Date: Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015
Track: Pocono Raceway, a 2.5-mile triangular oval in Long Pond, Pa.
Race distance: 200 laps / 500 miles
Entry List: ABC Supply 500
Firestone tire allotment: Fourteen sets for use through the weekend
Event website: http://www.poconoraceway.com/
2014 race winner: Juan Pablo Montoya
2014 Verizon P1 Award winner: Juan Pablo Montoya, 1 minute, 20.4034 seconds, 223.871 mph (two laps)
One-lap qualifying record: Juan Pablo Montoya, 40.1929 seconds, 223.920 mph, July 5, 2014.
Television Broadcasts: Qualifying, 2 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 22 (live, NBCSN); Race, 2 p.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 23 (live, NBCSN). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer, alongside analysts Paul Tracy and Steve Matchett. Pit reporters are Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller.
Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Paul Page is chief announcer with analyst Davey Hamilton. Pit reporters are Jim Murphy, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young, with Mark Jaynes and Jake Query serving as the turn announcers. Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying and races air live on network affiliates, Sirius 212, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 15 app. Practice sessions are available on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 15 app
Video streaming: All practice sessions for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season are available live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
INDYCAR 15 app: The Verizon INDYCAR 15 app has exclusive features for Verizon Wireless customers, including interactive 3D Live View with real-time leaderboard and car telemetry to see where drivers are positioned, a leaderboard with enhanced 2D “marching ants” and car telemetry, in-car camera video streams from cameras that move 360 degrees and driver-pit crew chatter during the race.
At-track schedule (all times local):
Saturday, Aug. 22
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series rookie practice
9:30 – 11 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice 1
2 – 3:10 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying (single car, cumulative time of two laps), NBCSN (live)
5:30- 6 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series final practice
Sunday, Aug. 23
11 a.m. – Systems check
2 p.m. – NBCSN on air
2:46 p.m. – ABC Supply 500 (200 laps/500 miles), NBCSN (live)
• Juan Pablo Montoya leads the Verizon IndyCar Series championship with two races remaining for the second time in his career. He led the CART championship with two races to go in 1999 when he claimed his first Indy car championship.
• Montoya leads Graham Rahal by nine points. Montoya has led the championship since winning the opening round of the championship at St. Petersburg in March.
• There are 10 drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship: Montoya, Rahal, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais, Marco Andretti, Josef Newgarden, Tony Kanaan and Simon Pagenaud.
• Three drivers – Carlos Munoz, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Charlie Kimball – were eliminated from championship contention at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 2.
• Since the first Indy car race at Pocono in 1971, the winning driver has won the championship six times: Joe Leonard (1972), A.J. Foyt (1975 and 1979), Tom Sneva (1977), Rick Mears (1982) and Scott Dixon (2013).
Key championship point statistic: Including Montoya this season, a driver from Team Penske has led the championship with two races to go six times since 2008. Other Team Penske drivers to lead entering the penultimate round are: Power (2010, 2012, 2014), Castroneves (2013) and Ryan Briscoe (2009).
Point differential: The nine points which separate Montoya and Rahal is the fourth closest margin with two races to go since 2007. The average deficit with two to go since 2008 is 21.5 points. The 34 points between Montoya and third-place Dixon is the closest margin between first and third with two races to go since 2009 and the third closest since 2005.
Championship-eligible drivers results at Pocono: Montoya (2014) and Dixon (2013) have won the last two races at Pocono. Dixon has finished in the top five in both of his starts at Pocono. Andretti, Castroneves, Newgarden, Pagenaud and Power have finished in the top 10 in both starts. Rahal has never finished better than 18th in his previous starts at Pocono.
* There have been nine different winners in 14 Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2015: Juan Pablo Montoya (Streets of St. Petersburg and Indianapolis 500), James Hinchcliffe (NOLA Motorsports Park), Scott Dixon (Streets of Long Beach and Texas Motor Speedway), Josef Newgarden (Barber Motorsports Park and Streets of Toronto), Will Power (Grand Prix of Indianapolis), Carlos Munoz (Raceway at Belle Isle-1), Sebastien Bourdais (Raceway at Belle Isle-2 and Milwaukee), Graham Rahal (Auto Club Speedway and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (Iowa Speedway). In 2014, there were a record-tying 11 different race winners. Dixon’s win at Long Beach on April 19 gave him sole possession of fifth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 36. He is the active leader in wins with 37 after his victory at Texas on June 6.
