LONG POND, PA – Initially the NTT IndyCar Series teams and drivers would have liked to have qualified to set the field for Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 (2 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio Network) at the Pocono Raceway. But, now that we know that the starting lineup will be determined by entrant points instead, it will actually help not just the teams but the racing product for this weekend’s race though too.
See, the original schedule was supposed to have two one-hour practice sessions with qualifying being the meat of that practice sandwich. The first session likely would have been varying strategies with teams working between both qualifying and race trims. Final practice would be only race trim.
Now, everyone can forget about going on qualifying trim and focus solely on race setups only. Instead of having two one hour race practices, there will be a single two hour session for the 22 teams to work with.
With a new tire this weekend compared to the past, that’s going to be beneficial to get used to that. Plus, practice will now be right in the middle of race time on Sunday, so it’s a win-win for a setup case.
On top of that, none of the championship favorites are at a disadvantage either. They’re all starting with one another up front. It’s Newgarden-Rossi-Pagenaud-Dixon starting 1-2-3-4 respectively.
Strategy and everything starts off as the same.