POWER RANKINGS: Mid-Ohio
Throughout the season, POPULAR SPEED will rank the top-10 drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series following each event. Feel free to comment on the story at the POPULAR SPEED Facebook page.
Josef Newgarden was moved up to number one following victory in the Honda Indy Toronto and closed out the month of July with an equally stout performance to win at Mid-Ohio. While the Tennessean is far from securing his first Verizon IndyCar Series championship, he appears to have the momentum in his corner as the circuit is off until the third weekend of August for the Pocono 500.
1. Team Penske (Unchanged)
Four drivers in the top-seven places at Mid-Ohio, with all four in the first five of the championship standings. Not as dominant as the Captain’s reign of terror last year, but boy it is just as solid.
2. Andretti Autosport (+1)
A strong outing from Michael’s quartet in the Buckeye State. Three of the four pilots on the squad placed in the first ten, and with a high-speed oval next on the docket, the chances for a race win should increase.
3. Chip Ganassi Racing (-1)
It is time to drop CGR down the list. With Scott Dixon continuing to be mired in the back half of the top ten, his three teammates have not picked up the slack to merit a number two ranking. May not be able to justify a top-three spot if the trend continues in Pennsylvania.
4. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (+1)
Home-court advantage or not, Graham Rahal was in contention from the start on Sunday and was rewarded with a podium finish. Can manage a good result at Pocono, but may need the same attrition levels as seen at Texas to get there.
5. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (-1)
There was nothing special from either James Hinchcliffe or Mikhail Aleshin at Mid-Ohio. If the team can revert to its 2016 oval track muscle at Pocono, they could be a contender. They at least have the stronger power plant to boast about.
6. Dale Coyne Racing (Unchanged)
Whether Coyne hustles Sebastien Bourdais back into action or not, the momentum gained to open the 2017 campaign is just a memory now. 18th or worse in the last three starts for Ed Jones and Esteban Gutierrez’s trial by fire continued at Mid-Ohio.
7. Ed Carpenter Racing (Unchanged)
The teeth pulling for ECR is momentarily on hiatus. J.R. Hildebrand and team boss Ed Carpenter are back on an oval. Speed is not an issue, but getting to the finish might be.
8. Harding Racing (Unchanged)
Gabby Chaves and company return to action at Pocono. So far the new entity has yet to suffer a significant adversity and will continue to play its cards close to the vest at the Tricky Triangle.
9. A.J. Foyt Racing (Unchanged)
If Conor Daly can build on his first legit top-ten of 2017 at Mid-Ohio, that might be enough to jump at least Harding Racing by season’s end. Not much positive to say about Carlos Munoz’s effort, however.
10. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (=)
Season’s over, but 2018 Indianapolis 500 could be promising if the team continues the same course with Sage Karam. The driver-squad pairing seems perfect for one-off outings.
1. Josef Newgarden (Unchanged)
Back-to-back wins and the points lead is now his, but not firmly. Considering Chevrolet is at a disadvantage on super speedways, Pocono could be the last major road block between the No. 2 Chevrolet and a possible title.
2. Simon Pagenaud (+2)
The Frenchman is not winning races, but he continues to compile high placings more often than not. Whether that’s enough to defend his title from a year ago successfully is now the major issue.
3. Helio Castroneves (-1)
Seventh-place run at Mid-Ohio cost him the points lead, but his oval track savvy could jump back to the one or two maybe after Pocono.
4. Scott Dixon (-1)
The Iceman is still well within the range of his fifth championship; but, the last three races have been a fight to salvage decent results. It will be curious to see how he fares at Pocono, after suffering accidents in his last two showings on 200 miles per hour plus layouts.
5. Graham Rahal (+1)
Third-place at Mid-Ohio and now the Honda chauffeur seeks his second-straight win on a major oval. While he has done well in Texas, it has not translated to Indy or Pocono.
6. Will Power (+2)
We are continuing the give the former series champion the benefit of the doubt. Assuming luck is on his side, he is capable of earning high finishes on a consistent basis.
7. Alexander Rossi (-2)
Good run for Rossi at Mid-Ohio. Only drops down the list based on the efforts of both Rahal and Power – nothing more, nothing less.
8. Ryan Hunter-Reay (-1)
Have to like RHR’s chances at Pocono, assuming the engine blow-up that occurred at the Indy 500 avoids an encore in the Keystone State.
9. Takuma Sato (Unranked)
Top-five at Mid-Ohio is a plus, but that was preceded by a hollow period of three finishes of 16th or further down the list. Needs to finish the year off strong to be able to claim year a success, even with triumph at the Indy 500 included.
10. James Hinchcliffe (-1)
11th-place finish was a ho-hum outing for the Mayor. Despite only six top-ten efforts in 2017, the Canadian is still on the verge of his best points placing since 2013.
Dropped Out: Max Chilton (Was No. 10 after Toronto)
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