IndyCar 2015 Mid Season Grades

The car driven by Helio Castroneves, of Brazil, is airborne after hitting the wall in the first turn during practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Wednesday, May 13, 2015.  (AP Photo/Joe Watts) ORG XMIT: NAA107

Photo from ap.org

IndyCar’s had an interesting season from a dangerous start with flying aero kit pieces to the emergence of a certified new American star. Although we at IRR admittedly tend to bitch a lot we’ve enjoyed the year thus far for the most part, though a rain-marred race at NOLA and cars flipping in practice at Indy were highly forgettable moments.

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How’s ten races into a fifteen race schedule in any way mid season, you ask? The schedule‘s simply too short and we feel cheated out of several races – Brazil and Toronto #2 to name a couple. Don’t get us started on the lack of ovals. Plus, in college the timing of midterms varies widely and since the IndyCar Series sometimes resembles a frat house, we find the break in the schedule to be a good time to assess individual teams’ performances this season.

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Photo from indycar.com

Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing: B+

Josef Newgarden’s breakthrough wins at Barber and Toronto have made the team’s merger look brilliant and established a genuine American star – a non-legacy star, at that. The team’s 1-2 finish in Ontario almost made up for a string of bad luck that stretched from Indy to Texas. Newgarden’s success is no fluke and this new team’s best days lie ahead.

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Photo from foxsports.com

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: B 

This single car Honda team has punched above its weight all season long and although it owns no wins or poles Graham Rahal currently sits 5th in points. That’s thanks to several strong showings and four top five finishes as well as remarkable consistency. Rahal’s been running at the end of nine of the ten races so far. Apparently Courtney’s been a positive force for Graham, as has some separation from his father.

Juan Pablo Montoya, of Colombia, celebrates after winning the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday, May 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Photo from ap.org

Team Penske: B

Juan Pablo Montoya won the Indy 500 for the second time in May after winning the season opener in a hail of flying aero kit debris. Will Power‘s taken five poles but only one win, enough for second in the championship behind his Colombian team mate. Helio and Pags remain win-less on the year however and have lagged behind at times this season. Ever the perfectionist, the Cap’n can’t be overly pleased with his four car super team’s showing so far.

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Photo from medium.com

KV Racing: B-

Jimmy Vasser and Kevin Kalkhoven’s team has been a tale of two drivers, a winning veteran and a crash-prone rookie on double secret probation. Our theory is that Coletti’s actually on Dallara’s payroll, though we can’t confirm it. The squad’s saving grace Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais won at Detroit, has been racy on other street circuits and sits sixth in points.

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Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Target Chip Ganassi Racing: C

While Scott Dixon‘s been his usual stellar self, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball have failed to deliver results. Rookie Sage Karam has struggled at times also drawing probation but looked fast others. Dixon’s wins at Texas and the Beach plus a pole have him third in the points, while TK and CK sit in ninth and eleventh respectively. Chip’ll turn churlish unless things improve this season.

James Hinchcliffe, of Canada, hits the wall in the third turn during practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Monday, May 18, 2015.  (Jimmy Dawson/The Indianapolis Star via AP) ORG XMIT: ININS101

Photo from ap.org

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports: C

The team’s new lead driver James Hinchcliffe managed a win in the swamps of NOLA but was badly injured in practice at Indy, missing the five races since. His erstwhile replacements have been serviceable and Hoosier Conor Daly’s shown flashes of brilliance, but it’s been a disappointing season for the team overall. Englishman James Jakes sits sixteenth in points.

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Image from Indy Race Reviewer

Bryan Herta Autosport: C-

The little team that almost could hasn’t had a lot of success, but it wasn’t expected to, either. Rookie Colombian Gabby “Pat” Chavez has performed better than other rookies – at least he’s avoided probation – and earned ROY honors at Indianapolis.

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Image from Indy Race Reviewer

Andretti Autosport: D+

Struggling at times to claim even top Honda and shrunken to a three car team, oh how the mighty at AA have fallen. Carlos Munoz has the team’s only win this season at a rain shortened race in Detroit that was just “OK,” while Ryan Hunter-Reay seemingly has fallen off the map. One bright spot for the team is Marco somehow sits seventh in points.

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Image from Indy Race Reviewer

A.J. Foyt Racing: D-

Now a two car team, Super Tex’s expanded effort hasn’t delivered any big results. As usual Takuma Sato has shown some speed – along with even more recklessness – while Englishman Jack Hawksworth hasn’t helped his cause in the ABC machine. They occupy thirteenth and eighteenth in the championship standings.

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Image from Indy Race Reviewer

Dale Coyne Racing: Incomplete

Coyne had better up his game, or an “I” will certainly become an “F.” Venezuelan Rudolfo Gonzalez is the best he can do, for goodness sake? Come on, Dale.

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9 thoughts on “IndyCar 2015 Mid Season Grades

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  6. Pingback: IndyCar 2015 Season Grades: KVSH Racing | Indy Race Reviewer: Fast & Funniness

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  9. The grades look about right to me. Marco has been fairly good too, especially for a Honda. TK has showed some speed too, and has had some okay finishes. Great article though, really enjoyed it.

    Like

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