The competitiveness of the IZOD IndyCar Series is reflected in seven teams represented in the top 10 of the championship standings and seven different drivers having won the 10 races.
Andretti Autosport happens to have won half of the events as the season rolled to the second half with the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by DEKALB on June 23.
Third-year driver James Hinchcliffe, who had never won on an oval, added that accomplishment to the two street course victories from earlier this year. He led teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, who’s recorded the other two wins, to the finish line by 1.509 seconds through 250 fast and furious laps on the .875-mile track.
It was the second consecutive year for an Andretti Autosport 1-2 finish, and the fourth successive year an Andretti Autosport driver has hoisted the gas pump trophy in Victory Circle. Overall, the team has won five of the seven races in the heart of Iowa.
The magic, team owner Michael Andretti reveals, is in the details. Debriefings, engineering meetings, driver input and openly sharing data between the four – all the things conducted after the spectators leave the grandstands.
“Getting information is very important, and you need to get good, accurate information, and you need to have information that you can trust,” Andretti said. “That’s what we have with all four cars that are out there running all the time. We are getting four cars of data, and the four drivers and four engineers all work together and trust each other, and so we are getting four times the work done than if you had one car out there.
“I think that’s the biggest thing. I don’t think we have any tricks. It’s just good, hard work and good teamwork.”
It’s paying off, with reigning series champion Hunter-Reay only nine points behind front-running Helio Castroneves of Team Penske in the drivers’ championship. Marco Andretti is third (-55 points) and Hinchcliffe vaulted five positions to fourth (-66 points). E.J. Viso, who earned his third consecutive top 10 on three distinctly different ovals, is 11th in the standings.
“Hopefully all four continue to finish races and continue to get points,” Andretti continued. “Races like (Iowa) where Marco didn’t have a great car but he still came home ninth and got some important points, that’s what it’s going to take. I think one of them has a chance at winning the championship.
“Having said that, guys like Helio, with his experience and everything, it’s going to be really difficult. He’s going to make it go right down to the wire. But it’s always nice to have more than one bullet in the gun, and right now we have three real legitimate shots at winning the championship.”