Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fantasy Indycar Awards

It was another fantastic season of Fantasy Indycar. A new twist was added on this season with the introduction of the Elimination Zone. After the last race of the season, the competitors who finished P31-33 were knocked out of the field for the following season. This meant that a lot of the field hunkered down and got serious. Mike Crawford won the championship, and 29 others survived to see their name on the list for 2016. Here are the 2015 Fantasy Indycar Awards:

Mike Crawford

The Rest of the Top-Five, P2-5
2) David Redner
3) James Sedlmayr
4) David Leiting Jr.
5) James Alban

Michael Tressler Rookie of the Year
Paige Hill

Driver who was picked the most (all drivers, maximum of 165)
1) Tony Kanaan - 164
2) Scott Dixon - 163
2) Juan Pablo Montoya - 163
2) Will Power - 163
2) Graham Rahal - 163
6) Helio Castroneves - 162
7) Sebastien Bourdais - 158
8) Simon Pagenaud - 158
9) Marco Andretti - 153
9) Josef Newgarden - 153

Highest average times being picked per race
1) Ed Carpenter - 18.8
2) Scott Dixon - 10.3
3) Four way tie for third - 10.2

Lowest average times being picked per race (minimum 10 races)
1) Tristan Vautier - 0.45
2) Gabby Chaves - 0.68
3) Stefano Coletti - 1.12
4) James Jakes - 1.43
5) Jack Hawksworth - 3.37

Drivers who were picked in every race
Tony Kanaan
Scott Dixon
Juan Pablo Montoya
Will Power
Graham Rahal
Helio Castroneves
Marco Andretti
Josef Newgarden
Ryan Hunter-Reay
Carlos Munoz

Most improved from last year
1) James Alban - +25
2) James Sedlmayr - +23
3) David Redner - +22
4) David Leiting Jr. - +19
5) Mike Crawford - +17

Biggest losers from last year
1) Jason McVeigh - -28
2) Lynn Weinberg - -20
3) Jessica Baker - -19
4) Jake Neely - -17
4) Eric Hall - -17

Most Wins
1) Chris Mienaltowski - 3
2) Chris Blackburn - 2
3) 11 others collected one win

Most podiums
1) Mike Crawford - 4
2) David Redner - 3
2) David Leiting Jr. - 3
2) Chris Mienaltowski - 3
2) Kieran Brughelli - 3
2) Conor Daly - 3

Most top-fives
1) David Redner - 6
2) Gina Navarra - 5
3) Mike Crawford - 4
3) James Sedlmayr - 4
3) Kieran Brughelli - 4

Least top-fives
1) Matthew Hickey - 0
1) Amy Woedl - 0
3) James Alban - 1
3) Jessica Baker - 1
3) Lynn Weinberg - 1
3) Jason McVeigh - 1

Best single race performance - Double Points Races
1) Mike Crawford - 326 (Sonoma)
2) James Sedlmayr - 307 (Indianapolis)
3) Alan Stewart - 298 (Indianapolis)
4) Paige Hill - 292 (Sonoma)
5) Lynn Weinberg - 291 (Indianapolis)

Worst single race performance - Double Points Races (excludes penalties)
1) Justin Mann - 122 (Indianapolis)
2) Justin Mann - 126 (Sonoma)
2) Chris Blackburn - 126 (Sonoma)
4) DJ Jordan - 135 (Indianapolis)
5) Jason McVeigh - 136 (Indianapolis)

Best single race performance - Normal Points Races
1) Andy Nagel - 187 (St. Petersburg)
2) Sam Klein - 178 (Iowa)
2) Chris Blackburn - 178 (Iowa)
4) Chris Mienaltowski - 176 (Barber)
5) Johanna Husband - 175 (Toronto)

