LONG POND, PA – Heading into this weekend, I think the Team Penske trio had to be listed as the favorites. They have won two of the last three races of the season and three of the last five. In Pocono, they won two of the last three at the Tricky Triangle too.
Luckily for them though, qualifying was rained out for Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 because they’ll start 1-3-5. If not for that, they may not have the starting spots that they initially wanted.
See, the three cars struggled in the lone practice session of the day on Saturday. Simon Pagenaud led the way for them with a top speed of 215.368 mph in his No. 22 Chevrolet. That was good enough for fifth. Josef Newgarden was only 17th fastest in his No. 2 Chevrolet with a top speed of 214.174 mph.
Will Power only went 213.953 mph in his No. 12 Chevrolet which put him on 20th out of 22 cars on the speed charts. Power, won this race in two of the last three years. He was second last year.
2019 has been a great season for Team Penske. Currently, all three of their drivers sit in the top five of the NTT IndyCar Series points standings. Josef Newgarden in fact leads all drivers with 504 points scored. Simon Pagenaud is third with 457 points accumulated this year while Will Power (356) is fifth.
On superspeedway’s this season, they’re 2-for-2. On superspeedway’s the last couple of years, they’re 5-for-7. In fact, since the start of the 2016 season, Penske has won six of the 11 races contested on superspeedway’s.
Newgarden has finished fourth and first respectively in 2019 on them. Pagenaud has finished first and sixth respectively on them. Power has finished fifth and ninth respectively on them.
In fact, in Pocono, Newgarden, has five top five finishes in six tries with his worst finish being eighth. Pagenaud, has five top eight finishes in six tries himself.
Also, on ovals in general, Penske has won four straight and 12 of the last 17 overall.
If Penske is going to win on Sunday, they need to find some help overnight.