I have absolutely no concrete evidence to support picking Will Power to finally capture the IndyCar Series championship - and yet I am. Sure he's going to pick up four-to-five wins and drives for powerful Team Penske but until he closes out on a championship, there's very little reason to assume that this year won't end up like the three that preceded it.
But it will.
A slightly different Will Power has shown up to work for this weekend's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. At last week's open test and media day at Barber Motorsports Park, he was more relaxed and almost feigning indifference. But in fact, Power is actually focused, no longer concerned about losing championship on the final race, disputes with race directors or spatting with rivals. The new Power is focused on the moment and plans to stay that way.
He'll be aided by the expanded Series schedule too. With three street course weekends receiving doubleheaders, it's double the opportunity for Power to maximize the value of his favored discipline of racing. He'll capitalize on that opportunity and pad his championship lead to such an unreachable level that he'll have nothing to lose by time the Series gets to the final race of the season at Auto Club Speedway.
Power will wrap up the season championship by Houston and Roger Penske's seven-year journey back to the top of the sport will reach its conclusion.
Or I could be completely wrong. That's the beauty of sports - they are not played on paper - and is the reason we're going to tune in from a week-to-week basis.
Below you'll find my predicted top-10 final championship standings and who I think will win each race this season. Just don't take them to the bank.
- Will Power
- Scott Dixon
- Ryan Hunter-Reay
- James Hinchcliffe
- Simon Pagenaud
- Dario Franchitti
- Tony Kanaan
- Simona de Silvestro
- Helio Castroneves
- Oriol Servià
Date, Venue, Winner (In parenthesis)
- March 24 Streets of St. Petersburg (Will Power)
- April 7 Barber Motorsports Park (Will Power)
- April 21 Streets of Long Beach (Will Power)
- May 5 Streets of Sao Paulo (Simon Pagenaud)
- May 26 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Scott Dixon)
- June 1 Raceway at Belle Isle (Dario Franchitti)
- June 2 Raceway at Belle Isle (Scott Dixon)
- June 8 Texas Motor Speedway (Ed Carpenter)
- June 15 The Milwaukee Mile (Ryan Hunter-Reay)
- June 23 Iowa Speedway (Marco Andretti)
- July 7 Pocono International Raceway (Scott Dixon)
- July 14 Streets of Toronto (Ryan Hunter-Reay)
- Aug. 4 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Will Power)
- Aug. 25 Raceway at Sonoma (Will Power)
- Sept. 1 Streets of Baltimore (Will Power)
- Oct. 5 Reliant Park Houston (James Hinchcliffe)
- Oct. 6 Reliant Park Houston (Helio Castroneves)
- Oct. 19 Auto Club Speedway Fontana (Dario Franchitti)