Worst single race performance - Normal Points Races (excludes penalties)
1) Mitch Robinson - 58 (Grand Prix of Indy)
2) Kieran Brughelli - 60 (Grand Prix of Indy)
3) Jerry Cruz - 62 (NOLA)
4) Stevin Jenkins - 63 (Long Beach)
5) Jessica Baker - 67 (Grand Prix of Indy)

Best proffesional driver in Fantasy Indycar
1) Conor Daly
2) No one else is eligible for this award

Participant who maxed out the most drivers
1) Sophie Hanson - 15
2) Gina Navarra - 14
2) Mike Crawford - 14
4) Alan Stewart - 13
4) Chris Mienaltowski - 13

Particpant who maxed out the least amount of drivers
1) James Alban - 6
1) Amy Woedl - 6
3) David Redner - 7
4) Sam Klein - 8
4) Mitch Robinson - 8
4) Eric Hall - 8
4) Conor Daly - 8

Best average points haul by race (excluding double points races)
1) Iowa - 137.1
2) Texas - 129.5
3) Barber - 129.3
4) St. Petersburg - 127
5) Fontana - 118.9

Worst average points haul by race (excluding double points races)
1) Grand Prix of Indy - 95.7
2) Milwaukee - 101.8
3) Detroit #1 - 102.6
4) NOLA - 106.5
5) Detroit #2 - 106.8

Skin of your teeth award (awarded to the five people finishing just above the EZ)
1) Lynn Weinberg - +17
2) Mitch Robinson - +33
3) Eric Hall - +50
4) Chris Blackburn - +75
5) Jake Neely - +85

The Marty Roth Award (Bottom Three)
1) Amy Woedl
2) Jason McVeigh
3) Justin Mann

Best trash talkers
1) David Redner
2) Mike Crawford
3) James Sedlmayr
4) Lynn Weinberg
5) Jerry Cruz

Thanks for a very entertaining season! The Elimination Zone really helped make thinks ultra competitive! Next on the #FantasyIndycar docket is to ask the 30 people who survived elimination if they would like to return for 2016. If anyone says no, then their spots along with the 3 vacated spots will be up for grabs with the people on the waiting list. The new field will be announced on November, 1st. If you want to be added to the wait list, please let me know!

-Matthew Hickey 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Winners and Losers: Sonoma

Here are your winners, losers, and Cone of Shame winner following the 2015 Go Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma:


Scott Dixon
Scott Dixon solidified his legend status on Sunday, not that it was ever in question. His come-from-behind championship win gives him four titles in his career. He also secured Chip Ganassi Racing's 100th career win. Really happy for Dixon, who did everything right (win, clean nose, bonus points, etc.) on his way to a title.

Chip Ganassi Racing
Chip Ganassi Racing took Team Penske to school yesterday. While Team Penske looked like a team divided, CGR looked like a well-oiled machine. Dixon was supported very well by Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan, and Sebastian Saavedra. They all did a great job in the last 20 laps (and all racing) at being buffers/supporting cast for Dixon. After the race, all the teammates, including spectator Sage Karam, immediately came and mobbed Dixon with cheerful congratulations. It was a great sight to see a bunch of drivers succeed as one.

Ryan Hunter-Reay
Ryan Hunter-Reay finished out a spectacular second-half of the season with another podium and a large points haul. RHR vaulted past many of his competitors on his way to a P6 finish in the championship. I'm pretty sure at one point this season, RHR was P14 in the championship. What a great comeback for RHR.

Rodolfo Gonzalez
A serious tip of the cap goes to Rodolfo Gonzalez. The often mocked Venezuelan, nicknamed Speedy, came in and saved the day for the #18 Dale Coyne Racing team. His P8 finish vaulted the #18 entry into the Leaders Circle Group, ensuring that Dale will likely be back with two cars next season if more funding his found. While Gonzalez had a lot of help getting in from other drivers of the #18 car this season, his late effort made the key difference. A well deserved shoutout to Gonzo.


