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CART Top-50 Drivers ever (1979-2007)

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  • CART Top-50 Drivers ever (1979-2007)

    Hello to all

    Since I was a child I was passionate for motor racing, and the hisry bug bit quite early, when my Dad gave me a magazine about the 50 Years of F1. F1 was the first thing I followed, which is natural, then it was WRC and, when I had cable TV, Eurosport allowed me to discover CART and so many more disciplines, such as Le Mans, FIA-GT and ETCC. Thus, the first races I saw on CART was on the second half of 1998, and I soon started to follow that championship. When the big teams moved to IRL, I followed both, but I was extremely happy when "The Merge" final occurred, because CART/CCWS was losing a lot of interest, but there were great drivers missing in IRL.
    Recently, based on my research and the races I saw back then, or those I found on Youtube from the past, I also decided to creat a top-50 (for F1, I did a top-100, between 1950 and 2010) for CART drivers, but it is quite hard, as CART overlaps with USAC in 1979/1980, then after "The Split", both CART and IRL had good drivers, mainly after 2002, when Penske involved on IRL. Please don't scare yourselves with my list, it's just a prototype and there may be some misinterpetations:

    1. Rick Mears (1979, 1981, 1982)
    2. A.J. Foyt (USAC 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1967, 1975, 1979)
    3. Johnny Rutherford (1980)
    4. Al Unser Sr. (USAC 1970, CART 1983, 1985)
    5. Mario Andretti (USAC 1965, 1966, 1969, CART 1984)
    6. Bobby Rahal (1986, 1987, 1992)
    7. Danny Sullivan (1988)
    8. Emerson Fittipaldi (1989)
    9. Al Unser Jr. (1990, 1994)
    10. Michael Andretti (1991)
    11. Nigel Mansell (1993)
    12. Jacques Villeneuve (1995)
    13. Jimmy Vasser (1996)
    14. Alex Zanardi (1997, 1998)
    15. Juan Pablo Montoya (1999)
    16. Gil de Ferran (2000, 2001)
    17. Cristiano da Matta (2002)
    18. Paul Tracy (2003)
    19. Sébastien Bourdais (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)***
    20. Bobby Unser (USAC 1968, 1974)
    21. Gordon Johncock (USAC 1976)
    22. Danny Ongais
    23. Tom Sneva (USAC 1977, 1978)
    24. Bill Alsup
    25. Kevin Cogan
    26. Teo Fabi
    27. John Paul Jr.
    28. Geoff Brabham
    29. Roberto Guerrero
    30. Arie Luyendyk
    31. Raul Boesel
    32. Scott Pruett
    33. Eddie Cheever
    34. Scott Goodyear
    35. Robby Gordon
    36. Christian Fittipaldi
    37. Greg Moore
    38. Bryan Herta
    39. Maurício Gugelmin
    40. Mark Blundell
    41. Dario Franchitti (IRL/IndyCars 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011)
    42. Adrian Fernandéz
    43. Tony Kanaan (IRL/IndyCars 2004) ***
    44. Max Papis
    45. Roberto Moreno
    46. Kenny Bräck (IRL 1998)
    47. Hélio Castroneves ***
    48. Scott Dixon (IRL/IndyCars 2003, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2018) ***
    49. Bruno Junqueira
    50. Justin Wilson

    *** denotes active driver;

    As you may see, there is a strong mix of drivers who had their best days during the USAC era, but can't be discarded from CART's early years, while later there are drivers that started on CART, then switched to IRL... Better to do a top-100 perhaps

  • #2
    They should have stopped at 15 maybe. Some are quite laughable. Bill Alsup, Cogan... as an example.
    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved
    body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting
    "...holy $^!+...what a ride!"
    >

    Comment


    • #3
      With all due respect, this list needs a lot of work.

      It would take a while to type all of my comments, but for starters, if this is just the CART sanctioning body only, (CART/CCWS) then Mr. Foyt can’t be number 2. He never won a single race in CART. None.

      As Jim mentioned, Bill Alsup was a great guy. But you have him ranked well ahead of people who actually won races in CART, Alsup had three third-place finishes.

