LONG BEACH, Calif. – What do Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves have in common aside from at least one Indianapolis 500 victory?
They’re the only drivers this season to finish in the top five in both of the series’ first two races. Naturally, they’re 1-2 in the championship standings heading into the 39th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The six other drivers with top-five finishes at either St. Petersburg or Barber Motorsports Park shows the competitiveness of the series in Year 2 of the fourth-generation IZOD IndyCar Series chassis and turbocharged V-6 engine packages from Chevrolet and Honda.
Overall, 16 different drivers have scored top-10 results. Marco Andretti and Justin Wilson each have two top-10 finishes, while rookie Tristan Vautier and second-year driver Josef Newgarden each recorded their first top 10 at Barber
“It’s been a pretty good mix,” said Dixon, driver of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car who is coming off a runner-up finish at Barber. “I know some of the bigger teams have made pretty big fumbles. I think this year you have a lot of smaller teams that have caught up in areas.
“It’s tough. It’s not like the old days if you messed up with a big team a few 10ths (of a second), you would lose a spot or two. Now it’s like five, six or seven spots. You have to keep your eye on the ball and try to make the most of it. So it is a tough season. I think it’s going to get tougher as the season goes on.”