As the NTT IndyCar Series throws the green on Round 3 at Barber Motorsports Park this afternoon, here are three things to ponder:

Can RLL keep up the pace? Rahal Letterman Lanigan swept the front row since Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice started side-by-side in 2005 at Chicagoland. Can they show the pace they had in qualifying for the 90-lap race?

Tires. Always take tires. Tires have been an issue this weekend, starting on Friday when the batch of last year’s tires that were given to teams proved to be a failure. A lot of rain fell in the Birmingham area last night, but several support races and temps expected to reach the low 80s with lots of humidity will make that moot by race time. The team that figures out the right tire combinations will win the race.

Comeback Sunday. Team Penske missed the Fast Six for the first time since Long Beach in 2014, and Andretti Autosport was shut out as well. Will Power and Alexander Rossi start seventh and eighth for their respective teams, but there is plenty more star power in midfield. Keep an eye on those teams and their strategies to see if they can race to the front.

Predictions

Predictions? Pain!

We saw lots of exhausted drivers in the media center this weekend, and they all stressed how hard this race is going to be. I think experience will win the day, so I’m picking Scott Dixon as my winner. My podium finishes with Will Power in second and Sato in third.

Have a great race!

Photo Credit: Joe Skibinski/IndyCar Media