Graham Rahal
The fairy tail ending wasn't to be for Graham Rahal. The embattled American who hasn't had a good season since 2012 had a pretty poor handling car. A late incident put a nail in the coffin, though with Dixon running up front all day, he was virtually eliminated from the get-go. Still, plenty for Graham and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing to build on for 2016.

Sebastien Bourdais
Sebasiten Bourdais was given the full Rahal treatment after the race. With under a dozen laps left in the season, Bourdais spun Rahal after a miscommunication heading into a turn. Graham was shot walking past Bourdais after the race. Bourdais began to apologize, but Graham quickly rebuffed him, saying, "You drove like a fuck." Earlier today, Bobby Rahal suggested that the next drivers meeting should be read in French (a slide at Bourdais and fellow Frenchman Tristan Vautier, who took out Graham last week). It was a disappointing end to a pretty good season for Bourdais.

James Jakes
James Jakes finished his anonymous year with a last place finish after a pretty substantial accident. While I have the utmost respect for Jakes as a driver, a disappointing season on the back of three other disappointing seasons means that Jakes street cred' isn't the best among fans and the paddock.

Luca Filippi
Luca Filippi ends a fast yet unlucky year with Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing with a P24 finish. There was some sort of throttle issue with his car, and it ruined his day. He looked fast all year, but random incidents like this derailed his chances at a good result.

Cone of Shame

Team Penske
I had a lot of people tell me that the Cone of Shame should go to Juan Pablo Montoya or Simon Pagenaud or Will Power. Why not the whole team?

Juan Pablo Montoya held the championship lead all season and still could not win in the last race. So, nothing wrong with the race he put in. He kept his nose clean, brought home a P6, and showed skill all season. But Montoya's comments after the race were shocking. He said that, "Dixon had a shit season and one good race." Montoya forgets how much his Indy win, which like Sonoma was also double points, vaulter him into the championship lead. He just acted like a straight douche after the race. Accept the loss with some grace.

Will Power put Montoya in a piss poor position yesterday. While attempting to undercut Josef Newgarden, Power clipped Montoya, damaging both cars and sending them both to the rear of the field. It wasn't intentional nor was it the most disastrous incident Power has committed, but he did make things very tough for the both of them to pass Dixon.

Helio Castroneves once again was absent in the season finale and has once again failed to get a title. Outside the first five laps, Helio's name wasn't even mentioned.

Simon Pagenaud made a serious cock up in the pits. With Pagenaud pitting in front of Power and Newgarden, who were both being serviced, Pagenaud kinda just stopped and impeded Newgarden from exiting. Power gained a small but noticeable track advantage on Newgarden. In my years of watching racing, the guy coming into the pits has the right of way over the guys being serviced. Why Pagenaud just stopped is it a bit appalling.

All-in-all, Penske Perfect was more Penske Implosion on Sunday. They had three out of the five major chances to win the title, and they didn't win it. You could just see the team unity at Ganassi. All Ganassi guys were working to help Dixon. While Dixon was the only Ganassi driver eligible to take the title, Team Penske seems to have this unofficial mantra of "driver first, team second." While it is admirable, they once again fell short to take a title they had squarely in the palm of their hands.

Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fantasy Indycar Picks: Sonoma

Here are the Fantasy Indycarp picks for the 2015 Go Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma, the season finale of the Indycar and #FantasyIndycar season. The current championship leader is highlighted in blue, while the three who are under threat of being eliminated from the 2016 field are highlighted in red:

