Bolton: The Indy Grand Prix Preview
As I drive down to Indy from Waterloo, Indiana tonight, I can honestly say I am excited about the Indy Grand Prix. Let’s start with the Mazda Road to Indy all being on the new road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. To have the entire MRTI only enhances the racing experience for the fans. Let’s start with the USF2000 as RC Enerson has jumped out to an early and commanding lead. The next two drivers, Jake Eidson and Florian Latorre, are tied in the championship. This is a great opportunity for these young drivers to drive at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway and be a part of a new tradition in May. Most of these drivers have dreamed of racing at Indy and although it’s not the famed oval, it is an upgraded road course from when F1 last used it. Throw in the wet weather that could occur Friday and it will only add to the uncertainty these young racers will have.
In the Pro Mazda Series Spencer Pigot has started off with the perfecto: 4 races and 4 wins. He has a commanding lead and is clearly in the driver’s seat. He has faced some stiff competition in practice so far and his teammate from Juncos Racing Kyle Kaiser is tied with Scott Hargrove for second in the championship. Scott and Spencer have raced each other hard but clean and I think they will be wheel to wheel for the two races this weekend. I don’t think a wet track will affect these guys as much as USF2000 but it will show which drivers have mastered a wet track and which ones still have some room for improvement.
In Indy Lights Zach Veach leads the championship but has faced some of the hardest competition with Gabby Chaves. It’s really a two-man race for the top spot and the bonus to make it to the Verizon IndyCar Series. As a fan, we have grown accustom to seeing the Sam Schmidt Motorsport drivers run away with the championship so it’s refreshing to see Andretti Autosport and Belardi Racing having some success this year. Will these two drivers split the two races or will another driver surprise them? I can’t wait to find out.
Finally, the icing on the cake is the Verizon IndyCar Series. I think it’s been great to see the Series and the IMS staff talk with the drivers in the offseason about what improvements needed to be made on the road course. I think Mr. Boles has done an outstanding job with the track. I have no doubts that the race will be a nail biter as there are plenty of places to pass. It’s become apparent that to have a great race you need some long straightaways with a wide, slow corner coming off it so that the drivers can display their skills and pass. At this point in the season, the championship is up for anyone. I worry about Scott Dixon as he seems to be the only TCGRT driver to be up front every week. He needs some help from his teammates. I expect Will Power and RHR to be up there and how about Simon Pagenaud following up his strong results from last season? Some drivers to keep an eye on are Mike Conway, Justin Wilson and Marco Andretti.
I hope to see many of you down there and if you plan on being there, let me know where you are at on twitter and I’ll try to meet up and say hi. I will be covering the race for Open Wheels but I will tweet from my own account: @davidindycar also. I’ll leave you with this great video of James Hinchcliffe driving his girlfriend around the road course. It makes me laugh every time: