The penultimate round of the 2015 IndyCar Series heads to ‘The Tricky Triangle’, formally known as Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania this weekend for the ABC Supply 500.

The Circuit

Pocono Raceway

2015 IndyCar Series ABC Supply Pocono 500
Date 22-23 Aug 2015 Lap Length 2.5 mi / 4km
Free Practice Session 1 Sat 09:30-11:00 Qualifying Sat 14:00-15:10
Free Practice Session 2 Sat 17:30-18:00 Race (200 laps) Sun 14:37-17:45

Session times quoted in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT – 04:00)

Pocono Raceway is a 2.5-mile (4km) three-turn superspeedway located in the Pocono Mountains of Long Pond in Pennsylvania.

The longest of the oval circuits the IndyCar Series visits, Pocono Raceway has a unique design compared to other superspeedways as each turn is modelled after three corners at three different ovals. The first corner banking at 14 degrees was modelled after the defunct Trenton Speedway; the second corner is modelled on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s nine degree banking and the third corner is modelled after Milwaukee Mile’s six degree banking.

Rewind to 2014

After 13 years away from the US open-wheel racing scene, Juan Pablo Montoya returned to the winners’ circle at least year’s Pocono 500, which was the eleventh-round of the 2014 season.

The Team Penske driver led 45 laps of the 200-lap race, and assumed the lead for the final team with three laps to go. The Colombian’s victory came by dint of a perfect strategy call and fuel management, while fellow frontrunners Tony Kanaan and Josef Newgarden gambled on not pitting for a final time in the hope of a late-race caution period that would allow them to make the chequered flag.

Kanaan would eventually have to pit from the lead on Lap 197, giving his fellow South American the win.

Montoya’s Penske teammate Hélio Castroneves finished second, and left the race tied for the championship lead with fellow Penske driver Will Power.

Power led for 69 laps, and was in the lead group, but two controversial blocking incidents – the first where he knocked off Montoya’s front wingplate, and the second a double block move on Castroneves – earned him a drive-through penalty and took him out of contention.

The race went caution-free until Lap 159, with the only course car interruption coming from a spin by Graham Rahal. The average speed of 202.402mph (325.734km/h) broke the record for the fastest 500-mile race in IndyCar Series history.

Pocono Facts & Stats

  • This will be the sixth and final oval round of the 2015 championship calendar. No driver has won more than one oval race this season, with the winners to-date being Juan Pablo Montoya (Indianapolis 500), Scott Dixon (Firestone 600), Graham Rahal (MAVTV 500), Sébastien Bourdais (Wisconsin 250) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (Iowa 250).
  • This weekend’s Pocono 500 will mark the twenty-second time that the venue has staged a round of the IndyCar Series. The inaugural event, in 1971, was won by Mark Donohue.
  • The most successful driver in the event’s history is A.J. Foyt – whose two-car team is also sponsored by the Pocono 500’s naming rights’ sponsor – with four victories in 1973, 1975, 1979 and 1981. The event’s only other multiple winners are Rick Mears (three wins) and Al Unser Sr (two wins).
  • The most successful team in the event’s history is Team Penske, with eight wins. Its victories drivers are Donohue (1971), Tom Sneva (1977), Bobby Unser (1980), Mears (1982, 1985 and 1987), Danny Sullivan (1989) and Montoya (2014).
  • Defending race-winner Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Dixon (who won here in 2013) are the only drivers in this year’s field to have won at Pocono.
  • Should a tenth different driver claim victory in this weekend’s penultimate round of the 2015 championship season, the season finale at Sonoma Raceway could see a record-equalling eleven different race-winners if the outcome is repeated. This would match the result in 2014, when 11 different drivers claimed victory.

Pocono 500

The Form Guide

Two races remain and ten drivers are still in with a chance of becoming the 2015 IndyCar Series Champion.

Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya sits at the top of the standings – as he has done for the entire season – on 465 points, ahead of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal by just nine points.

Rahal has had an excellent run of form in his quest to capture his maiden series title, having claimed two wins and a further three podium finishes to-date.

Sitting a further 25 points behind Rahal is three-time series champion and one-time Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon. He is pursued by the Penske pair of three-time Indy 500 winner Hélio Castroneves and reigning IndyCar Series champion Will Power, who sit fourth and fifth on 407 and 406 points respectively.

Four-time Champ Car title-winner and two-time winner this season Sébastien Bourdais (KV Racing) sits sixth on 379 points with Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti just one point behind the Frenchman on 378. Eight points behind Andretti is CFH Racing’s Josef Newgarden who also has claimed two victories this season. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan is ninth on 354 points and rounding out the top 10 is Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud who is on 329 points, over 136 points behind teammate and points leader Montoya.

This weekend’s 24-car field sees one change from the grid which contested the Mid-Ohio 200 a fortnight ago. Once again, the change is in the Dale Coyne Racing ranks, which will see oval racer Pippa Mann back behind the wheel of the team’s #18 Honda-powered entry in place of Venezuelan pay-driver Rodolfo González.

Images via, NTS Motorsports

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Michael Terminello

Journalist at MotorsportM8