Name Twitter Handle                                    Sonoma
Alan Stewart _alanstewart Power Pagenaud Helio Briscoe Bourdais
Amy Woedl OpenWheelMom
Andy Nagel Gabbahey75 Servia Newg Pagenaud Bourdais RHR
Chris Blackburn  chblackburn23 Wilson Rahal Bourdais Pagenaud Power
Chris Mienaltowski CPMski Pagenaud Briscoe Filippi Munoz Sato
Conor Daly conordaly22 Rahal Power RHR Newg JPM
David Leiting Jr. Dlite_47 Power Bourdais Newg Dixon RHR
David Redner IndyCART Power JPM Rahal Kanaan Helio
DJ Jordan djordan3223 JPM Dixon Bourdais Rahal Power
Eric Hall Erock_in_Indy Power JPM Helio Pagenaud Bourdais
Gina Navarra  gmnavarra RHR Newg Helio Power Sato
Jake Neely indycarfan25 Bourdais Power Newg Pagenaud Servia
James Alban TheKing0fSwing Bourdais Rahal Power Dixon Pagenaud
James Sedlmayr dfd827 Power Dixon Pagenaud JPM Bourdais
Jason McVeigh jasekm Pagenaud Newg Bourdais Andretti Briscoe
Jerry Cruz Indycar_Raider RHR Newg Bourdais JPM Power
Jessica Baker bakerjm13 Power Pagenaud RHR Aleshin JPM
Johanna Husband writebend JPM Andretti Servia Aleshin Briscoe
Justin Mann mannbeast Bourdais Aleshin Newg Sato Wilson
Kieran Brughelli  kieranbrughelli Power Rahal RHR JPM Briscoe
Kyle Lewis kylelewis1 Bourdais Aleshin Hawk Briscoe Servia
Lynn Weinberg lynnweinberg Kanaan Filippi Newg RHR Bourdais
Mathew Gruenholz IndycarSTIG RHR Kanaan Power Sato Munoz
Matthew Hickey Indycar_MN Power JPM Dixon Pagenaud Bourdais
Mike Crawford 7BigMike Power Dixon Pagenaud RHR Briscoe
Mitch Robinson mitchrobinson_ Power Bourdais Newg JPM Rahal
Paige Hill paigehilll JPM Helio RHR Briscoe Kanaan
Rick Snodie  rickfromwi Bourdais Power Helio Pagenaud Servia
Sam Klein sklein31 Newg Power Rahal RHR Servia
Sandy Lamparello npssandy Kanaan Pagenaud Helio RHR Power
Sarah Hall flywheel011 Power JPM Rahal Bourdais Pagenaud
Sophie Hanson Sophie_Hansons3 Helio Sato Power JPM Chaves
Steven Jenkins ukindyfan Power Helio RHR Andretti Briscoe

Penalties: Amy Woedl

Top 3 most picked: 1) Power - 24 2) Bourdais - 18 3) Pagenaud - 15
Not picked: Coletti, Jakes, Saavedra, Gonzalez, Vautier, and Kimball

Let's end the season in a bang!

-Matthew Hickey

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

This One's For Justin

Four years ago, in my second ever blog post, I found myself writing about the passing of one of my favorite drivers, Dan Wheldon. 1,411 days since we lost my Dan, I find myself having the unfortunate task of writing about another one of the many drivers I look up to, Justin Wilson, departing from this world after a terrible accident.

My first memory, as is many fans' first memory of Justin is, "HOLY HELL! That guy is not a driver! Look at how tall he is!" I'm pretty sure I made a Chicago Bulls reference at that point as well (he was probably a better basketball player than the players they had in the mid-2000s haha). Once I saw how talented he was, my jokes quickly turned to how impressive he was to watch. I also remember thinking how he was the only guy who had a chance to stick it to Sebastien Bourdais in Champ Car.

Then came his time in the newly merged Champ Car-IRL. He started out at Newman-Haas Racing, and he was once again leaving an impression on me. He would later to two smaller teams, Dale Coyne Racing and Dreyer and Reinbold Racing between 2009-2014. While I was always vocal about Justin's crappy situation (he had the talent to be in a Penske or Ganassi car), watching him succeed as an underdog was a thorough treat. Seeing him beat champions and Indy 500 winners in average-to-mediocre equipment was thrilling.

