It’s 10:30 a.m. here at Pocono Raceway, and Practice 1 for the NTT IndyCar Series ABC Supply 500 should be finishing up right about now. Note I said should.
Actually, it hasn’t even started yet, as we started the morning on a weather delay, then the skies opened at around 10:45 and gave the track a good soaking.
So here I sit, with no practice notes to blog about. No worries, I have a backup plan.
*A home game for Marco. It doesn’t happen often that drivers get to sleep in their own bed, but Marco Andretti has the luxury of staying at his spacious estate in Nazareth for the weekend. He finished seventh here last year and hopes that home cooking does him some good again in 2019, as he looks to turn his oval season around. Andretti went P26 at Indy, P10 at Texas and P21 at Iowa, places where he normally does pretty well. He has a new engineer in Garrett Mothersead this weekend and said he had a great test at Portland last week, so he’s hoping to turn his season around with four races left.
*Speaking of four races left…what does that usually mean in terms of the championship? It’s kind of a mixed bag. Since 2008, the driver ahead in points at this point of the season has gone on to win the championship six times, but it’s happened each of the last three seasons with Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon, respectively. Three of the Top 5 drivers in points have won here before — points leader Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud are the non-winners — and all but Pagenaud have stellar records here in the race’s most recent six-year history. Here’s how the top points guys have done at the Tricky Triangle:
— Newgarden: Top 5 in five of his six starts
— Alexander Rossi: Last year’s winner, has been on the podium in two of his three starts
— Pagenaud: Best finish is fourth in 2017, has only led one lap at Pocono, also in 2017
— Dixon: 2013 winner. Three Top five finishes, plus two finishes of P6
— Will Power: Two-time winner (2016-17), five Top 10 finishes.
*Qualifying, cancelled! They just announced that qualifying has been cancelled, and a two-hour practice session once the track dries and the life flight helicopter arrives this afternoon will serve as a substitute. The field will be set by entrant points, which for all intents and purposes is similar to the actual driver points. That puts Newgarden and Rossi on the front row.
Rain always makes things interesting, doesn’t it? Let’s see what the afternoon will bring.
Pit Lane Parley
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Photo credit: Chris Owens/IndyCar Media