After Four Races

Here are my honest thoughts on all of the drivers that have participated in a race in the first four races of the Indycar season (alphabetical by last name, first number in third line signifies championship standing, followed by points earned through four races):

Marco Andretti
#27 Andretti Autosport
13th, 81 points

Marco Andretti has had a pretty decent year. He hasn't done much to stand out to me this year but he also hasn't made me stop and think, "Wow, when will Marco go away?" The question on everyone's mind is, will this be the year Marco wins at Indy?

Sebastien Bourdais
#11 KV Racing
10th, 91 points

Sebastien Bourdais has been incredibly quick so far this year. The problem? Bourdais is going to have perform on ovals if he wants any chance to win the championship, and I think that's a lot to ask. Bourdais had a great run at Indianapolis last year, and he did great at Fontana in 2013, but other than that, Bourdais has never impressed me on ovals. Still, Bourdais is one clean race at NOLA away from being in the top-five in points.

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Look at that car... (Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images North America)

Helio Castroneves
#3 Team Penske
2nd, 133 points

Helio Castronenves has had a peculiar start to the season. While he has shown excellent pace, history has shown us that Helio's consistency hasn't yielded a title; and the little mistakes cost him and his team. At Long Beach, it was having to wait for Tony Kanaan that cost him track position (not Helio's or team's fault). At Barber, it was a bad pit stop and running out of fuel on the last lap. If Helio can't rack up some wins avoid bad luck, he will again lose out on the championship. Also, I hate when Helio leads restarts. He always finds a way to cock it up. Rules be damned, Helio takes off when he wants and if you don't like it then too bad (Long Beach, Barber).

Gabby Chaves
#98 Bryan Herta Autosport
18th, 56 points

Highlights of Gabby Chaves' rookie season: 1) Hitting Marco Andretti at St. Pete 2) Hitting James Hinchcliffe at St. Pete 3) The man in a nice shirt saves Chaves from the swamps at NOLA. That's it, really. 17, 15, 16, and 16 place finishes so far means that I have yet to be impressed by the former Firestone Indy Light champ. Obviously, it's too soon to cast judgement on him, but it's been less than stellar so far.

Stefano Coletti
#4 KV Racing
21st, 41 points

Stefano Coletti got a bad wrap coming into the Indycar season. Many saw him as a talentless hack from GP2 who couldn't make it to F1. And so far, to be frank, he's proving people right. Sure he's shown pace at times, but a mechanical at St. Pete, a crash at NOLA, and an inept pass attempt on James Jakes in Barber all highlight was has been a mediocre start to the season. I mean, Simona de Silvestro has more points than him and she has only run two races.

Conor Daly
#18 Dale Coyne Racing
26th, 13 points

Conor Daly came to Long Beach as the driver of the two-seater, and left with his first Indycar finish on a road course. Rocky Moran Jr. took over the seat from Carlos Huertas, but Moran broke his thumb in practice. Now, while the result doesn't indicate it, Daly was simply exceptional. Not having any practice or time with the team, Daly was exceeding the pace of rivals, like James Jakes and Gabby Chaves. Daly will also be back in May, which is a great thing

Simona de Silvestro
#25 Andretti Autosport
20th, 44 points

Simona de Silvestro made her return to Indycar after a failed attempt to reach F1. Coming to Andretti Autosport meant Simona was left with no excuses of bad team, lack of equipment, no teammates, etc. The first race, I was less than impressed. Simona got together with teammate Carlos Munoz, and it was just a bad showing from her. Sure she finished P4 at NOLA, but I would give the results to everyone at NOLA an * because of the unpredictability of the race, with rain and cautions ruining the flow of the race. BUT, I think she has shown through practice and race pace that she can be a force to be reckoned with. Let's see how she does

Scott Dixon
#9 Chip Ganassi Racing
3rd, 123 points

The man and the legend Scott Dixon putting his stamp on history early on in the year. Dixon never does well at St. Pete, so his P15 is really no surprise. Despite being the fastest car at NOLA all weekend, weather problems and no chance to get a race together meant Dixon settled for P11. Then, he won at Long Beach, taking over fifth place on the all-time wins list. At Barber, Dixon finished on the podium for the sixth (out of six) time. This was enough to put him P3 in the championship, which really doesn't come as a surprise to me or anyone.

