The lines are already long as fans are streaming into Portland International Raceway hours before the race is even supposed to start.

I love IndyCar fans.

Lots of excitement heading into Portland today, so what’s going on?

Can Herta cash in on his pole? Colton Herta has proven to be a wizard at qualifying, and yesterday the 19-year-old picked up his second pole of the season. Through various circumstances, some beyond his control, some not, the races have sometimes been a different story. Can he pick up his second win of the season, or his first podium since winning at COTA?

Contenders have work to do. Outside of Scott Dixon, who will start behind Herta in Row 2, the three other drivers still in contention for the championship had sub-par qualifying efforts Saturday. Team Penske mates Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud — the top two drivers in the points standings — didn’t even make it out of the first round of qualifying and will start P13 and P18, respectively. Alexander Rossi, third in points and fading, will start seventh.

We have a schedule! Remember the days when we had to wait weeks, or even months, after the season before we saw a schedule for next season? Thankfully a bit of stability and good relationships with track partners has made that a thing of the past. The 2020 schedule will be announced prior to this afternoon’s race. Don’t expect any surprises as there is some date equity now, but the mystery still remains with Pocono and Richmond. Will one of them be on the schedule? Both? Here’s hoping it’s the latter. Pocono has shown it deserves to stay.

Predictions. Hopefully not any of this:

First corner, first lap and subsequent restarts aside, I’m picking Dixon to win the race, with Power and Jack Harvey capturing the rest of the podium.

Anthoine Hubert. Lastly, thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of FIA Formula 2 racer Anthoine Hubert. The 22-year-old from France was killed yesterday in the opening laps of the F2 race at  Spa-Francorchamps. Hubert was in his first year in F2 and had won two races in his 16 starts. Racing is a beautiful sport but at times can be cold and uncaring. But racing is also a huge family, and I want to add my condolences along with those of the rest of the IndyCar community.

Photo: Stephen King/IndyCar Media