August 18, 2019 – Long Pond, PA — The Indy Car series made its return to Pocono International Raceway for the ABC Supply Company 500-mile race. Will Power took his 3rd win in the past 4 years (coming in second last year to Alexander Rossi). Leading at lap 128 of a scheduled 200, a thunderstorm moved in to shut down the race and give Power the win.
The 2.5 mile super-speedway is considered a tri-oval, with only 3 turns and long straightaways allowing the Indy cars to reach speeds of over 200 mph – giving it the nick-name of the “Tricky Triangle”.
Whether it is too tricky for Indy Cars or it was just another driver mistake, this year’s race had a scary 5-car crash on the opening lap when Takuma Sato clipped Alexander Rossi (2nd in championship points), setting off a chain reaction that took out Ryan Hunter Ray, James Hinchcliffe, and rookie Felix Rosenqvist. Rosenqvist was transported and later released from a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. This first-lap incident comes after an early-race crash last year that left Robert Wickens with a severe spinal cord injury, sparking renewed debate about whether or not Indy Cars should be running at this track. But the top-3 drivers all blame a racing accident over the track for today’s incident, and hope to return to historic Pocono in 2020.
The weekend event at Pocono is one of the most family-friendly events on the Indy Car circuit, with crowds increasing 15% each year over the past few years. There are plenty of food and activities for the fans, including car shows, two-seat Indy Car rides (with Mario Andretti behind the wheel), vintage race car demonstrations, and incredible accessibility to the drivers in the garage, pits (pre-race), and a meet & greet autograph session. There was patriotic pageantry as well, including a new format for driver introductions where each walked through a tunnel of flags held by military personnel.
The cars started in championship points order due to the prior-day qualifications being rained out. After the lap-1 incident, the racing and pit-action was fast and exciting, with Power, 4-time points champion Scott Dixon, and 2019 Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud swapping the lead before the race was stopped due to lightning in the area.
Victory Lane ceremonies were moved into the Media Center as the storm hit, and was followed by the post-race press conference in the same reporter and photographer-packed room. Will Powers (1st), Scott Dixon (2nd), and Simon Pagenaud (3rd) didn’t seem to mind, but wished they could have celebrated more with the fans. We’ll see if Indy Car fans will have a chance to see their drivers at Pocono next year!
[Photos by Rick Pettine]
[Article by Rick Pettine]
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