      Comment


      • #4
        It seems GMiranda for the most part just listed the champions in chronological order of when they won their championships, followed by the non-champions in chronological order of when they entered the series, which is fine. But if you're going to do that, it shouldn't be a numbered ranking. All of Foyt's wins were USAC wins and his CART career is not very impressive so honestly I left him off. I did list two non-winners on mine: Timo Glock (because he utterly dominated Ryan Hunter-Reay in his rookie season, when RHR was in his 3rd season and had won the two years before) and Raul Boesel (because I thought I should give him a shout out for how many near-misses he had for a Dick Simon team that never won a race) but aside from that I'm only including winners on mine.

        I run an auto racing statistical analysis site called Racermetrics, which I guess is why this site erroneously considers me an insider. Previously I ranked the top 100 IndyCar drivers of all time in the lead up to the 100th Indy 500 (but while I think I got the drivers generally right I made the mistake of ranking dominant drivers with shorter careers too high and drivers who were very good but not great for longer periods of time too low... i.e. rating Gil de Ferran over Helio Castroneves on that list was a mistake even though he was better when they were teammates.) I whipped this up really quickly in about an hour. I don't care as much for the specific number of wins or championships per se, but rather the impact drivers made on teams in their time. I consider consistency, dominance, passing ability (I rate drivers who make on-track passes higher than those who win races due to pit strategy, which is one reason I significantly dock Fernandez), longevity (correcting my earlier mistake), head-to-head records vs. teammates (why Christian Fittipaldi isn't on my list, for instance), versatility (I rate drivers like Sneva, Rutherford, Franchitti, and even Zanardi lower than most others would because their CART success was too skewed towards only ovals or only road courses rather than being equally strong at both, although Franchitti obviously corrected that in his IRL/IndyCar years which should not be considered here), depth of the field (IMO CART had its deepest fields from 1995-2001 and actually IMPROVED as far as that goes when the backmarker teams went to the IRL), and equipment strength. If a driver had similar stats but slower cars they should be higher (one of the reasons I have Rahal over Mears, and also de Ferran over a lot of his contemporaries who had more wins, because what de Ferran did on Goodyear tires when the Firestones were dominating was kind of amazing.)

        1. Michael Andretti (had teammates almost his entire career and only lost to a teammate in the championship once; only driver who had a decade plus career who NEVER had a bad season)
        2. Al Unser, Jr. (have to decide in favor of Andretti because he stayed strong in his late career while Unser didn't)
        3. Bobby Rahal (managed to tie for the most titles despite NEVER driving for a team that was as dominant as Newman-Haas, Penske, Patrick, or Ganassi. For that reason, I could even argue #1 but I think I have to take him behind Unser because of 1990-91)
        4. Rick Mears (docking him slightly due to longevity vs. the other three and because he was more oval-centric than they were)
        5. Sebastien Bourdais
        6. Paul Tracy (2nd in most cumulative CART stats but I think I have to dock him because he was almost always outperformed by his teammates)
        7. Emerson Fittipaldi
        8. Mario Andretti
        9. Gil de Ferran (had a significant equipment deficit in '95-'99 and then had the misfortune to be competing in what might have been the two deepest seasons in CART history in 2000-01 once he finally got the dominant Reynard-Honda package)
        10. Danny Sullivan
        11. Cristiano da Matta (managed to dominate Fittipaldi even worse than Andretti did, and I don't think his cars were AS dominant as most of the other drivers who had seasons like that)
        12. Juan Pablo Montoya (take him over Zanardi even though he has fewer wins and titles because he proved he could adapt and win with multiple engines and chassis, and was also more balanced between ovals and road courses)
        13. Johnny Rutherford
        14. Bobby Unser
        15. Jacques Villeneuve (basically identical career to Mansell but I'll give it to him because of the Indy 500 win and Green was not an established powerhouse while Newman-Haas was)
        16. Nigel Mansell
        17. Alex Zanardi (too road course centric, benefited hugely from driving for the only marquee team with the dominant Reynard-Honda-Firestone package, and I mark him down quite a bit for 2001)
        18. Tom Sneva
        19. Dario Franchitti
        20. Al Unser (too few wins for somebody who drove for peak-era Penske that long; obviously he'd be about 5th or so if I considered his USAC years as well)
        21. Gordon Johncock
        22. Bruno Junqueira (MASSIVELY underrated now... blowing out Brack immediately after he was the most dominant driver of 2001 and Dixon immediately before he won an IRL title; also the only teammate Bourdais ever had who beat him in the championship)
        23. Kenny Brack
        24. Greg Moore
        25. Arie Luyendyk (sort of tied together in Wilson in my mind because of his ability to win for unsponsored teams; although Luyendyk was obviously oval-centric and Wilson was road course-centric)
        26. Justin Wilson
        27. Jimmy Vasser (the Reynard-Honda-Firestone package was so dominant that it could almost allow Goodyear to win the Indy 500 in a one-off and allow Parker Johnstone to set the all-time fastest qualifying lap on his oval debut... this causes me to think Zanardi and Vasser are significantly overrated)
        28. Teo Fabi
        29. Helio Castroneves
        30. Adrian Fernandez (benefited hugely from having legendary chief mechanic Jim McGee making his pit calls; didn't beat fairly average teammates like Moreno and Ribeiro by as much as he should have considering what his win total is)
        31. Roberto Guerrero
        32. Mauricio Gugelmin (beat Blundell in points five straight years and also crushed Danny Sullivan; only beaten by Michael Andretti in his first season and Dixon in his last... much better than you'd expect on the surface, although you did list him too)
        33. Patrick Carpentier (maybe slightly underselling him since his head-to-heads vs. Tracy and Kanaan were GREAT, but like Fernandez, he always felt worse to me than what his stats were saying)
        34. Robby Gordon
        35. Tony Kanaan
        36. A.J. Allmendinger (probably the best "one-year wonder" season of the era, even if the competition was gutted at that point)
        37. Mark Blundell
        38. Scott Goodyear (what he did for Walker in '92-'93 was pretty impressive but I'm not really impressed with anything else)
        39. Bryan Herta (absurdly unlucky in his heyday, but also in part brought it on himself due to driving too conservatively)
        40. Will Power (even if he only finished 4th in points, he definitely was coming closer to matching Bourdais's dominance at the tail end of Champ Car than anyone)
        41. Ryan Hunter-Reay (CCWS fields may have been weak but he still led an oval race start to finish, which is very rare, for a mediocre team)
        42. Scott Dixon (one astonishing season followed by a shockingly mediocre one)
        43. Roberto Moreno (pretty much matched Fernandez and Vasser in points in back-to-back years which seems like it's barely enough for the list)
        44. Pancho Carter (won the Michigan 500 driving for ALEX MORALES... feels like I need an underdog like that for this list and I prefer this to John Paul, Jr. or Mike Mosley)
        45. Scott Pruett
        46. Max Papis (both these guys were certainly good enough to be in CART but it kind of felt like they were wasting their talent there since they were MUCH better sports car drivers)
        47. Timo Glock (if I'm going to have Hunter-Reay I think including him for his 2005 is also necessary)
        48. Robert Doornbos (amazingly won ROTY against Pagenaud and Rahal who had more staying power, and for a mediocre Minardi team no less)
        49. Oriol Servia (consistently came closer to much higher-rated teammates than you'd expect... tied Paul Tracy in their head-to-head teammate record when they were teammates and came closer to Bourdais than any other teammate IIRC)
        50. Raul Boesel (did amazing stuff for a team that never won a race and many would argue he got robbed of an Indy)

        I didn't put nearly enough time into this since I just did it today, but at the moment I think I like it.

        Comment


        • #5
          To be fair to Cogan, he did actually beat Emerson Fittipaldi at Patrick Racing in 1986 when they were teammates, but I don't think that's enough to justify placing him over anybody I actually listed. I definitely think he's underrated and not the worst Penske IndyCar driver (I think Ribeiro was definitely worse, and extremely lucky to have a Reynard-Honda-Firestone package when he did which made him look better than he was, just as it did for Zanardi.) I think I like Cogan on the original list more than I like Alsup, Brabham, Cheever, or Christian Fittipaldi.

