Indycar Pocono ABC Supply 500 Preview

Ryan Hunter-Reay won in 2015
Ryan Hunter-Reay won in 2015

ABC Supply 500 Fast Facts

Race weekend: Saturday, Aug. 20 – Sunday, Aug. 21

Track: Pocono Raceway, a 2.5-mile triangular oval in Long Pond, Pa.

Race distance: 200 laps / 500 miles

Entry List: ABC Supply 500 (pdf)

Firestone tire allotment: Fourteen sets for use through the weekend

Twitter: @PoconoRaceway @IndyCar, #ABCSupply500, #IndyCar

Event website: http://www.poconoraceway.com/

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2015 race winner: Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda)

2015 Verizon P1 Award winner: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet), 1 minute, 21.6217 seconds, 220.530 mph

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, Midnight ET Sunday, Aug. 21 (taped); Race, 3 p.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 21, (live); Brian Till is the lead announcer for the NBCSN broadcasts this weekend alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller.

Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Jake Query and Nick Yeoman are the turn announcers with Dave Furst, Jim Murphy and Michael Young reporting from the pits. All Verizon IndyCar Series races as well as qualifying sessions are broadcast live on network affiliates, Sirius 212, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app. All Verizon IndyCar Series practice sessions are available on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app.

Video streaming: Both practice sessions from Pocono Raceway and qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (1:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20) will be available on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.

INDYCAR Mobile app: Verizon Wireless puts fans around the world in the driver's seat with its INDYCAR Mobile app. The app has been enhanced with new features to keep fans in the know of the latest race-day action. Exclusive features of the INDYCAR Mobile app for Verizon Wireless customers will stream live through the app and includes enhanced real-time leaderboard and car telemetry; the ability to follow the race in real time with the interactive 3D track; live in-car camera video streaming for select drivers during Verizon IndyCar Series races; live driver and pit crew radio transmissions during races and live Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network audio streaming during all track activities.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Saturday, Aug. 20
9 – 10:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #1, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
1:30 p.m. – Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (single car/cumulative time of two laps), RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live); TV: NBCSN (Taped, Midnight, Aug. 21)
5-5:30 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series final practice, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)

Sunday, Aug. 21
11:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series systems check
2:27 p.m. – Driver Introductions
3:03 p.m. – Command to Start Engines
3:09 p.m. – ABC Supply 500 (200 laps/500 miles), NBCSN (Live)

Championship facts:

• Simon Pagenaud leads the Verizon IndyCar Series championship with four races to be completed for the first time in his career.

• Simon Pagenaud leads Will Power by 58 points. In 2015, Juan Pablo Montoya led Scott Dixon by 54 points with four races to go. Dixon won the championship on a tiebreaker.

• There are 18 drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series championship: Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe, Carlos Munoz, Graham Rahal, Charlie Kimball, Alexander Rossi, Juan Pablo Montoya, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sebastien Bourdais, Takuma Sato, Mikhail Aleshin, Conor Daly and Marco Andretti. Any driver who trails the points leader by 212 points or more following the race will be eliminated from contention.

• Since the first Indy car race at Pocono in 1971, the winning driver has won the championship six times: Joe Leonard (1972), A.J. Foyt (1975 and 1979), Tom Sneva (1977), Rick Mears (1982) and Scott Dixon (2013).

Key championship point statistic: Including Simon Pagenaud this season, a driver from Team Penske has led the championship with four races to go four times since 2010. Other Team Penske drivers to lead with four to go are: Will Power (2010), Helio Castroneves (2013 and 2014) and Juan Pablo Montoya. None of those drivers won the title that season.

Point differential: The 58 points which separate Simon Pagenaud and Will Power is the largest margin since 2010 when Will Power led Dario Franchitti by 59 points. The average deficit with four races to go since 2010 is 39.0 points.

Championship-eligible drivers results at Pocono: Ryan Hunter-Reay (2015), Juan Pablo Montoya (2014) and Scott Dixon (2013) have won the previous three races at Pocono. Montoya has finished on the podium in each of his starts at Pocono. Montoya won his first start at the track in 2014 and finished third last year. Carlos Munoz has finished in the top five in both of his starts at Pocono. Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden and Will Power have finished in the top five in two of their three starts at Pocono. Dixon, Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power have finished in the top 10 in all three starts.

