In six previous NTT IndyCar races at Pocono Raceway there have been five different winners. Will Power is the only driver to post more than one victory and his pair came in the back-to-back seasons of 2016/2017. To win his second, he had to be the last man standing after a record 42 lead changes among 10 drivers.
Scott Dixon won the inaugural race in 2013. Ryan Hunter-Reay (2015) and Alexander Rossi (2018) have a chance to become repeat winners this week along with Power.
Here are some of the storylines to watch this Sunday:
- Rossi and Josef Newgarden had been within two positions of one another in seven races prior to Iowa. Rossi lost five spots to Newgarden on the short oval, which caused us to wonder if he would close the gap again at Mid-Ohio. It turned out there was no reason to worry as Newgarden’s off-course excursion contributed to a 14th-place finish – nine spots behind Rossi.
- It turns out that Mid-Ohio was a streak-killer for a few racers. In addition to Newgarden’s culmination of a four-race, top-five streak, James Hinchliffe finished 23rd to snap a three-race, top-10 streak and Sebastien Bourdais failed to score three consecutive top-10s, which would have been the first time he did so in 2019. Bourdais did not miss by much with an 11th-place finish and each time his two-race streaks have ended, they did so with either an 11th- or 12th-place result.
- Racing is a zero-sum game. The travails of Newgarden, Hinchcliffe and Bourdais created opportunities for the field, not the least of which was Hunter-Reay who finished third to end a three-race string of results outside the top 10.
- One should not worry overly about Newgarden’s ability to bounce back immediately from his Ohio disappointment. Three active drivers have been perfect at Pocono in regard to top-10 finishes. Newgarden has never finished worse than eighth. Dixon’s worst finish is ninth and Power’s worst finish is 10th. Carlos Munoz (four) and Juan Pablo Montoya (three) have also been perfect at Pocono.
- The close but no cigar award has gone to Santino Ferrucci in recent races. Finishing either 11th or 12th in his last three attempts, he is looking to improve slightly and earn his first top-10 since he finished fourth at Texas – another high speed oval.