          Comment


          • #6
            Many Thanks to all your kind answers!!!!!! It's extremely natural the list needs a lot of improvement, because it was my first attempt and the early 80's were mainly based on plain results and some readings, which implies a huge bias. And there is no order at all, I just listed the Champions first, from 1979 to 2007 (Foyt should be after Bourdais), and then according to the period they raced. And these lists are always subjective.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by arenasnow View Post
              It seems GMiranda for the most part just listed the champions in chronological order of when they won their championships, followed by the non-champions in chronological order of when they entered the series, which is fine. But if you're going to do that, it shouldn't be a numbered ranking. All of Foyt's wins were USAC wins and his CART career is not very impressive so honestly I left him off. I did list two non-winners on mine: Timo Glock (because he utterly dominated Ryan Hunter-Reay in his rookie season, when RHR was in his 3rd season and had won the two years before) and Raul Boesel (because I thought I should give him a shout out for how many near-misses he had for a Dick Simon team that never won a race) but aside from that I'm only including winners on mine.

              I run an auto racing statistical analysis site called Racermetrics, which I guess is why this site erroneously considers me an insider. Previously I ranked the top 100 IndyCar drivers of all time in the lead up to the 100th Indy 500 (but while I think I got the drivers generally right I made the mistake of ranking dominant drivers with shorter careers too high and drivers who were very good but not great for longer periods of time too low... i.e. rating Gil de Ferran over Helio Castroneves on that list was a mistake even though he was better when they were teammates.) I whipped this up really quickly in about an hour. I don't care as much for the specific number of wins or championships per se, but rather the impact drivers made on teams in their time. I consider consistency, dominance, passing ability (I rate drivers who make on-track passes higher than those who win races due to pit strategy, which is one reason I significantly dock Fernandez), longevity (correcting my earlier mistake), head-to-head records vs. teammates (why Christian Fittipaldi isn't on my list, for instance), versatility (I rate drivers like Sneva, Rutherford, Franchitti, and even Zanardi lower than most others would because their CART success was too skewed towards only ovals or only road courses rather than being equally strong at both, although Franchitti obviously corrected that in his IRL/IndyCar years which should not be considered here), depth of the field (IMO CART had its deepest fields from 1995-2001 and actually IMPROVED as far as that goes when the backmarker teams went to the IRL), and equipment strength. If a driver had similar stats but slower cars they should be higher (one of the reasons I have Rahal over Mears, and also de Ferran over a lot of his contemporaries who had more wins, because what de Ferran did on Goodyear tires when the Firestones were dominating was kind of amazing.)