It's the way Justin did it, both on and off the track, that made Justin the only 'BadAss.' He was so aggressive and he was seemingly always overtaking people, yet he hardly ever put a wheel wrong. He never caused trouble and never was a pest. Off the track, Justin was one of, if not the most, approachable person in the paddock. I had the pleasure of going up to him and shaking his hand leading up to the 2010 Iowa Corn Indy 250. I wished him good luck and asked what his chances were of winning. He said they were pretty good despite a below average starting position. So, of course Wilson spun and collected Mario Moraes before he finished one lap, but getting to meet him and experiencing just how nice he was in person was great.

Once I made the decision to get on Twitter, Justin was one of the first drivers who followed me. He tweeted to me only a couple time a year, but watching him respond to many of my friends' tweets with a simple 'thank you' embodied just what kind of person Justin is. I even got to interview him, something I will never forget.

Justin also spent a considerable amount of time at Children's Hospitals and with those who had dyslexia, doing whatever he could to brighten a person's day. Justin, who had dyslexia, was a big advocate for those who had dyslexia. His Twitter bio even said, "Warning Dyslexic in control, tweets might not make sense."

Justin was just a kind, respectful, and funny human being. He never once gave off the impression that he was a world class athlete who was amazing at his job. He acted like a fan, and therefore had a cult-like following of fans who stood back and apreciated what he did for years. The outpouring of support this week is a reflection of the kind of many he was.

I know I'm not the first person to publish my thoughts on Justin and definitely won't be the last, but I felt like I had to show my appreciation for Justin. While this article is an insufficient chance to share that appreciation, I just wanted to tell Justin, wherever he may be, that it was an absolute treat to watch you for over a decade. Thank you for being a great representative of Indycar, and we all miss you very much.

My continued thoughts and prayers to Justin's family during these difficult times.

Photo: Chris Owens / Indycar Media

-Matthew Hickey

Monday, August 24, 2015

Justin Wilson's Career in Pictures

Finding it hard to find the words to describe just how great of a driver Justin Wilson was. I'll work on something for tomorrow. but for now, here's some pictures of Justin Wilson's career, starting in F1 in 2003 and onwards. Rest in peace JW.

Wilson made his debut in 2003 for Minardi (black car) (No photo credit given)
Wilson would switch to Jaguar later in 2003 (Photo: SkySports)

Wilson made the move to America in 2004 driving in Champ Car for RuSports.
Milwaukee 2004 (Photo: Dan Streck /

Long Beach 2004 (Photo: Todd Corzett /

Justin Wilson
San Jose 2005 (Photo: Todd Corzett /

Justin Wilson
Toronto 2005 (Photo: Eric Gilbert /

Justin Wilson
Monterrey 2006 (Photo: Juan Carlos Munoz /

Justin Wilson
Road America 2006 (Photo: Kurt Dahlstrom /

Assen 2007 (Photo credit not given)

Long Beach 2007 (Photo:

GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300 Practice
Wilson came over to Indycar after the merge with Newman-Haas. Homestead 2008
(Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images North America)

Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Practice
St. Petersburg 2008 (Photo: Darrell Ingham / Getty Images North America)

Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Practice
St. Petersburg 2008 (Photo: Marc Serota / Getty Images North America)

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Practice
Long Beach 2008 (Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images North America)

92nd Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis 2008 (Photo: Jaime Squire / Getty Images North America)

Iowa Corn Indy 250 Practice
Iowa 2008 (Photo: Doug Benc / Getty Images North America)

Honda Indy 200 Practice
Mid-Ohio 2008 (Photo: Darrell Ingham / Getty Images North America)

Camping World Indy Grand Prix Practice
Watkins Glen 2008 (Photo: Nick Laham / Getty Images North America)

Peak Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300
Wilson outside Mario Moraes and Will Power Chicago 2008
(Photo: Darrell Ingham / Getty Images North America)

