Pre-Season Power Rankings: Drivers

Here are the pre-season power rankings for the drivers of the 2012 Indycar season, and I will add that based on the depth of the field, this was incredibly difficult! Here we go:

He has a Target on his back.... Okay, that is way
too cliche and is said way too often , but it is true

1. Dario Franchitti 
We're not talking a three peat, a four peat, a five peat, but maybe an eight peat? (SNL voice) Dario is the defending champ. Can he make it five straight championships in five straight years in Indycar? Looks like Honda is second best to Chevrolet, but Dario is so damn consistent and quick, that it makes up for that. Lots of unknowns heading into St. Pete.

2. Will Power
I think there is only so many times you can finish second, can he get over that hump and win the title? Most talented road racer in the field by a country mile.

3. Scott Dixon
Some mistakes made him come up short last year, can he bounce back this year? I say he will easily be in the running this season.

4. Tony Kanaan
TK had a strong year last year. He is primed for a great year, as he has logged a lot of testing laps in the DW12.

5. Graham Rahal
I am expecting huge things from Golden Graham this year. If luck bounces his way, Rahal can definitely be in the thick of the title chase.

6. Ryan Briscoe
Unimpressive last year for someone of Ryan's caliber, can the Aussie bounce back?

7. Ryan Hunter-Reay
Ryan is poised to bounce back a strong performance last year with another solid season.

8. Helio Castroneves
Helio's time is running out in Indycar. Can he get that all elusive championship title?

9. Marco Andretti
Marco has been very happy in the DW12. I think it is about time he stepped up and became an elite driver in Indycar with the stats to back it up.

10. Oriol Servia
Oriol was the Cinderella story last year. Can he do it again? All the D&RR focus will be on him.

11. James Hinchcliffe
The Mayor of Hinchtown can have a big year. Will all the pressure and hype get to him?

12. Justin Wilson
He has been itching to get back into the car since Mid Ohio of last year. The new car will definitely aid him on road courses. Nice guys can finish first.

13. Rubens Barrichello
The world watches. We all want to see what he can do in an Indycar.

14. Josef Newgarden
The only reason he isn't higher is because of lack of testing time in the DW12 compared to some of the bigger teams.

15. EJ Viso 
Primed for a big year, he has a lot of talent and I'm excited to see him race. But will he get equal opportunities and equal attention on a team with brothers Rubens and Kanaan? 

16. Simona de Silvestro
No more Porkchop means Simona has a chance to succeed.

17. Sebastien Bourdais
We know Bourdais can kick ass on road courses. Can he do well on the ovals? Let's just hope he has an engine for the entire season, because that whole situation is FUBAR.

18. Simon Pagenaud
See above (first two sentences), except replace Bourdais with Pagenaud.

19. JR Hildebrand
If JR could qualify a little better on the road courses, then he will make a big jump in the rankings.

20 Alex Tagliani
Can he do well with a team that is in their first full time season? Aggressive driver, but is he too aggressive at times?

21. Mike Conway
Horrible year last year excluding Long Beach. Conway needs to prove that he still has "it".

22. Charlie Kimball
Charlie has a very solid second half of last year. Little margin for era considering he drivers for Ganassi. He needs to keep pace with his teammates to remain at Ganassi.

23. Ed Carpenter
I am not convinced that Ed has refined his road course skills.

24. Takuma Sato
Sato needs more consistency. More consistency will result in a higher ranking.

25. James Jakes
Money from the family gets you far in the racing world. I'd like to see a 180 degree change from last year.

26. Katherine Legge
Can Katherine get back into the swing of things in the big leagues?

27. Paul Tracy
*Insert cryptic "I don't have an engine for my ride" tweet here*

Thanks for reading! This was difficult because there are so many good drivers! Let me know what you all think.

-Matthew Hickey