              1. Michael Andretti (had teammates almost his entire career and only lost to a teammate in the championship once; only driver who had a decade plus career who NEVER had a bad season)
              2. Al Unser, Jr. (have to decide in favor of Andretti because he stayed strong in his late career while Unser didn't)
              3. Bobby Rahal (managed to tie for the most titles despite NEVER driving for a team that was as dominant as Newman-Haas, Penske, Patrick, or Ganassi. For that reason, I could even argue #1 but I think I have to take him behind Unser because of 1990-91)
              4. Rick Mears (docking him slightly due to longevity vs. the other three and because he was more oval-centric than they were)
              5. Sebastien Bourdais
              6. Paul Tracy (2nd in most cumulative CART stats but I think I have to dock him because he was almost always outperformed by his teammates)
              7. Emerson Fittipaldi
              8. Mario Andretti
              9. Gil de Ferran (had a significant equipment deficit in '95-'99 and then had the misfortune to be competing in what might have been the two deepest seasons in CART history in 2000-01 once he finally got the dominant Reynard-Honda package)
              10. Danny Sullivan
              11. Cristiano da Matta (managed to dominate Fittipaldi even worse than Andretti did, and I don't think his cars were AS dominant as most of the other drivers who had seasons like that)
              12. Juan Pablo Montoya (take him over Zanardi even though he has fewer wins and titles because he proved he could adapt and win with multiple engines and chassis, and was also more balanced between ovals and road courses)
              13. Johnny Rutherford
              14. Bobby Unser
              15. Jacques Villeneuve (basically identical career to Mansell but I'll give it to him because of the Indy 500 win and Green was not an established powerhouse while Newman-Haas was)
              16. Nigel Mansell
              17. Alex Zanardi (too road course centric, benefited hugely from driving for the only marquee team with the dominant Reynard-Honda-Firestone package, and I mark him down quite a bit for 2001)
              18. Tom Sneva
              19. Dario Franchitti
              20. Al Unser (too few wins for somebody who drove for peak-era Penske that long; obviously he'd be about 5th or so if I considered his USAC years as well)
              21. Gordon Johncock
              22. Bruno Junqueira (MASSIVELY underrated now... blowing out Brack immediately after he was the most dominant driver of 2001 and Dixon immediately before he won an IRL title; also the only teammate Bourdais ever had who beat him in the championship)
              23. Kenny Brack
              24. Greg Moore
              25. Arie Luyendyk (sort of tied together in Wilson in my mind because of his ability to win for unsponsored teams; although Luyendyk was obviously oval-centric and Wilson was road course-centric)
              26. Justin Wilson
              27. Jimmy Vasser (the Reynard-Honda-Firestone package was so dominant that it could almost allow Goodyear to win the Indy 500 in a one-off and allow Parker Johnstone to set the all-time fastest qualifying lap on his oval debut... this causes me to think Zanardi and Vasser are significantly overrated)
              28. Teo Fabi
              29. Helio Castroneves
              30. Adrian Fernandez (benefited hugely from having legendary chief mechanic Jim McGee making his pit calls; didn't beat fairly average teammates like Moreno and Ribeiro by as much as he should have considering what his win total is)
              31. Roberto Guerrero
              32. Mauricio Gugelmin (beat Blundell in points five straight years and also crushed Danny Sullivan; only beaten by Michael Andretti in his first season and Dixon in his last... much better than you'd expect on the surface, although you did list him too)
              33. Patrick Carpentier (maybe slightly underselling him since his head-to-heads vs. Tracy and Kanaan were GREAT, but like Fernandez, he always felt worse to me than what his stats were saying)
              34. Robby Gordon
              35. Tony Kanaan
              36. A.J. Allmendinger (probably the best "one-year wonder" season of the era, even if the competition was gutted at that point)
              37. Mark Blundell
              38. Scott Goodyear (what he did for Walker in '92-'93 was pretty impressive but I'm not really impressed with anything else)
              39. Bryan Herta (absurdly unlucky in his heyday, but also in part brought it on himself due to driving too conservatively)
              40. Will Power (even if he only finished 4th in points, he definitely was coming closer to matching Bourdais's dominance at the tail end of Champ Car than anyone)
              41. Ryan Hunter-Reay (CCWS fields may have been weak but he still led an oval race start to finish, which is very rare, for a mediocre team)
              42. Scott Dixon (one astonishing season followed by a shockingly mediocre one)
              43. Roberto Moreno (pretty much matched Fernandez and Vasser in points in back-to-back years which seems like it's barely enough for the list)
              44. Pancho Carter (won the Michigan 500 driving for ALEX MORALES... feels like I need an underdog like that for this list and I prefer this to John Paul, Jr. or Mike Mosley)
              45. Scott Pruett
              46. Max Papis (both these guys were certainly good enough to be in CART but it kind of felt like they were wasting their talent there since they were MUCH better sports car drivers)
              47. Timo Glock (if I'm going to have Hunter-Reay I think including him for his 2005 is also necessary)
              48. Robert Doornbos (amazingly won ROTY against Pagenaud and Rahal who had more staying power, and for a mediocre Minardi team no less)
              49. Oriol Servia (consistently came closer to much higher-rated teammates than you'd expect... tied Paul Tracy in their head-to-head teammate record when they were teammates and came closer to Bourdais than any other teammate IIRC)
              50. Raul Boesel (did amazing stuff for a team that never won a race and many would argue he got robbed of an Indy)

              I didn't put nearly enough time into this since I just did it today, but at the moment I think I like it.

