Winners and Losers: Pocono

Here are your winners, losers, and Cone of Shame "winner" following the 2016 ABC Supply 500 at Pocono:

Winners

Ryan Hunter-Reay
Normally, the first slot in Winners and Losers is always reserved for the driver who actually won the race (shocking, I know). But this week, how can Ryan Hunter-Reay not be the ultimate winner of the race? Sure he finished third, but overcame so much. A crash in practice, racing in a car he knew nothing about, and he comes home third. That was after starting last, moving up to first, only to have his car shut down on him on the second-to-last restart. He lost a lap but caught a break with a yellow, got his lap back, passed through the field again, and finished third. It was one of the best drives you'll ever see.


Will Power
Will Power is outside his mind at the moment, extending an impossible streak of six straight races finishing no lower than second. Hopefully St. Petersburg doesn't come back to haunt him.


Mikhail Aleshin
Mikhail Aleshin followed up an impressive performance at Iowa, finishing P5, with a podium finish and career best second place result at Pocono. The Mad Russian has turned into an ovalvista. I really think he is a driver who should get more recognition.


Honda
Honda may not have won the race, but they definitely have figured out how to perform on the superspeedways. Unfortunately for them, there are only two on the schedule and doesn't look like there will be any more next year.



Losers

Pit Accident Victims
In what is one of the most terrifying accidents I've seen in the pits, Charlie Kimball was preparing to enter his pit box while Alexander Rossi was leaving. Helio Castroneves, who was harmlessly leaving his pits, saw a launched Rossi coming at him after the Indy 500 champ touched wheels with Kimball. The tire narrowly missed Helio's head in a harrowing moment. Thankfully, all were okay. It's tough to assign blame when multiple parties are at fault (except the #3 camp). Still amazing to see such a ferocious crash at such a low rate of speed.


Simon Pagenaud
Tough day for Simon Pagenaud, who crashed out of the race with one stint to go. The severity of the wreck was compounded by his championship rival winning. Everyone knew a Pagenaud mistake was coming, but not too many thought it would be at Pocono.


Dale Coyne Racing
Dale Coyne Racing, which looked very promising at Indianapolis, has otherwise laid goose eggs on all over the ovals on the Indycar schedule. The small team, which fielded regular ace Conor Daly and part-timer Pippa Mann, needs a Bullet Bill or something for future ovals.


Ed Carpenter
It's put up or shut up at Texas for Ed Carpenter, who is having a year to forget and his worst season since the Verizon Indycar Series was called the IRL and was led by his step-dad.



Cone of Shame



Takuma Sato
Takuma Sato acknowledged the fact that the wind in turn three would be difficult to deal with and that he could handle it right before the race. So it was really awkward when Sato crashed without even completing a lap.... In turn three.... With all the wind.... Doubly awkward that the race happened at his sponsor's title race.... Triply awkward that AJ Foyt probably took him to the woodshed once he got back to the garage.



Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey