Photo Credit: Autoweek (featured image), IndyCar (numbers and cars)
Now that all of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series races are in the books, here are the grades for each of the 20 full-time drivers this season.
Note: The car numbers, engine/aero kit manufactures, countries, and cars are all provided for each driver.
12) Carlos Munoz : B-.
Munoz turned his otherwise subpar season around at Indianapolis by placing 2nd at the Indianapolis 500, and he followed it up with a 6th place finish at Detroit. He also finished in 3rd at Mid-Ohio, but other than a few strong races here and there, he was not a regular contender this season.
11) Juan Pablo Montoya : B-.
Montoya uncharacteristically crashed out at multiple races this season after having a strong start to the season. Early on this season, he looked hungry to avenge his championship defeat from a season ago, but it was starting to look like he was just looking to finish each race after some major struggles in the middle of the season. Luckily for Montoya, the final race of the season at Sonoma was worth double points, so his 3rd place finish there shot him from 14th to 8th in the championship standings in just one race.
10) Ryan Hunter-Reay : B-.
Overall, Hunter-Reay was not himself this season. Or maybe he was, but his luck did not allow that to show through. Even after having the dominant car in the early stages of the Indianapolis 500, he was involved in a pit road accident that ruined his chance at winning the race. He could not catch a break this season at all, and that showed not only at Mid-Ohio, when he was slated for a top 10 finish but his pit crew did not put enough fuel in his car on the last pit stop, but at Pocono, where he also had the dominant car after starting in last place. He ended up a lap down towards the end of the race after leading much of the race and still rallied to finish 3rd. This season was Hunter-Reay’s first season without a top 2 finish since the 2007 season, when he was not even a full-time driver, and his first season without a victory since the 2009 season.
9) Charlie Kimball : B.
Kimball is probably the most consistent driver in the series. He finished between 5th place and 10th place in 11 races this season, and despite never making it onto the podium, he finished 9th place in the championship standings and led all drivers in laps completed. He comes out of this season with tons of breakthrough potential, and with his consistency, that could lead to a championship.