* The ABC Supply 500 will be the last of six oval races on the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. Montoya won the Indianapolis 500 on May 24, Dixon won the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6, Rahal won the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway on June 27, Bourdais won the ABC Supply Co. Inc. Wisconsin 250 at The Milwaukee Mile on July 12 and Hunter-Reay won the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway on July 18.
* The ABC Supply 500 will be the 22nd Indy car race at Pocono Raceway. Montoya won the race in 2014 from the pole. Mark Donohue won the first Indy car race at Pocono in 1971.
* A.J. Foyt, who fields the cars of Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth, is the winningest driver at Pocono Raceway with four victories (1973, 1975, 1979 and 1981). Rick Mears won at Pocono three times, while Al Unser won at Pocono twice. Past winners Montoya (2014) and Dixon (2013) are entered this year.
* Five drivers have won the race from the pole – Donohue (1971), Foyt (1979 and 1981), Bobby Unser (1980), Mears (1982 and 1985) and Montoya (2014).
* Team Penske has won eight times at Pocono. Penske’s winning drivers are: Donohue (1971), Tom Sneva (1977), Bobby Unser (1980), Mears (1982, 1985 and 1987), Danny Sullivan (1989) and Montoya (2014).
* With its next Verizon IndyCar Series victory, Chip Ganassi Racing will earn its 100th Indy car race win. The team has one win at Pocono 2013, when it swept the podium with Dixon, Charlie Kimball and Dario Franchitti.
* AJ Foyt Racing has competed in every event at Pocono from 1971-1989 and in 2013-14. Team owner A.J. Foyt won at the track four times as a driver (1973, 1975, 1979 and 1981) and earned two poles (1977 and 1979).
* Dixon has finished in the top five in both of his starts at Pocono. Montoya won his first start at the track in 2014. Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves, Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Power have finished in the top 10 in both starts.
* Kanaan seeks to start his 248th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car-record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Teammate Dixon looks to make his 190th consecutive start this weekend.
* The 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season marked the competition debut of aerodynamic bodywork kits designed, manufactured and supplied by Chevrolet and Honda that attach to the Dallara IR-12 chassis used by all entrants. Cars are differentiated by their shape as the manufacturers have designed a separate aero kit specification for road and street courses/short ovals and another for superspeedways. References to the cars incorporate the name of the corresponding kit manufacturer.
* The No. 3 Team Penske crew of Castroneves claimed the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 2 with a total pit-lane time of 1 minute, 24.84 seconds. It was the third Pit Performance Award of the season for the No. 3 crew and the fourth win in the last five races for Team Penske. The No. 3 Team Penske crew will receive its $10,000 award during pre-race festivities at the ABC Supply 500.
ABC Supply 500 pre-race quotes:
WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Pocono Raceway is a track that I have really enjoyed since it returned to the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule in 2013. It came along at a time when I was starting to round myself into a much better oval racer and I just took to it. Although it is an oval, it drives much like a road course because each of the turns is much different than the others in both banking and radius. The speeds are much higher but you have to pay attention to each corner. The Verizon Chevy has always been quite fast at Pocono and we need that speed again this year. With only two races left in the season, every position on the track counts. You can’t have any mistakes and you have to capitalize.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s unfortunate that we have given back some points over the last few races. Our results at Iowa and Mid-Ohio weren’t anything that we could control. The No. 2 Verizon Chevy team gave me good cars and we had ourselves in decent positions to have good finishes. At Iowa, we went out of the race early but we were starting in the top five and had the speed to contend for the win. At Mid-Ohio, the race was playing out perfectly for us until the last caution. It is what it is, but we know that we can go to Pocono and win the race. It’s going to be very special to go back there as the defending winner and to the place where we were able to validate Roger’s (Penske) belief that I could come back over to the Verizon IndyCar Series and win after being away for so long.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet): “I’ll tell you, we’ve had some really good runs at Pocono over the last two years. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to seal the deal with a win yet, but I believe it is just around the corner. Maybe having Shell V-Power Nitro+ on the car this week will give us the boost that we need. You know, Pocono is similar to Indianapolis but it’s not as close as some may think or I hope I would have won a race there by now. But we are very close to going to Victory Lane this season. Even without winning, we are still in the thick of the championship race once again. Now is the time for us to break through with a victory and go to Sonoma – where anything can happen – with some momentum.”
STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “I can’t wait to be on an oval, especially for another 500-mile race. I have gained a lot of experience at the last ovals and feel more confident in the car. It is going to be a long race and the most important thing will be to be there for the final 50 laps.”
