Winners and Losers: 2016 Season

Here are your winners, losers, and Cone of Shame winner following the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Season:

Winners

Simon Pagenaud
Simon Pagenaud is an IndyCar champion! How cool is that? It only took him two years at Team Penske to win the title. Improved chemistry with the team and engineering staff, as well as masterful driving, led Pagenaud to a dominating season. He was a couple of mechanical hiccups away from a near perfect season.


Will Power
Despite not winning the championship, Will Power had one hell of a season. He missed the first race because of an injury, and then struggled during the next several. His mid-portion of the season was absolutely incredible, vaulting him back into the championship. Despite falling short, Power continues to cement his legacy as an all-time great in IndyCar.


Chevrolet
Chevrolet handed Honda their asses on a silver platter this season. The only blemish in the road for them was not being able to win the 100th Indianapolis 500 despite having Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske on their side. Still, Chevrolet will come out of the aero-kit era as the victors. They better enjoy it because 2018 could be a different story.


Alexander Rossi
Who on Earth would have thought that on-again, off-again, then eventual rookie Alexander Rossi would be the one to win the most anticipated race in IndyCar history? Rolling to the finish, Rossi managed a brilliant fuel strategy to cross the Indianapolis 500 as a victor and has forever cemented himself in IndyCar history. Rossi would also go on to win the Rookie of the Year.



Losers

Honda
Honda got their asses handed to them again in 2016, and 2017 probably can't end quick enough for the Japanese manufacturer. The aero-kit era has not been kind to them, and with a kit making freeze coming in 2017, it's difficult to see how they will beat Chevy consistently until 2018 comes around. They did win the 100th Indianapolis 500 and a thriller at Texas, but there's not too much else to brag about.


Max Chilton
A very disappointing rookie season cast a cloud of doubt over Max Chilton, who will be running his second full-time season with Chip Ganassi Racing. Chilton showed plenty of pace, but his race craft that was refined very well in Europe did not transfer well to the IndyCar mold. He often had trouble completing passes despite having enough pace. The door is not closed on Max in IndyCar, but he will need to turn it around.


Charlie Kimball
Charlie Kimball went from overly conservative, "let's finish the race in a clean manner" kind of driver to a bat-shit, bull-in-a-China-shop driver in no-time. If you were sitting at home begging for a caution to spruce up the race this season, Kimball was your guy. My favorite of his incidents was putting Will Power in the wall at Watkins Glen, which all but gave the championship to Simon Pagenaud.


Ed Carpenter
Ed Carpenter has decided not to fire Ed Carpenter despite a brutal oval season in 2016. I will say that he encountered some bad luck with some mechanical failures, but when you only get six races a year, you have to make them count, especially when your teammate (Josef Newgarden) is kicking ass every week.


Cone of Shame



Jack Hawksworth
Well, I fell pretty lame using the same line over again, but there is indeed a sports car with Jack Hawksworth's name on it. The dude struggled last year, but got another chance this year. He once again pissed away an opportunity, not recording a single top-ten, which is laughable given that the field size averaged 22-23. He also basically through his team under the bus in an editorial to RACER this offseason, which is weird, because despite his Japanese flair, Takuma Sato actually had some great performances this season. Kind of over Hawksworth.


Thanks for reading and the support all year!

-Matthew Hickey