IndyCar travels to a new venue this weekend in New Orleans. The GP of NOLA has done a superb job of marketing, with the help of Andretti Sports Marketing, the race to the locals. Fans who attend the race will be able to see the entire track, which is very unusual for a road course. So what are some stories to keep an eye on this weekend?
1. Team Penske- They dominated the GP of St. Pete and if it wasn’t for Kanaan, they would have swept the top four spots. Will they be able to continue that dominance at NOLA? Will it be a different Penske driver to take the win or will JPM go 2 for 2 to start the season off? How many of you remember this great commercial that Juan had when he was in NASCAR? No one tells JPM what to do!
2. Aero-kits- Fans had been clamoring for years about not wanting a spec series. Randy Bernard wanted aero-kits but owners pushed it off and then had him fired. Randy’s idea came to fruition this year with Honda and Chevy producing their own, distinct aero-kit. Although there was debris everywhere, drivers will learn to adapt their driving style to protect these wings instead of using them as a weapon. Chevy and Honda will continue to learn and make adjustments to get maximum performance from their designs. I’m sure Honda learned a lot after the first race so I expect to see some gains against the Chevy’s. Can a Honda driver make the Firestone Fast 6 this week? Check out the debris highlights from this video
3. Weather. Thunderstorms are in the forecast all weekend. These cars can run on a wet track but if there are downpours, we could see this race run on Monday. We don’t know how well the drainage system is for this track and the fact that this area is below sea level could cause plenty of standing water all over the track.
4. Contenders- Tony Kanaan has been on a tear since halfway through last season and he backed that up with a third place finish last week. Sebastien Bourdais had a strong 6th place finish and looks to build off that start. RHR is always a contender and if Honda can close the gap, he will be able to challenge Team Penske. Scott Dixon had a rough race but you better not expect him to be stay in the back of the field. I think he’ll rebound this week.
5. Spoilers- Luca Filippi is immensely talented and with his 9th place finish at St. Pete could easily spoil someone’s party. Jack Hawksworth drove a heck of a race at St. Pete and could easily be top 5 at NOLA. Stefano Coletti has a great teammate and is very talented. His result last week is not what you would expect from him and I look for him to be up in the top 10 this week.
6. Fantasy busts- The Coyne drivers had a miserable first race and I think their struggles will continue. Many feel that Dracone shouldn’t be in that second seat and if he lays another egg this weekend, fans will be saying bye-bye.
Let’s sit back and enjoy some racing this weekend! This video from St. Pete will get your heart racing.