The 2013 IndyCar Series season is over but fans of the series should be waiting eagerly for the 2014 season to start. In fact fans of any racing should tune in for 2014 after what was a very action packed 2013 season which featured great parity.
In all 10 different drivers won at least one of the 19 races. Four drivers, James Hinchcliffe, Takuma Sato, Simon Pagenaud, and Charlie Kimball picked up their first career win.
Scott Dixon won the championship and had the most wins of the season with four. But it wasn't Dixon who looked poised to win the championship with three races left. Helio Castroneves had a solid lead, even though he only won once, as he looked for his first career championship entering the doubleheader weekend in Houston on October 5th and 6th. Mechanical issues forced Castroneves to his two worst finishes of the season and he only picked up 20 total points. Dixon meanwhile won Race 1 at Houston and picked up 94 points in the two races. Castroneves was suddenly in a points hole entering the season finale at Auto Club Speedway on October 19th.
Neither driver could muster a great run throughout the race there but a high attrition rate allowed Dixon to finish fifth and Castroneves sixth. Dixon won his third career championship by 27 points.
Will Power had issue after issue early in the season but won three of the final five races of the season which moved him up to fourth in the final points and will give the 21-time open wheel winner confidence entering 2014 that he can win his first career championship.
Simon Pagenaud won the first two races of his career and finished a solid third in the points backing up a fifth in his rookie season. James Hinchcliffe won the first three races of his career but had other issues in many races that relegated him to an eighth place finish in points.
Last year's champion Ryan Hunter-Reay could not back it up but did win two races and while finishing seventh in points.
Tony Kanaan won his first career Indianapolis 500 in what was a terrific race with passing on almost every lap.
Mike Conway won his second career race in Race 1 at Belle Isle to give Cale Coyne Racing it's first ever win. Joining Dale Coyne Racing as smaller teams that won races were AJ Foyt Racing, KV Racing Technology, and Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports. Other smaller teams also landed podium finishes as the big three of Ganassi, Penske and Andretti were challenged by the field.
A huge crash at Houston at the end of Race 2 left Dario Franchitti out of the season finale with a broken ankle, two fractured vertebra and a concussion. He didn't reach victory lane for the first time since the 2006 season. He finished tenth in points which was the second worst ever in his 14 year open wheel career. Justin Wilson also was injured in a crash at Auto Club Speedway where he fractured his pelvis. He finished sixth in points which was the best of any of his six IndyCar seasons.
The IndyCar Series is not known for contact but a lot of the street course and some of the road course races looked more like a NASCAR race from Martinsville than a Formula 1 race.
There is a lot to look forward to in 2014 and not just the return of Juan Pablo Montoya to the series and the first Grand Prix of Indianapolis. IndyCar racing seemed to gain momentum in 2013 which should carry right into the season opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 30th and right on through the 2014 season.
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