Winners and Losers: 2015 Season

Here are your winners, losers, and Cone of Shame "winner" from the 2015 Verizon Indycar Season:

Winners

Scott Dixon
The legend of Scott Dixon contniues. As he continues to win, Scott is establishing himself as one of the greatest Indycar drivers of all-time. Dixon was one of the most consistent drivers of the season, and he led all drivers with three wins this season, including a win at Long Beach, one that has long evaded him. Dixon and Chip Ganassi have one of the best driver-team relationships in Indycar history. Dixon will look to continue his dominance in 2016.


Graham Rahal
After several years of just misery, Graham Rahal put forward one of the best performances by a driver in recent memory. Now driving without a teammate at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Rahal flourished with new staff and the increased downforce from Aero Kits. His six podiums led the series. A career defining win occurred in his home race in Ohio, as it propelled him with a chance to win the Indycar championship. While the championship wasn't in the cards, Rahal has solidly put himself on the maps of contenders for the 2016 season.


Josef Newgarden
Josef Newgarden has been waiting for a year like this ever since joining Indycar in 2012. After three rough seasons, Newgarden emerged as a championship contender, notching two wins and two second place finishes. The addition of Ed Carpenter and Luca Filippi as teammates seemed to give Newgarden the boost he needed to become a contender. Josef will likely switch teams after 2016, so this year will important to him in order to impress future employers.


Chevrolet
Chevrolet dominated Honda. See below for more details.



Losers

Honda
Honda barely held a candle, again, to Chevrolet. After moments of ups-and-downs since Chevrolet joined the series in 2012, 2015 served as a disastrous year for Honda. Chevrolet won all 16 poles and 10 races, including four of the five top spots in the Indycar championship. This was doubly insulting to Honda because 2015 was the first year of manufacturer Aero Kits, where Honda and Chevrolet got to design Aero Kits to help increase the speed and downforce of the cars. Chevrolet did their homework, and ended up kicking Honda's ass.


Stefano Coletti
Stefano Colleti, GP2 ace who found a ride with KV Racing Technology, had statistically one of the worst seasons in Indycar history. His stats line up with fellow full-time abysmal drivers like Milka Duno, Marty Roth, and Hiro Matsushita, Colletti always showed the pace, even on the ovals. But with only one top-ten finish and ten finishes of 19th or worse (in a field that averaged 23-24 cars), Coletti takes the mark as one of the worst performers in recent Indycar memory.


AJ Foyt Enterprises
AJ Foyt Enterprises made an expansion to two cars, retaining the services of Takuma Sato and hiring second year driver Jack Hawksworth. Neither driver did all that well, and the team stayed in their lower-tier status as a team. Both drivers will return in 2016, but will the results come forth after a second season with the same staff and drivers?


James Hinchcliffe
James Hinchcliffe has had back-to-back seasons with serious injuries. Last year at Indianapolis (for the Grand Prix), Hinch was struck in the helmet by a piece of debris, forcing him to go to the hospital. The concussion served as a scare, but Hinch made a quick recovery. This year, again in Indianapolis, Hinch was practicing for the Indianapolis 500 when his car suddenly veered towards the wall mid-turn. The fifth year driver from Canada was saved by the quick actions of the safety team, as Hinch was bleeding out in the car. Hinch will be back in 2016, but it would be nice to see him make it through the season without any serious injuries.



Cone of Shame




Team Penske
Team Penske entered the final race of the season having three of their four drivers with a chance to win the Indycar championship. All Will Power, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Helio Castroneves had to do was overcome a come-from-behind bid by Scott Dixon and Graham Rahal to win the title. While Team Penske looked like a bunch of individuals, Chip Ganassi Racing looked like a team destined to help Scott Dixon win the championship. Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball served as a great supporting cast, while Simon Pagenaud, who had a rough first season with Penske, was marred in the back, Castroneves was irrelevant, and Montoya overcame an incident which saw Power spinning him, only to end up short of the title. Even more discouraging was Team Penske did not win a single race after winning the Indianapolis 500 and three of the first six races. They also claimed thirteen of the sixteen poles on the season. So while they may have been the fastest team, they did not do enough to win the Indycar championship.



Thanks for all of the support in 2015! Bring on 2016.

-Matthew Hickey