IndyCar MAVTV 500 Live Thread

Will Helio finally win the championship, or is it Dixon's time? [MAVTV 500 Live Thread]

10/19/13 in IndyCar   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Blog Photo - IndyCar MAVTV 500 Live ThreadAfter 18 races, some great racing, and the usual off-track instability, it has all come down to one race and 500 miles to decide the IndyCar championship, the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the 8th straight year the title has come down to the final race of the season.

The two principles in the title chase are Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves. Dixon is looking for his third championship to join his 2003 and 2008 wins, while Castroneves looks to finally win his first IndyCar crown. Dixon, however, leads by 25 points, the result of a 1st and 2nd at the Houston doubleheader while Helio had issues in both races. Helio had led by 49 points going into that doubleheader weekend. 16th and Georgetown has put together a chart showing what Helio needs to come from behind and win. It's pretty simple though. Helio must win, or at least worse finish 2nd, to have a realistic chance. For Dixon, it's also simple. Finish 6th or better and the title is his no matter what.

Most of the other news is IndyCar concerns next season. Andretti Autosport announced much of its plans this week. James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti resigned with the team, Hinchcliffe with new sponsorship. They also announced a switch to Honda, a good counter for the manufacturer after Ganassi switched to Chevy. The other big paddock move was Sebastien Bourdais signing a 2 year deal with KV Racing. He'll replace Tony Kanaan, who is off to Ganassi.

The other big news of the week was the release of the 2014 schedule. The big story here is how condensed it is, with 19 races crammed into five months. Baltimore (date conflicts) and Brazil (promoter issues) are off the schedule, while the much discussed Grand Prix of Indianapolis joins. The doubleheader weekends are the same three as this year, and a few dates move. Houston to June 28-29 (which is a terrible idea unless the plan is for everyone to melt), Milwaukee to August 17, and the finale here in Fontana to August 30.

For tonight's race, there are many grid changes. The most obvious one is Alex Tagliani, subbing for the injured Dario Franchitti. Team Penske counters with adding third car for AJ Allmendinger. JR Hildebrand will drive the #98 Bryan Herta Autosport machine, while Pippa Mann gets into the #18 at Dale Coyne Racing. Finally, Carlos Munoz replaces EJ Viso in the #5 car. According to Viso, he is "sick," but no one seems to believe that. Viso has stated his uncomfortableness with this track before. Plus, there is a developing situation involving currency disbursement by race car drivers in Venezuela. The Venezuelan government, through CITGO of course, is Viso's sponsor.

Will Power will start on the pole for tonight's race, with Allmendinger and Bourdais accompanying him on the first row (rows of 3 tonight since this is a Triple Crown race). Helio and Dixon are starting 12th and 17th respectively, as both changed engines and took the penalty. Given the length of the race and the wideness of the track, starting position is mostly not an issue here. Defending race champion Ed Carpenter, trying to win his 3rd season finale in a row, starts 7th.

Coverage starts at 8:00 on NBC Sports Network, with the green flag coming at 9:10 (20 minutes later than originally so the glare of sunset wouldn't affect the drivers, a necessary safety change). Timing and scoring can be found here. More Front Wing's Event Summary can be found here. Q it up here throughout the MAVTV 500 and the crowning of the 2013 IndyCar Series champion.
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10/20/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Unofficial Results:

1. Will Power (he called it the most satisfying win of his life)
2. Ed Carpenter
3. Tony Kanaan
4. James Hinchcliffe
5. Scott Dixon (wins third IndyCar championship)
6. Helio Castroneves -1 lap
7. Marco Andretti -2 laps
8. Simona de Silvestro -3 laps (best career finish on an oval despite being part of the big wreck, it was that kind of night)
9. Ryan Hunter-Reay -8 laps
10. Charlie Kimball DNF (Mechanical)
11. JR Hildebrand DNF (Mechanical)
12. Sebastien Bourdais DNF (Contact)
13. Simon Pagenaud DNF (Mechanical)
14. Alex Tagliani DNF (Contact)
15. Graham Rahal DNF (Mechanical)
16. AJ Allmendinger DNF (Contact)
17. Takuma Sato DNF (Mechanical)
18. Justin Wilson DNF (Contact) (hopefully he's alright)
19. Oriol Servia DNF (Contact)
20. Josef Newgarden DNF (Contact)
21. Tristan Vautier DNF (Contact)
22. James Jakes DNF (Contact)
23. Carlos Munoz DNF (Contact)
24. Sebastian Saavedra DNF (Contact)
25. Pippa Mann DNF (Contact)

10/20/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Will Power wins the MAVTV 500! Scott Dixon is your 2013 Izod IndyCar Series champion!

10/20/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Ed to 2nd on the restart but Power got a gap. 7 to go.

10/20/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

JR is blown up too. Chevy basically clinches the manufacturer's championship with that.

10/20/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Argh! Yellow as Kimball blows his engines.

