track-talk

The champ bags his first oval track victory, and a two-time Formula 1 champion tests both an oval track and an IndyCar for the very first time. This, and more, in this week’s TrackTalk.

One Frenchman wins big in Phoenix: Simon Pagenaud broke through twice at Phoenix- It was his first win as the reigning IndyCar champion, and it was also his first win on an oval. Combined with a string of consistent finishes gives Pagenaud the points lead.

One Frenchman falters: Sebastien Bourdais didn’t make it through lap one, having the misfortune of being (one of many) collected in an accident triggered by Mikhail Aleshin. The points leader all season, Bourdais’ finish relegates him to 4th in the IndyCar standings.

JR Hilde-WHAT! With a broken hand, screws, and a plate keeping it together and helping it heal; JR Hildebrand qualified 3rd and finished where he started. This is exactly what the Ed Carpenter Racing driver needed in his return to fulltime IndyCar competition. Can JR’s oval track fortunes continue at the Indy 500?

Will Power finally gets a break: 2nd place might not seem like a big deal to a former champion and multiple race winner, but considering lady luck has thumbed her nose at Will Power all of 2017, this is exactly the finish he needed to get his season going. And that 2nd place really helped, as Power shot up to 7th in points. With double-points up for grabs at the Indy 500, May could be the month where Power’s season turns around.

Keep your eye on Scott Dixon: Not much has been made about Scott Dixon’s season, but he’s finished in the top-5 every race, and has quietly raced his way to 2nd in points.

Fernando Alonso tests Indy: Phoenix might have been the latest race, but the focus quickly shifted to Fernando Alonso and his first private test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway- and boy, did the world focus on the test. According to RACER.com, over two million people streamed the session through YouTube and Facebook live. And kudos to the IndyCar team who complimented the test with commentary from Mario Andretti and Johnny Rutherford. Alonso was quickly up to speed, breezing through the mandatory rookie orientation process.

Sage Karam’s colors revealed: Dreyer & Reinbold announced that Mecum Auctions will sponsor Sage Karam’s entry into the 101st running of the Indy 500.

Victor Genovais the host of theMedia People Podcastand a freelance racing writer. You can follow him on Twitter at@VicGenova

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