IndyCar Halfway Mark Report Card

Photo Credit: autosport.com

After 8 of the 16 scheduled Verizon IndyCar Series races are in the books, here are the grades for each of the 22 regular drivers so far this season.

  1. Simon Pagenaud: A+. Pagenaud has placed in the top 2 in 6 of the 8 races so far this season, including 3 wins. He has placed in the top 2 at each of the 6 venues the series has traveled to. He is dominating the championship standings so far this season.
  2. Scott Dixon: A. Dixon has started this season better than he did his last 2 championship-winnings years, which appears to be setting him up for his usual late-season charge to the top of the standings, which IndyCar fans are becoming accustomed to.
  3. Helio Castroneves: A. Castroneves is currently and always seems to be in championship contention. Although he has not won a race in over 2 years, he consistently strings together championship-caliber result streaks. If he starts winning, he certainly could claim his 1st ever IndyCar title this season.
  4. Josef Newgarden: A. Newgarden has been strong at pretty much every track over the course of his career, and has recently started to translate those strengths into some very solid results. With the way it looks right now, he could be the sport’s next young dominant American driver.
  5. Will Power: A-. After sitting out at the season opener at St. Petersburg with a concussion, Power’s strong results have propelled him right back into the championship hunt.
  6. Tony Kanaan: A-. Kanaan has finished in the top 10 at 7 of the 8 races so far this season, and has been a contender for the win pretty much every week.
  7. Alexander Rossi: B+. Rossi won the Indianapolis 500, which singlehandedly propels him up this list. Having just 2 other top 10 finishes (both 10th) is what keeps him from being higher.
  8. Carlos Munoz: B+. Munoz turned his otherwise subpar season around at Indy by placing 2nd at the Indy 500, and followed it up with a 6th place finish at Detroit.
  9. Juan Pablo Montoya: B. Montoya has uncharacteristically crashed out at 2 of the last 3 races after having a strong start to this season. He looked hungry to avenge his championship defeat from a year ago, but now, it looks like he is just looking to finish each race.
  10. James Hinchcliffe: B. After struggling to begin the season, Hinchcliffe recorded 4 straight top 10 finishes, including 1 podium, and took the pole for the Indy 500. That is pretty impressive after being minutes if not seconds away from losing his life after a terrifying crash just a year ago.
  11. Graham Rahal: B-. At the start of the season, it looked like Rahal was continuing on the momentum he had built up during the 2015 season to potentially get him this year’s title. The last few races, however, have been a struggle for Rahal, as he looks to find some of that momentum again.
  12. Charlie Kimball: C+. Kimball always seems to find himself towards the middle of each race, and occasionally will run at the front. This season has been no different, as he has been one of the more consistently decent drivers on the grid.
  13. Ryan Hunter-Reay: C+. Overall, Hunter-Reay has not been himself this season. Even after having the dominant car at Indy, he was involved in a pit road accident that ruined his chances at winning the race. He cannot catch a break.
  14. Conor Daly: C+. In 8 races, Daly has been a legitimate contender for the win in 4 of them, and led laps in 3 of them. As a rookie, he has already finished in the top 6 on 3 occasions and has placed 2nd once.
  15. Sebastien Bourdais: C. Aside of his win at Belle Isle, Bourdais has done nothing special this year that has made him stand out.
  16. Takuma Sato: C-. Sato could be a contender for the win at pretty much any track, but never seems to find the consistency and the speed when he needs it the most.
  17. Mikhail Aleshin: D+. Aleshin had a solid start to the year, but has not been able to capitalize on some great opportunities that he has had as of late.
  18. Marco Andretti: D. For a series veteran, 1 top 10 finish in 8 races is not something to be proud of. Andretti has got to find a way to get some kind of rhythm going.
  19. Gabby Chaves: D. It is hard to grade Chaves on just 4 races, but he has yet to be a contender at any track.
  20. Spencer Pigot: D. Like it is for Chaves, it is hard to grade Pigot on just 5 races. He has not been a contender at any race.
  21. Max Chilton: D-. Chilton started the year out showing some potential, but has since rarely been mentioned aside of when he crashed in Indy 500 practice and in both Belle Isle races.
  22. Jack Hawskworth: F. Hawksworth is consistently having problems race after race, which is preventing him from even establishing a consistent rhythm.

-Asher Fair