INDIANAPOLIS – It’s an annual topic of conversation, but with the Month of May in Indianapolis now behind us in the rear view mirror, it’s time for the Verizon IndyCar Series teams and drivers to focus on the next big task at hand – the championship.
Most of the teams and drivers have had the championship on their mind, but not fully focused on it like they know they should be. They like to get through Indy then really focus on the rest of the season after.
Well, we’re here.
With two races on the streets of Belle Isle this weekend, when the checkered flag drops on Race No. 2 on Sunday afternoon, eight races will have already been completed, with only nine races left. We’d be almost to the halfway point already.
That’s why this weekend is so crucial for the championship hunt.
Currently, there’s four drivers separated by 11 points at the top of the standings. Helio Castroneves has 245 points, while there’s a three-way tie for second between Simon Pagenaud, Takuma Sato and Scott Dixon with 234 points each.
Alexander Rossi is fifth with 190 points, trailing by 55 markers.
But, only five points separate fifth through ninth, as Tony Kanaan has 188 points, Will Power 186 points, Josef Newgarden 186 points and Ed Jones 185.
James Hinchcliffe and Max Chilton are tied for 10th with 170 points each.
As you can see, there’s not much separation between those two groups and can’t afford to see any of them have a bad race. If so, they’d drop heavily.
Then, you have Ryan Hunter-Reay in 12th, 93 points out of the lead. Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal are 14th and 15th respectively, 98 and 101 points out. They have a lot of work to do.
Then, after this weekend, four of the nine remaining races are on ovals. Four more are on all terrain road courses. Just one is on a street course and that’s on July 16 at Toronto.
It’s going to be a big fight for the championship, one that will be intense and close.