Race notes:

• There have been seven different winners in the 12 previous Verizon IndyCar Series completed races in 2016: Juan Pablo Montoya (Streets of St. Petersburg), Scott Dixon (Phoenix International Raceway), Simon Pagenaud (Streets of Long Beach, Barber Motorsports Park, Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course), Alexander Rossi (Indianapolis 500), Sebastien Bourdais (Raceway at Belle Isle-1), Will Power (Raceway at Belle Isle-2, Road America and Toronto) and Josef Newgarden (Iowa Speedway). Dixon's win at Phoenix on April 2 tied him for fourth on the all-time Indy car victory list with Al Unser at 39. He is the active leader in wins. Bourdais' win at Belle Isle on June 4 tied him with Bobby Unser for sixth on the all-time list with 35 wins. Power's win at Toronto on July 17 gave him sole possession of 13th all-time with 28.

• The ABC Supply 500 will be the 23rd Indy car race at Pocono Raceway. Ryan Hunter-Reay won the race in 2015. Mark Donohue won the first Indy car race at Pocono in 1971.

• A.J. Foyt, who fields the cars of Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth, is the winningest driver at Pocono Raceway with four victories (1973, 1975, 1979 and 1981). Rick Mears won at Pocono three times, while Al Unser won at Pocono twice. Past winners Ryan Hunter-Reay (2015), Juan Pablo Montoya (2014) and Scott Dixon (2013) are entered this year.

• Five drivers have won the race from the pole – Mark Donohue (1971), A.J. Foyt (1979 and 1981), Bobby Unser (1980), Rick Mears (1982 and 1985) and Juan Pablo Montoya (2014).

• Team Penske has won eight times at Pocono. Penske's winning drivers are: Mark Donohue (1971), Tom Sneva (1977), Bobby Unser (1980), Rick Mears (1982, 1985 and 1987), Danny Sullivan (1989) and Juan Pablo Montoya (2014).

• Chip Ganassi Racing has one win at Pocono 2013, when it swept the podium with Scott Dixon, Charlie Kimball and Dario Franchitti.

• Juan Pablo Montoya has finished on the podium in each of his starts at Pocono. Montoya won his first start at the track in 2014 and finished third last year. Carlos Munoz has finished in the top five in both of his starts at Pocono. Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden and Will Power have finished in the top five in two of their three starts at Pocono. Dixon, Newgarden Simon Pagenaud and Will Power have finished in the top 10 in all three starts.

• Nineteen drivers entered in the event have competed in past Indy car races at Pocono. Marco Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais, Ed Carpenter, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato each have three starts, most among the entered drivers. Twelve of those drivers have led laps at the track (Kanaan 114, Andretti 88, Power 86, Newgarden 54, Montoya 45, Dixon 38, Pagenaud 30, Hunter-Reay 29, Castroneves 24, Kimball 5, Bourdais 1 and Sato 1). Kanaan and Power have led in each of their three previous starts.

• Three rookies – Max Chilton, Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi – are entered. Rossi leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by 76 points over Daly, with Chilton 129 points behind.

• Tony Kanaan seeks to start his 262nd consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Teammate Scott Dixon has made 203 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the third-longest streak in Indy car racing.

• Helio Castroneves will attempt to make his 324th career Indy car start, which ranks fourth on the all-time list. Tony Kanaan will attempt to make his 323rd Indy car start, which is fifth all-time.

• The 2016 season is the second in which aerodynamic bodywork component kits are used. The aero kits, produced by engine manufacturers Chevrolet and Honda for their respective supplied teams, are the latest technical innovation to enhance on-track performance through competitive aerodynamic development. Each manufacturer produces two kits for teams – one for short ovals/road courses/street courses and another for superspeedway ovals – but within each kit, teams have multiple component options available.

• The second season of aero kit competition complements the fifth year of engine manufacturer competition between Chevrolet and Honda with their 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines. It will be another season testing speed and durability to determine the manufacturer champion.

ABC SUPPLY 500 PRE-EVENT QUOTES:

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): "Pocono has been good to us the last couple of years. We won in 2014 and were on the podium last year. I hope it brings some good luck. The Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet team definitely needs some of that right now. This season has been as frustrating as I can remember. We've had good car pretty much everywhere, but not getting the results for one reason or another. Pocono is great track for INDYCAR with a lot of opportunities to make things happen. It would be nice to finish the season strong."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "The Hitachi Chevy team really needs a good result at Pocono. Other than last year, we've had good finishes there. The car has always been strong and I don't expect anything different this year. It's important that we keep pace with the guys in front of us and pick up some ground if we can. The season is in the homestretch. I really enjoy the racing at Pocono and happy to hear that we'll be going back next season. It's a very competitive track that produces great racing."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "After the test at Pocono Raceway last week, I'm feeling pretty good heading into this weekend. Obviously we've been pretty good in speedway trim this year with the pole at Indy and the lead we're still holding at Texas. Hopefully that form carries over in the Arrow Electronics car here as well. A lot can happen in 500 miles, but we're going to do our best as we aim to be running up front at the end."

MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Honda): "Pocono Raceway is not called the 'Tricky Triangle' for nothing. It's a good example of how different one oval can be from another in racing. All three turns are different from each other and they all need a particular approach. I like the track a lot and have one of my best oval results there in 2014 (seventh). This year we're definitely expecting more in the SMP Racing car, so I'm excited to get on track."

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "Pocono seems like one of the most challenging tracks we're going to this season. The three corners are all very different, and based on that I think setup will be a compromise to really get the Gallagher car handling right. I know the team has done well here over the last few years since INDYCAR returned, and I'm looking forward to my first trip to the 'Tricky Triangle.'"

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series champion): "This is one of the toughest oval style tracks you're ever going to encounter. It's the 'Tricky Triangle' so that really sums it up. For us in 2013 it was a great moment to bring back open-wheel racing to Pocono with a win and a 1-2-3 finish. You have to put a lot of hard work into getting everything right on this track. Nothing is a given here. While we've kind of struggled there the past two races, we know what we need to do to be successful, so hopefully we can get it turned around for this time around."

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet): "I'm definitely ready to get back on track this weekend at Pocono after a few off weekends. We did a lot of testing in those few weeks so it wasn't technically 'off,' but it's still not the same as a race weekend. Pocono Raceway is an interesting track because there are so many little things you have to get right to be successful here. We had a really good test day at Pocono a few weeks ago and as a team I think we were able to get a lot of really good data we can use this weekend. It's no secret that this style of track is my favorite, so I'm hoping we can pull out a win this weekend on the 'Tricky Triangle.'"

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet): "Pocono is a very unusual oval. It has some very unique characteristics, which is, of course, why it is called the 'Tricky Triangle.' I think we have made progress with the Hydroxycut machine with our oval setup, but unfortunately we did not test at Pocono, so we won't know for sure where we are until we get there. Chevy has given us great power and the best aero package, which has helped us finish in the top 10 on every oval so far this year. Hopefully, we can do even better this weekend at Pocono and position ourselves for a strong finish to the season."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "The Verizon Chevrolet team is ready for Pocono. We have a lot of momentum right now and it's a track that we've had some good performances. It's a track made for these cars. There is a lot of passing and jockeying for position. We're in the championship hunt and that's all I could ask at this point after missing the first race. The whole team has worked so hard to get ourselves back in it. We just need to finish strong."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): "I like Pocono Raceway a lot. It is such a unique oval. It's called the 'Tricky Triangle' because it has three different type of corners which are such fun to drive. Plus, it gives us great overtaking opportunities and we always provide an exciting show there. For example, we had an incredible seven-car-wide restart last year. I always enjoy this great track and I'm so looking forward to going back and having a strong run again."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Bobby Rahal Automotive Group Honda): "It's always important to finish well, but we're in the battle to get back into the top five in points so it's very important to do this at Pocono and the rest of the season. We will be doing everything we can to get there, no doubt about that. It's a long race and, at Pocono in particular, it wears you down. It's a tough track with tricky corners. Five hundred miles feels like it takes a decade at Pocono!"

PIPPA MANN (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): "The past week has been incredibly tough for everyone in the racing family, and I'm amongst those who have been feeling the loss of a friend and a teammate. When I heard from Dale (Coyne) last week that he had decided that I would drive the No. 19 car this weekend, it meant so much to me because it gives me the opportunity to be one of the drivers helping Bryan (Clauson) reach his 200 starts this year. I'm also adding an edited version of the 'BC Still Chasing 200' logo to my helmet for this weekend so I can carry him with me for the race. He told me this May he always wanted to run this race, so I hope between Conor and I, he sees this as us making those starts for him."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet): "I am very excited to get back to Pocono. We had a very good test there a few weeks ago, so I am encouraged about our race cars and the type of results that we can get. We are into the homestretch of the season, so time is running out to make the most of our opportunities. I feel good about our chances of putting two Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolets on the podium this weekend."

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka/ECR Chevrolet): "I am super excited for Pocono. It's one of the trickiest places we go. The 'Tricky Triangle' is such a fitting name. I think we'll have a great car. We had a really good test with both of the Fuzzy's Vodka cars. We should have a good opportunity to challenge for the win as we close out our oval program this year. I am eager to see how we do."

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series championship leader): "Pocono has such a great history with Indy car racing. The list of winners at the track is amazing. The track was designed with these cars in mind. The racing produces a lot of passing and lead changes. It's very similar to Indianapolis in many ways. I'm very excited to have Menards back onboard the No. 22 Chevy. I like the gains we've made in our oval-racing program. Pocono suits our team very well and it will be a very competitive race."

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): "I like going back to Pocono, it is one of my favorite tracks. I have great memories there in both Indy Lights and INDYCAR. We finished fifth there last year and third the year before, so I think we always seem to perform well there. We had a test there a couple weeks ago and the car felt great, but, you know, testing is much more different than the race. So we will have to see how the race goes. Overall, I am excited to get back."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): "The UFD/ Snapple crew has some unfinished business to get back to from 2013, and this year is the time to do it. It should be a great race for the fans to watch and I expect there to be some crazy restarts. I always enjoy going to Pocono since it's a home race for me. We have a lot of friends and family come to enjoy the weekend and I really hope we can give them all a great finish."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda, 2015 ABC Supply 500 winner): "Hopefully we can repeat the success we had last year again this weekend. The DHL Honda was great at Pocono last year and we had a great car at Indianapolis this year. Hopefully we can keep that momentum going and the momentum following a very positive test we had at Pocono two weeks ago. It would be great to put a full weekend together where we can execute and extract the full potential from our program."

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): "Looking forward to the race this weekend. Sometimes this one can be action-packed and sometimes it can be pretty strung out. Judging by last year I expect it to be more of the former, which should be good for the fans. With it being an ABC Supply-sponsored race, it will be extra special for our team. Hopefully we have a good weekend and give them something to cheer about."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet): "We learned a lot a couple of weeks ago testing at Pocono Raceway, mostly focusing on mechanical and aero changes so we have a good plan for the qualifying and race car setups when we return for the ABC Supply 500. If conditions were like they were during testing, I think there's going to be a lot of talk about balance this weekend. As far as how the race strategy plays out, it's anyone's guess right now – we'll have to wait and see if yellows play a big part or if we're clean and fast. Even with a couple of test days, two off weekends seems like an eternity to be away from the track. I'm looking forward to going back for 500 miles on Sunday with the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Team."

CONOR DALY (No. 88 BC Forever Honda): "It means a lot to our whole team to be driving the No. 88 BC Forever entry this weekend. I think everyone enjoyed working with Bryan (Clauson) throughout the month of May. Jonathan and David Byrd have sort of accepted us into their family. They already had a big racing program with Bryan and then they added me and Dale Coyne Racing to that as well. It's going to be a great way to pay tribute and obviously a little extra motivation to 'Park it' in Victory Lane for Bryan. I'm excited for the Pocono event because it's a 500-mile race and another big chance to get a lot of experience on another oval, this time a triangular one. I was at the race at Pocono last year, so I saw how crazy the restarts were and how good the racing was, so I'm just looking forward to being a part of that. We've had strong cars at all the superspeedway package ovals so we're hoping to continue that same trend. We're going there with a lot of unknowns but I look forward to learning about the place and getting up to speed."

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 Castrol Edge/Curb Honda): "I'm very excited to get to Pocono this weekend for our final (scheduled) oval of the year. Ovals are something that was a big unknown to me at the start of the year, but I have come to enjoy them very much. I think our car had some strength in the test that we did a couple weeks ago and I hope that we can translate into a strong result in a race that means a lot to Andretti Autosport."

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