LONG POND, Pa.– Josef Newgarden gets a bang out of anybody who thinks about the IndyCar champion race restricted to 2 or 3 motorists. The 2017 series champ counts a field 4 or 5 deep all chasing him for initially as the season unwind.
Newgarden, initially in the standings, took the pole at Pocono Raceway after rain rinsed certifying and set the field on points. Newgarden holds a 16- point lead over Alexander Rossi, who likewise begins Sunday’s race on the front row. With 4 races left in the season, Indianapolis 500 champ Simon Pagenaud is 47 points back while ruling series champ Scott Dixon tracks the leader by 62 points.
The champion race is tight, the margin for mistake is thin and the stretch run begins at the 2.5-mile tri-oval track that has actually courted risk in current seasons.
Pressure? Bring it on.
“I prefer to be in front,” Newgarden stated. “I think it’s always better to be in the lead because then you can control it more so than chasing.”
Newgarden has his No. 2 Chevrolet on the best sort of track. Pocono will be the 4th of 5 oval races in IndyCar this season. Group Penske has actually held the edge on ovals, with Newgarden winning at Texas and Iowa and Pagenaud winning the Indianapolis 500.
Newgarden has 2 runner-up surfaces at Pocono and has actually scored 5 top-fives total because IndyCar returned to the track in 2013.
“People will be like, ‘the championship is wide open now’ because it got close,” Newgarden stated. “And then it would open up again and people would be like, these are the two front-runners. It just yo-yos all year.”
Newgarden led the points in the last 5 weeks of his champion season, evidence he can deal with the grind of the title hunt. The series follows Pocono with races at Gateway, Portland and the season covers at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.
Like the Indy 500, the ending deserves double points.
“It’s going to change over these next four events, one way or the other,” Newgarden stated. “Maybe someone will rip a gap and it won’t be close or maybe it will just stay tight.”
Rain likewise restricted practice to a single two-hour session: Tony Kanaan published the leading speed at 216.354 miles per hour, followed by Dixon, and Rossi was 4th. Pagenaud was 5th and Newgarden lagged well behind in 17 th.
Pagenaud is the only chauffeur amongst the competitors to not score a podium surface atPocono Rossi won in 2015 in race spoiled by the wreck that immobilized Robert Wickens from the waist down. Dixon won in 2013.
Will Power, a two-time Pocono winner, preached care early to prevent another sort of mishap comparable to the one including Wickens.
“Take your time. As we saw last year, you don’t want to take too big of a risk on that first lap,” Power stated. “You’ve got to make smart decisions on superspeedways.”
Pocono might be en route out of IndyCar after the 2019 season, with the 2 sides yet to reach an offer on a return.