IndyCar Watkins Glen GP Preview

INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen Fast Facts

Scott Dixon - last year's winner
Scott Dixon – last year's winner

Race weekend: Friday Sept. 1 – Sunday, Sept. 3

Track: Watkins Glen International, an 11-turn, 3.37-mile road course in Watkins Glen, N.Y.

Race distance: 60 laps / 202.2 miles

Entry list: INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen (PDF)

Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

Firestone tire allotment: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate. Teams must use one set of primary and one new set of alternate tires in the race.

Twitter: @WGI @IndyCar, #INDYCARGP, #IndyCar

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

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2016 race winner: Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet)

2016 Verizon P1 Award winner: Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet), 1 minute, 22.5259 seconds, 147.008 mph

Qualifying record: Scott Dixon, 1:22.5259, 147.008 mph, Sept. 3, 2016

NBCSN television broadcasts: Qualifying, 7 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 2 (same-day delay); Race, 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 3, NBCSN (live); Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for the NBCSN broadcasts this weekend alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Jon Beekhuis, Katie Hargitt, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Jake Query (Esses), Nick Yeoman (Inner Loop) and Michael Young (The Boot) are the turn announcers with Dave Furst, Rob Howden and Jim Murphy reporting from the pits. All Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on network affiliates, Sirius 214, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app. All Verizon IndyCar Series practice and qualifying sessions are available on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.

Video streaming: All practice sessions and qualifying for the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com and on the INDYCAR YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indycar)

INDYCAR Mobile app: Verizon's INDYCAR Mobile app is available across all carriers. Exclusive features for Verizon Wireless customers will stream live through the app and include enhanced realtime leaderboard and car telemetry; 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):

Friday, Sept. 1
10:15 – 11 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #1, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
3:05 – 3:50 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #2, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
3:55 – 4:10 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series pit stop practice, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)

Saturday, Sept. 2
10:30 – 11:15 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #3, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
3 p.m. – Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live); TV: NBCSN (Taped, 7 p.m.)

Sunday, Sept. 3
9 – 9:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series warmup, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
1:07 p.m. – Driver introductions
1:40 p.m. – Command to start engines
1:47 p.m. – INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen (60 laps/202.2 miles), NBCSN (Live)

Championship facts:
• Josef Newgarden leads the Verizon IndyCar Series championship with two races to go for the first time in his career. Newgarden took the championship lead for the first time in his career following his win at Mid-Ohio on July 30.

• Josef Newgarden leads Scott Dixon by 31 points with Helio Castroneves (-42) and Simon Pagenaud (-43) just behind. With 54 maximum points available at Watkins Glen, the points lead could change for the fifth time in 2017.

• There are eight drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series championship: Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato. Any driver who trails the points leader by 104 points or more following the race will be eliminated from contention.

• Since the first Indy car race at Watkins Glen in 1979, the winning driver has won the championship once – Rick Mears in 1981.

Key championship point statistic: Since 2008, the driver who has led the championship with two races to go has failed to win the championship in five of the last nine seasons. Scott Dixon in 2008, Dario Franchitti in 2011, Will Power in 2014 and Simon Pagenaud in 2016 are the exceptions.

Point differential: The 31 points which separate Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon is the fourth-largest margin with two races remaining since 2010. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who trailed Power by 36 points with two races remaining in 2012, and Scott Dixon, who was 34 points behind Juan Pablo Montoya in 2015, have overcome a larger deficit. The average deficit with two races to go since 2007 is 20.67 points.

Championship-eligible drivers' results at Watkins Glen: All eight championship-eligible drivers have raced an Indy car at Watkins Glen International at least once. Scott Dixon and Will Power are former race winners at the Glen with Dixon winning three in a row from 2005-2007 and again in 2016, while Power won in 2010. Newgarden finished second last year in his first start at the Glen while Pagenaud finished seventh in his first race. Castroneves has won three pole positions at the track, but has never finished better than third in seven starts.

