IndyCar ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Preview
Last year Alexander Rossi drove the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda to victory in today’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. It was the fifth career win for the Nevada City, CA native and third of 2018. Two-time defending Pocono winner Will Power was second 4.4 seconds behind Rossi, with series championship leader Scott Dixon third. Sebastien Bourdais and Josef Newgarden rounded out the top-five.
It was a thoroughly dominant performance by Rossi who led 180 of 200 laps, and lapped up to fourth place.
Of course, the race was marred by a scary lap 6 crash that saw Canadian Robert Wickens get into the catch fence exiting the Tunnel Turn here at Pocono. Wickens had attempted to pass Ryan Hunter-Reay entering the turn. The ensuing contact sent Hunter-Reay backwards into the SAFER Barrier, while Wickens hit the SAFER Barrier before getting airborne and rotating viciously.
2019 ABC Supply 500 Fast Facts
Race weekend: Saturday, Aug. 17 - Sunday, Aug. 18
Track: Pocono Raceway, a 2.5-mile triangular oval in Long Pond, Pennsylvania
Race distance: 200 laps / 500 miles
Firestone tire allotment: Twelve sets for use throughout the weekend
Twitter: @PoconoRaceway @IndyCar, #ABCSupply500, #IndyCar
Event website: http://www.poconoraceway.com/
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
2018 race winner: Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda)
2018 NTT P1 Award winner: Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet), 1 minute, 22.0006 seconds, 219.511 mph (two laps)
One-lap qualifying record: Juan Pablo Montoya, 40.1929 seconds, 223.920 mph, July 5, 2014
Two-lap qualifying record: Juan Pablo Montoya, 1 minute, 20.4034 seconds, 223.871 mph, July 5, 2014
NBCSN television broadcasts: Qualifying, 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 17 (same-day delay); Race, 2 p.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 18 (live); Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for the NBCSN broadcasts this weekend alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Dillon Welch and Robin Miller.
NBC Sports Gold livestreaming: All NTT IndyCar Series practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports' direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.
At-track schedule (all times local):
Saturday, Aug. 17
9:30 - 10:30 a.m. - NTT IndyCar Series practice #1, NBC Sports Gold (live)
12:30 p.m. - Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (single car/cumulative time of two laps), NBC Sports Gold (live); NBCSN (2:30 p.m. ET)
4 - 5 p.m. - NTT IndyCar Series final practice, NBC Sports Gold (live)
Sunday, Aug. 19
2:03 p.m. - Driver introductions
2:39 p.m. - Command to start engines
2:45 p.m. - ABC Supply 500 (200 laps/500 miles), NBCSN (live)
Key championship point statistic: Since 2008, the driver that has led the championship with four races to go has won the championship six times. Scott Dixon (2008 and 2018), Dario Franchitti (2011), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2012), Simon Pagenaud (2016) and Josef Newgarden (2017) all won titles after holding the lead with four to go.
Point differential: The 16 points which separate Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi is the fourth-closest margin since 2008. The average deficit with four races to go since 2008 is 35.8 points.
Championship-eligible drivers results at Pocono: Alexander Rossi (2018), Will Power (2016 and 2017), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2015) and Scott Dixon (2013) have won at Pocono ... Josef Newgarden and Power have finished in the top five in five of their six starts at Pocono ... Rossi has finished on the podium in two of his three starts at Pocono ... Power and Rossi have led laps in every race they have started at Pocono ... Dixon, Newgarden and Power have finished in the top 10 in all six of their starts.
ABC SUPPLY 500 PRE-EVENT QUOTES:
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was good to have a couple of weeks off, so I took some time to reset and refocus as we head into the final stretch of the season. Pocono is a difficult track, and it takes the right pit and fuel strategy to do well with any 500-mile race. We have a pretty good plan in place for the Hitachi Chevy, so we're ready to put it into action. My crew has been really giving it their all every race and we're all ready to keep fighting for more wins to keep gaining points and continue to make a run at the championship."
MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "Pocono is a tough place. Last year I never felt very good in the car there, but by the fact it is a very challenging track, it makes things very interesting. ABC Supply will be there with lots of guests, and it's always a great thing to have the support from thousands of people. I'm looking forward to having a solid run with the team. We need some results."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "It will be interesting to see how different Pocono is this year with the changes they made to the surface for the NASCAR race; hopefully it has a positive effect on the show. Five hundred miles is a long race, and I think we have good Arrow SPM cars in race trim, so hopefully, we can close out the speedways this year with a podium."
MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "Pocono is, of course, another new track for me. I think we've had some really strong runs on the ovals this year, but maybe not the results to show for it. We've had a good car, and I feel like the driving has been good as well. I think the Arrow SPM team can be really strong there."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "The Tricky Triangle... Pocono is really fast and produces great Indy car racing. It's such a unique challenge to get everything right. The team swept the podium in 2013 and that is a perfect example of things going your way here when you get everything right. It's a long race and it's now time to roll the dice and take chances. Race wins are all that matter at this stage in the season if you want to have a shot at defending this championship title. I hope we come ready to race in the PNC Bank car and fight for the win."
FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "When you go to Pocono, I think it doesn't matter if it's Pocono or Indy or Texas - I just have a huge respect and you take more time. You allow yourself to just go up to speed more slow because, we all know what happens when you crash at 220, 230 mph. Physically and car-wise, it's never a good thing. So I believe that everyone has to respect and give each other room. I'm very much aware I'm not a pro at the ovals yet. I think, though, we've made really good progress with the NTT DATA car. I tested at Gateway and I have to say I feel more and more confident every lap I turn on an oval. I still have much more to learn, but I'm sure my first good result on an oval is just around the corner."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "The Verizon Chevy team has been working hard to give me everything I need to run a good race, but we've just had some bad luck and mistakes we've been fighting against. However, it's great to get back to an oval. Pocono is a track I feel really comfortable at. It's really technical, so it's a fun one for me to drive. Pit strategy is so important there so we're ready for that. We're going to do everything we can to go out there and just compete for wins."
TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "It's extremely encouraging to go to Pocono. The next two races are ovals where I think we had decent results. My best two results were on the ovals so I'm extremely confident and excited to go there. It's a really fast race track, a fun oval to be at and I'm looking forward to it."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 TOTAL Honda ): "I always look forward to the challenge of racing at Pocono. I think we have had some great runs in the past there but haven't been able to fulfill and complete the task. Two or three years ago, (Tony) Kanaan and I changed the lead every lap for about (20) laps so it can certainly be an exciting race. The engineering staff has done a great job identifying how we need to be better on ovals. We have worked hard on tracks like Indianapolis that can also benefit Pocono. The attention to detail by our mechanics is unparalleled too, and there is no doubt that helps us a lot! I feel this is likely our best chance yet for success at Pocono, but we need to be smart and race well. This year we showed at Indianapolis that we have great pace and had a really good result at Texas Motor Speedway. I think we found a lot of good setup information on ovals and I expect us to be competitive. Last year at Pocono, I made a mistake on the start and hit Spencer (Pigot) but once the race got going, we were actually right in line and running with (race winner Alexander) Rossi. We stayed with him for all 500 miles, which was a good sign that at least our car was competitive. We were a couple of laps down due to the penalty, but we were in the hunt. I want to get into the top five of the standings by season's end. We should be able to, just need some good results. We really need a win; we can do it."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): "Pocono is a very unusual oval. It has some very unique characteristics, with three drastically different corners, and that's why it's called the 'Tricky Triangle'. Other than Iowa, we have qualified the SealMaster Honda No. 18 pretty well on ovals for the past two years. Hopefully, we'll unload strong because we only have the one practice session before qualifying. It's a 500-mile race, so qualifying isn't as important as at some other tracks, but track position proved to be very important last year. We're closing in on the end of the season and I know the whole team is working hard to finish the season strong."
SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda): "It was nice for the team to have a couple of weekends off from racing, before we take on the final stretch of races, but I'm very much looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda this weekend at Pocono Raceway. I'm also looking forward to this event because it's a bit of a home event for me as it's only a couple of hours from my hometown (Woodbury, Connecticut). I'll have a lot of family and friends there. Hopefully, we can have another strong weekend on an oval."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "I am always excited to get back to Pocono Raceway. It is such a unique and challenging track to drive on, plus it is another 500-mile race which adds a special dynamic. It has not been our strongest track in the past, so I am looking forward to getting there and turning it into a successful race for the team."
