Ryan Hunter-Reay Has The Most To Gain And Lose At IICS Final
Most people who have been following the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series (IICS) know that this last race of the season will see one of two drivers crowned champion between Penske Racing's Will Power and Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay. Only 17 points separate these two drivers and the margin of victory begins to get shaped with qualifications on Friday with one valuable point up for grabs.
What seems to be getting lost in the shuffle is another championship trophy awarded in this very same series ... the A.J. Foyt Trophy for being the driver to accumulate the most points during the season on oval racing circuits.
The IZOD IndyCar Series awards three trophies - the overall championship, the Mario Andretti Trophy for the highest points total on road/street courses, and the A.J. Foyt Trophy for most points total on oval racing courses.
This trophy is still up for grabs and the current points achieved is tied between two drivers - Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay and KV Racing Technology's Tony Kanaan.
What's pretty amazing about this is that this contest isn't even being focused upon by the IICS, or most of the major writing outlets.
For example, today has a special media event being held by the IICS at the very end of Route 66 (the Marisol Restaurant located on the end of the Santa Monica pier ... over the Pacific Ocean) to have the media be able to interview the drivers who are racing for the championship but the one name that is absent is Tony Kanaan.
Tony has become the Rodney Dangerfield of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series championship season. He is getting no respect.
Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay pose next to the trophy they will be fighting on the track for at the Auto Club Speedway on Saturday night. Unless something strange happens that would not allow these drivers to finish the race, the winning of this championship trophy is between these two competitors. The MAVTV 500 is scheduled to go GREEN Flag at 8:45 p.m. (ET) and be broadcast on cable on NBC Sports Network. Image Credit Edmund Jenks (2012)
This excerpted and edited from Paddock Talk -
Tied atop the standings for the Oval Track Championship are Hunter-Reay and KV Racing Technology driver and former Series Champion (2004) Tony Kanaan. James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport, is sitting in third position in the Oval Track Championship standings.
"Having a 500-mile race as the season finale is a great way to close out the IndyCar season,” concluded Berube. “It requires a significant effort from everyone involved; the race teams and drivers, Firestone tires, Sunoco fuels, the Somatro safety team and countless others that make the race a show of skill, strategy and grit. It is also good practice for another piece of unfinished business - that other 500-mile race in May."
Chevrolet clinched the Series Manufacturers’ Championship following the 13th race of the season at Sonoma Raceway. That same weekend, Power was crowned the Road Course Champion for the third consecutive season.
Saturday night’s 250-lap/500-mile race will be the first appearance for IndyCar at the Fontana, California track since 2005. Chevrolet competed previously in Indy-style competition as an engine manufacturer in 1986-93 and 2002-05 with V-8 engines, winning 105 races which included two victories at Auto Club Speedway, 2002 and 2003. The wins powered Chevrolet to six driver champions, and included seven Indianapolis 500 victories.
The IndyCar season finale is scheduled to start at 5:45 p.m. PT (8:45 p.m. ET) Saturday night with live television coverage on NBC Sports Network.
The live radio coverage will air on the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). In addition, IndyCar live timing and scoring with the radio broadcast can be found at www.indy.car.com.
The person that has the most to gain ... and lose may well be Ryan Hunter-Reay. For Hunter-Reay’s part, he needs to finish P6 or better (assuming he doesn’t win the pole or lead the most laps) and finish ahead of Tony Kanaan just to get into his championship scenarios.
By winning and having Will Power place at least 10 (uncertain) places behind him, Ryan wins the 2012 IICS championship and the A.J. Foyt Trophy. Any scenario that has Tony Kanaan finishing ahead of Ryan, he is out on the oval championship.
For Will Power's part, a finish somewhere between P10 and P15 maybe just fine. This is not a win-or-go-home scenario for Power. It’s a finish-moderately-well-or-go-home one, which seems like a far more certain proposition for a driver whose forte is Road/Street courses.
The IZOD IndyCar Series returns to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. this week for the final race of the season, the MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships.
Four drivers are still mathematically in the hunt to capture the series title. For the seventh consecutive season, the final race will decide the IndyCar Championship.
From L to R - Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Scott Dixon as they pose for the media photos next to the IICS championship trophy these drivers have a shot at winning Saturday night. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)
Will Power holds down the top spot, 17 points ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay, while Penske Racing's Helio Castroneves and Target Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon are 52 and 53 points back respectively. Although Power has led heading into the final race of the season the past two years, he has yet to capture the championship.
This is the 11th Indy race at Auto Club Speedway and the first since 2005, when Dario Franchitti captured the checkered flag. The CART and Champ Car held six Indy car races at Auto Club Speedway from 1997-2002. PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin won the pole (and the fastest world qualifying lap speed - later eclipsed by Gil deFerran at this same track) for the first Indy car race at Auto Club Speedway in 1997. PacWest teammate Mark Blundell won the race ... and still holds the record for the world fastest lap recorded during a race. Franchitti (2005) is the only driver to win at Auto Club Speedway from the pole position.
KV Racing Technology's (KVRT) Tony Kanaan will attempt to make his 196th consecutive Indy car start, dating to Portland in 2001. KVRT team owner, Jimmy Vasser holds the all-time record of 211.
The 2013 IndyCar season is set to begin March 24 in Florida for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Helio Castroneves is the defending race winner.
[ht: Kansas City Star]
... notes from The EDJE
** Article first published as Ryan Hunter-Reay Has The Most To Gain And Lose At IICS Final on Technorati **