By Dylan Reynolds, The Open Wheel
My post-race feature for The Open Wheel continues with a collection of random thoughts following the INDYCAR weekend at Pocono Raceway for the ABC Supply 500.
- Power Fights Off Adversity For Big Win – Will Power’s win on Sunday took some serious patience and fight. He went a lap down early to replace his front wing assembly, had his rear wing assembly replaced after he was back on the lead lap, and used an excellent maneuver between Turns 2 and 3 on the final laps to hold off a hard-charging Josef Newgarden. The Australian has closed the championship gap to just 42 points with three races to go and has as good of a chance as anyone to finish strong and win the championship.
- Rossi Impressive All Weekend Long – Alexander Rossi already has the biggest win of his career in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, but this weekend at Pocono may have been his best race weekend of his Verizon IndyCar Series career at Pocono. He was fast in each practice session, qualified P6 (with the second fastest lap of the day), gave teammate Takuma Sato advice leading him to winning the pole, and drove at the front all day to grab a podium finish in P3. It’s easy to see why the young American is wanted by nearly everyone in the paddock if he becomes available should Andretti Autosport switch to Chevrolet for 2018. He’s been consistently fast all year long on every style of circuit and his race craft has truly gone up a level this season. He’s surely disappointed not to come away with the win but for me he was the driver of the weekend.
- Championship Race Stays Tight – The Top 5 in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings are separated by just 42 points with three races to go. That’s incredible! With double-points on the line at Sonoma the championship race is wide open. Newgarden, Dixon, Castroneves, Pagenaud, and Power are all capable of winning out the rest of the season and it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite for the championship. It’s a tremendous time to be an INDYCAR fan and we should all appreciate it because this isn’t going to happen every year.
- INDYCAR Safety Continues To Impress – There were multiple “big” high-speed incidents at Pocono this weekend and it’s incredible that all of the drivers walked away effectively unscathed. Hunter-Reay’s qualifying crash was incredibly violent and though he spent some time in the hospital, he was released that night, and factored for the win of a 500 mile race the next day. Hunter-Reay’s a tough guy and was clearly fighting through a lot of pain on Sunday but the fact that he was able to race in the first place is incredible. With many safety improvements planned for the new aero kit for 2018, it’s clear INDYCAR has done a great job with its priorities in safety.