It is not too early for Josef Newgarden to start dreaming of winning the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series Championship, but he will have his hands full over the four remaining races starting with the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono.
Newgarden leads Alexander Rossi by a slight 16 points following his last lap off-track adventure at Mid-Ohio during the last race. Rossi is a past winner at Pocono as the defending race winner, so he knows what it takes to close the gap and even overtake Newgarden in the championship.
I?m really excited to get back to Pocono. It?s one of my favorite tracks to go back to each year ? and obviously, we had a good race there last year. We?re getting into a critical point of the championship and we need to win races. Pocono is a great place for us to hopefully do that. Hopefully we can leave the weekend leading the championship.Alexander Rossi
Newgarden is no stranger to the pressure of leading the championship with four races to go. This is the second time that he has done so. He led in 2017 and went on to win the title.
Did You Know…
Since the first Indy car race at Pocono in 1971, the winning driver has won the Indy car championship six times: Joe Leonard (1972), A.J. Foyt (1975 and 1979), Tom Sneva (1977), Rick Mears (1982) and Scott Dixon (2013).
Pagenaud showed his strength at Indianapolis, but Team Penske has a tradition of taking the winning Indy 500 car out of it’s rotation. Therefore Simon will have a different chassis at Pocono as he looks to make up his 43 point deficit.
Pagenaud is coming off the high of getting to see his Borg-Warner Trophy likeness unveiled in Paris, France with the Eiffel Tower serving as the dramatic backdrop to a rooftop event. Pagenaud also did a series of visits to French media outlets accompanied by INDYCAR CEO Mark Miles before making a sweet and triumphant return to his hometown of Montmorillon.
Now, we?re off to race at Pocono. I?m very excited to be back competing. I love this time of the year because ?it?s crunch time? so it?s time to go for it with four races remaining.Simon Pagenaud
Don’t count out Scott Dixon. While the points show he lagging by 62 points, his performance at Mid-Ohio shows that the Iceman can get hot at the right times. His challenge is that he will have to count on three other drivers having problems in the final four races.
In 2015, Dixon erased Juan Pablo Montoya?s 54-point lead by tying him and winning the championship on a tiebreaker. So it is not impossible, but Pocono will be a key race that is basically a must-win for Dixon’s championship hopes.
ABC Supply 500 Fast Facts
Race weekend: Saturday, Aug. 17 – Sunday, Aug. 18
Track: Pocono Raceway, a 2.5-mile triangular oval in Long Pond, Pennsylvania
Race distance: 200 laps / 500 miles
Key Media Links: ABC Supply 500 Entry List (PDF)
Firestone tire allotment: Twelve sets for use throughout the weekend
Twitter: @PoconoRaceway @IndyCar, #ABCSupply500, #IndyCar
Event website: http://www.poconoraceway.com/
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
2018 race winner: Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda)
2018 NTT P1 Award winner: Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet), 1 minute, 22.0006 seconds, 219.511 mph (two laps)
One-lap qualifying record: Juan Pablo Montoya, 40.1929 seconds, 223.920 mph, July 5, 2014
Two-lap qualifying record: Juan Pablo Montoya, 1 minute, 20.4034 seconds, 223.871 mph, July 5, 2014
NBCSN television broadcasts: Qualifying, 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 17 (same-day delay); Race, 2 p.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 18 (live); Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for the NBCSN broadcasts this weekend alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Dillon Welch and Robin Miller.
Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Kyle Kaiser. Jake Query and Nick Yeoman are the turn announcers with Dave Furst, Ryan Myrehn and Michael Young reporting from the pits. All NTT IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 98, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. Live coverage of NTT IndyCar Series qualifying is available on Sirius 218, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.
NBC Sports Gold livestreaming: All NTT IndyCar Series practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.
At-track schedule (all times local):
Saturday, Aug. 17
9:30 – 10:30 a.m. – NTT IndyCar Series practice #1, NBC Sports Gold (live)
12:30 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (single car/cumulative time of two laps), NBC Sports Gold (live); NBCSN (2:30 p.m. ET)
4 – 5 p.m. – NTT IndyCar Series final practice, NBC Sports Gold (live)
Sunday, Aug. 19
2:03 p.m. – Driver introductions
2:39 p.m. – Command to start engines
2:45 p.m. – ABC Supply 500 (200 laps/500 miles), NBCSN (live)
Outside of the championship hunt, the Pocono 500 carries some other intriguing storylines.
Will the Streak Survive?
Will Power has won a face in 12 straight seasons. Entering the Pocono race, power has yet to touch the top step of the podium with a victory in 2019.
Those are good records that will be lasting in the books. But you don?t want to know about it because you don?t want to think about it because then it doesn?t happen. If you?re thinking about that, you?re thinking about the wrong thing. You can?t be thinking about winning the race.Will Power
Ed Carpenter back for another 500 mile oval
Carpenter has competed in each Pocono race since the NTT IndyCar Series returned to the 2.5-mile track in 2013, bringing home a Top 10 finish last year.
I am always excited to get back to Pocono Raceway! It is such a unique and challenging track to drive on, plus it is another 500-mile race which adds a special dynamic. It has not been our strongest track in the past, so I am looking forward to getting there and turning it into a successful race for the team!Ed Carpenter
Carlin Racing looking for Solid Results
Charlie Kimball returns to pilot the #23 entry for Carlin while it was announced that Conor Daly will be in the #59 entry for Pocono and Gateway before returning back to Andretti Autosport for the season finale.
A Hole in One for Rahal
Graham Rahal hopes that his luck on the links carries over to the Tricky Triangle. Rahal recorded his second hole in one during the IndyCar unofficial summer break.
As the series returns to Pocono, we need to remember Justin Wilson and his family – http://wilsonchildrensfund.com/