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IndyCar Driver of the Year 2011: Full results

Dario Franchitti came out top in your votes for the IndyCar Driver of the Year 2011 poll - but what were the surprises? And who's missing from the top ten run down?
That's it, here's your 2011 IndyCar Driver of the Year in full, with the final averaged ratings (out of ten) for the top ten.

Many thanks for the thousands of votes - we were genuinely thrilled by the response and how much interest and enthusiasm it showed the community has for IndyCar racing, in what's been a year of many highs for the series but also the most difficult of lows.

The top ten
1. Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) - rated 8.5
2. Will Power (Team Penske) - rated 8.2
3. Tony Kanaan (KV Racing Technology - Lotus) - rated 7.2
4. Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) - rated 7.1
5. Oriol Servia (Newman/Haas Racing) - rated 6.6
6. Ryan Briscoe (Team Penske) - rated 6.2
7. James Hinchcliffe (Newman/Haas Racing) - rated 6.0
8. Graham Rahal (Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing) - rated 5.9
9. Ed Carpenter (Sarah Fisher Racing) - rated 5.8
10. JR Hildebrand (Panther Racing) - rated 5.8

The rest of the field
11. Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport)
12. Sebastien Bourdais (Dale Coyne Racing)
13. Alex Tagliani (Sam Schmidt Motorsports)
14. Justin Wilson (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing)
15. Takuma Sato (KV Racing Technology - Lotus)
16. Simona de Silvestro (Nuclear Clean Air Energy HVM Racing)
17. Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport)
18. Mike Conway (Andretti Autosport)
19. Helio Castroneves (Team Penske)
20. Danica Patrick (Andretti Autosport)
21. Vitor Meira (AJ Foyt Enterprises)
22. Charlie Kimball (Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing)
23. EJ Viso (KV Racing Technology - Lotus)
24. James Jakes (Dale Coyne Racing)
25. Ana Beatriz (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing)
26. Sebastian Saavedra (Conquest Racing)

It's interesting but perhaps not hugely surprising to see how much of a firm favourite Tony Kanaan remains with readers after all these years. He certainly did wonders by jumping into the KV Racing Technology car just days before the start of the 2011 season, so we thoroughly agree that third place in the poll is well-deserved.

We were surprised to see Ed Carpenter make it into the top ten. It can't just be on the back of his success at Kentucky, fabulous though that was - after all, Ryan Hunter-Reay missed out despite his win at the hugely controversial New Hampshire event; Marco Andretti was seen as even less impressive despite his triumph at Iowa after winning a brilliant duel with Kanaan; and their third team mate Mike Conway also missed out despite that fabulous series of late-race restarts to claim his first series win at Long Beach. Surely you guys don't have something against Andretti Autosports!

Perhaps the biggest surprise to us was the margin of Dario's victory over Will Power in the poll. After all, Will took six wins to Dario's four; took eight poles to Dario's two; and was virtually untouchable on road courses. Dario himself made some high profile missteps whereas Will's misfortunes were at the hands of others and/or sheer bad luck - but still Dario impressed you more.

It wasn't merely down to us Brits supporting our own, though - or else how to explain Mike Conway, Justin Wilson and James Jakes all missing out on making the top ten? Wilson was having a decent year before his injury, and even poor James Jakes - dropped in the deep end at short notice with a last minute transfer from GP2 at the start of the year to a small, generally back-of-the-grid team - was showing some pretty strong growth by the end of the season and arguably deserving a bigger pat on the back for his efforts.

Nor is simply being a famous name any guarantee this year: Helio Castroneves was a particular disappointment for many, as was the series' biggest star Danica Patrick - who, it has to be admitted, looked like she was treading water barely able to wait for her release to full-time NASCAR in 2012. Even F1 credentials seemed to count for nothing in this poll: despite running in only 10 road races during the year, Sebastian Bourdais finished in the top ten five times and was improving with each outing; and Takuma Sato made history as the first Japanese driver to take an IndyCar pole - and then did it a second time to show it was no fluke. But none of that moved the hard-to-impress readers!

Of course there was one name conspicuously missing not just from the top ten but from the vote ballot entirely - Dan Wheldon.

Don't think for a minute that he was overlooked or forgotten in organising this poll - we just didn't think that with only one genuine outing at the Indy 500 to go on (Kentucky was little more than a shake-down for the season finale) and with the emotions surrounding what happened at Vegas so raw that it would be fair to expect anyone to separate heart from head if asked to cast a vote so soon. 2011 will always only ever have one true Driver of the Year as far as fans are concerned; and while he won't be with us in person for the start of next season, we're sure that he will be in spirit - watching over his friends and doubtless flashing that megawatt high-beam smile of his as the chassis named in his honour turns its first laps in competition at St Petersburg in March.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ed Carpenter and JR Hildebrand ahead of Scott Dixon in the early laps of the Kentucky Indy 300. October 2011. [Picture Credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
Will Power and Scott Dixon go into turn 1 side-by-side at a restart at Motegi. [Photo credit: LAT Photo USA for IndyCar Media]
Will Power (inside) and Graham Rahal (outside) go into the tight turn 1 at the start of the race. [Photo Credit: LAT Photo USA for IndyCar Media]
The closely packed midfield runners during the Indy 225 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. August 2011. [Photo Credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
The field head down to the first corner at the start of the Edmonton Indy. [Photo credit: Daniel Incandela for IndyCar Media]
All 34 drivers for the IZOD World Championships at Las Vegas on stage, together with Mario Andretti (foreground). [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
All 33 drivers on the starting grid for thr centennial Indianapolis 500 applaud a presentation to AJ Foyt, the pace car driver for the start of the race. [Picture credit: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media]
2018 aero kit Honda
Scott Dixon Road America
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi Indy Car [credit: IndyCar TV Twitter]
Will Power Texas
Charlie Kimball
Ed Jones feature
Ed Jones feature
Ed Jones
Ed Jones feature
Ed Jones feature
IndyCar, Dallara 2018 chassis, [Credit: IndyCar]

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Piercarlogassolini - Unregistered

December 21, 2011 11:47 AM

Very touching last paragraph and quite right to omit Dan, God rest him. Despite seeming to be a bit dirty in his driving at times, Dario won a tough fight and got my vote. I'd love to see him in an F1 Ferrari...

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