we are going to see a Penske Ganassi dust up in Houston and it could get very interesting.I can see them coming together on the track and them taking each other out especially with the championship.If it happens we can count on Dario not taking the blame for anything.I like Dixon kinda feel bad for him because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wonder how things will work out in race control because the Ganassi boys are unhappy and they haven’t been getting there way like they use to when TGBB was in race control and with Dixie calling for Barfield to be fired I wonder if they will be getting there way again.I hope we see another first time winner before the season is over Simona or Josef would be great stories. I know one thing for sure the winner of both races in Houston will be anybody but Ed Carpenter.

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