Thursday, July 22, 2010

Edmonton Race Preview

(Can Helio capture win #2 of the 2010 season?)

The IZOD IndyCar Series will take to the streets of Edmonton, in more literal terms, the Edmonton City Centre Airport. 2010 will mark the sixth race in Edmonton; the first three were under the banner of Champ Car and the last two under the IRL. Justin Wilson won in 2006 while driving in Champ Car, Scott Dixon won in 2008 under the first year of unification and Will Power won his only race of 2009 at Edmonton last year driving in the classic yellow Penske Truck Rental machine. IndyCar Garage gives you the storylines to watch and predications for Sunday’s race.

1. Will Power’s dominance is POWERFUL!
Will Power has won four races in 2010, and his results are proven with a healthy 42 point lead in the championship. Power is driving his first full season for Team Penske, and he has been worth every penny of Penske’s three car investment. Power won last year in Edmonton as part of his partial schedule, and he should be considered the favorite for this year as well. I am not wishing bad luck on Power, but I don’t want to see the championship get out of hand, so that when IndyCar gets to the second set of ovals, Power all but has it locked up. Power strength is the road/street courses and its showing, the rest of the field is struggling to keep up.

2. Oh Canada, Canada
The IZOD IndyCar series will wrap up their Canada tour this weekend, as last weeks race at Toronto was the trip north of the U.S. Canada seems to be a good racing venue for the IZOD IndyCar Series, and just today, Edmonton local government, voted to continue racing on the Edmonton City Centre Airport for another three years. Rumors throughout the last six months, had the Edmonton race losing 5 -7 million dollars in revenue, but despite those rumors, the event looks to be locked in for another three years. Canada also has been good to IndyCar veteran Paul Tracy, Tracy is a native of Canada and has found sponsorship through local organizations to help him race in both Canada races in 2009 and 2010 as well.

3. The Brickyard weekend? Your kidding me right?
For some reason, and probably reasons only corporate can explain to me, The Brickyard 400 falls on the same date as the Edmonton race. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the home track of the IZOD IndyCar Series and should be treated with respect when NASCAR comes to town, and for the most part it is. The IZOD IndyCar Series shouldn’t be racing on the weekend that NASCAR is in town, because from a fans standpoint, its pretty hard to do both. I know attendance will be down this year at the Brickyard, but if IndyCar really hopes to attract crossover fans from NASCAR, then why would you schedule your race right after NASCAR fans have just watched four hours of coverage on ABC or in the stands at IMS? Yes I will come home and turn on VERSUS and watch the Edmonton race, but how many fans won’t be home by then, or will be headed back to the neighboring states of the Midwest and miss your race all together? The bottom line is that you’re missing out on T.V. coverage and ratings because of the Brickyard and Edmonton being on the same day.

4. Who will be in the mix this weekend?
Last weekend Power and Dario were in the mix all weekend and Justin Wilson was poised to capture the upset. Wilson failed in doing so, but Ryan Hunter-Reay (3rd) Graham Rahal (5th) and Danica Patrick(6th) all took home good finishes and it will be interesting who can carry over that momentum into Edmonton. Rahal will not be racing in Edmonton, but RHR , Danica and the rest of Andretti Autosport appear to have turned the corner on the road/street courses. Continue reading for IndyCar Garage’s pick for this weekend.

5. The War of Words , will carry over into the race?
Several drivers engaged in a war of words last week as a result of the action on the streets of Toronto. KV Racing took out each other, Tagliani and Scheckter are ready to throw down, Briscoe’s wife is ready to take down Graham, Dixon isn’t happy with RHR, and of course Milka lasted eight laps till she was lapped. What does it all mean? Well more bumping, talking, spinning, and good racing hopefully. Fans like to see drama and this isn’t going to turn into NASCAR’s “Have at it boys” but it can fire the drivers up and spice up the series.

6. Predications for Sunday:
IndyCar Garage was three for five last weekend. ICG predicated three out of the five drivers finishing in the top five, and even nailed Dario Franchitti at finishing second. Here are Sunday’s picks , they will be updated after quals to see how ICG is looking.

Predicated Finishes

5th: Ryan Hunter- Reay – Note: Podium last weekend and once again, not feeling the pressure
4th : Alex Tagliani – Note: He is due for a good race on the road/street course
3rd: Scott Dixon – Note: He’ll bounce back from last weekend brush in with Ryan-Hunter Reay
2nd: Justin Wilson – Note: Wilson is to talented not to be in the mix on Road/Street venues
1st: Helio Castroneves – Note: I’ll probably lose again for not having Will Power in the top five, but Helio captures his second win of the season.

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