On September 15th at 5:30PM Pacific Time in Southern California, the race for the IndyCar title will commence with one of two drivers declared champion for the 2012 season. Either Will Power from Australia or Ryan Hunter-Reay from the United States will be the new IZOD IndyCar champion. As winners of half of all the races this year, whoever wins will certainly be deserving as a true winner and champion.
There will be a new champion for at least a couple reasons. First, Dario Franchitti has won the last three IndyCar championships in a row - but he's mired in 9th and hasn't been in the running for the title for several races. Secondly, neither one of these two drivers has ever won a major championship in their career - though Power has been runner-up the last two years.
Power drives for Penske Racing and won three of the first four events this season. After a seventh place finish at the season-opener in St. Petersburg, Florida, Power won three straight - at Birmingham, Long Beach and Sao Paulo. From Long Beach in April until Toronto in July, Power led the point standings. After dipping out of first in the points, runner-ups at Mid-Ohio and Sonoma put Power in front of the standings and kept him there to this point. With six podiums, the Verizon sponsored Dallara has been the car everyone's been chasing for most of the year.
Hunter-Reay pilots his Dallara for Andretti Autosport. Unlike Power, Hunter-Reay's first half of the season was apathetic with only a third at the opener at St. Pete and runner-up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to cheer about. But, then he went on a tear like his opponent Power did earlier in the season. Hunter-Reay won three in a row at Milwaukee, Iowa and Toronto to move from seventh to first in points. An engine problem at Mid-Ohio knocked Hunter-Reay and his DHL/Sun Drop sponsored IndyCar out of first. His win at the last race in Baltimore gave Hunter-Reay four event wins this year and a shot at the championship.
Who may win
The biggest stats for who has momentum and can win the championship at Fontana comes from these two bits of information. First off, Power has never been an expert oval driver while Hunter-Reay is the oval king in IndyCar. And then secondly, though Power has won three races this year, they were all in the first part of the season before Indy, whereas Hunter-Reay has won four of the last seven IndyCar events. Momentum and ability are clearly in Hunter-Reay's column.
But that's why they race them. Statistics are just that, statistics and let's not forget that Power does have a 17 point margin to the good. So Power just needs to stay close to Hunter-Reay - Hunter-Reay needs to win and hope Power finishes fourth or worse. And if Hunter-Reay doesn't win, then he needs for Power to do poorly. By the way, both drivers have Chevrolet powerplants.
MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, will be broadcast on NBC Sports and the show begins on September 15th at 4:30PM Pacific Time with the green flag dropping about an hour later.
Sources - IndyCar, Racing Reference
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.
- Sports & Recreation
- Motor Racing