At last, the Speedway opens for the month of May. Practice for the Indianapolis Grand Prix begins today, when Indycar takes the track at 9:15 this morning. The race is tomorrow on ABC, beginning at 3:30 pm ET.
The first three editions of the this race have seen Simon Pagenaud win twice, including last year. Will Power won the second year. Pagenaud comes into the event as the points leader, just as he did last year. The difference is he has only won once this year. In 2016, this was third consecutive win. The points battle is tighter this season so far.
There have been four winners in four races this year, the last two races won by Penske drivers. We may not have a fifth different winner after this race, nor a different team winning. Pagenaud has excelled on this track , and I expect him to do so again. If he falters, look for Power to get his first trip to Victory Circle this weekend.
This will be another Chevy at the front show, though Honda is eagerly awaiting the start of 500 practice next Monday. Honda will be happy with a top five on Saturday.
As far as this weekend’s attendance, I have no idea. The last two years have seen the crowd shrink from year one, which was between 55 and 60 thousand. In 2015, rain was predicted for the race, but the race was dry. The weather in 2016 was even colder than the 1992 500. It will be interesting to see if the improved weather this year draws more fans. In any case, there is Indycar racing at IMS this weekend, and then the best two weeks of the year begin.
News and Notes:
Sebastian Saavedra was confirmed as driver for the second Juncos car. He will drive car 17, sponsored by AFS.
Several teams have revealed their liveries for the 500 the last few days. This will be one of the best looking fields in recent memory. Several cars have a retro look with hints of cars from the past. I’m excited to see the entire field together.
Back with a race recap Sunday and a preview of what I hope to bring you during practice week.