Closely observing the last few decades of IndyCar racing has taught us much, including a) we’re already missing Mikhail Aleshin jokes and b) James “Canadian token” Hinchcliffe goes through teammates like Kim Jong Un burns through liquid oxygen. The Mayor – like the dictator – must be hard to get to know.
After weeks of summer slumbers, the series wisely roars back to life in eastern Pennsylvania. Our special prediction for Pocono is some rather unintelligent driving – and not just from the usual suspects, either. Such a salacious silly season can only bring out the worst in some drivers who, after all, will be racing for their jobs. Remember, some of these guys aren’t the brightest lights even under ideal circumstances.
Photo from twitter.com
Due to the new red scare, we’ve been robbed of last year’s pole sitter and second place finisher. In fact, Mikhail “not a good year to be a Russian in the US” Aleshin likely won’t be racing in the series again. We say nyet to that. Aged Helio Castro-Neves started out front the previous year – and came in sixteenth. Even Marco‘s been on pole in his home state, but in characteristic fashion finished only tenth. Part timer Juan Montoya managed the only recent win from pole at Pocono in 2014.
When you’re hot, you’re hot as the saying goes and the sagacious Josef Newgarden’s been white hot of late. Having consecutive top four starts here – gridding second last year – he’s our pick for pole. While he’s been close, P1 has eluded him all season – it’ll only be the second pole of his smart career.
Sunday’s a 500 miler, so you know first out’s gotta be Andretti Autosport’s rental Takuma “take ’em out” Sato. He’s clearly the sensible choice. Visions of Taku’s horrible start in the 2015 Indy 500 leap to mind. Although admittedly, picking Tony “old and in the way” Kanaan for a DNF is always both tempting and logical.
The biggest surprise of the race will be a second entertaining Pocono show in a row put on by IndyCar. It’ll be a record. Following some stinkers upon returning after decades away, last year’s race absolutely thrilled. Ol’ Jay Frye and crew are rational enough to leave well enough alone. We hope.
Image from reddit.com
The brainy Josef Newgarden will hit the trifecta with a third consecutive win on Sunday, making up for a lousy Indy 500 and all but wrapping up the championship. He’s averaged a shrewd finish of fifth in four races at Pocono, coming in second two years ago. That was before his impressive recent string of triumphs with the Cap’n. The worst he’s ever finished there is eighth.
If you’re growing weary of Newkid’s winning ways, don’t say we didn’t warn you about his impending dominance upon joining Penske – months ago.