INDYCAR: Power Rankings (Long Beach)

45% less embarrassing than the Lotus PR department. Probably.

Myself and the rest of the world thought that, as usual, Barber would be a follow-the-leader snoozer with minimal passing. Surely this new car can't create great racing at a course with so few passing zones. Surely the one who started on the pole wouldn't be beaten. Surely the winner wouldn't start outside of the Top 5...

So much for that.

Not only were cars passing each other at will, they were doing it at other places than just the Turn 5 hairpin. It seemed every turn was a potential passing zone and even blocking (which is now legal) made for impressive fights for position. It just goes to show when a car is designed to go left AND right (unlike the 2003 Dallara) it can indeed put on a good show at a place like Barber.

Also it goes to show that a TV network willing to give a DAMN about the quality of its coverage will result in a quality broadcast. ABC, FIX YO BROKEN SELVES. Please never change, NBC (apart from firing Lindy Thackston and sending out Robin Miller during race invocation, although I enjoyed the schadenfreude AND it got Robin trending on Twitter worldwide).

So, after all the blissful madness (for road course racing standards) who tops Power Rankings this week heading into Long Beach?

(This week's Power Rankings after the jump)

THE GRID

1. Helio Castroneves

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Previous ranking: 1 (no change)

I beginning to believe his hair gel contains liquid Kevlar. It just doesn't change after a race.

2. Scott Dixon

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Previous ranking: 2 (no change)

Using NASCAR standards (past and present) he would probably be the points leader, but since he hasn't won yet he isn't using IndyCar's. THAT is a real points system that actually puts emphasis on winning.

3. Will Power

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Previous ranking: 7 (+4)

Pretty sure he was one breath away after qualifying from calling Beaux Barfield a wanker. I bet he's forgotten about all that.

4. Simon Pagenaud

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Previous ranking: 5 (+1)

He's considered a rookie yet Rubens Barrichello isn't...

5. James Hinchcliffe

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Previous ranking: 4 (-1)

"I watched the ‘Bama race on Sunday. It was nice to see the Go Daddy car running up front all day. I knew Danica had talent. She ran a great race."

6. Ryan Hunter-Reay

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Previous ranking: 3 (-3)

He'll be driving the new Viper in ALMS, which begs the question: why would Chevy allow that? Maybe it's a scouting mission.

7. Graham Rahal

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Previous ranking: 12 (+5)

Just counting down the days until Dario retires from the Ganassi A-team...which at this rate may actually be sooner than expected.

8. Sebastien Bourdais

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Previous ranking: 15 (+7)

Second week in a row he's the best performing Lotus car and recipient of the PopOffValve.com Lotus Index of Effluency (LIE) Award for best performing under-performing Lotus. A Top 10 in a Lotus? With no strategy help??? "I AM A GOLDEN GOD!!!"

9. Ryan Briscoe

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Previous ranking: 6 (-3)

A Penske driver shouldn't finish behind TWO Lotus cars. Ever. The end.

10. Josef Newgarden

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Previous ranking: 9 (-1)

A piece of his front wing came off and no yellow was thrown. It could still be there, with weeds growing around it. Meanwhile, Ana Beatriz's disconnected front wing up in Edmonton on the back straight now has a forest around it. It was recently named a game preserve.

11. Dario Franchitti

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Previous ranking: 14 (+3)

Maybe this right-foot braking thing is now out of style. Helio ditched it and now look at him.

12. EJ Viso

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Previous ranking: 8 (-4)

Forgetful performance or not, he has yet to hit anybody or anything this season. Incredibly.

13. Marco Andretti

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Previous ranking: unranked

Made a lot more fans with his making every corner a passing zone. But probably didn't make any friends doing it.

14. Mike Conway

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Previous ranking: unranked

This has to be the best the Foyt team has looked since the last time Foyt was able to fit in an (unmodified) IndyCar tub.

15. Rubens Barrichello

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Previous ranking: unranked

He isn't considered a rookie yet Simon Pagenaud is...

DNQ (bumped from the field)

Charlie Kimball

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Previous ranking: 10

Back to normal.

Justin Wilson

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Previous ranking: 11

Anytime he gets outrun by James Jakes you KNOW something was quite broken or setup by someone who prefers to use a cane to see.

Takuma Sato

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Previous ranking: 13

It took two races, but that was our first genuine up-in-smoke KERBLAMMO.

Oriol Servia

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Previous ranking: unranked

Bourdais is really stealing his thunder. And yes, a Top 15 in a Lotus is what you would call "thunder".

JR Hildebrand

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Previous ranking: unranked

Second week in a row he's fallen very late in the race and the second week in a row when and how he did fall out was NONE OF OUR BUSINESS.

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