Event Coverage: 2019 IndyCar Grand Prix

It’s our fifth Month of May!  Of course that means we’re back at the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, covering the month’s events.  As always, we’ll be starting with the IndyCar GP held on the Indy road course, as well as the Indianapolis 500.  We’ll also have some other neat coverage, including some non-IndyCar related races like the last ever Hoosier Hundred USAC race.  It’s going to be an exciting month, so let’s dive into the first of the races. The annual IndyCar Grand Prix of Indianapolis!

Sebastian BourdaisOne of the biggest factors in winning the Indy GP is qualifying.  In fact, of the first five Indy GPs run, the only race not won by the pole sitter was the inaugural race held in 2014.  In 2014, rain threw a wrench into qualifying and Sebastian Saavedra ended up on pole. He failed to win, bot because he wasn’t fast enough, but because in 2014 IndyCar attempted standing starts on all of the road/street courses and Saavedra stalled at the start and was run the hell over when the entire field streamed past him.  But since then the 2015-18 editions of the Indy GP have been won from pole (all of which we’ve covered here on MotoIQ).  While it would be easy to assume that pole position easily translates to a race win, that’s really not true. Indianapolis’ road course really rewards a good setup and the pole winner’s car is usually the the one that’s quickest on race day.  Even stranger, only Will Power and Simon Pagenaud have won on the Indy road course thus far. Could that streak finally be broken in 2019?

Will Power Qualifying
Will Power wasn’t about to let pole, and a shot at a 4th Indy GP win. slip through his fingers easily. The defending race winner made it into the Fast 6, but was unable to beat the Honda juggernaut that locked out the top 5 positions in the field. What was really odd was Power was the only Penske car to make it into the Fast 6. Penske has a stranglehold on the Indy GP winning all but one of the IndyCar GPs (the first being taken by SPM with now Penske driver Simon Pagenaud).
Jack Harvey Qualifying
The front rows ended up being an interesting mix of new names and veterans. The 3rd place starter for the Indy GP ended up being Jack Harvey. We’ve mentioned Harvey a few times, first in 2017 when he crashed avoiding another car during the 500, and again in 2018 when he had a shot of winning the Indy 500. Harvey finished second Indy Lights championship in both 2014 and 15, spent 2016 looking for a ride, and from 2017 on has been a part-time driver for the fledgling Meyer-Shank Racing. Meyer-Shank Racing is well known in IMSA and Michael Shank has been trying to break into IndyCar since 2012. Shank and Harvey have been running a part-time program based on sponsorship opportunities. 2019 has been their best season so far with a pair of Top 10s in St. Petersburg and Circuit of the Americas, and the 3rd place starting position was a huge boost for the team.
Colton Herta Qualifying
Another newcomer to Indy making his mark is rookie Colton Herta. Colton is the son of Indy 500 winning team owner (and former driver) Bryan Herta. Colton lit up the Road to Indy, also finishing second twice in 2017 and 18. But Colton really made his mark this year by winning the first ever IndyCar race at CotA in only his third IndyCar start. He would start the IndyCar GP 4th.
Scott Dixon Qualifying
On the veteran side, Scott Dixon has had good results at Indy’s road course, though never a pole or a win. 2019 looked like it could be the year and the 2018 IndyCar champion put in a blistering lap to land on the front row.

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