Today’s schedule: Times Eastern
Indycar’s last race day of the season is always bittersweet. We celebrate the season champion while a touch of sadness comes to our hearts as the cars go silent for five months. I take consolation in knowing the off season is shorter than usual.
Yesterday’s qualifying created a little drama for the race. Josef Newgarden, a distant third in the standings, will lead the field to the green flag at 3:45 Eastern. He has the opportunity to lead the most laps and win the race. points leader Alex Palou can still win the championship by finishing 11th or better to cover second place Pato O’Ward. To cover Newgarden, Palou just has to finish the race.
After qualifying, Palou said,
“Yeah, I think we are in a good position. We have a really fast car. Obviously we didn’t get through because of that yellow flag, as others. We are fast. I think we have lots of chances, but we still need to finish the job tomorrow. It’s not going to be easy. There’s a lot of fast drivers here, lots of good cars. There’s some drivers starting up the back as well.
We’ll try to have a good run and overtake some cars before that.”
Newgarden is thrilled for the chance to win, but concedes,
“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I really don’t. Alex has been extremely strong. I think if he sticks to his program, he should be in good shape. He’s been very resilient this year and done a tremendous job. Really the same with Pato. I don’t see him making a lot of mistakes, he’s always a charger.
If they have a normal day, I don’t expect too much craziness to happen. But like I said, it’s unpredictable. You just don’t know in these events. We’ll see what we get tomorrow.”
O’Ward has had an up and down weekend. He wasn’t happy with his car on Friday, but yesterday he just missed the Fast Six. He feels good about today’s race.
“We definitely have a better car than what we’ve had, at least last weekend. Yeah, happy about that. I think the guys have done a great job in being efficient with changes, just working together to make everything just go a little bit better.
But, yeah, I mean, it’s hard to say. There’s a lot of really quick cars out there. We’ve got champions in the front, people that know how to win races, people that know how to win championships.
Yeah, it won’t be easy. But we’re definitely going to send it tomorrow. ”
Enjoy the race. I’ll be back after the race with a wrap up.