It was the year of domination. It was the year of first time winners. It was the year of frustration. It was the year of change. It was the year of heart break. It was the year of jubilation. It was the 2013 IZOD IndyCar series.
Front in center in the points was Helio Castroneves. Castroneves would take the points lead and hold it for all but three weeks of the season. At one point he held a greater then forty point lead over second place. The dominance wouldn’t last.
Andretti Autosports would tie for the most wins with Chip Ganassi Racing at five a piece. Second place with four wins was Team Penske. Fourteen wins won by the three dominate organizations in the series.
First time winners
Wining for the first time became a common theme in the IZOD IndyCar series. James Hinchcliffe, Takuma Sato, Simon Pagenaud, and Charlie Kimball tied a series high four first time race winners. Hinchcliffe and Pagenaud would also win their second races this season.
Hinchcliffe and Andretti Autosports would start the season the way they finished, by winning. He would pick up another win in Iowa. Sato would win for the legendary Mr. AJ Foyt in Long Beach. Pagenaud would take the checkered flag in the second race of the Grand Prix of Detroit, and then again in perhaps the final race for a while in Baltimore. Kimball would win on his home track of Mid Ohio.
Andretti Autosports would return to a championship winning organization in 2012. They would even win the first two races of the season. However, frustration would set in due to poor finishes. Broken parts, accidents, penalties, and blown pit calls would pull the rug out from under the organization. While they won five of the nineteen races, only two of the four drivers reached victory lane. Those two being James Hinchcliffe, and the 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay. What could have been a huge repeat year was fallen to the wayside.
Takuma Sato would give hope to fans of AJ Foyt Enterprises. A win, a pole, and three races with the most laps led felt like the team was heading in the right direction. However, Sato wasn’t able to maintain over a season as he faltered under pressure time and time again.
Race teams that were considered the back runners of the field would step up to win this season. KV Racing Technology thanks to Tony Kanaan, Mike Conway with Dale Coyne Racing, and Simon Pagenaud with Schmidt Peterson Hamilton HP Motorsports would step up to the dominance of the big three teams. These teams, along with firs time winners would begin a change in the IndyCar series, and perhaps a changing of the guard.
Helio Castroneves would dominate the entire season in the points, and on the stats chart. It was all in hopes to win his first IndyCar title. However, mechanical issues in the final three races of the season caused a seventy-four points swing going into the final event in Fontana. Twenty-seven points later and he would feel the heart break of second place.
Tony Kanaan had never won the Indy 500 before. He’d been close, and had worked and scratched and clawed to try and win. Finally on the 97th Indianapolis 500 Tony led thirty-four laps, and the most important lap the final. Having taken the checkered, and tasted the milk Tony Kanaan took his rightful place in Indianapolis’ fame victory lane.
The 2013 Championship came down to the wire. Helio Castroneves having been well documented in this article fought a down to the wire battle with a hard charging Scott Dixon. When the season started Ganassi was clearly off the mark. As it progressed, Scott and the team finally hit their stride. Winning Pocono and the double header in Toronto, Scott was in the hunt. After controversial problems with Castroneves’ teammate in Sonoma and Baltimore the third title in ten years looked a distant memory.
However, Scott’s team stood strong and would excel when Castroneves’ team faltered. Wining the first race in Houston, and a second in the second Houston race Dixon got a twenty-five point lead. He would then take it into Fontana and win by 27 points. Earning his third title in ten years and cementing himself amongst IndyCar elite.
In random news:
Formula One’s India race is going on. But Amit Kumar is trying to stop that. Alleging that Jaypee Sports International did not pay the full 2012 entertainment taxes, he wants the race canceled. The case will be heard today, but the problem won’t be next year as they are off the schedule.
NASCAR may be killing single car qualifying. Basically the road course style qualifying would come in at all tracks except Talladega and Daytona. There the qualifying would be more open and even potentially have a 60 minute drafting session. While I do like the idea of changing things up I keep remembering this. KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.
Richard Petty Motorsports will honor Maurice Petty this weekend. Maurice is going into the 2014 Hall of Fame and the car will be Petty Blue. They also for one weekend change the car from 43 to 41. Picture below.
Speaking of RPM they have released Todd Parrott. Sad deal, hope Todd is back soon.
Matt Kenseth crashed in Texas in a massive test session by multiple teams. He blamed Goodyear. Goodyear was quoted as saying: “I didn’t hear any complaints from the 48.”
Corey LaJoie sent out an insensitive tweet and will be forced to undergo sensitive training and on indefinite probation. NASCAR needs to suspend people for this crap. Enough is enough already.
Baseline testing for concussions is coming to NASCAR in 2014. I applaud them for this deal.
The National Guard has resigned with Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 2014 and will be on his car for 20 races. PepsiCo will also be back for five more races which will leave of thirty-eight races (thirty-six points races, two non-points races) thirteen races to need sponsorship.
Random Sports/Non Sports Thought:
I’ve been in the woods since Thursday. I’m going back tomorrow morning. Gotta love hunting to have that kind of commitment…and a really, really great job to slack that much.
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So until we meet again just know, I’ll be waiting for you at the next left turn at my favorite track Martinsville!