track-talk

June 22nd, 2017

We’re back from an off weekend, returning to the legendary Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for the Kohler Grand Prix. We preview the race and recap IndyCar news and notes in this week’s TrackTalk.

Can Scott Dixon finally break through? A big crash at Texas, and an even bigger crash in the Indy 500 has left Scott Dixon one of the unluckiest drivers of the last couple weeks. This is a peculiar statement considering Dixon is the points leader, and as far as I’ve been able to tell (and I looked hard into this) he is the only IndyCar driver ever to crash out of a race, and then take the points lead. Can he find success at Road America? It’s one of the few tracks on the IndyCar schedule where Dixon is yet to record a podium finish.

Can Andretti Autosport break through? An interesting stat was brought to my attention the other day: Outside of the last two Indy 500s, Andretti Autosport hasn’t won a race since Pocono in 2015. Their cars have been fast, but lady luck hasn’t been on their side. Can that change at Road America?

Can will Power Repeat? Will Power did what he needed to do to win at Texas: stay in the lead, and avoid the carnage. Last year he dominated at Road America, winning from pole and leading 46 of the 50 laps. Winning this weekend’s Kohler Grand Prix should catapult him into immediate contention for the championship.

Can Graham Rahal keep up the momentum? The last two seasons have been very good to Graham Rahal. He finished 4thand 5th respectively in the championship, and currently lies 6th in the 2017 IndyCar standings. He’s the only other driver (along with Will Power) to win multiple races this season. So what makes this season so special? If you look back at 2015 and 2016, it typically took Rahal to the latter part of the season to start winning races. Not so in 2017. Fun fact: he has two podiums in two starts at Road America. Expect him to be in contention for another this weekend.

Who will pilot the #18 Dale Coyne entry? Former Formula 1 driver Esteban Gutierrez was in the saddle for the duel in Detroit, while former Indy Lights champion, Tristian Vautier, had a very impressive run at Texas end early after being taken out in a crash. Who will take the reigns for Road America? Many believed that Gutierrez would return for the remaining street and road course races, but at time of writing the official entry list has TBD listed next to the #18. My prediction? If Gutierrez doesn’t get the call expect to see either Vautier or Gabby Chavez in the seat.

Simon Pagenaud up for an ESPY: Reigning IndyCar series champion, Simon Pagenaud, has been nominated for Best Driver at this year’s ESPY awards. Want to help get one step closer to that award? Click here to vote.

Incase you missed it: AJ Foyt Enterprises driver, Conor Daly, tried his hand at the American Ninja Warrior obstacle course. How did he fare? Click here to find out.

Victor Genova is the host of the Media People Podcast and a freelance racing writer. You can follow him on Twitter at @VicGenova

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