It’s another long offseason with little to write about except racing minutae like who signed which engineer, or items of blatant speculation such as which driver will fill the remain seats. I don’t know the engineers that well so I’m not going to write about that – that’s what Marshall Pruett does. And I don’t have any inside track on who goes where, so I’ll leave that speculation to others.
I mean, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from years of participating in social media, it’s “stay in your lane, jerk face!”
So instead I decided to break out the data and look into the brief but substantial history of the Dallara DW12 era. One thing that makes this interesting is that we are as close to having a car neutral result set of driver performance as we’ve ever had in Indycar history. Now, of course, I realize that we aren’t totally car neutral, since in any given year a certain engine manufacturer might be more successful than another. And historically speaking Dale Coyne’s dampers or whatever are probably not comparable to Roger Penske’s. And of course manufacturer aero kits certainly threw a wrench into the equality of things.
But let’s just pretend, a little, okay? Otherwise I am wasting a whole lot of words. And more so than usually.
So with that out of the way, let’s just get to the cold hard totals for wins in the 101 races of the DW12 era.
This isn’t an awards show, so we don’t need to wait until the end to get to the big stuff. Let’s hit the Total Wins straight away. There have been 21 drivers who have won an Indycar series race since 2012, and none of them are named “Marco Andretti”.
(“Someone’s bitter about not getting a wedding invitation” – The Spotter)
Let’s look at the Top Five:
#5 – Josef Newgarden. Winning four races in 2017 certainly helped. Newgarden vaults from three race wins to seven, up to Number Five with a bullet as Billboard magazine would say. If this was music. But it’s not. Nevermind. Let’s move along.
#3 – Simon Pagenaud. No, we didn’t skip #4. Well, OK, we did, but that’s because there is a tie for #3. Anyhow, if it seems like the Frenchman has won a lot of races recently, you’re right. Seven of his 11 wins have come in the last two seasons. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out it’s good to drive for Roger Penske.
#3 – Ryan Hunter-Reay. Wipe that look of shock off your face. It’s true he hasn’t won any races in the last two seasons, but before he got stuck with an inferior Honda aero kit on short ovals Hunter-Reay racked up 11 wins between 2012 and 2015. Why did I mention ovals? Is that some sort of tease? SPOILER: this will be discussed in the next post.
#2 – Scott Dixon. Wait, don’t you mean #1 Scott Dixon? Are 14 wins not enough? Because he’s better than everyone, right? Even the drivers themselves say it! Well, all of the drivers except maybe. . .
#1 – Will Power. Yes, friends, Mr Crazy Eyes with the Double Birds has a whopping tally of 17 wins in a DW12. I’m not saying Dixon isn’t the best driver in the series; I’m just doing math.
1. Power – 17
2. Dixon – 14
3. Hunter-Reay – 11
4. Pagenaud – 11
5. Newgarden – 7
In case you are wondering, Sebastien Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, James Hinchcliffe, and Graham Rahal are all sitting outside the Top 5 with five wins each.
So what do you think of the list? Surprised? Appalled? Confused?
And as noted earlier, if this isn’t enough to tickle your brain then wait for tomorrow’s post where we add up the wins for Ovals and Non-Ovals. Or, if you prefer, you can break out the calculator on your own NOW and figure it out yourself. Either way, your choice.