Favorite: It has to be Dario Franchitti, followed closely by teammate Scott Dixon. He’s got the Ganassi Big Red Machine backing him up. Best of luck to Power, but it’s an oval, and a new one for him at that.
Non-Red Cars To Watch For: Dan Wheldon and Marco Andretti. The 4 and 26 cars have been extremely competitive the last couple races, and I don’t see that changing here. Andretti finished 7th here in ’09; Wheldon was 8th.
Dark Horse: Paul Tracy. See, his teammate, Justin Wilson, qualified 9th here in 2009, finishing 12th, and…you see…it’s like this….ok, I’ve got nothing to suggest that Paul Tracy will do anything other than bring his ride in between 13th and 16th place. Call it a hunch. A sucky hunch, but a hunch nonetheless.
Others: Hideki Mutoh will be fun to watch in front of a native crowd—his last two finishes have been 14th and 11th. Also interesting will be how part-timer Roger Yasukawa and the Conquest Racing Team fares, especially with rapidly-improving rookie Bertrand Baguette (10th at Kentucky).
Crash-Crash-Crash: Can KV Racing get through without a major incident? Probably not, but perhaps Takuma Sato will be inspired in front of what should be a friendly crowd. How friendly they will be after he launches his car into the grandstands remains to be seen, but the Japanese are notoriously polite.
Ovals Aren’t Easy: Simona de Silvestro will be trying to bounce back from a crash at Kentucky. Her and Alex Lloyd are close in the Rookie of the Year standings, and an awesome finish at either of the last two races could cement things. Simona’s yet to have a finish better than 21st of any oval outside of Indy, so she’s got her work cut out for her.
Danica Watch: Danica Patrick’s finishes here have been 4th-8th-11th-1st-6th. If there’s any track she might break out of her funk on, this might be it.
Pole Position: Briscoe. He’s due (again).
Laps Led: Franchitti. Let’s not kid ourselves.
Winner: Franchitti. I don’t see a smart bet against him here.
This race should set up a great finale at Homestead!
Scott Dixon smiles! Who knew? Now can he repeat?