AUSTIN, TX – With how difficult an entire IndyCar Series season is, a champion of the series is well earned. Take Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power as prime examples of that. If Hunter-Reay and Power had better luck in 2018, they likely would have been duking it out for the season championship instead of Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi.
That’s a fact.
Take Power for example, he qualified on the front row for the season opener at St. Pete but spun on the opening lap. In Phoenix, he was in the hunt to win before crashing out while trying to pass a lapped car. Two races later at Barber, he was running second but crashed on an ill advised restart in the wet conditions. He hydroplaned only to bring out a caution in which would end the day because of weather.
In Texas, he made a mistake again trying to pass Zachary Claman DeMelo on the outside. The next race at Road America his engine quit on him on the opening lap. He started the race from the front row that day. In Toronto, he was caught up in a crash not of his doing. He had a car to win that July day. In Portland, he had terrible luck too.
What about the other races?
He had six top two finishes and two more third place runs including a clean sweep of the Month of May at Indy. If those bad luck races turned into better results, he would likely have been the champion.
Hunter-Reay was in the same boat.
He was screwed in qualifying at Long Beach and caught up in an incident early on that he shouldn’t have been a part of. His engine went sour in the IndyCar Grand Prix. He had a bad handling car at Iowa. He was snake bitten at Toronto. He was invovled in a frightening crash at Pocono with Robert Wickens and had a malfunction at Gateway. In the other 11 races, he had six top two finishes and 10 top fives.
Take the bad luck away and he’s right there with Power.
Now, can both former series champions turn that bad luck into good luck for 2019? If so, they’re the title favorites in my opinion.