It’s a wonder what a two-race sweep will do for you in the INDYCAR Power Rankings. Simon Pagenaud can attest to that after he jumped to the top this week following INDYCAR Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500 victories.
The Power Rankings – and, no, it doesn’t mean Will Power is always necessarily included – use INDYCAR’s advanced statistics and data to develop a weighted formula to rate how NTT IndyCar Series drivers are performing after each race this season. The rankings are based on the four most recent races to show which drivers are currently hottest.
How does it work? We look at more than just the results of the event, also factoring in qualifying results, on-track passes, on-track position passes and average running position throughout the race to come up with each driver’s rating. The most recent race (in this case, the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge) is weighted the most in the rating and the oldest race (Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama) the least.
So, following the Indianapolis 500, here’s a look at the top NTT IndyCar Series drivers:
WHO’S NO. 1?
Simon Pagenaud – Back-to-back wins for the Frenchman means Pagenaud is leading the point standings for the first time in nearly two seasons. It also means he’s the top driver in our Power Rankings. Will he suffer from an Indy 500 hangover this weekend in the Detroit doubleheader?
ON THE RISE
Santino Ferrucci – Dale Coyne Racing’s rookie scored his best NTT IndyCar Series finish at the Indy 500 and was named the race’s rookie of the year. He makes his Power Rankings debut the same week as his birthday – Ferrucci turns 21 on Friday.
LOOKING TO BOUNCE BACK
Graham Rahal – He was probably the driver hurt the most in the Lap 176 crash of the Indy that involved six cars. He was working his way through the field and had a car capable of finishing among the leaders. Instead, his car was wrecked and he tumbled out of the Power Ranking.
THE TOP 10 (previous rank in parentheses)
1. Simon Pagenaud (4) – See above
2. Josef Newgarden (2) – Newgarden trails Pagenaud by one point in the NTT IndyCar Series standings but is a threat to win at Detroit. He won on a street course at St. Petersburg in March.
3. Alexander Rossi (3) – Rossi on the Indianapolis oval is always fun to watch. Add a little anger and you can’t take your eyes off the No. 27 car. He almost won at Detroit last year, so watch out.
4. Scott Dixon (1) – Dixon falls three spots this week, but only because his car was damaged by being run into during the crash late in the Indy 500, which relegated him to finish 18th.
5. Takuma Sato (5) – Sato’s Indy 500 was nearly submarined in the pits, but he earned drive of the day status by rallying from 31st to within a whisker of the top two at the checkered flag.
6. Will Power (10) – Power’s roller coaster of a 2019 season seems to be leveling off. He finished fifth at Indy, overcoming a pit road penalty, and rises in the rankings.
7. Ryan Hunter-Reay (7) – Andretti Autosport had three cars finish in the top 10 at the Indy 500. Hunter-Reay was a solid seventh, which is where he stays in the Power Rankings.
8. Santino Ferrucci (Not ranked) – See above
9. James Hinchcliffe (Not ranked) – Hinch couldn’t avoid Indy 500 bump day drama for the second year in a row, but he moved up from 32nd to finish 11th in the race. Credit to spotter Bob Perona for getting the “Mayor” through the Lap 176 accident.
10. Spencer Pigot (Not ranked) – The Ed Carpenter Racing driver benefits from a front-row qualifying spot at Indy and a solid, if not uneventful day.
Dropped out: Graham Rahal (5), Sebastien Bourdais (8), Felix Rosenqvist (9).