Gateway Predictions and Prognostications: Attenuator Edition


Sometimes it isn’t only race car drivers who need an attenuator, but fans as well.

Our special prediction is a soothing one for roughed up race fans who’ve had a difficult week in the wake of Robbie Wickens’ grave accident and injuries. Rest assured Saturday night won’t be at all like that, so everyone can take a deep breath and . . . relax. At half the length, Gateway will prove a much tamer track than Pocono, with far lower speeds, much shorter straightaways and shorter radius turns. The racing’s a lot different; sure there’ll be wrecks, but thankfully none on the order of Wickens’.

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This next one we can’t lessen the blow of, so be forewarned. Pole sitter once again will be Will “ass end” Power, for only the umpteenth time lately. Due to starting P1 Sunday, he’s now surpassed the legendary A.J. Foyt in career poles (which in and of itself is revolting), so prepare yourselves for another fugly, Power-less start. What we’d like to know it this – why the hell can’t anybody beat that sap in quals? Maybe then we’d have a shot at a decent start, instead of a construction constricted freeway at rush hour.

First out of Saturday night’s race will likely be Tony “TTCIQ” Kanaan, especially if last race, last year at Gateway and, come to think of it, much of last season are any indications. At Sunday’s 500, the series’ eldest driver retired after fifteen laps then promptly joined the boys in the broadcast booth. It’s a job his skills are much better suited for at this point, preferably on a Brazilian network. For when it comes to TK, there are no attenuating circumstances.


Biggest surprise of the weekend will be Gabby “Pat” Chaves’ showing for Harding Racing. Conor Daly filled the seat the last three races, but Gabby’s back for another round and s/he’s hungry. The team’s on a shoestring budget and, according to Robin Miller (so consider your source), using scavenged, antique parts. Nevertheless Gabby’s a gamer, so keep an eye on the 88 car – as well as who’s next to you in the restroom. Chaves is fun to root for if you shrink your expectations – and we mean really shrink them.

Race winner will be Josef Newgarden in a repeat performance of the series’ oft times comical 2017 return to greater East St. Louis. Team Penske’s simply untouchable at this track, plus the championship lead almost always mitigates this time of year. So Saturday night expect Scott Dixon’s points lead to dissipate like a kiwifruit in the sun. Mark it!


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