Friday, August 28, 2009

Chicago Race Preview

The IndyCar Series heads to Chicago this weekend for a night race at Chicagoland Speedway. The IndyCar Series has three races remaining in their 17 race schedule, all three races will be run on 1.5 mile ovals. As the season winds, the points championship is a three driver race between two teams, Ryan Briscoe for Team Penske, and twosome combination of Dario Franchitt and Scott Dixon for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. IndyCar Garage breaks down five things to watch for heading into Saturday Night’s race.

1. Start time – Good or Bad?

Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star said in Friday’s Pit Pass section that the green flag won’t be dropped until around 10 p.m. eastern, with pre-race coverage starting at 9 p.m. on Versus. This is a late start for the IndyCar Series and could possibly mean one of two things, higher ratings for fans seeking a Saturday Night television program, or a limited audience with fans not knowing about the late start time. Let’s hope that fans make a night out of it and tune in for some great racing.

2. Keep an eye on the three drivers racing for the Championship

The Point’s Championship is down to three drivers from two different teams. Scott Dixon, Ganassi Racing, took the lead into Sonoma and left in third place after a 13th place finish. Dixon needs a strong performance to get back in the mix, and Chicago just might be the place for him to do it. Dixon has finished runner up four times at this track, including the past three years. Dario Franchitti will be the other Ganassi car involved in the championship battle, but he is only four points back on Briscoe. This race should set the tone for who is in the driver’s seat for the remaining two races.

3. Danica Announcement?

“I am just focusing on the last three races” – Danica Patrick
“We are close on an agreement” – Michael Andretti
“signs are pointing in that direction” – Danica Patrick

What does all of it mean? Danica Patrick, the most marketable driver and the most popular driver in the IndyCar Series is supposedly close to staying in the IndyCar Series with Andretti Green Racing, but no official word has been released yet. Rumors the past few weeks had this weekend as a possible announcement site, it doesn’t appear that it is likely now. All in all, the only thing that would top her announcing her stay in the IndyCar Series would be for her to take the checkered flag Saturday Night.

4. Side by Side by Side

Chicago should be the site for some of the most exciting racing of the entire season. The Kentucky race gave us an indictor that the league had fixed the passing problems, and Chicago should benefit from those changes as well. Chicago was the site of the closet 1,2,3 finish in league history back in 2003. We could possibly see three wide racing throughout the entire course of the race, and the push to pass feature should add excitement as well.

5. Sarah Fisher Racing – Back in Action

Sarah Fisher will be competing in her fifth race of the season in her Dollar General machine. Sarah recently received a new Dallara Chassis from one of her sponsors, she will use that chassis at the season finale at Homestead. Sarah finished a respectable 12th at Kentucky, and should be competitive in this race as well. Sarah is a fan favorite and a very generous driver for the fans. It’s great to see her back around the series and in a race car.

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