The Verizon IndyCar Series is out to complete some unfinished business in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. The original version of the race was postponed by rain and has been rescheduled for Saturday, August 27th at 9:00 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.
The Verizon IndyCar Series championship chase for 2016 is basically down to just two drivers. Will Power looks to gain more ground on Simon Pagenaud after his victory in the ABC Supply 500. The teams return to Texas Motor Speedway to finally complete the event and set up a season-ending showdown at Sonoma.
The Firestone 600 will test the driver’s mettle around the 1.5 mile track dubbed the “Great American Speedway.” The race was originally scheduled for June but was cancelled after two days of rain and constant issues with the track. The Verizon IndyCar Series held off the completion of the Firestone 600 until this weekend. The re-scheduling of the Firestone 600 gives racing fans a chance to watch the competitors battle it out under the lights Saturday evening.
The Firestone 600’s first 71 circuits took place in June. As a result, the hot-rods will resume from where they left off. The first version wasted no time in collecting it’s first victims. Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly wrecked their cars in Turn 4.
The Ed Carpenter Racing machine actually rolled onto its side and bashed into the outside wall. As a result, Newgarden suffered a fractured clavicle and a broken right hand in the melee. Amazingly, Newgarden competed in the next Verizon IndyCar event at Road America just two weeks later.
Connor Daly and Josef Newgarden are not allowed to compete in the second race at Texas Speedway. Unfortunately for the two drivers, their crash occurred before the contest was cancelled. The absence delivers a crushing blow for Newgarden’s title hopes. The Tennessee native, ranks third on the points table heading into the Firestone 600.
James Hinchcliffe was out in front when the final lap of the rained-out race was called. He sits eighth in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings. The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ racer is having his best season since claiming victory three times in the 2013. In addition, Hinchcliffe has eight top 10’s and a pole position award at Indy in 2016.
James Hinchcliffe’s teammate Mikhail Aleshin, will be looking to build on his most recent impressive performance. After securing his first career pole position on Saturday at Pocono Raceway, Aleshin pushed race winner Will Power to the checkered flag. As a result, he finished the race in second. Furthermore, the tally was the speedster’s best finish in IndyCar competition.
The real meat and potatoes of the event will surround the two Penske Racing teammates. Will Power closed the gap on Simon Pagenaud with his trip to Victory Lane last weekend. It was Power’s fourth triumph in the last six races. Furthermore, the red-hot driver has finished no worse than second in any of the previous six races.
The 2014 Verizon IndyCar champion is just 40 points behind Simon Pagenaud for the points lead. Power is the closest any racer has come to catching the Frenchman since Pagenaud’s second win of the season at Barber Motorsports Park.
Simon Pagenaud started the 2016 season like Will Power is finishing it. Unfortunately, Pagenaud has failed to place in the top ten in four of the last nine contests. Last week’s race was especially disappointing. The Frenchman wrecked and finished in the 18th spot at Pocono Raceway.
The ultimate goal for Simon Pagenaud on Saturday, is to keep his point lead heading into the final race at Sonoma. The duel out west will offer double points for the straight season. There is an 84 point gap between the first and last place drivers. Therefore, Power is well within striking range of claiming his second title in the past three years. Pagenaud is trying to hold on for his first title in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
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