Hinchcliffe and Dixon
Hinchcliffe and Dixon

Race notes:
• There have been nine different winners in the 14 previous Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2017: Sebastien Bourdais (Streets of St. Petersburg), James Hinchcliffe (Streets of Long Beach), Josef Newgarden (Barber Motorsports Park, Streets of Toronto, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Gateway Motorsports Park), Simon Pagenaud (Phoenix Raceway), Will Power (INDYCAR Grand Prix, Texas Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway), Takuma Sato (Indianapolis 500), Graham Rahal (Raceway at Belle Isle-1 and Raceway at Belle Isle-2), Scott Dixon (Road America) and Helio Castroneves (Iowa Speedway). Bourdais' win at St. Pete on March 12 gave him sole possession of sixth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 36 wins. Dixon's win at Road America on June 25 was his 41st career victory and he will tie Michael Andretti for third all time with his next win. Castroneves' win at Iowa on July 9 ended a 54-race winless streak and gave him sole possession of 12th all time with 30 wins. Power's win at Pocono on Aug. 20 gave him sole possession of ninth on the all-time list with 32 wins.

• The INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen will be the 11th Indy car race at Watkins Glen International. Scott Dixon won the Verizon IndyCar Series' return to the track in 2016. Bobby Unser won the first Indy car race at The Glen in 1979.

• Scott Dixon is the winningest Indy car driver at Watkins Glen with four victories (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2016). Bobby Unser won at Watkins Glen twice. Past winners Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008) and Will Power (2010) are entered this year.

• Will Power (2010) and Scott Dixon (2016) the only drivers to win the race from the pole.

• Team Penske has won four times at Watkins Glen. Penske's winning drivers are: Bobby Unser (1979 and 1980), Rick Mears (1981) and Will Power (2010).

• Chip Ganassi Racing has four wins at Watkins Glen, all by Scott Dixon in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2016.

• Scott Dixon has finished on the podium in five of his seven starts at Watkins Glen, including his four wins. Tony Kanaan has a pair of podium finishes in his seven starts, including a second-place finish in 2005. Marco Andretti has finished in the top five in three of six starts.

• Eighteen drivers entered in the event have competed in past Indy car races at Watkins Glen. Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan each have seven starts, most among the entered drivers. Six of those drivers have led laps at the track (Dixon 118, Castroneves 52, Will Power 47, Marco Andretti 11, Kanaan 11, Ryan Hunter-Reay 9, Carlos Munoz 3 and James Hinchcliffe 2). Dixon has led in six of his seven previous starts. Castroneves has led in five of his seven previous starts.

• Two rookies – Jack Harvey and Ed Jones – are entered. Jones has already clinched the season-long Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.

• Tony Kanaan seeks to start his 281st consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Teammate Scott Dixon has made 222 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the second-longest streak in Indy car racing. Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti has made 198 consecutive starts, which is the fourth-longest streak in Indy car racing.

• Helio Castroneves will attempt to make his 343rd career Indy car start, which ranks third on the all-time list. Tony Kanaan is fourth all-time with 341 starts.

INDYCAR GRAND PRIX AT THE GLEN PRE-EVENT QUOTES:

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): "Watkins Glen is a beautiful track. It has great history in Indy car (racing). It has lots of grip which makes it very interesting and very fast. We had a good car there last year and I'm excited to return. We had a good test there earlier and found a little pace in the car. The championship battle continues to be close and how we come out of Watkins Glen will certainly set the stage for Sonoma. The one thing I know, for sure, is that the Menards Chevrolet team will show up ready to go. I don't think anything changes from what we've done all season. We'll keep our heads down and continue to work."

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet): "I'm so pumped to head to Watkins Glen. After winning at Gateway and continuing to lead Verizon IndyCar Series points, the whole No. 2 Devilbiss Chevy team and I are really ready to get back on track. We've done well on road courses this season, so we definitely think we'll have something for the competition. I also finished second there last year. But we know that as we get closer to Sonoma, the competition will be working hard to bring their best car just like us. It's exciting to have my teammates also battling for the championship, too, so it just makes it even more of a challenge but we are ready for it. Watkins Glen is a really fun track with an equally fun crowd so it's definitely an event I'm looking forward to."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "The championship battle will definitely get more interesting at Watkins Glen. The point standings are really tight, so the No. 3 Hitachi Chevy crew and I know everything we do is critically important. We need to make smart choices to do everything we can to keep gaining points. It's great to be competing so closely with teammates, but because we know how good they are individually, and how we are as a collective, it will definitely be a challenge we are ready for. Last year we finished third at Watkins Glen and we feel confident we can get another strong finish this weekend. I really enjoy the crowd there and racing at that track, so it will be fun and challenging at the same time."

CONOR DALY (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "Obviously coming off St. Louis, we all are feeling good and I'm just excited to get back to work. Watkins Glen is one of the best tracks on the schedule and it provides some incredible speeds/racing. The aim for the weekend is just to continue developing our car setup and finding speed one tenth of a second (or more) at a time. Hopefully we can find ourselves in the top five again by the end of the weekend."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "After a solid finish last week in front of what looked like a sold-out crowd at Gateway, I'm looking forward to keeping the momentum going as we head to Watkins Glen. The Arrow car was quick at the Glen last year but just unfortunately ran out of fuel while we were in podium contention. With the road courses being one of our top strengths, I'm hopeful we'll roll off the trucks strong again and finish the season with two more solid finishes."

JACK HARVEY (No. 7 AutoNation Honda): "I think it's pretty amazing that my first INDYCAR road course race will be at the Glen. I know how historic the circuit is to the whole motorsport community worldwide. Obviously, it's more than exciting to be back in the car for more than one race, and I'm looking forward to contributing to the team's efforts. I'm just really thrilled to have the chance to drive the No. 7 SPM AutoNation Sirius XM car."

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Honda): "The Glen to me is the best road course in North America, and I cannot wait to return to its flowing, high-speed and undulating bends this weekend. The track always offers a great race for the huge crowds that turn up, and I am looking to replicate my (Firestone) Fast Six qualifying from last year and secure a podium, as I believe I and the car have what we need to achieve that result."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 NTT Data Honda): "We've had some success at Watkins Glen over the years and it's been one of the better tracks for the No. 9 team historically. The goal is to do what we did last year, both starting and finishing strong. We're in striking distance with two races to go in the championship, including the double-points race in the Sonoma finale, so we need to be fast out of the gates this Friday."

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Honda): "We're ready to put last weekend behind us, and we really want to focus on finishing these last two races of the season strong. Last year, we qualified and ran pretty well, but had some issues that took us from running up front during the race. We're ready to run well again and hopefully have a much better result than we did last year. I love that we're going back to Watkins Glen after the success of the race last year, and I can't wait to put on a good show for the fans on such a great road course."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "We definitely had some bad luck at Gateway. It was really unfortunate after our win at Pocono, but we're ready to move past it. We've lost some ground with points after last weekend but are going to do everything we can to get the No. 12 Verizon Chevy in a good spot to perform well at Watkins Glen. It will be a challenge to continue to compete with other strong teams for the championship, including my teammates, but we are ready to do anything we can to try and stay in the hunt. Watkins Glen can be a really fun road course. We've already won on a road course this season, so we're ready to give it our all this weekend."

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet):
"Watkins Glen has become one of my favorite tracks even though I raced there for the first time last year. It should be really interesting after another weekend where we finished in the top 10 (at Gateway). I think the Chevrolet package is going to be really good at the Glen. We have to continue to progress and finish the season on a high level. Our goal is to keep digging to get more top-10 finishes."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): "My expectations for the weekend are extremely high. Last year the car was very good at Watkins Glen, so I believe we can start where we left off. The tires are the same this year so there shouldn't be anything unexpected and it should be similar to Mid-Ohio this year. Obviously, I would like to get into the top five (in the season-ending point standings). I'm disappointed with the way the last two races ended off after being competitive, but I do believe we are a team that is capable of taking it to the big boys. We have all year and our goal is to sneak up there into the top five. Certainly, a win this weekend would really help that. I think that the upcoming races fit the strengths of our team very well, so I'm looking forward to them. I'm glad we're through some of the more challenging tracks for us of the year and on to a really good track at Watkins Glen that I believe we can qualify and race well at, and hopefully run up front. It's going to be tough as always. We can't overlook that. We will keep our heads down and push as hard as we can. Fuel strategy played a role last year, amongst other things, but hopefully we can put it all together."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 UNIFIN Honda): "Watkins Glen is a track that I really enjoy and that I've done very well at. I was competitive last year, but I had an interesting day with a spin at the start, but I came back surging at the end. Hopefully our car will be like it was at the Indy road course and Mid-Ohio, when I tested, and places like that because I think we can definitely do pretty well. Hopefully that will be the case and we can get the No. 18 car up front. It's a track that is very physically difficult. It's very, very high G's with high-speed corners, but it's a very interesting and exhilarating challenge as well, so when you get a good lap there, it's very satisfying. I'm looking forward to it."

ED JONES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): "It will be nice to get back on a road course this weekend at Watkins Glen. I think it's a track that should be good for us. It's among one of my favorites in the United States. I did well there last year in Indy Lights. That said, it will be much different in an Indy car, it will be difficult with all the high-speed corners. Hopefully we can have a good result there before going to Sonoma and have a good end to the season."

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet): "Watkins Glen has quickly become one of my favorite tracks. Last year was the first time I had ever been there, and it's easy to see why so many drivers love it. It's incredibly fast and requires a ton of commitment to be fast there in an Indy car. It's been a tough few races for the Fuzzy's Vodka crew, so hopefully we can rebound this weekend and finish the season off with a few good results."

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet): "Watkins Glen is the track where I had my most memorable win in Indy Lights, getting the 'W' on the Fourth of July on the way to the championship (in 2009). It's been a few years since I've raced at the Glen, so I'm excited to go back as we look to turn things around after a disappointing couple of weeks."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): "I think no one has ever said that Watkins Glen is an un-favorite track. We all love it! This awesome track has a beautiful series of flowing, high-speed corners with great elevation changes, and overtaking is very possible. It's just a fantastic road course. We had a productive test a couple of weeks ago, and I feel very positive for this coming weekend. We have been showing great speed but some unfortunate events have cost us results in the last two races. I am very hungry to have a strong finish this weekend."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): "We didn't have a strong performance at Gateway, so we're looking for a bit of a rebound this weekend in Watkins Glen. It's almost like another home track for me, not being very far from Pennsylvania, so we will have a lot of support and UFD will be back on the No. 27 car. With the current aero kits, the track is super-fast and very physical, we've been working hard and training to be ready."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "There's nothing quite like an INDYCAR race at Watkins Glen on Labor Day weekend. It should be a great event. Just a couple weeks ago, we had a very promising test at the Glen, so hopefully we can continue where we left off and have a strong race weekend for the DHL team."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Honda): "Even though this is only our second year back at The Glen, it has quickly become one of my favorite stops on the INDYCAR circuit. After a couple of race weekends on ovals, we'll be making the switch to the road course mindset, and knowing how much speed we had in the No. 83 car in Watkins Glen last year, we'll be looking to top our sixth-place finish. It was great to get a top 10 at Gateway, but that's not why we're here. We're working hard to finish the season on the podium."

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda): "I'm really excited to get to Watkins Glen this weekend. There has been a lot of lead-up to this race. We tested at the Glen earlier this month, and I went to the NASCAR race there to promote our race this weekend. It is one of my favorite road courses in the world, and I hope that we can have a strong race to continue the momentum we have built in the second half of this year."

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