Duplicate: IndyCar  Nikon Indy 300 : Practice & Qualifiying
Surfers Paradise 2008 (Photo: Robert Cianflone / Getty Images AsiaPac)

Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Practice
St. Petersburg 2009 (Photo: Doug Benc / Getty Images North America)

Camping World Grand Prix Practice and Qualifying
Watkins Glen 2009 (Photo: Chris McGrath / Getty Images North America)

Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen
Watkins Glen 2009 victory (Photo: Chris McGrath / Getty Images North America)

Honda Indy Toronto
Toronto 2009 (Photo: Nick Laham / Getty Images North America)

Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg 2010 (Photo: Chris Graythen / Getty Images North America)

IRL Iowa
Iowa 2010 (Photo: Chris Trotman / Getty Images North America)

Honda Indy Edmonton Practice
Edmonton 2010 (Photo: Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images North America)

Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma Practice & Qualifying
Sonoma 2010 (Photo: Christian Peterson / Getty Images North America)

Kentucky Indy 300 Practice and Qualifying
Kentucky 2010 (Photo: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images North America)

Cafe do Brasil Indy 300 Practice and Qualifying
Homestead 2010 (Photo: Nick Laham / Getty Images North America)

Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Barber 2011 (Photo: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images North America)

The Milwaukee 225
Milwaukee 2011 (Photo: Nick Laham / Getty Images North America)

Honda Indy Toronto
Toronto 2011 (Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images North America)

Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg - Day 2
St. Petersburg 2012 (Photo: Nick Laham / Getty Images North America)

Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix - Day 2
Detroit 2012 (Photo: Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images North America)

IZOD IndyCar Series Firestone 500
Texas 2012 (Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images North America)

IZOD IndyCar Series Firestone 500
Texas 2012 (Photo: Chris Graythen / Getty Images North America)

IZOD IndyCar Series Firestone 500
Texas 2012 (Photo: Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images North America)

Milwaukee IndyFest 225 - Day 1
Milwaukee 2012 (Photo: Chris Trotman / Getty Images North America)

Iowa Corn Indy 250 - Day 1
Iowa 2012 (Photo: Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images North America)

Grand Prix of Baltimore - Day 1
Baltimore 2012 (Photo: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images North America)

Sao Paulo Indy 300 - Day 1
Sao Paulo 2013 (Photo: Chris Graythen / Getty Images North America)

Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix - Day 2
Wilson celebrates with Mike Conway Detroit 2013 (Photo: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images North America)

Honda Indy Toronto: Day 2
Toronto 2013 (Photo: Chris Trotman / Getty Images North America)

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg 2014 (Photo: Chris Trotman / Getty Images North America)

Grand Prix of Indianapolis
Indianapolis 2014 (Photo: Nick Laham / Getty Images North America)

Texas Motor Speedway: Day 2
Texas 2014 (Photo: Todd Warshaw / Getty Images North America)

Pocono INDYCAR 500 - Day 1
Pocono 2014 (Photo: Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images North America)

Iowa Corn Indy 300: Day 1
Iowa 2014 (Photo: Rainier Ehrhardt / Getty Images North America)

Indianapolis 2015 (Photo: Bret Kelley / Indycar Media)

Indianapolis 2015 (Photo: Chris Jones / Indycar Media)

Speeding to Read Championship Assembly
Texas 2015 for Indy 500 media tour (Photo: Sarah Crabill / Getty Images North America)

Justin's last podium, Mid-Ohio 2015 (John Cote / Indycar Media)

Pocono 2015 (Photo: Chris Jones / Indycar Media)

Pocono 2015 (Photo: Chris Owens / Indycar Media)

Pocono 2015 (Photo: Chris Owens / Indycar Media)

Pocono 2015 (Chris Jones / Indycar Media)

All my thoughts and prayers go to Justin and his family. Rest in peace Justin.

-Matthew Hickey