Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times (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.
4) Helio Castroneves : A.
Castroneves, who may go down as the greatest IndyCar driver to never win a championship, always seems to be in championship contention, but came up short yet again for the 16th time in as many seasons. He also has not won a race in over 2 years, but he consistently strings together championship-caliber result streaks. He ended up finishing in 3rd place in this season’s championship standings, which is pretty impressive given that he did not win a race.
3) Josef Newgarden : A.
Newgarden has been strong at pretty much every track over the course of his career. This season, he started to translate those strengths into some very solid results on a consistent basis. After a terrifying crash at Texas, Newgarden responded with an all-time IndyCar record of 282 laps led in his dominant win at Iowa. With the way it looks right now, he could be the sport’s next young dominant American driver.
2) Will Power : A.
After sitting out at the season opener at St. Petersburg with a concussion, Power’s strong results, including 4 victories and 2 2nd place finishes over the course of 6 consecutive races towards the middle of the season, propelled him right back into the championship hunt, where he eventually finished in 2nd place for the 4th time in 7 seasons. This season marks Power’s 7th consecutive season finishing in the top 4 in the championship standings.
1) Simon Pagenaud : A+.
Pagenaud won a series-high 5 races this season, and he led the championship standings since after the 2nd race of the season at Phoenix. He strung together a streak of 5 consecutive top 2 finishes to open up the season, a streak that including 3 victories. He won the championship by 127 points over Will Power, an all-time record high points margin. It seemed like Pagenaud had the field in the rearview mirror all season long. Nothing much else to say about the man who dominated the series this season.