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Grand Prix of Sonoma: Race Notes


The Grand Prix of Sonoma and the season finale in Fontana are the two remaining races in the 2014 IndyCar season.  With only two to go in the season, we broke down the odds of each driver (in contention) winning the championship.

Going into these final two races, a minimum of 150 points are available to any one driver (this doesn't include pole position or laps led points). That means any of the top six drivers in the points standings have a shot at winning the title going into the final races. 

Schedule:
  • Qualifying: 7:35 p.m. 8/23 EDT
  • Race: 4:40 p.m. 8/24 EDT
Note: We grade the the driver's chance of winning the championship on a scale of 0-10.  A 0 means the driver can't win the championship and a 10 means he has no chance of losing it.  

Scott Dixon is the driver furthest out, 130 points back from Will Power. Dixon finished 15th and 13th the last two years in this race, respectively, not high enough to take the fight to Power.  His average finish at Sonoma is 8.0, with one win as well as a second place podium in 2010.  Dixon has been on a hot streak in the past few races, finishing inside the top ten in the last six races.  Scott will need an amazing performance in the next two races as well as some luck on his side to win the championship this year.  

SD - Chance of Winning Championship: 1/10

5th in the points standings is Juan Pablo Montoya, 114 points out from the leader.  Montoya has had a successful return to IndyCar with a win and four podiums so far this year. His only win this year came at Pocono, one of the two other 500 mile races aside from Fontana.  With eight results inside the top ten and eight out, the Penske driver has had some good and bad results this year, putting his average finish at 10.3.  His average finish comes in slightly higher than his start which is 10.3.  Montoya has had a history of good success at the long ovals and Sonoma, but he'll need some poor performances from Power and Castroneves to have a shot at the title.

JPM - Chance of Winning Championship: 2/10

108 points separate the Indianapolis 500 winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay, from Will Power. RHR has had difficulty after placing first in the 500, securing only three top ten finishes in the 11 races after.  He came sixth in this race last year, putting him third in the points behind Scott Dixon.  The last couple races haven't been kind to RHR, his highest finish coming in Mid-Ohio at just tenth.  If Hunter-Reay hopes to take another shot at the IndyCar Championship, his run will need to start with a win this Sunday.

RHR - Chance of Winning Championship: 2/10 



Simon Pagenaud has been Mr. Consistency in the points standings, staying in third or fourth place throughout the entire year bar the first race.  Pagenaud has two wins this year and an average finish of 8.4.  But where he has been most successful is in qualifying, 10 top ten starts with an average of 7.9 so far.  In the race last year, Simon finished 5th in the Sonoma Grand Prix after starting 10th.  With Pagenaud's consistency this year he should prove to have another good result in the Sonoma race, but will need some help from the leaders.  

SP - Chance of Winning Championship: 4/10

Helio Castroneves was the leader of the points for four races this season, losing it after Mid-Ohio where he finished 19th and his teammate Will Power took the lead.  Castroneves finished seventh in this race last year, right on par with his average finish of 7.4.  Where Helio has really proven himself at Sonoma is in qualifying, never failing to start outside of the top five.  If he can get himself up there again, he'll have a good chance of taking the fight to Penske teammate Will Power.  In order for Catroneves to take the lead back (not taking into account extra points for pole, leading), he'll have to win the race and have Power finish in 20th or worse.  

HC - Chance of Winning Championship: 6/10

Finally we arrive at the current point leader, Will Power.  Power only has to do one thing this weekend, beat Castroneves.  If he does that he'll put himself in great position to win the championship next week, where he finished first last year.  Will also won at Sonoma last year, putting himself in a great position for this weekend.  He won't be able to secure the championship this race because of the double points, but a win would all but secure his IndyCar Championship.  Look for Power to be on point this weekend, coming off a string of successful finishes and win last weekend in Milwaukee.  

WP - Chance of Winning Championship: 8/10

Sonoma has huge championship implications and is a must win for driver Helio Castroneves if he hopes to win the championship this year. 

Let us know who you think will win both the Grand Prix of Sonoma and the 2014 Driver's Championship in the comments below.  

          - Drew Bennison 

Comments

  1. Now that we've seen this race play out, what are your updated thoughts? Do you still see this as Will Power's to lose?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey JB, I do still think it's Power's title to lose. I have an article coming up tomorrow morning that'll go into more detail on the five drivers still in contention, so look out for that. Will could have definitely done more for himself this race if he hadn't spun, but with Castroneves not jumping on the opportunity to gain points on him Power still fared well.

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  2. email me at ecurie415@gmail.com, regarding your use of my photo and altering that photo with your site's name.

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