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda): “I’m optimistic for a strong showing in the No. 5 Arrow Electronics car for Pocono. It’s a fun and technical track, and I’m hoping our strong form on previous ovals will translate into a good result this weekend.”
JAMES JAKES (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “It’s always amazing to drive an Indy car around Pocono. Turn 1 is unlike anything out there in motorsport. You can really feel the speed of the other cars. I haven’t been to Pocono Raceway since 2013 so I’m looking forward to it. It’s another short schedule this weekend so it’s important for us to roll the No. 7 MediaTech Oculus car off the truck well.”
SAGE KARAM (No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet):“This is a huge race weekend for me. It’s my first time in an Indy car at my home track. We have tons of people coming in town, both friends and family. I would say, outside of the Indianapolis 500, there is no race more important to me than Pocono. I hope we can finish up the season strong here and put on a good show for the fans. Pocono is such a cool track that produces great racing and I hope we keep coming back for years to come.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “The Tricky Triangle is a tough place to get right. It’s definitely tricky and I think for us, the first time going there in 2013, and having a podium sweep with myself, Dario (Franchitti) and Charlie Kimball was huge for the team. It was huge for Honda at that time as well, as it marked our 100th win (for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in all forms of motorsports), their 200th win (for Honda in Indy cars). Pocono actually kicked off our run for the championship that year so our first time there will always have a special place in my heart. Turn 3 for me is definitely one of the toughest corners on any of these circuits we go to all year. It’s always exciting for me to race there. This season there is going to be a lot of pressure as it’s now the second-to-last race coming down for the championship.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “My results don’t do any justice to how strong I’ve felt at Pocono, especially last year’s race. We led most of the race and then just missed out on finishing by a few laps and had to come in for fuel. These types of tracks are definitely my favorites and I generally have solid results, so I’m very optimistic about this weekend. The No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet has been really strong the second half of this season and I’m ready to get back out on the Tricky Triangle.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs – KVSH Racing Chevrolet): “There is a reason they call Pocono the Tricky Triangle. It is an unusual oval with some very unique characteristics. Last year we made progress with the car from qualifying to the race and actually had a competitive car in traffic. We got ourselves into the top 10 and were looking good, but things just didn’t go our way. We have worked very hard on our oval setup this year. Chevy has given us great power and the best aero package. We just have to keep our nose to the grindstone and put up a good result this weekend if we are going to have any chance to finish in the top five in the championship.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “I like Pocono Raceway. The venue is set up in a great natural environment that I always enjoy and the track is very challenging. The characteristic of this Tricky Triangle is so much fun that every corner is totally different and feels like an ultra-high-speed road course. I always enjoy driving here, especially since we were able to find a good setup for the last two races here. Having 1,300 guests from ABC Supply (for the race) is massive and it is very impressive. Hopefully they enjoy watching us have a strong this weekend.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “We’re in a good place and we’ve got momentum on our side for sure with four top-fives in a row. It’s been a record-breaking season for me, so at this point I’m just going to go out there and try to have fun and do the best we can and hopefully everything will take care of itself. If we put ourselves in a good position and we’re smart throughout the race and weekend, then hopefully we’ll be in a place where, come the end of it, we can go for it and go for a win. The contenders at Pocono are the obvious ones: (Will) Power, Helio (Castroneves), (Scott) Dixon, myself and obviously (Juan Pablo) Montoya. I would expect (Marco) Andretti and the whole (Andretti Autosport) team to be good at Pocono, so they are going to be tough as will the rest of the Ganassi cars, too. There are a lot of good guys out there right now, but the guys we are racing against in the standings really, like Dixon and Montoya, we have to stay close to those guys and they don’t have any weaknesses. Montoya won (at Pocono) last year and I fully expect him to be pretty strong again. Different aero packages were run at the other 500-mile races, but I do think that we have learned a lot since we first ran the aero package on an oval and I think that lately we have been able to get some work done to close the gap even further to where we ultimately want to be. This is a big race for us from many different perspectives and starting up front is going to be very important, particularly if Pocono goes as it did last year where it was pretty green the entire race. I think we are starting to figure out the aero kit, we’re starting to get in a better place here and become a little more competitive. Hopefully this will be the next step and we will be able to show that this weekend.”
