A Hollywood script could not have conjured up a more beautiful day than is dawning this morning – Race Day for the ABC Supply Co. 500 Verizon IndyCar race from Pocono International Raceway.
The drivers will awaken to perfect conditions at the track for the penultimate race of the 2015 season.
With the championship so close and points leader Juan Pablo Montoya qualifying a distant 19th for today’s contest, it’s anybody’s race to win. He’s looking to add a third win to this season today.
Montoya is the race defender having won this event in 2014. He’ll have a lot to do to race through traffic to earn another victory at the Tricky Triangle.
Helio Castroneves took the pole yesterday afternoon and beat P2 qualifier Simon Pagenaud by .045 of a second. During the post-qualifying media interviews Pagenaud questioned Castroneves on how he narrowly beat the time and Castroneves quipped, “I didn’t lift!”
Castroneves currently sits fourth, 58 points behind Montoya in the championship race. A win today would be Castroneves’ first of the 2015 season. Pagenaud is 10th, facing a 136 point deficit with two races left in the season. He, too, is looking for his first win of the season.
Will Power earned the third spot on the grid for today’s race. He told reporters that he knows what he has to do if he is to win this year’s championship, “I know I have to win tomorrow [Sunday] and at Sonoma if I’m to win the championship.” Power sits fifth, 59 points behind the leader. He has one other win this year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
“It” Boy Josef Newgarden will start today’s race in fourth. During qualifying he was asked if he had a definitive ride for the 2016 season but he admitted he did not as of yet. Where Newgarden may land is still a big mystery in the IndyCar garages, at least to this reporter. Newgarden enters Sunday’s race in eighth, 95 points back. He has two wins this season.
Graham Rahal is starting P5 for the ABC Supply Co. 500. He is currently second in points behind leader Montoya by nine points. He’s seeking a third win having come off victories at Fontana and Mid-Ohio.
Scott Dixon, looking for his third win of the season at Pocono, sits 11th in the grid. He is third in the championship race, 34 points behind.
Hometown favorites Marco Andretti and Sage Karam, seventh and 18th in points respectively, start today’s race in 22nd and 20th places.
Tony Kanaan is gridded 12th today. He is ninth, 16 points behind his friend Montoya.
Sebastian Bourdais will begin Sunday’s race in 10th position. He is sixth in points with only a 27 point deficit. Bourdais is hoping to earn his third win of the season.
Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified eighth. He sits outside the Top 10 in points in 11th with 161 points to overcome with two races left. He’s hoping to make Pocono his second win this season having won at Iowa Speedway last month.
Carlos Munoz is starting today’s race in sixth. He is 12th in driver’s points, 162 behind Montoya. Munoz is looking for a second win this season.
Justin Wilson is looking to make his first win of the season. He starts in seventh. He sits back in 24th spot, 373 points behind the leader.
Takuma Sato begins today’s race in ninth spot. He is 219 points away from the lead sitting in 14th for the championship.
The 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series has certainly delivered an exciting season to date and with only two races left of the season – today’s ABC Supply Co. 500 from Pocono Raceway and the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma next week. The winner of those races and the championship are still for the taking.
Tune in to today’s race at 2pm ET LIVE on NBCSN.