10/20/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Kimball and JR are sitting ducks with old tires. Power to the lead, then TK, Hinch, and Ed.

10/20/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

15 to go as they restart.

10/20/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

7 cars on the lead lap: Kimball, Carpenter, JR, Power, TK, Hinch, Dixon. Helio a lap down in 8th. There are 11 cars left.

Edit: And Ed pits now. Drop him to 7th.

10/20/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Dixon pits again to clean the radiator.

10/20/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Dixon pits to clean his radiator (debris on track is causing lots of overheating problems), and as that happens, Bourdais wrecks and yellow. Helio is a lap down though.

10/20/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Helio has to pit, and with 24 laps to go, the championship looks like it has been decided!

10/20/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Helio has wing damage!

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Well, maybe no penalty, but Helio has charged from the back to battling for the lead. Dixon and Kimball up there too.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Just shocking that happened. Absolutely shocking.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Holy crap! Roger Penske made a mistake! He told Helio to come into the pits...but they were closed. Helio's gonna get a drive through penalty. That might end the championship.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Tagliani spins. Yellow is out.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Marco and Rahal pit and both look done. With under 50 to go, it's definitely attrition time.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Power leads from Dixon, Kimball, Helio, and Tags.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Power and Kimball pit, which gives the lead to one Scott Dixon.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Yellow as Allmendinger crashes. It happened as Dixon was pitting. Helio had already pitted.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

The final pit stops are starting.

Nevermind. One more to go.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Helio 4th after the pit stops...but Dixon is 2nd.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

So far most stops seems normal except Bourdais. They had to lift the jack up a second time because one of the tires wasn't on tight yet.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Helio back to 7th. Car is really struggling right now. Pit stops starting now, and not surprisingly Helio is in first.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Sato in the pits with a problem. There's yet another car that can't beat Dixon, which hurts Helio.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Power has separated a bit in the front. Dixon just passed Marco for 3rd. Helio is batting Carpenter for 6th.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Tagliani takes the lead. Helio has fallen to 6th. Dixon up to 4th.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

From the medical center, Wilson is awake and alert, and will be transported by ground to a local hospital for more evaluation of his lower back.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Hunter-Reay pits from 2nd due to reports of a cut tire. Helio still leads. Still under caution. About to finally hit halfway.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Helio leads, Dixon in 8th. Right now, Helio's up 2 points.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Wilson is being loaded onto an ambulance.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Wilson spun out in the seam and got T-boned by Vautier. Servia tried to avoid first and somehow Newgarden flew in and got into Servia. Simona spun trying to avoid it, and Jakes also crashed in the smoke and not being able to see. Everyone seems to be OK except possibly Wilson, who is being attended to in his car.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Big crash. At least 4 cars involved, maybe more.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

Top 10: Helio, Bourdais, TK, RHR, Allmendinger, Power, Tags (top Honda), Marco, Pagenaud (back on sequence), Kimball. Dixon is 12th. Hinch is a lap down after suddenly losing power and pitting during the last stint.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Pit stops. Helio gets out first. There are still 148 laps to go BTW.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Yellow. Munoz finally lost it and hit the wall.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Passing, passing everywhere. Bourdais lead. Helio is battling with Munoz (yes, Munoz) for 2nd.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Helio got the lead after a crazy restart, but Marco takes it a lap later. Tags has shot up already to 5th. Dixon drops to 9th.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Top 10 going into the restart: RHR, Helio, Power, Hinch, Allmendinger, Dixon, Bourdais, TK, Marco, JR

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Saavedra may or may not have lost his right rear, sending him into the wall. Pippa hit the wall trying to avoid him.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Field pits. RHR stays in front, Helio stays 2nd, but Dixon shoots up to 6th, exactly the position he needs to lock it down.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Yellow. Pippa and Saavedra into the wall. Pippa's already radioed that she's alright.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

And now Munoz joins the party! His car is sticking on the bottom better than anyone else.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Hinch, TK, and Dinger really going at it for 4th.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Helio and RHR pit first. Time to watch if Honda is getting better fuel mileage again.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

RHR takes the lead. Bourdais nearly walls it after getting passed. Helio uses that to take back 2nd.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Chevy has the entire top 10 so far.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Bourdais to the lead. Helio up to 2nd.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The field begins to spread out a bit. It's not like Indy at all (which is probably a good thing). Tire management is expected to matter a lot.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Helio is moving to the front already. Pagenaud pits with what looks like a puncture.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Engines are fired and we're about to go green.

10/19/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Also at stake tonight:

-The manufacturers championship. Whichever of Honda and Chevy wins tonight's race will win that championship.
-A $250,000 bonus for either TK or Dixon if they win, as they will have won two thirds of the Fuzzy's Triple Crown
-The 22nd and last spot in the Leaders Circle program for next year, and the all important budget setting $1 million. In 22nd right now is the #55 (Schmidt), followed by the #98 (BHA) and the #6 (Dragon).