Some holding steady, others look to reset as IndyCar title battle shifts to Detroit

With the Indianapolis 500 in the rearview mirror, we return to the season-long focus that matters most to NTT IndyCar Series drivers as Sunday’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix launches a 12-race run to settle the championship.

At the top, nothing has changed after Indy with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou continuing to hold P1 in the standings with 183 points. Team Penske’s Will Power went into the 500 in second, but with his crash and poor finish and Scott Dixon’s strong run, the Ganassi driver moved to P2 (-20 points to Palou) and Power fell to third (-26).

Pato O’Ward’s runner-up finish for Arrow McLaren at Indy was helpful in the championship as it moved him forward three positions into P4 (-49), and with his crash, O’Ward’s former teammate Colton Herta from Andretti Global slipped to P5 but is tied on points (-49).


Sixth-place Scott McLaughlin from Penske is one of only two drivers along with Palou to enter and leave the 500 in the same position (-52), and the biggest mover of all is Indy winner Josef Newgarden who vaulted to spots from P17 to P7 (-61). Another strong 500 outing for McLaren’s Alexander Rossi came with an improvement from P10 to P8 (-63), and counter to Newgarden, Meyer Shank Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist lost the most positions among title contenders after starting Indy in P5 and finishing it in P9 (-67) after his engine failed.

Andretti’s Kyle Kirkwood, the team’s best at the 500, jumped backwards from P8 to P10 (-68).

Altogether, it’s a Ganassi P1-2, a Penske P3-6-7, a McLaren P4-8, an Andretti P5-10, and MSR in P9 leading into Sunday’s 12:45pm ET green flag for 100 laps on the USA Network.

“You just have to take it as it comes and what we’ve been doing really well this year is just taking things slowly and not overstepping our boundaries,” Herta told RACER of Andretti’s reinvigorated championship bid. “Obviously, the goal is to win and I think we have a good chance at that this weekend here in Detroit. I had a really good car last year we tend to have really cars on the street circuits, so hopefully we put together a good qualifying get a good result for us and go from there.”

Herta has rediscovered his form in 2024 after running 10th in the last two championships. Prior to his crash last weekend, every finish for Herta in the No. 26 Honda had been between second and eighth, which is why he’s holding fifth in the standings at the moment. Along with his growth and development as a driver, he sees the benefits continuing to play out after Andretti downsized its IndyCar operation from four cars to three in an effort to find more speed and efficiency.

“I’ve really only seen positives from it, having a lot more opportunity with the engineering side to take a little bit more of a breather and not have so much on their plate, being able to look at different reports that maybe we didn’t have before on the driving side,” Herta added. “I know it helps them a lot, for sure, with the main engineers and system engineers just to have an extra helping hand on race weekends, and back in the shop, especially on weekends like this when you’re coming off of a month-long Indy 500 and Indy GP. There’s no time to really prepare for this race so having that extra support really helps them get done with the 500 and get some work done early in the week going into this event.”

Herta is also happy to see how the relationship with Meyer Shank Racing, which uses race engineers, chassis setup information, and dampers supplied by Andretti Technologies, has flourished with the arrival of Rosenqvist to lead MSR. In what has been a one-way relationship for most of its arrangement, MSR and Rosenqvist have been helping Andretti to improve its overall game with the feedback and findings produced by the Swede in the No. 60 Honda.

“It helps a lot and that’s what we want to get out of it,” Herta said. “We want to have fast guys to help if we’re going the wrong way on setup, to come back to what they’re doing or see what’s working. Just to be able to understand what we might be doing wrong or what we can do better with Felix is definitely a value this year. It has been great to have him — as I’d guess you’d call him — a teammate. We’re all working together here.”

Story originally appeared on Racer