INDIANAPOLIS – Its hard to believe, but we’re already to the fourth running of the IndyCar Grand Prix (3:30 p.m. ET/ABC/INDYCAR Radio Network). The previous three years have seen the winner come from the top five starting spots, including the pole winner winning the last two years.
Also, there’s been two different winners – Simon Pagenaud (twice) and Will Power, both are with Team Penske.
So, will someone other than Pagenaud, Power or Team Penske win on Saturday? What about a Honda? Will we see another first lap accident that we’ve in the first three years?
These are the drivers that I can can evade all of that.
He’s the easy odds on favorite. Power, led 60 laps at Barber last month, a track similar to Indy, and if not for a cut tire, he would have easily won. He had bad luck in the previous two races on the season too, but that luck turned at Phoenix with him bringing his No. 12 Chevrolet home second after leading 59 more laps.
Now, Power is hoping to capitalize in a race he’s previously won.
Power, started on the pole and won in 2015. Unfortunately though, he wasn’t as strong in the other two years starting fifth and finishing eighth in 2014 and starting 10th and finishing 19th last year.
But, he was fastest in both practices on Friday and qualified on the pole as well. He’s having a perfect weekend thus far.
Is there anymore of a favorite outside of his teammate Power? Pagenaud has either won this race or finished last. He won in 2014 and 2016, but had mechanical issues in 2015 and came home 25th. But, I think he will be a strong threat to win his third IndyCar Grand Prix in four tries.
Pagenaud, is one of two drivers to finish in the top five in all four races this year, coming home second at St. Pete, fifth at Long Beach, third at Barber and winning the last race at Phoenix. He led 116 laps at Phoenix too.
In practice on Friday, all five Penske cars were in the top 10 of both sessions, with Pagenaud being fourth and eighth respectively. He will also start seventh.
To me, Pagenaud is another favorite this weekend.
Chevy was the premiere kit over the last three years here, but Scott Dixon failed to nab a top five in any of his tries at the IndyCar Grand Prix. How strange is that? Dixon, had finishes of 15th, 10th and seventh respectively.
Now, he’s in a Honda, an aerokit that has led 31 combined laps the last two years here. But, Honda is stronger this year, and Dixon is strong too.
He and Pagenaud are the only two drivers in the field to finish in the top five in every race this season, as Dixon has finishes of third, fourth, second and fifth respectively. So, which wins out?
I think Dixon keeping the top five streak going does.
Dixon, was second in the first practice session on Friday morning, then backed that up with being 13th in session No. 2.
He will start his No. 9 Honda fourth, best not in the Penske group.
Helio has two podiums in three IndyCar Grand Prix’s, to go along with a sixth place effort in 2015. Now, he starts second and will have a great shot of ending his near three year long winless drought.
In practice, Castroneves was 12th and fifth respectively, then earns his third straight front row start.
I think Castroneves will be an easy top five threat on Saturday afternoon.
I hate to put four Penske’s in the four favorites, but lets be real here, they’re the easy favorites to win for the above facts. Newgarden, won at a similar track to Indy in Barber last month and will start third on Saturday.
In practice, Newgarden was third and second respectively.
He’s a favorite to head to victory lane tomorrow.