TRACK: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.439-mile, 14-turn road course), DISTANCE: 85 Laps (207.315 Miles)
Coverage: 3 p.m. ET
Command: 3:39 p.m. ET
Green Flag: 3:45 p.m. ET
Radio: INDYCAR Radio Network (Sirius 160, local affiliates here)
Phone: INDYCAR App
Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Distance: 85 Laps/207.3 Miles
Weather: mid 70s, 40-50% chance of rain
Video Preview Here
Just start with the process of elimination. All 11 road course races here have been won by a top 8 starter. Also, 12 of the 17 races last year saw the winner come from the top 4 Rows. Furthermore, 13 of the 14 races in 2020 saw the winner come from a top 9 starting position including 12 of the 13 from the top 8.
All 4 races this season have been won via a top 8 starter too. 98% (39-for-40) of the natural road course races since 2016 have been won via a top 10 starter too.
So, that means
- Starting positions for natural road courses lately (since 2016) – 40 races (counting Barber this year)
- 2016: 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st
- 2017: 7th, 1st, 5th, 2nd 1st, 3rd
- 2018: 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 20th, 1st
- 2019: 4th, 1st, 8th, 2nd, 8th, 2nd, 1st
- 2020: 7th, 9th, 7th, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 1st
- 2021: 3rd, 7th, 5th, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st
- 2022: 2nd
We can still likely break this down further. 5 of the final 7 races to 2021 saw the winner come from the top 3 starting spots. 8 of the 11 races run here have also seen the winner come from the top 2 Rows.
I’d go on a limb and say anyone in the Fast 6 is your winner. 80% of the last 40 natural road course races were won by someone in the Fast Six. But whom?
5 out of the 11 races have seen the pole winner win here including 7 of the 11 from the front row. 3 of the 4 races run this season has seen a front row starter triumph. 9 of the last 12 races on natural road courses were won from a front row starter including 5 straight.
There’s a 53% chance the pole winner (Will Power) wins. There’s a 68% chance the front row starters (Power, Palou) wins.
The thing is, just once in the last six road course races here has the pole winner actually won. It happened in 4 of the previous 5 though.
Also, since the new car came out in 2018, the “Big 3” have won 55 of the 68 races run (81%). Penske has won 28 times with Ganassi (16) and Andretti (11). But, RLL is next best with four victories while no one else has more than three.
Throw in RLL and AMSP and you get 63 of 68 races won by these teams. With the only exceptions being HSR’s pair of wins by Herta in 2019, DCR (1), ECR (1) and MSR (1).
Penske, has won 8 of the 11 Indy road course events and 3-for-4 this season. They make up 2 of the top 3 starting spots. Scott Dixon has a top 2 finish in 4 of the last 5 GMR Grand Prix’s but is riding a 17 race winless streak and only has 1 win in his last 26 starts. Furthermore, Dixon has just 6 podiums in this span including 0 this year.
Alexander Rossi hasn’t won in his last 41 starts. He has 1 podium in his last 21 tries.
Graham Rahal is winless in 77 starts. Simon Pagenaud is winless in 29 races.
What about a podium?
Out of the last 15 podium spots, 14 of them came from the top 8. 11 of the 15 from the top 5. Go back to the road course races’ inception for INDYCAR and you get 33 podium spots for the taking. 29 of the 33 drivers started in the top 10 that day including 23 of the 33 from the top 5.
- 12 Power – He’s been on the pole here 5 previous times and won the race in 4 of them.
- 10 Palou – He was 3rd last year and has 3 podiums in 4 starts this season.
- 5 O’Ward – Was quickest in practice on Saturday, starts 5th and is coming off of a win.
- 2 Newgarden – He’s only had 1 podium in 11 tries here so he comes up just short on Saturday of another.
- 28 Grosjean – Runner-up in both races last season and I feel like he can use strategy to get back up to 5th on Saturday.