INDYCAR: Power Rankings (Las Vegas)

300 miles to go...

Well, one more to go. Sure enough it looks like it's Dario's title to win yet again barring an airstrike. Also it looks like the misfortune of his competition will be the biggest reason of his victory yet again. If he does win his fourth title it will put him in the conversation as one of the all time greats. It figures that I leave the beginning of such boring dominance due to luck (my NASCAR watching days and Jimmie Johnson winning titles due to luck and a "gimmick" such as the "Chase") to come back to IndyCar and what do you know, more of the same. Sure, luck is usually the residue of design, but whose accomplishment is greater and less to do with luck?

Of course the talking heads of the NASCAR media (FOX/SPEED/ESPN/hell, everyone else) will automatically say it is Johnson because in their mind NASCAR is the only top-level professional racing in America. However, if you take away the Chase format he only wins a few. Granted that is a solid accomplishment in itself, but not even enough to join the NASCAR elite with the likes of Petty, Earnhardt or even the man who discovered him and basically built the foundation he stands on: Gordon. Dario's potential three-peat (four-peat if you ignore his NASCAR career that saw him lose his ride due to sponsor issues) looks even more impressive. He's done it with TWO organizations (Andretti, Ganassi) with a pair of Indianapolis 500 wins (Johnson only has the one Daytona 500 victory) and more importantly he earned his titles without a special format and had to score points throughout the season.

However, there is still one more race to run...and one more edition of Power Rankings until the end.

THE GRID

 

1.  Dario Franchitti

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Previous Ranking: #2 (+1)

So if he wins the title on Sunday, he'll have not only three titles in three years, they will all be completely different trophies.

 

2.  Will Power

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Previous Ranking: #1 (-1)

NOT Ana Beatriz's biggest fan.

 

3.  Scott Dixon

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Previous Ranking:  #3 (no change)

The last AJ Foyt Trophy winner, because what's the point of such a trophy if there's only 5 oval tracks next year?

 

4.  Oriol Servia

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Previous Ranking:  #4 (no change)

The "Best of the Rest" title is all his barring airstrike. Do you think everyone who didn't hire him is kicking themselves now?

 

5.  Tony Kanaan

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Previous Ranking:  #5 (no change)

Since Danica dropped the "Driving like Brazilians" bomb he's only brought weaksauce in return. That's just unBrazilian.

 

6.  Ryan Hunter-Reay

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Previous Ranking:  #6 (no change)

Pretty much the best American in the series. Not championship material yet, but he's going to be the ace in Andretti's staff for years to come.  Oops, UNTIL TODAY.

 

7.  Ryan Briscoe

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Previous Ranking:  #8 (+1)

As of now he's still an unknown for 2012 at Penske. Or anywhere else. He doesn't have a sponsor really tied to him (noticed the lack of IZOD sponsorship and commercials featuring him since Indy?).

 

8.  Marco Andretti

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Previous Ranking:  #7 (-1)

Very unAndretti-like to allow blame to be placed on himself (from his dad no less).

 

9.  Danica Patrick

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Previous Ranking:  #10 (+1)

With the de-tuned Honda engines and the fact she's had contact with other drivers numerous times the DNF streak is quite irrelevant. Sure she can bring it home near the top and be careful, but her teammates bring home the wins.

 

10.  Graham Rahal

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Previous Ranking:  #9 (-1)

Manscaping? Well, here's what I think about that.

 

11.  Vitor Meira

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Previous Ranking:  #11 (no change)

Ironman triathlete? No wonder AJ keeps him year after year.

 

12.  James Hinchcliffe

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Previous Ranking:   #13 (+1)

He might've won the Rookie of the Year crown with that brilliant performance. However, this isn't quite the crown he had in mind.

 

13.  Alex Tagliani

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Previous Ranking:  #12 (-1)

He might have said he was rooting for Wheldon, but you know deep down when that yellow came out with him pitting he was mentally fist-pumping like a champ.

 

14.  Takuma Sato

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Previous Ranking:  #15 (+1)

MUCH better than last year.

 

15.  Simona De Silvestro

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Previous Ranking:   #14 (-1)

Clutch problems or not, that's what happens when a car has its own twitter account; it has a mind of its own.

 

DNQ (Bumped from the field)

 

JR Hildebrand

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Previous Ranking:  unranked

OUCH. As punishment, no ROTY title for you. Maybe.

 

Mike Conway

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Previous Ranking:  unranked

Hard to believe that the former #11 team is the one has struggled all year (since Long Beach) compared to the other Andretti cars.  I guess TK really was that valuable.

 

Helio Castroneves

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Previous Ranking:  unranked

If he had bad luck this year, just think what karma will do to him next year after....after that ESPN Body Issue pose (I will NOT hot-link to that abomination).

 

EJ Viso

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Previous Ranking:  unranked

A Viso-free race? Two in a row? I doubt it.  Already he's just warming up...

 

Ana Beatriz

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Previous Ranking:  unranked

I'm amazed Roger Penske hasn't fired up the Death Star primary weapon and aimed at the Dreyer & Reinbold team shop.

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