Monday, June 6, 2011

The Next Three Ovals: Who Wins?

Last year, the Ganassi and Penske cars dominated the oval tracks (they dominated the twisty ones, too, but that's for another day). Aside from Tony Kanaan winning at Iowa, no other team could crack the big team dominance on the oval courses.

This year, of course, we have one of the smallest outfits (Bryan Herta Autosport) winning the Indy 500, while the Penskes struggled and the (Target) Ganassis could not take advantage of dominant cars. Does that mean another team has a good shot at winning on these next three ovals on the schedule?

Well, let's look at what we have coming up the next three weekends:

The Firestone Twin 275s: Actually two races in one, the format of this pair of races (shorter, with a random draw determining field order for the second one) would seem to play right into the hands of there being at least one different winner between the two races. We're also looking at 30-31 drivers for this race, which means working your way through a long field if you get a poor draw.

The Milwaukee Mile: We've had a year away from this race, but before that, 2009 saw a battle between Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon, with Dixie finally getting the win.

Iowa Corn Indy 250: TK won this event going away last year, so there's definitely hope for smaller teams doing the same this year. This has been a very competitive track, and it should be interesting who shows up with what it takes this year.

Bottom line, while I don't expect much slipping from Ganassi or Penske, I think we see 1-2 new winners between the four races held on these tracks. I'm especially interested to see if KV Racing, Panther Racing, and Sam Schmidt are solid. as they were at Indy. This portion of the schedule will also be a trial balloon, in part, to see how teams might do at tracks such as New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Las Vegas. This should be a good few weeks coming up for fans. Three events in quick succession are just the remedy for post-Indy doldrums.


  1. Don't forget that Panther and Andretti had a number of strong runs on ovals last year, too.

    Milwaukee should be particularly interesting. The 2009 race featured a late pass for the lead, at a time when on-track passes in Indycar races were rare.

  2. A very good point, Rick. I'd really like to see Hildebrand get his first victory soon.