The results of last weekend's Edmonton Indy tightened up the points fight among the top three in the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings, with Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay having his lead margin cut to 23 points over new second-place man Helio Castroneves. Will Power, a championship finalist the past two seasons, is third, 26 points back, and Scott Dixon remains in the hunt trailing by 61 points.
Four races remain (two road courses, one street course and the 500-miler on the Auto Club Speedway oval to close out the season), and it appears likely that the finale will decide the series champion for the seventh consecutive year.
“I would expect that to be the case going into the last race,” said Power. “You know, I think he's [Castroneves] going to be there right at the end. What do you do? You just race him hard.”
The top three are searching for their first IZOD IndyCar Series title, while Dixon is a two-time series champion. Castroneves has three Indianapolis 500 victories, 27 career Indy car wins to tie Johnny Rutherford for 13th on the all-time list and 39 career pole starts among other accolades in his three-decade career covering more than 250 races. An overall major title is one milestone he's yet to nail down.
There have been previous opportunities in season-long battles with Team Penske teammates Sam Hornish Jr. and Gil de Ferran, in addition to Dixon and Dario Franchitti. Heading into the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 5, he's in the thick of another.
“To be honest, that's a good problem to have, especially for the team, having two teammates battling for the championship,” Castroneves said. “But I had this situation before with Sam, with Gil. I've been in this situation before with my own teammates battling for the championship.
Maybe with Will, might be his first time, but I've been in this position. I don't see a problem at all. I actually want
it, because that means I know what he's got.