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "I am looking forward to getting back in the car at Pocono after a few weeks off. The goal is to have a solid weekend and start a stretch of a few more good races to finish off the season. Last year, I enjoyed the laps I was able to do at Pocono, but hopefully this year we have a bit smoother race and can complete all 500 miles."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Team Penske Chevrolet): "During the break, INDYCAR and BorgWarner organized an amazing media tour in France. I had the honor of taking the Borg-Warner Trophy home to France to share my experience winning the Indy 500. In Paris, the interest from the media was just tremendous. We started the week with a visit to the French office of our partner DXC Technology, and it was wonderful to meet so many great people there. From there, we went to Poitiers and then Montmorillon, my hometown, where the city organized an incredible celebration full of people starring the Borg-Warner Trophy. I must say I was really impressed to see the excitement and interest around INDYCAR in France, and it's great to be in this era of the sport. Now, we're off to race at Pocono. I'm very excited to be back competing. I love this time of the year because 'it's crunch time' so it's time to go for it with four races remaining."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Tresiba Carlin Chevrolet): "I'm really excited to get back into the No. 23 Tresiba Carlin Chevrolet at Pocono, especially after last year's top-10 result and the progress we made at the Indianapolis 500 this year. With all of that momentum, I feel strongly that we will have the opportunity for a great weekend with Carlin. As drivers and even for the engineers, the challenge of the 'Tricky Triangle' with three very different corners is one we all relish and look forward to! This is also a big race for Novo Nordisk with their headquarters so close in New Jersey, so being able to host their guests is always a bonus as well."
ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): "I absolutely can't wait. Pocono has always been one of my favorite circuits. Just the races that we've had there, last year included, have just been really good for me. It's definitely a difficult place, a high-risk place, but I'm just looking forward to it. And with Gateway after that, it leads into a nice streak of ovals for the 2019 season."
ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 MilitaryToMotorsports.com Honda): "I'm really excited to get back to Pocono. It's one of my favorite tracks to go back to each year - and obviously, we had a good race there last year. We're getting into a critical point of the championship and we need to win races. Pocono is a great place for us to hopefully do that. Being so close to where the Andretti family is from is great. The area has a lot of tradition for Indy car racing and we all look forward to coming back to each year. Hopefully, we can leave the weekend leading the championship."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "After a podium at Mid-Ohio for the DHL team, hopefully, we can find win No. 2 at Pocono. It's an extremely challenging track. The difference between Turn 1 and 3 presents a whole host of issues that you have to resolve setup-wise. It's all about a compromise between those two (turns) that allows you to have a good race day. I hope we have some good momentum to carry through the end of the season - that's what we were able to do last year and really finish strong."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): "We were in pretty good shape last year at Pocono despite not testing before the race and very little running time on the race weekend due to weather. My race ended very early but Graham (Rahal) had a strong pace during the race so we should have a good baseline. On top of that, we have been very strong on ovals this season so we are expecting to have a competitive package in Pocono, too. It is very encouraging that we have been competitive on all type of ovals. We have learned a lot through last season, and the engineers have come up with a new philosophy over the winter, so we have a great chance to recover good points for the rest the season. The race will be very long and 500 miles, so it's difficult to predict but equally, we have a lot of chance to deliver a good result. It was a tough five races we had. Some were very unfortunate but the positive side is we were competitive every weekend so we will continue to work hard to achieve a strong finish of the season."
CONOR DALY (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): "Having the chance to continue working with the Carlin team and drive the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet is fantastic. Pocono is a tough track and a long race, but after the progress we made at Texas and Iowa, I feel like we can definitely have a great weekend. Step-by-step we keep making great strides together and I'm really looking forward to getting on track once again."
COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda): "I'm really looking forward to racing at Pocono Raceway this weekend. We were so fast throughout the month of May on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile oval, so I know the No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda can be quick and competitive around the 2.5-mile 'Tricky Triangle.' I'm really excited for the next three races in a row, especially having the opportunity to race at Pocono Raceway since I have never competed there."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda): "Pocono is a fun superspeedway for me. Like everyone says, you have to get the balance between Turn 1 and (Turn) 3 - and then Turn 2 in traffic isn't easy either. The race-ability of the track is great. I think the restarts with how wide the front straight is get crazy which is fun for the fans. It's also great to have all the hometown support."
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