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Dixon continues to be legendary (Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images North America)

Francesco Dracone
#19 Dale Coyne Racing
23rd, 30 points

What is there to say about Francesco Dracone that hasn't already been said? He did nothing but cause headaches for all of the drivers out there. It got so bad that many fans of my site told me to rename the popular award, 'The Cone of Shame,' to the 'DraCONE of Shame.' He was easily the slowest driver out there, being outpaced by teammates Carlos Huertas, Rocky Moran Jr., Conor Daly, and Rodolfo Gonzalez (the last three have never run a road course race in an Indycar). Mercifully, Dracone's four race deal is over, so hopefully we don't have to worry about him.

Luca Filippi
#20 Ed Carpenter Racing
14th, 69 points

After two solid starts, Luca Filippi ran into an issue at Long Beach, stalling while entering the pits. So basically, Filippi is one fluke incident away from being in the top-ten in points. I've been impressed with his pace and his consistency. He fits the Mike Conway very well, though the jury is still out if he'll be at the same level as Conway.

Rodolfo Gonzalez
#18 Dale Coyne Racing
27th, 10 points

Rodolfo Gonzalez was so no-name guy none of us had ever heard that swooped in and cashed his checks to take the floating Dale Coyne ride. Although I originally casted him adrift, saying that there was no chance he would do anything, 'Speedy' actually did okay! He showed some pace and was legitimately racing people on the track. I honestly would not mind seeing him at a track like Toronto or Detroit in the future.

Jack Hawksworth
#41 AJ Foyt Racing
17th, 57 points

Well, one guy who hasn't done much for me this year has been Jack Hawksworth. Coming off of an up-and-down 2014 rookie season, Jack hasn't done much in 2015. He did well at St. Pete, both working through the field and using strategy. Other than that, there's nothing to note. Poor qualifying efforts continue to plague him and the team, and they won't be a factor until that improves.

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Nothing noteworthy from Hawk so far (Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images North America)

James Hinchcliffe
#5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
6th, 110

As the case with Simona de Silvestro, it was hard to get too excited for James Hinchcliffe's win at NOLA. The guy basically didn't crash and followed the pace car to a win. A more impressive showing, for me personally, was his drive at Barber. Hinch was keeping place with the eventual second place finisher, Graham Rahal, for a long stint. Somewhere, Hinch got lost in the shuffle, but the race proved to me that he and SPM can be a contender every week for a top-ten spot.

Carlos Huertas
#18 Dale Coyne Racing
25th, 20 points

The most underwhelming one-win Indycar driver since Danica Patrick, Carlos Huertas looks to be out of Indycar for good. After two pitiful performances to start the season, the money appeared to drive up, forcing Dale Coyne to go in a different direction. Oh darn, I'll miss him so much.

Ryan Hunter-Reay
#28 Andretti Autosport
12th, 81 points

Ryan Hunter-Reay has had a so-so 2015 season so far. A blatant error at NOLA and an underwhelming performance at Lonb Beach has overshadowed two good performances at St. Pete and Barber. He hasn't shown the pace that I would expect to see from him. but he also is going back to Indy, a place where I think he won last year... Should be a solid candidate to repeat as winner.

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
RHR leads TK (Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images North America)

James Jakes
#7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
13th, 62 points

James Jakes... Well, let's start off by saying that his championship standing doesn't really reflect the season has been having so far. Jakes, like Simona and Hinch, lucked out and stole points at NOLA. Other than that race, Jakes has finished 22, 19, and 22 respectively. The soft-spoken Jakes doesn't appear to be on par at the moment. This could be blamed on his year off or the team, but just one year ago, the Indycar world was dazzled by Mikhail Aleshin. Has Jakes dazzled us in the same manner? The short answer is no, definitely not.

Tony Kanaan
#10 Chip Ganassi Racing
7th, 110 points

Tony Kanaan is one guy I could see stealing the championship from Team Penske this year. Despite a lackluster finish at Barber, a third, sixth, and fifth finish respectively was a great start to the season. Kanaan said at St. Pete that he feels much more comfortable at Chip Ganassi Racing. When he first started, he felt tentative to suggest changes. Now, he's outspoken and a leader within the team. If Kanaan can do well in May, he could be making a serious championship push.

Sage Karam
#8 Chip Ganassi Racing
22nd, 35 points

The most unimpressive driver so far this season is easily Sage Karam. The hyped Firestone Indy Lights champion from 2013 ran a great race at last year's Indianapolis 500. This year, Karam was given a part-time schedule to prove himself to the world. His first three starts on road courses as yielded finishes of 19, 18, and 18 again, That's unacceptable. It's a shame because he is talented and young, but so far, it has not been a good start to his career.