              Thanks for your stunning list and detail. In matter of fact, there are a lot of details you can achieve thanks to Stats, and I am not a statistician at all. Of course I could have easily craeted a top-100, at least for 1979-2009 period, and including both IRL and CART/CCWS. It's easy to work with F1 because it has an absolute linear structure, while IndyCars suffered a lot of breakups, and two big splits. The first one was later in 1978, when CART was formed. However, there was a concomitant USAC championship in 1979 and 1980, and the field was equally strong. Then, the Great Split after 1995, which effectively created two series cannibalizing each other. As I was already following the series, mainly CART, but I occasionally watched IRL, I think we may divide the 1996-2007 period in three phases:
              - Between 1996 and 2001, CART was completely above IRL. The biggest drivers, teams and manufacturers were on CART, while IRL had few top drivers and most of the teams were old CART backmarkers (some of them teams which hardly appeared or qualified for an entire season), and a whole lot of new drivers that rarely were on the top of the single-seater ladder before, while others came from other series;
              - 2002 was a year when both championships were balanced. When Penske switched to IRL, immediately CART lost the most powerful team and the two-time champion, while some IRL teams were already pretty strong and there was gradually an influx of new drivers;
              - 2003-2007 mean IRL supermacy. In 2003, Ganassi, Andretti/Green and Rahal had switched sides (well, Rahal had one driver in each series). Thus the greatest CART/CCWS teams were Newman/Haas, Forsythe and Walker. Most of the big drivers went to IRL too and, since road and city circuits were allowed on IRL from 2005 onwards, it became obvious it was the best American single-seater series. CCWS had great drivers, but there were a lot of newbies, and some of the old average-to-high drivers were now fighting for the podium and eventually for wins (such as Mario Dominguez, which I never regarded as a very good one), while from the IRL earlier period, few drivers were yet as regular entries;
              And there's one thing... it's almost impossible to dissociate a career that went through both series. For example, Franchitti was great on CART, then went to IRL and became much stronger on ovals and, after the merge, he was one of the best drivers of the series until his forced retirement. The same for the early CART period... Most of those drivers were used to ovals because it was what the USAC championship mostly comprised, they were challenged for newcomers, many of them coming from Europe, when the balance between road/cicty circuits and ovals was reached. And most of the old guard was quite aged, even if Andretti was yet driving and winning by 1993.

              P.S. - I know there are a lot of arguments due to IRL and CART split and reunion. I don't know the politics of U.S. racing well enough to judge, so I look at them only from the competitive perspective, nothing more.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by arenasnow View Post
                It seems GMiranda for the most part just listed the champions in chronological order of when they won their championships, followed by the non-champions in
                1. Michael Andretti (had teammates almost his entire career and only lost to a teammate in the championship once; only driver who had a decade plus career who NEVER had a bad season)
                2. Al Unser, Jr. (have to decide in favor of Andretti because he stayed strong in his late career while Unser didn't)
                3. Bobby Rahal (managed to tie for the most titles despite NEVER driving for a team that was as dominant as Newman-Haas, Penske, Patrick, or Ganassi. For that reason, I could even argue t.
                I really would have to put Al Unser Jr. ahead of Michael. While Indianapolis was technically a USAC-sanctioned race, it was still, for the purposes of Indy car racing in general, part of the CART calendar and during that time paid points to the CART title. Al's two Indy 500 wins, and Michael's numerous misfortunes at Indy, make up for Al's "dropoff" towards the end of his career. But one lasting image I can't overlook is Al celebrating in victory lane while Michael is at the end of a tow-rope.

                Al had two CART titles, and nearly won in '85 too. Michael had more wins, but only won 1 title, and had a string of near-misses (he finished 2nd in the championship five times). Michael had a stellar career, one of the greats of Indy car racing, but too many what-ifs and near-misses.

                I also would have slotted Emerson Fittpaldi a slot or two higher.
                Doctorindy.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here's an interesting breakdown of Michael's and Little Al's wins:

                  Andretti - 44 career wins (2 were non-championship races): 43% street circuits; 27% short ovals; 25% road courses; 5% super speedway.
                  Little Al - 35 career wins: 57% street circuits; 17% short ovals: 17% road courses; 9% super speedway.

                  I think these numbers both reflect the split of tracks on the CART schedule (skewed towards street circuits and short ovals) and highlight how good these guys were in being able to win on various types of tracks.

                  I'd still give the nod to Michael. I understand he doesn't have a 500 victory, but I would argue he was a more dominant driver at Indy than Little Al.

