Indianapolis, IN- This weekend the Izod IndyCar Series 2013 season comes to a close.
It’s down to Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves for the championship as Dixon leads the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion by 25 points.
Castroneves is searching for his first ever series championship as he was one good weekend away in Houston from doing so. Unfortunately, two bad gearboxes in both races dropped him from a 49 point lead to a 25 point deficit. After finishing in the top 10 in 15 of the first 16 races and completing every lap prior to Houston he came home with two straight sub 15th place finishes.
Now, many are questioning whether he can snap out of the recent funk.
I think the answer is yes.
I’m aware the last time the series was on an oval Ganassi swept the podium at Pocono with Dixon winning. But, for the most part Chevrolet powered engines have dominated the ovals all year prior. It’s no secret of their dominance as everyone including both teams consider Castroneves the favorite as he was quickest in the open test at Fontana last month and had a much better car than Dixon.
Dixon’s team knows they may not have much for Castroneves as they’re shooting for the odds. Dixon needs to finish seventh or better Saturday night and the title is his. If Castroneves wins and leads the most laps but doesn’t earn the pole then he has to finish eighth or better.
If Helio wins the race and pole but not the most laps then it’s ninth or better and if Helio just wins the race but no pole and doesn’t lead the most laps then it’s 10th or better for Dixon.
That’s going to be tough to do for him as there’s several contenders that can win this race. Castroneves, Will Power, Tony Kanaan, all four in the Andretti Autosport camp and Ed Carpenter are all among the favorites. That’s eight drivers right there. Mix in A.J. Allmendinger who’s driving a Penske car this weekend and there’s a ninth guy in his way.
Also, the race is a long 500 miles. As we’ve seen over the years, it takes a lot to make it 500 miles. That’s 250 laps that a blown engine, part failure, pit stop troubles or even a wreck that can happen to Dixon. Look at last year where Power wrecked in Turn 2.
So this title isn’t over yet. In fact it’s far from over. Don’t be shocked to see Castroneves on the top step of the podium and hoisting the championship trophy as well Saturday night.
Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports writer for Race Review Online. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru
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