IndyCar: Winning’s been a curse, not a blessing, over last six races

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We took a look last week into the points at the end of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ marathon six race in four weekend stretch.

But there was another intriguing observation that’s come out of the last six races: winning a race has been something of a curse for the following rounds.

Since Carlos Huertas took a surprise win in Houston race one, the race winner has only recorded one top-five finish in the subsequent races since (Simon Pagenaud’s fourth place in Toronto race one).

Take a look at the last six winners, and their results since those wins:

  • Carlos Huertas: Won Houston Race 1, then 23rd, 20th, 20th, 14th, 15th
  • Simon Pagenaud: Won Houston Race 2, then 6th, 11th, 4th, 22nd
  • Juan Pablo Montoya: Won Pocono, then 16th, 18th, 19th
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay: Won Iowa, then 21st, 14th
  • Sebastien Bourdais, Won Toronto Race 1, then 9th
  • Mike Conway: Won Toronto Race 2 … ?

Those six have followed the three other winners this season, in Ed Carpenter (Texas), Helio Castroneves and Will Power (the two Detroit races).

So we’ve had the nine winners this season win each of the last nine races. But winning itself has, coincidentally, been one of the worst things for drivers in subsequent races.

It’s largely been due to mechanical issues, incidents or circumstances outside the drivers’ control.

It’s a weird and bizarre run of results, but something to note heading into the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.