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IndyCar roars back to life after an outrageous three week momentum killing hiatus, something NASCAR wouldn’t dream of doing with its schedule. Pocono Speedway’s irritatingly known as “NASCAR’s tricky triangle,” although in fact the track was purposely built for IndyCar and modeled on other classic IndyCar ovals Trenton, Milwaukee and IMS. Unfortunately only one of them is still in use, that is unless you count the recent race rioting in Milwaukee.
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Race fans are hoping for an absence of rain for IndyCar’s intriguing return to Pocono Speedway Sunday, unlike that recent wreck of a NASCAR race. At least that’s what we gathered – we certainly didn’t watch it. Texas reminded fans what a bummer rain outs are, making it a months’ long race set to finally finish in a few weeks.
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Also unlike NASCAR, speeds will be in excess of two hundred miles an hour. Thankfully this Sunday there won’t be brawling on pit lane, battle flags flying or daddies dating their daughters, either. IndyCar’s better than all that.
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Scott Dixon and his family toured Rome during the extended break in August, not exactly a hot spot for vacationing NASCAR drivers. That’s probably for the best, as we’re not sure how the brawlin’ boys would get on at the Vatican. Those brightly dressed Swiss Guards simply don’t tolerate such nonsense.
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Quite different from NASCAR too is IndyCar’s haphazard, half-assed approach to scheduling. The series often utilizes a here one year, gone the next method particularly when it comes to ovals. But Pocono’s different, as last Wednesday IndyCar announced a return through 2018. That’s surprising, particularly considering that the racing’s been strange in eastern Pennsylvania and last year’s tragic results.
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The 2015 race was extremely odd, with a red fox running across the track bringing out one of a dozen caution flags. It might as well have been a black cat. Ryan Hunter-Reay rolled to victory, though an accident involving Justin Wilson darkly dominated the day. Flying debris from a wreck in front of Wilson – who was running in the top three for much of the day – struck him in the head leading to his early demise.
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So Hunter-Reay and Andretti Autosport would seem to be ones to watch. But since RHR’s win last year, AA’s experienced a significant drought other than Alex Rossi’s fluky win at the 100th Indy 500. Former NASCAR driver “what’s wrong with” Juan Montoya finished third last year after a nineteenth place start and won for Team Penske in 2014. Soon to be Target-less Dixon won IndyCar’s return to Pocono the previous year.
Let’s hope this year’s race is not only different from NASCAR, but also less strange and certainly less tragic than 2015. After nearly a month off and a rained out Texas, IndyCar oval racing fans deserve an entertaining show – not a NASCAR-like nap.