PIPPA MANN (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Last year, I found Pocono Raceway one of the hardest races to watch from the outside. In 2013, it quickly became one of my favorite tracks on the schedule and I love the uniqueness of the track; the challenge of trying to find a balance for the car that works in three completely different corners. It’s great to be back in the cockpit this year for this event, and it’s always fun to get to come to a track in an Indy car for the second time and to try and apply the experience that you gained on your previous visit. Last time here, the Dale Coyne Racing 18 team and I came away with a top-15 finish. That’s definitely a good goal to aim for repeating this weekend, and hopefully if things go our way, we can run even stronger.”
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “I really enjoyed the Pocono track in 2013 and I’m really looking forward to going back. It’s a very interesting place, fun to drive. Being part of Dale Coyne Racing since the Indy 500 has been amazing and I look forward to pushing hard for a good end of the season.”
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It’s always important to finish the year strong. It makes the off-season a little less painful if you go out with a strong performance. With the No. 20 car, especially when I’ve been driving, we really haven’t gotten the results we’d hoped for this year. It’s our last chance to kind of right that wrong and go out with a little momentum for the off-season. As the year has gone on, the team has been getting stronger and stronger on all circuits, especially ovals. I’m excited to get another shot at Pocono, a 500-miler. The last oval of the year is definitely a big race for us.”
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): “I love the history when it comes to Pocono Raceway. It was such a mainstay on the schedule for a number of years that I think we were all excited when it returned in 2013. Running at Pocono gives us an opportunity to race on the same track as some of the legends of the sport. In the last two years since the series has gone back to Pocono, I feel like I have been very competitive and I really enjoy superspeedways. I’m hoping that the test we had last week at Indianapolis will help us as a team this weekend. They are not the same track but they are both fairly flat and two-and-a-half miles in length. (Team advisor) Rick Mears is someone that had a lot of success at Pocono as a driver. I like to lean on him a bit. He has been awesome to have by my side on ovals. That’s one of the things I love about racing for Team Penske – everyone has all of these great resources available to them.”
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV/Cinsay Honda): “After two weekends off, I had some time for preparation and some rest, but finally it’s Pocono race week. It’s my favorite track of the year – I have good memories from Indy Lights and last year in IndyCar where we had a nice podium finish with all the amazing Colombian fans in the stands. I’ve been really competitive at this track and I’m really looking forward to it. Let’s hope for a good result this weekend.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): “This weekend’s race is a must-win event if we have any possible championship title hopes. We’ve had a consistent season but need a win. Pocono is a real unique track with the challenge of finding the balance between Turns 1 and 3. Being my home track, it will be an exciting weekend … and will be nice to have a race weekend where I get to say I sleep in my own bed!”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We are looking to continue our oval form after winning the last event at Iowa (Speedway). We’ve been very competitive in the past at Pocono, consistently running in the top five, however circumstances out of our control have forced us to retire early. Hopefully this is the year we put it all together for the DHL Honda team.”
JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “The sheer size and width of the front straight at Pocono is pretty spectacular. It’s certainly the most diverse oval I have ever raced on. Each of the three corners is completely different in terms of banking and radius, which is very unique. I’m really hoping for some redemption at Pocono this year. The accident (in 2014 Pocono practice that prevented him from driving in the race) wasn’t fun but it’s a long time ago now and it would be great to firmly wipe that one from memory with a good run this year. The team has been strong there in the past and I would absolutely love to capitalize on that.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil/CFH Racing Chevrolet): “Pocono is a huge event for INDYCAR, not just for heritage but also the way it showcases what Indy cars can do. The great thing about INDYCAR is we’re the most diverse championship on the planet with the types of racetracks that we race on. Pocono is probably one of the most diverse ovals you can get. We’ve been able to get a top five and a top 10 there, so we’ve been in the mix. Our goal this year is to go and try to move that needle up a little bit. It would be nice to get in the top three and maybe win the race this year.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet): “It’s hard to believe the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season is winding down already, but the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team isn’t letting up. We’re 100 percent focused on a good result this weekend at Pocono. We’ve done well here in the past and I know we can do it again. It’s not called the Tricky Triangle for nothing. It always throws something at you when you least expect it. Turn 1 is always a challenge, even just physically, and it’s tough to predict how these cars will handle at each different segment. But I have confidence the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet will be quick and we’ll be up front on Sunday.”
GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda): “I’m looking forward to getting back in action in our No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins Castrol EDGE Honda after a nice break. Pocono is a track I’ve run on and won last year in Indy Lights, so I am looking forward to racing there in an Indy car and keep pushing myself and the team to our best finishes as we wrap up this season.”