The NTT IndyCar Series returns to the track this weekend after some time off since their Mid-Ohio race, a few weeks back. And with just four races remaining, the battle for the championship is heating up between Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi.
Twenty-two drivers will make up the entry list and all 22 will make the field. Here are five potential drivers that might win Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.
- Scott Dixon – This shouldn’t come as a surprise to most IndyCar fans. Dixon has been great at Pocono since the first race in 2013. In fact, he won the first race there that year. Since then, Dixon has yet to find victory lane but has finished inside the top-10 or five in those five starts. He came close to winning in 2017 when he led 51 laps; 2018 might have been his best chance when he finished third after starting 13th. While Dixon may be out of the championship hunt, fourth in the standings, -62 points behind, he can still spoil the party and add to his impressive IndyCar resume.
- Will Power – Power has made every Pocono start since the tracks first outing in 2013. However, it wasn’t until 2016 that he won his first Pocono race and then went on to win in 2017 for the second consecutive time. Power came close once again last year when he qualified on the pole and finished second after leading 16 laps. In all six starts, the Team Penske driver has been able to lead laps in every race. He led 15 laps in 2013, 69 laps in 2014, led two laps in 2015, led 55 laps when he won in 2016 and led 34 laps in 2017, for a total of 191 laps led and an average finish of 3.7.
- Josef Newgarden – The championship points leader is pretty impressive at Pocono. In six starts, Newgarden has five top-fives and six top-10 finishes with a best finish of second twice, in 2015 and 2017. The Tennessee native has 73 laps led with an average finish of 4.3. However, two things are eluding him. Newgarden has no poles or wins at the track. If he wants to extend his points lead on Sunday, he’ll have to have a good Saturday with qualification and starting on the pole.
- Alexander Rossi – Unlike Newgarden, Rossi has one win which came in last year’s race after starting third and dominating, leading all but 20 laps. The Napa driver has finishes of third in 2017 and 20th after wrecking out in 2016. Like Power, Rossi has been able to lead laps in every outing at Pocono despite his DNF in 2016. He has 228 laps led with an average finish of 8.0. Rossi will have to do the same as he did last year if he wants to close the points gap on Sunday.
- Simon Pagenaud – The Indy 500 champion has just one finish outside the top-10 that occurred in 2016 when he finished 18th and that was partly due to a crash that took Pagenaud out on Lap 157. Otherwise, Pagenaud has been decent at “The Tricky Triangle.” In his other five starts, the Team Penske driver has finishes of sixth twice in 2013 and 2014 and seventh in his first outing with Team Penske, leading 30 laps. In the last two races, Pagenaud finished eighth and fourth respectively. The No. 22 driver has an average finish of 8.2.
The entry list is pretty much the same, other than Conor Daly returning to the field in the No. 59 for Carlin racing. it will be Daly’s first race back since Iowa where he finished 13th.
Pocono Raceway has seen six races since their first race in 2013 under the IndyCar name with four different winners. Will Power is the only one to have won twice. Scott Dixon won in 2013, Juan Pablo Montoya won in 2014 and Rossi in 2018.
The on-track action begins on Saturday morning with first practice at 9:30 a.m. live on NBC Sports Gold. NBCSN will then have qualifications at 12:30 p.m., lasting 75 minutes. The NTT IndyCar Series drivers will then have one more final practice session for the day at 4 p.m., also live on NBC Sports Gold.
On Sunday, the drivers will take to the track for the seventh annual ABC Supply 500 with a green flag time of 2:45 p.m. live on NBCSN. The Drivers Start Your Engines command is slated for 2:39 p.m. The race will have 200 laps.