At Fontana he has finished sixth, seventh, ninth, and fifth. His highest points finish of second in 2002 and 2008.
His counterpart at Fontana has finished second, eighth, tenth, and third. He has also won two championships along the way in 2003 and 2008.
The first stats line is Helio Castroneves, the second is Scott Dixon. They are the two men who will decide who will win the IZOD IndyCar Championship on Saturday Night. These two men drive for two of the most celebrated names in racing Castroneves for Roger Penske, and Scott Dixon driving for Chip Ganassi.
Castroneves at one point held a stout thirty-eight point lead over Dixon. Perseverance and patience paid off as Dixon chipped away at the lead until Sonoma when everything went haywire. That’s when this became a legit title fight, not just between the drivers but the teams.
In Sonoma Scott Dixon and a crew member of Castroneves’ Penske Racing teammate Will Power came together while Dixon left pit road. Intent or not didn’t matter as serving the penalty dropped Dixon from what he cut to thirty-one points back up to thirty-nine.
The next race was Baltimore and it was again Castroneves teammate that affected Scott’s race. Each man jockeyed for position going into turn 1, with Powers pushing Dixon up into the wall. Powers claimed he didn’t see Dixon. Castroneves was up to forty-nine points.
The problem was Castroneves hadn’t been able to really capitalize for race finishes. He suffered from issues that regulated him to the teens, but never far enough back to lose ground to Dixon. Then everything changed in Texas.
Castroneves’ lead shrank to eight points after he had shifter issues in Race One in Houston. Race two, more issues this time with a broken gear that not only gave Dixon a points lead but allowed him to strengthen it to twenty-five.
That’s seventy-four points. On one side of the points swing saw Castroneves comfortably leading, to now trying to crawl his way back to the championship. A respected driver, with three Indianapolis 500s to his name Castroneves has not one a championship in IndyCar. Possibly looking to coast to his first championship, mechanical issues having derailed him. The other side seeing Dixon fight back from crew members, accidents, incompetence by IndyCar’s governing body. All to rally back and take control of his destiny in Fontana.
Castroneves’ max possible points is 575 by winning the race, and all four bonus points. He would win in this scenario as long as Dixon finishes no higher than eighth. If Dixon gets max points, he’ll win with a points total of 600.
My admittedly rough math says Castroneves has over four races an average finish of 6.75. We’ll round up to say 7. Dixon is 5.75 so we’ll say six. If neither drivers gets a bonus points, and finish where they average then Dixon wins by 27.
The guessing, the waiting, and the what ifs will be answered on Saturday. My official pick sees Dixon winning the title by 31 points. The exact same amount of points he had before this title fight really began in Sonoma.
In random news:
IndyCar will condense the 2014 schedule into 5 months next season. The goal is to end the season in August in California, and doesn’t include Baltimore and Brazil on the list. This is a smart move by IndyCar on moving the season to end in August. They also have extended the Iowa race to 300 laps and moved it to July. It’ll run the same weekend as the NASCAR truck race.
Sebastien Bourdais has signed a two year deal to drive for KVSH Racing to replace Tony Kanaan.
Sticking with the open wheel front, Romain Grosjean was told a new deal with Lotus was a formality. However, he will still have to wait so here is hoping that Lotus knows what the hell they are talking about.
Adrian Sutil also is expected to probably be at Force India next year…Formula One teams sound like this most non-committal people ever.
Elliot Sadler will take over the 55 for the final four races of the season in wake of Brian Vickers being out due to health issues. Team owner Michael Waltrip will drive it this weekend at Talladega.
NASCAR held a six car aero test at Charlotte in hopes of finding a way for more passing. That’s highly redundant to do it with just six cars if you ask me.
David Ragan, and David Gilliland will return to Front Row Motorsports in 2014 so finish on the back row in 2014.
NASCAR released the schedule and other then the travesty of Darlington losing another date, nothing is worth noting.
The third surgery on his leg for Tony Stewart was to remove infection. He’s still hoping #Smokewillrise in Daytona.
Todd Parrott has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the substance abuse policy. Sammy Johns will crew chief the 43 until a permanent replacement is found.
Sources say that Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing have come to terms on a deal for next season. A formula announcement is expected for next Tuesday.
Random Sports/Non Sports Thought:
Between Talladega and Fontana this will be a fun weekend for racing!
Have a question, suggestion or witty comment? Feel free to leave one below! Don’t want to do that? Then the fastest, easiest, and quickest way to interact with me is on Twitter, @tpierc07. I also am on Facebook, but that one you have to work for. Don’t do social media? Then feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com!
So until we meet again just know, I’ll be waiting for you at the next left turn at Fontana on Saturday before we meet again in Talladega on Sunday!