A couple weeks ago on Wind Tunnel on Speed , Dave Despain hinted at a possible oval championship on the side of the overall championship for the IZOD IndyCar Series. He stated that, in his opinion, it was a Danica Patrick Conspiracy as they want to see their star driver be in the championship hunt. Though is what he saying true if this does come to pass?
Patrick statistically runs better on the ovals as shown by her average finish. In 16 road course starts in the IZOD Indy Car Series, she has two top-fives and an average finish of 12.3. On the ovals, her average finish is higher with 11.9 on super speedways (+2 miles), 9.4 on intermediate tracks (1-2miles), and 8.8 on short tracks.
But how does she rank against top IndyCar drivers? Well, in most cases, they’re better than her.
Dario Franchitti, who won the championship in 2007 and then again in 2009, betters Patrick in every category. He has an average finish of 12 on the road courses, 9.7 on the super speedways, 7.6 on the intermediates, and 3.1 on the short tracks.
Scott Dixon, the 2003 and 2008 champion, also ranks higher than Patrick. He has an average finish of 4.1 on the road courses, 9.4 on the super speedways, seventh on the intermediates, and 6.7 on the short tracks.
Tony Kanaan, the 2004 champion, has an average finish of 7.1 on the road courses, 9.2 on the super speedways, 5.9 on the intermediates and 10.6 on the short tracks.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2007 rookie of the year, has an average finish of 12.3 on the road courses, 14.7 on the super speedways, 13.2 on the intermediates and 14.5 on the short tracks.
Will Power, who leads the point standings currently, has an average finish of 11.8 on the road courses, 9 on the superspeedways, 15.8 on the intermediates, and 17 on the short tracks.
Helio Castroneves, who currently sits third in the standings, has an average finish of 7.9 on the road courses, 8.1 on the super speedways, 6.1 on the intermediates, and 8.4 on the short tracks.
In looking at the stats, Patrick doesn’t top any of the four categories that the average finishes are grouped into.
For intermediates and short tracks, she does beat Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power, though that could easily be changed this year with how well both are running.
Therefore, there really is no big chance of a big conspiracy if this does come into play.
Darrell Waltrip’s knowledge would tell you otherwise, however, as he says that she’ll be a better IZOD IndyCar driver due to NASCAR experience. His example of this is Franchitti. Though what he forgets to add is that Franchitti won a championship before NASCAR and after NASCAR. He just proved with the second championship that IndyCar Series racing is where his nitch is.
Overall, I think Despain was just trying to reach new boundaries and get people talking. Congratulations Dave! You’ve achieved that successfully.