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Five things to watch for in Indy Grand Prix

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It’s been a long month since the IndyCar series rolled out of California and the Streets of Long Beach on April 14 and now it’s time to tackle the fourth different twisty track of the season with the IndyCar Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

This will mark the third time in 2019 that the series has visited a permanent road course and all bets are off as to who will win.

Live coverage from Indianapolis begins Friday at 9 a.m. ET with Practice 1 exclusively on NBC Sports Gold’s IndyCar Pass, followed by Practice 2 at 12:30 p.m. ET. Coverage continues with qualifying live on NBCSN and INDYCAR Pass on Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET. IndyCar Pass will stream warm-up on Saturday at 11:15 a.m. ET prior to race coverage on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.

In five editions of this race, there have been only two winners, but neither Will Power nor Simon Pagenaud have taken the checkers yet in 2019. In fact, four races have produced four different winners.

  1. Power and Pagenaud have been equally matched in this race with top-10s in all but one event and three top-fives apiece. Power has an average finish of 6.0 with Pagenaud sitting at 7.8, so this week’s race within the race will be of who finishes better.
  2. In one of only two IndyCar starts last year, Helio Castroneves finished sixth and kept a perfect record of top-10s in this race alive. In fact, sixth is the worst he’s finished on this track. Castroneves is the only perfect driver in the Indy GP.
  3. Scott Dixon comes close to being perfect in regard to top-10s. After finishing 15th in his first attempt in 2014, he posted back-to-back top-10s the next two years. He was even better in the last two starts with runner-up finishes to Will Power in 2017 and 2018. Winless so far in 2019, Can Dixon become the first driver other than Power or Pagenaud to win this race and the fifth different winner of the season?
  4. If Dixon fails to win, the odds are certainly in his favor to finish among the top five. Dating back to last year’s second-place finish in this race, Dixon has finished fifth or better in all but this year’s Circuit of the Americas race.
  5. Points leader Josef Newgarden is the only driver this year with a perfect record of top-fives and he has finished better than he started every week – coming from as far back as 16th at Barber Motorsports Park. No matter where he qualifies, expect Newgarden to challenge for the lead.

More than 100 hours of IndyCar action begins this weekend with live coverage of the Grand Prix from Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 3 p.m. on NBC. This will be the first NTT IndyCar race to be broadcast on NBC.

NBC Sports’ month-long coverage from Indianapolis includes extensive practice, qualifying and race programming across NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com and NBC Sports Gold’s INDYCAR Pass.

Watch the Indy 500 on May 26 on NBC

Karam, Daly get IndyCar rides with Carlin for Iowa

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NEWTON, Iowa – Sage Karam returns for the second-straight race and Conor Daly is back for another race with Carlin Racing at this weekend’s Iowa 300 NTT IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway.

For Karam, it’s his third start of the 2019 season and his second straight with Carlin. In his five starts at Iowa Speedway dating back to 2010, Karam has never finished outside of the top three, recording four wins (USF2000 – 2010, Indy Pro 2000 – 2011 and 2012, Indy Lights – 2013) and scoring his first NTT IndyCar Series podium in 2015 with a third-place finish.

“I’m really excited to be back again this weekend with Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for the Iowa 300. Iowa Speedway has always been a good track for me in the past, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to work there,” Karam said. “Coming off of a very productive weekend in Toronto, I’m looking forward to applying everything I’ve learned and continuing to work with the team to get the best results possible. A huge thank you to everyone at Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for a great opportunity to race at one of my favorite tracks.”

Daly is back in a second Carlin entry. Earlier this year, the popular driver finished 11th for Carlin in the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8. At Iowa, he will drive the team’s No. 23 Gallagher Chevrolet.

Daly finished 10th in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge for Andretti Autosport.

Daly raced at Iowa in 2016 for Dale Coyne Racing (finishing 21st) and in 2017 for A.J. Foyt Racing (finishing 19th).

The combination gives Carlin two more drivers to gather additional feedback on the car. Max Chilton remains the team’s primary driver but announced recently that he will forego all oval races to concentrate on street and road courses.

That created opportunities for Karam and Daly.

“We were very impressed with Sage’s steady progression throughout the Toronto race weekend and his willingness to learn and adapt,” said Carlin Team Principal Trevor Carlin. “The fact that he hadn’t been on a street course since 2015 and was still able to come right out of the gate confident and constantly improving every session was extremely impressive.

“The SmartStop Self Storage Chevrolet looked great out on track and their group has been a pleasure to work with, so we couldn’t be more pleased to have them back this weekend in Iowa. Sage has done really well in Iowa in the past, so hopefully we can use his experience and our past success at Iowa Speedway to come away with a good result for the team and our partners at SmartStop Self Storage.”

The Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway will take place on Saturday, July 20th at 7:15 pm ET and will be televised on NBCSN.