HELIO CAN’T MISS HERE
Yesterday’s Race 1 had Helio Castroneves on the front row and championship leader/teammate Will Power starting all the way in 18th.
But Castroneves could only convert that great start into a ninth-place finish, which minimized his points gain on Power (who still finished 14th after going into the tires late).
Today, Castroneves is starting Race 2 from the pole while Power is once again starting in 18th. The Australian is clearly having a dire weekend in Houston, but Castroneves couldn’t take advantage of that in Race 1. In Race 2, he absolutely must.
CHANCES FOR REDEMPTION
Keep an eye on rookie Mikhail Aleshin and Graham Rahal, who were involved in two of Race 1’s more memorable incidents yesterday.
Aleshin, down a lap, had contact with potential contender Takuma Sato and the two went into the wall, while Rahal ran into the back of Tony Kanaan on what was to be the final restart of the race with one lap left (Rahal received a time penalty and Carlos Huertas took the win under yellow).
For Race 2, Aleshin starts 2nd and Rahal starts 4th – and after yesterday, they need some great results.
COYNE GOES FOR THE SWEEP
Huertas’ win yesterday came out of nowhere, but it’s not as if Dale Coyne Racing hasn’t sprung a street course surprise before (see Mike Conway’s Detroit Dual 1 win from 2013, which – like Huertas’ win – came in DCR’s second car).
Today, Huertas is starting 12th while veteran teammate Justin Wilson rolls off sixth. They’d both likely prefer to be higher up on the grid, but considering that Huertas earned the Race 1 victory from 19th starting position, another triumph for DCR today can certainly be had.
Intermittent showers threw a wrinkle into yesterday’s Race 1 at NRG Park; some parts of the 1.7-mile course dried quickly afterwards, while other parts took longer.
As for today’s forecast, there is expected to be more sunshine – but there’s also a 30 percent chance of rain involved. Should another shower pop up at or near the track, the complexion of Race 2 could change instantly.