INDIANAPOLIS – It’s no secret, Team Penske is going to be the team to beat for Saturday’s IndyCar Grand Prix (3 p.m. ET/NBC/IndyCar Radio Network). They’ve won four of the five NTT IndyCar Series races on the 2.39-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the only two drivers to ever win this race are a part of their organization.
Plus, Penske is off to a pretty good start to the 2019 IndyCar season as well. But, if someone was going to play the spoiler role, look no further than Carlin.
Chevrolet is at their best at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as they’ve won the last four years here in this race. Carlin, is a Chevy team.
Plus, just look at the parity in the series these days.
We’re four races into the season and we’ve already seen four different race winners from four different race teams. Josef Newgarden (Team Penske) won the season opener on the streets of St. Pete while Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport) won the most recent race on another street course in Long Beach on April 14. Sandwiched in between them were two natural road courses which were won by Colton Herta (Harding Steinbrenner Racing) in COTA and Takuma Sato (Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing) at Barber.
If you go back to Gateway last August, the series has produced six different race winners in the last seven overall races held. The only repeat winner is actually Takuma Sato (Portland, Barber).
Maybe Carlin can keep this trend going.
Max Chilton finished seventh in 2017 and while his stats in 2019 haven’t been ideal, his No. 59 Chevrolet could still contend.
“Coming back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the month of May is really a highlight of the INDYCAR season and I’m just so excited to finally get the month started,” Chilton said ahead of this weekend’s race. “Obviously, when you think of IMS, you immediately think of the oval, but I think the INDYCAR Grand Prix kicking off the month of May is such a great way to get everything started. I really enjoy the IMS road course and the exciting race that we’re able to put on for the fans. I’m really hoping that we can build on the progress we’re continuing to make at Carlin and come away with a great result for the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet.”
Then there’s rookie Pato O’Ward. The Mexican driver has turned a lot of heads this year with an eighth place finish in his series debut this year at COTA. He then finished 12th in the last race on the streets of Long Beach.
On the IMS road course, O’Ward has made seven career starts with scoring two wins (both in 2016 in Pro Mazda) and a top 10 in every race. His No. 31 Chevrolet could certainly vie for a win on Saturday.
“I’m really excited to get back racing after a few weekends off, especially with it being back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the greatest month of racing,” said the rookie driver. “It’s going to be great to kick the month of May off at the INDYCAR Grand Prix. Last year, I was able to get both poles in the Indy Lights road courses races at IMS, but unfortunately, neither race went as planned. Regardless, I’ve had a lot of success there over the years, so I’m confident we can build on that and hopefully come away with a good result. Racing at IMS is always a very special feeling and I’m excited to finally be able to race there as an NTT IndyCar Series driver.”