After a two-week break, the Verizon IndyCar Series returns to action with the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Before the penultimate race of the 2015 season, we’ve compiled the race schedule, event facts and a driver preview of what you can expect from Sunday’s event.
The 200-lap contest was won in 2014 by current IndyCar points leader Juan Pablo Montoya, who also captured the Verizon P1 Award last year and currently holds Pocono’s single-lap qualifying record. Going into this weekend, Montoya holds a slim nine-point lead over second-place Graham Rahal, following Rahal’s victory at Mid-Ohio.
You can listen to Montoya, third-place contender Scott Dixon and Carlos Munoz discuss what they’re expecting out of the weekend by using the video player included with this article.
Below is the event schedule for race weekend (all times local). Note that it’s just two days this week, instead of the usual three:
Saturday, Aug. 22
8:30 AM to 9:30 AM – Rookie Practice
9:30 AM to 11 AM – Practice 1
2 PM to 3:10 PM – Qualifying (TV broadcast on NBCSN)
5:30 PM to 6 PM – Practice 2
Sunday, Aug. 23
11 AM – Systems Check
2 PM – IndyCar Live pre-race (TV broadcast on NBCSN)
2:46 PM – ABC Supply 500 green flag (TV broadcast on NBCSN)
Ten drivers remain mathematically eligible for the Verizon IndyCar Series championship, which will be decided next Sunday at Sonoma Raceway in Northern California; Munoz and former champion Ryan Hunter-Reay were both eliminated following close of action at Mid-Ohio. While Montoya and Dixon have both won at the “Tricky Triangle,” Rahal has never finished better than 18th.
Now Montoya is looking at Pocono as a place to gain points on his competition before the double points-paying season finale. “We know that we can go to Pocono and win the race,” he said in the league’s statement. “It’s going to be very special to go back there as the defending winner and to the place where we were able to validate [team owner] Roger [Penske]’s belief that I could come back over to the Verizon IndyCar Series and win after being away for so long.”
“We’re in a good place and we’ve got momentum on our side for sure with four top-fives in a row,” added Rahal. “It’s been a record-breaking season for me, so at this point I’m just going to go out there and try to have fun and do the best we can, and hopefully everything will take care of itself. If we put ourselves in a good position and we’re smart throughout the race and weekend, then hopefully we’ll be in a place where, come the end of it, we can go for it and go for a win.”
Dixon and his teammates swept the podium at Pocono on the way to his title in 2013, and he’s hoping for more success there this time around. “Pocono actually kicked off our run for the championship that year, so our first time there will always have a special place in my heart,” he explained. “Turn 3 for me is definitely one of the toughest corners on any of these circuits we go to all year. It’s always exciting for me to race there. This season there is going to be a lot of pressure, as it’s now the second-to-last race coming down for the championship.”
Defending series champion Will Power, currently sitting in fifth place, summed this weekend up best: “With only two races left in the season, every position on the track counts. You can’t have any mistakes and you have to capitalize.”
The ABC Supply 500 takes place Sunday, August 23.
For more on the Verizon IndyCar Series, visit the league’s website.