ABC Supply 500 Race Preview

“I’ve really been looking forward to getting back to Pocono. There’s no doubt the DHL Honda has been very strong here the past few years. Last year’s unfortunate electrical issue that occurred while (we were) leading sent us to the back of the field, yet we were still able to come all the way back through the field to finish third. As a team, we feel like we have unfinished business at Pocono. Certainly, one of our best chances at a victory over the past year slipped away, so we’re looking for redemption.”

Fast Facts

Track: Pocono Raceway, a 2.5-mile triangular oval in Long Pond, Pennsylvania

Race distance: 200 laps / 500 miles

Firestone tire allotment: Thirteen sets for use throughout the weekend

Twitter: @PoconoRaceway @IndyCar, #ABCSupply500, #IndyCar

Event website: www.poconoraceway.com/

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2016 race winner: Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet)

2016 Verizon P1 Award winner: Mikhail Aleshin (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Honda), 1 minute, 21.6530 seconds, 220.445 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, 1 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 19 (live); Race, 2 p.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 20 (live); Kevin Lee is the lead announcer for the NBCSN broadcasts this weekend alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Jon Beekhuis, Katie Hargitt, Anders Krohn and Robin Miller.

Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Zach Veach. Jake Query and Nick Yeoman are the turn announcers with Dave Furst, Jim Murphy and Michael Young reporting from the pits. All Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on network affiliates, Sirius 214, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app. All Verizon IndyCar Series practice and qualifying sessions are available on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.

Video streaming: Both ABC Supply 500 practice sessions will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com and on the INDYCAR YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indycar)

INDYCAR Mobile app: Verizon’s INDYCAR Mobile app is available across all carriers. Exclusive features for Verizon Wireless customers will stream live through the app and include enhanced real-time leaderboard and car telemetry; live in-car camera video streaming for select drivers during Verizon IndyCar Series races; live driver and pit crew radio transmissions during races and live Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network audio streaming during all track activities.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Saturday, Aug. 19
9 – 10:15 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #1, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
1 p.m. – Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (single car/cumulative time of two laps), NBCSN (Live)
5 – 5:30 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series final practice, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)

Sunday, Aug. 20
1:10 – 1:25 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series pit stop practice
2:04 p.m. – Driver introductions
2:40 p.m. – Command to start engines
2:45 p.m. – ABC Supply 500 (200 laps/500 miles), NBCSN (Live)

Championship facts:

  • Josef Newgarden leads the Verizon IndyCar Series championship with four races to go for the first time in his career. Newgarden took the championship lead for the first time in his career following his win at Mid-Ohio on July 20.
  • Josef Newgarden leads Helio Castroneves by seven points with Scott Dixon (-8) and Simon Pagenaud (-17) not too far behind. Will Power lies fifth, 52 points behind Newgarden while Graham Rahal is sixth, 58 points back. In 2016, Power trailed Pagenaud by 58 points with four races to be completed.
  • There are 19 drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series championship: Josef Newgarden, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato, Alexander Rossi, Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe, Max Chilton, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Ed Jones, JR Hildebrand, Mikhail Aleshin, Carlos Munoz, Charlie Kimball and Conor Daly. Any driver who trails the points leader by 213 points or more following the race will be eliminated from contention.
  • 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).

Key championship point statistic: Including Josef Newgarden this season, a driver from Team Penske has led the championship with four races to go six times since 2010. Other Team Penske drivers to lead with four to go are: Will Power (2010), Helio Castroneves (2013 and 2014), Juan Pablo Montoya (2015) and Simon Pagenaud (2016). Of the previous five times, only Pagenaud went on to win the championship.

Point differential: The seven points which separate Josef Newgarden and Helio Castroneves is the closest margin with four to go since 2009 when Scott Dixon led Ryan Briscoe by three points. The average deficit with four races to go since 2008 is 34.7 points.

Championship-eligible drivers’ results at Pocono:
Will Power (2016), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2015) and Scott Dixon (2013) have won at Pocono…Josef Newgarden and Will Power have finished in the top five in three of their four starts at Pocono…Dixon, Newgarden and Power have finished in the top 10 in all four of their starts…Carlos Munoz has finished in the top seven in all three of his starts at Pocono.

Race notes:

  • There have been nine different winners in the 13 previous Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2017: Sebastien Bourdais (Streets of St. Petersburg), James Hinchcliffe (Streets of Long Beach), Josef Newgarden (Barber Motorsports Park, Streets of Toronto and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course), Simon Pagenaud (Phoenix Raceway), Will Power (INDYCAR Grand Prix and Texas Motor Speedway), Takuma Sato (Indianapolis 500), Graham Rahal (Raceway at Belle Isle-1 and Raceway at Belle Isle-2), Scott Dixon (Road America) and Helio Castroneves (Iowa Speedway). Bourdais’ win at St. Pete on March 12 gave him sole possession of sixth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 36 wins. Power’s win at Texas on June 10 tied him with Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy for ninth on the all-time list with 31 wins. Dixon’s win at Road America on June 25 was his 41st career victory and he will tie Michael Andretti for third all-time with his next win. Castroneves’ win at Iowa on July 9 ended a 54-race winless streak and gave him sole possession of 12th all-time with 30 wins.
  • The ABC Supply 500 will be the 24th Indy car race at Pocono Raceway. Will Power won the race in 2016. Mark Donohue won the first Indy car race at Pocono in 1971.
  • A.J. Foyt, who fields the cars of Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz, 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 Will Power (2016), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2015) and Scott Dixon (2013) are entered this year.
  • Five drivers have won the race from the pole – Mark Donohue (1971), A.J. Foyt (1979 and 1981), Bobby Unser (1980), Rick Mears (1982 and 1985) and Juan Pablo Montoya (2014).
  • Team Penske has won nine times at Pocono. Penske’s winning drivers are: Mark Donohue (1971), Tom Sneva (1977), Bobby Unser (1980), Rick Mears (1982, 1985 and 1987), Danny Sullivan (1989), Juan Pablo Montoya (2014) and Will Power (2016).
  • Chip Ganassi Racing has one win at Pocono 2013, when it swept the podium with Scott Dixon, Charlie Kimball and Dario Franchitti. Andretti Autosport, owned by Michael Andretti of nearby Nazareth, Pennsylvania, won at Pocono in 2015 with Ryan Hunter-Reay.
  • At least 18 drivers entered in the event have competed in past Indy car races at Pocono. Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato each have four starts, most among the entered drivers. Twelve entered drivers have led laps at the track (Power 141, Kanaan 115, Andretti 88, Newgarden 69, Hunter-Reay 60, Dixon 41, Gabby Chaves 31, Pagenaud 31, Castroneves 24, Kimball 5, Alexander Rossi 4 and Sato 3). Kanaan and Power have led in each of their four previous starts.
  • Two rookies – Esteban Gutierrez and Ed Jones – are expected to compete. Neither rookie nor veteran driver JR Hildebrand has made an Indy car start at Pocono Raceway.
  • Tony Kanaan seeks to start his 279th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Teammate Scott Dixon has made 220 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the second-longest streak in Indy car racing. Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti has made 196 consecutive starts, which is the fourth-longest streak in Indy car racing.
  • Helio Castroneves will attempt to make his 341st career Indy car start, which ranks third on the all-time list. Tony Kanaan is fourth all-time with 339 starts.
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