Charlie Kimball
#83 Chip Ganassi Racing
16th, 58 points

One driver who is starting to get a tad bit annoying his Charlie Kimball. Kimball is at Chip Ganassi Racing, one of the two elite teams in Indycar. Every year, the expectations for Kimball rise, but he continues to fall short. The season is still young, but the fifth year driver has started out with finishes of 21, 14, 15, and 12. I love Kimball as a person, but I wish he would start consistently putting himself in the Fast Six and finishing near the top-ten. That isn't happening right now. It also seems like Kimball has made contact in every race so far this season.

Juan Pablo Montoya
#2 Team Penske
1st, 136 points

Party like it is 1999! Juan Pablo Montoya has been great so far this season. Entering his second year of his comeback campaign to Indycar, With a powerhouse team behind him, JPM has finished in the top-five in three of the first four races, including a win at St. Pete and a podium at Long Beach. His aggressive style while also being incredibly fast has yielded great results. A solid finish at the Indy 500 means JPM could shock everyone in a championship run.

Carlos Munoz
#26 Andretti Autosport
11th, 84 points

Following the qualifying session at Barber, I was beginning to wonder if Carlos Munoz was in a severe slump. He did nothing at St. Petersburg and nothing at NOLA. He managed a top-ten at Long Beach, but I don't even think his name was mentioned during the whole race. Then at Barber, Munoz qualified 22nd out of 23 cars. I was ready to give up on him this season, but he finished sixth, which is quite incredible. Now going into May, I expect Carlos to be quick one again at the 500 mile race.

Josef Newgarden
#67 CFH Racing
4th, 119 points

Josef Newgarden finally won a race! It was an instant classic, and it is something he'll remember forever. Josef now sits P4 in the championship, and if good results follow, he can make a serious run at the championship. BUT, Josef has never done well at the Indianapolis 500. Will this be the year that he gets some sort of result at Indy?

Simon Pagenaud
#22 Team Penske
9th, 96 points

So far, I think Simon Pagenaud is having a "feeling it out" period with his new team, Team Penske. While he's been incredibly quick, the wreck at NOLA really dilutes his championship result. Two top-fives and a top-ten has been a solid start to the season for Simon. A great result at Indianapolis is pivotal for the championship. So it's been a good start for Pagenaud, but he hasn't been the class of the field by any means.

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Pagenaud leads teammate Montoya at Long Beach (Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images North America)

Will Power
#1 Team Penske
5th, 112 points

Like Pagenaud, Will Power's point standing doesn't reflect how fast he's been this year. His stall at Long Beach is preventing Power from being in the top-three in the championship. Still, he has had a vintage Power moment this year, knocking Takuma Sato off at Barber and then questioning why he got a penalty. Just when you start liking the guy for his race craft and how clean he has been, he does something like that. One step forwards, two steps back.

Graham Rahal
#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
8th, 103 points

Graham Rahal is 8th in points? Crazy. He's done a great job all season, with his lowest finish being a very respectable P11 (twice). His drive at Barber was a memorable one, putting on an absolute overtaking clinic on the field, especially on the outside line in turn five. Graham has a lot to prove in May, as a wreck at GPI and a P33 finish at the 500 plagued what ended up being an awful 2014. With momentum and confidence, can Rahal capitalize in May?

Sebastian Saavedra
#8 Chip Ganassi Racing
24th, 20 points

I know, I know; I've always dogged Sebastian Saavedra. Can you blame me? The dude has done nothing worth noting in his career other than flicking off Marco Andretti at Detroit a couple years ago. Then, he signed with Ganassi to share the ride with Sage Karam for the remainder of the season. I was fuming. Despite this, I picked him in Fantasy Indycar for Long Beach (shameless plug) and look at that, he finished in the top-ten. Not only did he finish in the top-ten, but he did so in convincing fashion. He finished there on merit rather than some bullshit strategy or surviving a race of attrition. Saavedra was quick at GPI last year, so can he repeat that this year? He doesn't need to worry about the start, as there is no standing starts this season. I have nothing against the guy personally; seems like a nice guy. His track record has been shit, but he's still so young that his career could be far from over.

Takuma Sato
#14 AJ Foyt Racing
19th, 50 points

If there's one guy I'm getting kind of tired of seeing in Indycar, it's Takuma Sato. Aggressive? Yes, I love that about him. Good driver? No one would deny that. A good fit in Indycar? Not at all. I'm not sure if it's the team dynamic, or his ability to set up a car, or what, but the Takuma Sato-AJ Foyt Enterprises combo is something that just hasn't worked. 13, 22, 18, and 17 place results so far speak volumes about how far this team and driver combo is off from everyone. Nothing impressive about Sato and Foyt so far.

Whew, that's a lot of words in one post! Is there any one driver who stood out to you so far this season, either good or bad?! Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey