With a truncated 2014 season, Pocono International Raceway falls in the latter half of the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.
The Pocono IndyCar 500 is a prominent race as the second of the series’ Triple Crown – Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway cap it. It is also 100 miles longer than last year’s inaugural event.
All eyes are on American Ryan Hunter-Reay to capture the win as he is the reigning Indianapolis 500 champion and the only driver able to complete the Triple Crown this season. He would be the first to do so since 1978 when Al Unser did it in a single season.
Having an American win over the Fourth of July weekend would be immensely popular as well. Of course Hunter-Reay fits the bill and has much to gain from a victory at the Tricky Triangle this weekend, but other Americans are vying for a “W” too.
Perhaps the most famous last name in Motorsports, and arguably in IndyCar, is Andretti. Third generation driver Marco has yet to reach heights at Pocono Raceway like his famous grandfather did in 1986 winning the contest. Even Andretti’s father Michael took the pole at Pocono in 1986. Andretti took the pole for last year’s inaugural event but had a disappointing finish.
Andretti has high hopes, family coaching him, and a ‘hometown’ advantage being from Nazareth, PA. This could very well be his race to win.
Other Americans like Ed Carpenter, Josef Newgarden, Charlie Kimball, and Graham Rahal. like Hunter-Reay and Andretti, would love to claim a victory at Pocono Raceway over the Independence Day weekend.
The Verizon IndyCar Series, however, is populated by non-Americans looking for a win this weekend, too.
Australian Will Power, two-time winner this season, is still atop the driver standings. He is in hot pursuit by fan-favorite Brazilian Helio Castroneves (one win this season), Hunter-Reay (two wins), and French driver Simon Pagenaud (one win).
Defending race winner and 2013 IndyCar champion Scott Dixon (New Zealand) is looking to recapture the magic from last season when he won at Pocono starting a three-win streak. It was an all-Ganassi podium last season and the team could really use the bump in momentum. Dixon, currently in eighth in driver points, is hoping to find the muscle memory to get him to Victory Lane.
It has been a most exciting 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series with seven different winners in the first 10 races. From small teams to the powerhouse ones, it is anyone’s guess as to who will leave Pocono with the coveted win.
The Pocono IndyCar 500 will be broadcast at 12 noon on NBCSN this Sunday, July 6th.