(Our ever-eager IndyCar correspondent Matt Lennon – who has just joined the world of Twitter @lenzo1985 – writes his preview for this weekend’s RoadRunner Turbo Indy 300, the first oval race of the 2010 IndyCar season. Here are his thoughts…)
IndyCar fans of the world rejoice. Oval track racing is back in a few short days!
After 4 street and road courses in succession, and what could effectively be described as close to a Team Penske domination, the series returns to the form of racing it does better than anybody with the RoadRunner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, the 10th IRL event held here.
Three former winners of this race will contest the 2010 event. Both Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon failed to win this event during their championship years of 2004 and 2008 respectively, but both won this event the following year. Dan Wheldon is the other former winner contesting this event, winning in both 2007 and 2008.
Car setup, despite only needing to turn left for the majority of the event, can still prove to be a challenge. High downforce, minimum drag will generally be the norm, however managing a car’s ability to pick up the slipstream of the car in front and use that to propel past can still provide a headache for drivers and engineers.
While the Penske domination may not necessarily end with the return to oval-racing, as the Captain (Roger Penske, for those not familiar with his nickname) is equally competitive on all circuit types, pundits are expecting a much closer fight from the rest of the field, especially the Ganassi and Andretti teams.
Team Ganassi will be disappointed with their performances over the first 4 races of the season. Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti have not been consistently at or near the front. This is a rare form-slump for the However, expect a much more competitive performance this weekend, as Dixon looks to defend his 2009 victory and get his championship challenge back on track.
[Image via Kansas City Speedway]