Jul 4, 2014, 11:29 AM EDT
Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay has praised Pocono Raceway and says the Verizon IndyCar Series will put on a fantastic show this weekend (Sunday, noon ET, NBCSN).
It potentially could be the last one, based on a report from the Associated Press released Thursday that track president Brandon Igdalsky is concerned about a severe drop in projected ticket sales. The track is on a three-year contract to host the series; this is year two of that contract.
But considering the show Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves and the rest of the field put on at Indy, that ticket drop really shouldn’t be happening.
“I’ve said it in the past: Pocono is a racetrack that fits IndyCar racing and its current spec, fits it to a T,” Hunter-Reay said during this week’s IndyCar conference call. “We’re going to put on a great show there.”
He also praised the market, which in Pennsylvania is key to the Northeast and one of the few remaining IndyCar races in this region.
“The added bonus is we’re in the right market,” Hunter-Reay said. “We need to be putting on our races there, IndyCar does. Pocono, it was a major part of the schedule back in the day, and it seems to be that now it is again.
“So hopefully the fans will receive us well there. If we keep on putting on great shows, there’s no reason it can’t work. I think this one’s going to be a 500-mile race that will come down to the wire just like Indy did.”
Winning at Indy was one thing, but delivering again for the second double points 500-mile race is another challenge entirely.
“Pocono is a completely different animal than Indianapolis. They’re both very long, and that’s about all they have in common,” Hunter-Reay said. “The two tracks require different setups. They drive differently.
“The dirty air has a certain effect on the car in turn three. It makes it hard to follow; makes it hard to set up passes. You really have to work on your racecar. You have to make it actually balance well in turn one and turn three, which is a difficult thing to do.
“To set up passes is an entirely different exercise at Pocono than it is at Indy. You’ve got to focus on different parts of the track than you would at Indianapolis, and that means a different car. It’s also a different tire, different tire compound from Firestone.
“There are many aspects and variables that go into it that make it a different beast than Indianapolis.”
Hunter-Reay seeks to rebound after contact with Takuma Sato in the pit lane last year took both drivers out of contention.
May 24, 2015, 6:45 AM EDT
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May 24, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT
MotorSportsTalk’s Tony DiZinno analyzes the chances of each of the 33 drivers for this year’s Indianapolis 500.
May 24, 2015, 5:08 AM EDT
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May 23, 2015, 6:04 PM EDT
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May 23, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT
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May 23, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT
Spaniard suffers another issue on his car during qualifying on Saturday, leaving him P15 on the grid before penalties.
May 23, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT
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May 23, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT
Live coverage from Glen Helen starts with the pre-race show at 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra and continues with first motos at 5 p.m. ET. Second motos will be live on NBCSN at 7 p.m. ET.
May 23, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT
Red Bull driver matches his best qualifying result of the season, but feels a top three grid slot was within reach.
May 23, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
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May 23, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT
Lotus driver will start tomorrow’s race from 15th place on the grid.
May 23, 2015, 2:01 PM EDT
Townsend Bell recaps a busy week, and a particularly busy Carb Day.
May 23, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT
While the likelihood is of a veteran triumph, can one of IndyCar’s relative “next generation” break through in the Indianapolis 500?
May 23, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT
Ferrari driver explains how the fall in temperature ahead of qualifying meant Ferrari could not challenge Mercedes in Monaco.
May 23, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT
Toro Rosso driver dropped to the back of the grid after failing to complete a weight check during qualifying on Saturday.
Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage plans to talk with IndyCar about potential changes to cars
May 23, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT
Airborne crashes would be a concern at high-speed 1.5-mile oval.
May 23, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT
Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas limped to their worst qualifying results of the season in Monaco.
May 23, 2015, 11:09 AM EDT
Team Penske credits an oval-whelming improvement during his 2014 championship season.
- WATCH LIVE: Monaco GP Race Day on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7am, NBC from 7:30am 0
- 2015 Indy 500 driver-by-driver one-liners 0
- Bell: “Carb Day is many things to many people; mine was many jobs” 0
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- What to watch for: IndyCar, Indy Lights Carb Day (11 a.m. ET, NBCSN and Live Extra) 0