LEEDS, Ala – Yes, we’re only three races into the NTT IndyCar Series season and I get that a comment like Sunday being a great points day for the entire top five of the finishing order for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is a bit extreme.
But, if you look at who finished in the top five and who the favorites are to win this year’s championship – you’d see why.
Takuma Sato is on a hot streak. He’s now reached victory lane twice in the last five Indy Car races and has a seventh place finish two weeks ago in COTA and a win now in Barber to his credit. Sato, is up to third in the points standings heading to next weeks race in Long Beach. With how well he’s running, do you really expect him to falter? He has four top 10 finishes in his last six overall starts.
What about second place finisher Scott Dixon?
He called Sunday a good points day as he earned his sixth career runner-up finish at Barber and eighth podium in 10 tries. No, he’s never won on the 2.38-mile Alabama road course, and yes it’s frustrating to finish second six times, but to earn two runner-ups in three tries in 2019, that bodes well for his title hopes.
See, Dixon has never won back-to-back season championships. With five overall titles to his credit, he’d like his sixth to come a year after his fifth in a bad way. Dating back to last July, Dixon has eight top five finishes, six of which being on the podium in his last 10 tries.
Third place finisher Sebastien Bourdais has gained nine spots in the standings in each of the last two races. He now has six top six finishes in his last eight Indy Car starts. Oh yeah, he’s a four time series champion too.
Fourth place finisher Josef Newgarden charged from 16th to finish fourth. If that’s not a good points day, I don’t know what is.
Newgarden, has finished first, second and fourth respectively in 2019 to go along with 11 consecutive top 10 finishes.
Then there’s Alexander Rossi. He doesn’t hide behind that Barber isn’t his favorite stop on the Indy Car schedule. To earn a top five finish in this race for him, well it’s a big accomplishment.
Rossi, has 10 straight top 10 finishes in Indy Car action himself.
So, with how on top of their games these five drivers are, who do you pick to supplant them?