                  Andretti - Average start: 10.6; Average finish: 11.8; 431 laps led (11th all-time); Lap leader percentage: 16.25%.
                  Little Al - Average start: 12.1; Average finish: 12.3: 110 laps led (59th all-time); Lap leader percentage: 3.47%.

                  Honestly, it's very, very close for me and it's nearly impossible to say one was better than the other. I consider myself very lucky that I was able to grow up watching them compete. The peak CART years in the 80's into the 90's were incredible.
                  Real drivers don't need fenders!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Pelican Joe View Post
                    Here's an interesting breakdown of Michael's and Little Al's wins:

                    Andretti - 44 career wins (2 were non-championship races): 43% street circuits; 27% short ovals; 25% road courses; 5% super speedway.
                    Little Al - 35 career wins: 57% street circuits; 17% short ovals: 17% road courses; 9% super speedway.

                    I think these numbers both reflect the split of tracks on the CART schedule (skewed towards street circuits and short ovals) and highlight how good these guys were in being able to win on various types of tracks.

                    I'd still give the nod to Michael. I understand he doesn't have a 500 victory, but I would argue he was a more dominant driver at Indy than Little Al.

                    Andretti - Average start: 10.6; Average finish: 11.8; 431 laps led (11th all-time); Lap leader percentage: 16.25%.
                    Little Al - Average start: 12.1; Average finish: 12.3: 110 laps led (59th all-time); Lap leader percentage: 3.47%.

                    Honestly, it's very, very close for me and it's nearly impossible to say one was better than the other. I consider myself very lucky that I was able to grow up watching them compete. The peak CART years in the 80's into the 90's were incredible.


                    For me, the difference regarding Indy results between these two drivers can be blamed to two factors.

                    - The Family names
                    (One had the name that almost stood for success as long as you were a (way) more than average driver (Ask Johnny and Robby ....) while the other had a name that made sure he was jinxed from the beginning.)
                    - Membership of Team Penske yes or no
                    (The majority of drivers ever hired by Roger won at least one race for him)


                    I rate both among the best driver the USA ever saw

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Indyote View Post



                      For me, the difference regarding Indy results between these two drivers can be blamed to two factors.

                      - The Family names
                      (One had the name that almost stood for success as long as you were a (way) more than average driver (Ask Johnny and Robby ....) while the other had a name that made sure he was jinxed from the beginning.)
                      - Membership of Team Penske yes or no
                      (The majority of drivers ever hired by Roger won at least one race for him)


                      I rate both among the best driver the USA ever saw
                      Michael missed several 500's (1993; 1996-2000). I wonder what he would have done with those 6 starts?
                      Real drivers don't need fenders!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pelican Joe View Post

                        Michael missed several 500's (1993; 1996-2000). I wonder what he would have done with those 6 starts?

                        in all honesty, so did Al Jr. (95-00) and even when they had a low period in those years, he was with Penske, in general (95 the exception) a team never to be ruled out at Indy, even in lesser years.

                        And I know that there were some first signs of his personal troubles as well within that period of time. But I honestly wonder if some of those problems and in particular the manner he dealt with them weren't/wasn't affected by the fact he could no longer compete at Indianapolis any longer. Since Indy meant so much to him.

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                        • #13
                          I would have thought that the starting point for any "Greatest" list should be to state the criteria used.
                          Duncan Rollo

                          The more you learn, the more you realise how little you know.

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                          • #14
                            This was just an experience I did, based on my knowledge about CART which I'm fully conscious it isn't the better, mainly until the mid-to-late eighties. But I think it was good to launch that debate, after all, there's a lot of top-bests in WRC, NASCAR, F1, Endurance, but I had never seen a list like this in CART

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Indyote View Post


                              in all honesty, so did Al Jr. (95-00) and even when they had a low period in those years, he was with Penske, in general (95 the exception) a team never to be ruled out at Indy, even in lesser years.

                              And I know that there were some first signs of his personal troubles as well within that period of time. But I honestly wonder if some of those problems and in particular the manner he dealt with them weren't/wasn't affected by the fact he could no longer compete at Indianapolis any longer. Since Indy meant so much to him.
                              The second half of the 90's wasn't real kind to Penske, either.
                              Real drivers don't need fenders!

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