IndyCar Series Power Rankings: Helio Castroneves survives Pocono and claims top spot

Jeff Zelevansky

The latest IndyCar Series Power Rankings are out and Helio Castroneves has retaken the top spot from the ill-fated Ryan Hunter-Reay.

The IndyCar Series' return to Pocono was a success and a wild series of events altered the championship battle and power rankings list. Ryan Hunter-Reay entered the race in the top spot but couldn't keep it after a pit road accident with Takuma Sato.

Helio Castroneves finished eighth but was the highest finishing championship contender and moves into the top spot as a result. Scott Dixon won the race and has placed himself in position for a comeback championship run and some respect on the power rankings list.

Where does everyone else stack up? Keep reading.

1. Helio Castroneves (LW: 2)

The Team Penske veteran made the most of a middling car and capitalized on the misfortunes of his closest championship challengers to extend his title lead to 23 points over second-place Ryan Hunter-Reay.

2. Scott Dixon (LW: 7)

Chip Ganassi Racing finally put together a full race from all three cars and the effort was spearheaded by race winner Scott Dixon. The all Ganassi podium on Sunday at Pocono may have reenergized Dixon's championship hopes.

Remember just how far back Dixon had to battle just to capture his first championship in 2003? We could be looking at a possible deja vu scenario out of the No. 9 team this summer.

3. Marco Andretti (LW: 5)

On one hand, Marco Andretti scored a top-10 when so many title contenders struggled. But the alternative is that the third-generation star failed to win yet another race that he had dominated and captured the pole for.

With the Series running mostly street course races over the rest of the summer, Andretti will look back at the strongest part of his schedule and likely wonder why he didn't make more of it.

4. Tony Kanaan (LW: 4)

Another ‘what if' race left the Indianapolis 500 champion in 13th after he discarded a chance to win, utilizing a bold move that snapped his front wing on lap 107. Kanaan put himself in prime position to win the second step of the Fuzzy's Triple Crown and chase the $1 million bonus at Auto Club Speedway but it wasn't meant to be.

5. Ryan Hunter-Reay (LW: 1)

The defending IndyCar Series champion's finish on Sunday was not indicative of what the team had put their driver in position to do. An accident on pit road with Takuma Sato eliminated all the championship momentum the team had established over the past few weeks.

6. Justin Wilson (LW: 8)

Mr. Consistency continues to turn in even-keeled performances on ovals with a seventh-place at Pocono. With twin races at Toronto upcoming, Wilson could be a pair of victories away from returning to championship contention.

7. Will Power (LW: 10)

A season of ‘what could have been' continued for Will Power, who has maintained race-contending form on ovals with continued bad luck everywhere else. While his championship hopes are pretty much dashed, a return to form on road and streets could build momentum for 2014 plus allow him to protect his teammate's championship lead.

8. Simon Pagenaud (LW: NR)

Pocono was a return to form for Simon Pagenaud after finishing sixth in his track debut.

9. Ed Carpenter

Oval. Top-10. Expecting anything different?

10. Simona de Silvestro (LW: NR)

The KV Racing junior driver scored her best finish since starting the season with three top-10s in four races. Perhaps the second half will deliver the results this pairing was expecting at the start of the season.

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