Winners and Losers: Phoenix

Here are your winners, losers, and Cone of Shame winner following the 2017 Dessert Diamond Grand Prix at Phoenix:

Winners

Simon Pagenaud
Simon Pagenaud collects his first win on an oval and asserts himself as the new championship leader, which is a place he is very familiar with. Many wondered if he would continue the pace he showed last year, and it is very clear that Pagenaud will be a serious threat to win the championship again.


Will Power
Will Power finally finishes a race in a good position, but he still wasn't too happy about that because he thought he had the best car out there. Still, Power, who will need a great Month of May, is still not out of the championship.


JR Hildebrand
If your drinking term was "broken hand" like it was in our household, than I hope you are feeling well today. JR Hildebrand suffered a broken hand at Long Beach, but was back in the car at Phoenix and was easily the most entertaining driver out there. In his first career podium (if you're Paul Tracy, otherwise the rest of us count the 2011 Indianapolis 500 as his first actual podium) for Hildebrand should give him some confidence after a shaky start to the season.


Chevrolet
Chevrolet was close to a top-five lockout at Phoenix, which would be a welcome change after consistently being beaten by Honda so far this year (yes they won Barber, but Honda wasn't exactly slow there).



Losers

Mikhail Aleshin
Mikhail Aleshin was the obvious choice for the Cone of Shame this week, but why go for the obvious choice? Aleshin made a pretty bad mistake and ruined four other drivers' races. Add this to his growing lack of success this season and his lack of friendliness with other drivers, and I think Aleshin is going to find himself in hot water soon.


Honda
Well, not only did they get a beat down by Chevrolet, but in the five car accident to start the race, all five just happened to be Hondas, which is a terrible stroke of luck. Only a late race mixup by Josef Newgarden allowed Honda to crack the top-five.


Andretti Autosport
For the second time in four races this season, all four Andretti Autosport cars failed to finish. Marco Andretti made it 10 seconds into the race before getting collected in the first lap crash. Takuma Sato crashed. Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay both brushed the wall in two separate incidents, ending both of their races. The team that should be the favorite at Indianapolis is having a rough go of things at the moment.


Josef Newgarden
Late race contact with lapped traffic Ryan Hunter-Reay meant Josef Newgarden had to pit for a new front wing. This sent him down to ninth place, despite being in the top-five all day. Newgarden still proving to be very good in his first season at Team Penske.



Cone of Shame



IndyCar
While this Phoenix Grand Prix was a tad bit better than the monstrosity we were subjected to last year, it was still pretty brutal. IndyCar had a full year to make the necessary changes to the tires, aero package, etc. to help improve the product at Phoenix. But instead, the kept the same package for whatever reason. As the old Chinese proverb states, "If you do not change your direction, you may end up where you are headed." IndyCar failed to make the changes to the cars at Phoenix, and we were once again treated to a shit show. If I am a fan who went to Phoenix and I wasn't impressed with the race for a second straight year, why would I come back for a third? I mean, the average fan who attended the race probably has no idea that the cars will all be changing next year, but what does that mean to them? I would save my money. Not a good showing from IndyCar on this one.


Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey