Winners and Losers: Fontana

Here are the winners, losers, and Cone of Shame winner following the 2015 MAVTV 500 at the Auto Club Speedway:


Graham Rahal
Graham Rahal finally gets a win some 7 years after his first and only win in Indycar. It didn't come without controversy, as Indycar's new precedence with pit infractions is to handle the situation the week after the race. While I appreciate the fact that Indycar has stuck to their precedence they've suddenly established, they should have never started it in the first place. Take care of the situation in the present rather than the future. Still, this isn't to detract from the fact that Graham drove a hell of a race. It's refreshing to see him final back in the winners circle.

Marco Andretti
Marco Andretti has been quietly having himself a great year. While my only complaint about Marco as a driver is his lack of wins, he continues to prove that he has the skills to put the car up in the top-ten each race. Hopefully at some point either this year or in future years he'll fight for a championship.

Juan Pablo Montoya
For the umpteenth time this year, Juan Pablo Montoya makes the winners list not necessarily for what he did, but what he didn't do. With rivals Will Power and Helio Castroneves getting few championship points from the race, Montoya once again capitalized, putting more points in the vault for the title. He's been the quickest and most consistent guy all year, and, in my opinion, is the overwhelming favorite to win the title.

Indycar Fans
Indycar fans and random outsiders tuning in, including a couple of NASCAR drivers, were in awe of the dramatic, intense, close racing that we saw at Fontana. I thought the race was doomed after a terrible race at Texas. The cars raced so much better and the race was so heart-poundingly awesome that I want to watch it over and over again. Great job by Indycar and whoever put the aero specs for the race, we need more of this!!


Sage Karam
Sage Karam may have finished P5, but he cut off, endangered, and pissed off many drivers in the field along the way. I would also pin the last wreck, which saw Ryan Hunter-Reay collecting Ryan Briscoe, who violently flipped, on Karam. This isn't the first time his race craft has been called into question. Karam received warnings in St. Petersburg for blocking. He was later penalized in Detroit for the same thing. He has also had several incidents throughout the year. Karam was a standout in Pro Mazda and Indy Lights, but he needs to start realizing that driving an Indycar takes a lot more skill and finesse than the MRTI cars.

Ed Carpenter
Ed Carpenter needs to reevaluate himself. Ed has raced in three races this season, and he has a whopping zero finishes. Two crashes and one retirement from mechanical issues is turning Ed's season into a joke. Of course this latest crash, in which he managed to collect the one guy he didn't want to crash, his teammate and car that he owns driven by Josef Newgarden, wasn't his fault. Ed pinned it on his spotter, who forgot to help him. Honestly, I'm tired of Ed as a driver. He should retire and focus on owning. Though, I do appreciate him supporting the style of racing we saw at Fontana.

Helio Castroneves
As far as the championship goes, Helio Castroneves took a huge hit on Saturday. Helio got into a tough situation, as Graham Rahal lifted, causing a ripple effect. Eventually, Ryan Briscoe and Helio made contact, causing minor damage to Helio, who made no contact with the wall. Still, the contact was enough to force Helio to retire. He'll need one hell of a second half of the season, especially at Sonoma, if he wants a championship.

Dale Coyne's crew
I would honestly be afraid for my safety if I was a crewman for Dale Coyne Racing, as they've had a rough year. The year got worse on Saturday, when driver Tristan Vautier hit the left front tire changer right in the knee. Thankfully, the crewman is doing really good. Still, this marks the third time this year that contact has been made to the crew. Francesco Dracone spun on a wet NOLA pit road and clobbered a crew member, who was fortunate to come out relatively clean. At Indianapolis, an incident involving all three entries saw a couple crew men injured but nothing serious. Still, how much more does this poor crew have to endure for the remainder of 2015?

Cone of Shame

Will Power
I know I'm not Will Power's biggest fan, but by Power's standards, he's had a pretty low key year as far as controversy goes, but it's hard to not give the guy I love one week and hate the next the Cone after his actions on Saturday. Power got into an accident with Takuma Sato. On replay, it looks like Sato was a victim of a brash move by Scott Dixon as well as some lane movement by Power. The result was a big hit for Sato and a retirement for Power. Upon getting out of his car, Power shoved one of the Safety Crew members who was there to make sure he's okay. Now, I know things happen in the heat of the moment, but that is something that is completely unacceptable. Credit to Power, who did apologize both on Twitter as well as in person to the crewman he shoved, but it should have never happened in the first place.

Thanks for reading!

-Matthew Hickey