Thursday, March 20, 2014

Power Rankings: Pre-Season

Returning for the first time since the 2012 season in Indycar Power Rankings. Unlike in the past though, I will just do the top-ten drivers in Indycar in my opinion. Power Rankings encompasses everything, like driver results, quality of their ride, and championship. The 2014 season is upon us, and here are the power rankings heading into the first race at St. Petersburg (number next to driver represents change from last power rankings update):

1) Scott Dixon (0)
The defending champion comes into the season with a lot of steam. Dixon beat out Helio Castroneves in the season finale at Fontana to take home his third Indycar title. Can Dixon get out of his five year pattern of winning the title every five years (2003, 2008, and 2013) to win the title this season? Only major change to speak of is new teammates in Tony Kanaan and Ryan Briscoe, and Chevrolet power replacing Honda power.

Scott Dixon - Grand Prix Of Baltimore - Day 2
The target is squarely on Dixon's back for 2014 (Photo: Brian Cleary / Getty Images North America)

2) Will Power (0)
Will Power was stymied again last season. The Aussie has been close to a championship many times but, despite being the most dominant driver on several occasions, has not captured the title. Will once again comes into the season as one of the favorites, but can he find some more consistency to bring home his first championship?


3) Ryan Hunter-Reay (0)
I feel as if Ryan Hunter-Reay doesn't quite get the credit he deserves. He won the championship in 2012, but much of the attention in that offseason went to Will Power and other news. Last year, he failed to defend his title despite having a real dominant season. He was up front all season and wrecks and mechanical failures set him back a great deal of points. Look for a bounce back year in order to get the #1 back on his car.


4) Helio Castroneves (0)
The most consistent and best statistical driver on paper in 2013 still could not take home the title.  So I'm not sure what else he would have to do to win it. I mean, obviously winning more would help, but that's easier sad than done. Can he ever get a championship? Time is running out. Championship or not, expect him to have a great season.


5) Simon Pagenaud (0)
Simon Pagenaud had a coming out party last season, capturing two wins and finishing P3 in the championship at the end of the season. Simon doesn't believe in the sophomore slump, or maybe that was his slump. Pags had a terrible start to the season last year at St.Petersburg. Can he reverse his fortunes and have another great season?

Pagenaud prooved his worth in 2013 (Photo: Chris Jones / Indycar Media)

6) Tony Kanaan (0)
Tony Kanaan takes over the coveted #10 Chip Ganassi car from the retired Dario Franchitti after a three year stint at KV Racing. Kanaan, the defending Indianapolis 500 winner, had an up-and-down year in 2013. Can he string together a successful season?


7) Juan Pablo Montoya (0)
The head scratcher of the group is Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya returns to Indycar for the first time since 2000 after relitively unsucessful stints in Formula 1 and NASCAR. He joins the great Team Penske full-time in the third car this season, meaning expectations are high. Can JPM return to his former self?

Tony Kanaan (pictured on the top) and Juan Pablo Montoya (bottom) testing at Fontana (Photo: Indycar Media)

8) James Hinchcliffe (0)
James Hinchcliffe returns to Andretti Autosport for a third straight season. This time around, he has Honda power instead of Chevrolet power. Hinch did have a feast-or-famine 2014 season, often either finishing really well or finishing in the back. Can he find more consistency this season?


9) Justin Wilson (0)
Justin Wilson was the darkhorse of 2013, quietly and swiftly finding ways to collect great results on his way to a P6 result in the championship. He once again returns to Dale Coyne Racing and Honda. Can Justin find a way to run up front once again?


10) Marco Andretti (0)
Marco Andretti had a career year last year, running up front at many races and finishing in the top-five in the championship. Despite his great successes, Marco failed to find victory lane. Will Marco put that Andretti name back on top in 2014?

Marco Andretti - Grand Prix of Baltimore: Day 1
Marco is coming off a career year (Photo: Brian Cleary / Getty Images North America)

New to the list: Everyone
Taken off the list: N/A

Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey

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