IndyCar Paddock Pass Presents: Forza Motorsport 5 review


FM5If you’re like me you will never be graced with the opportunity to get in and drive McLaren’s new hybrid hypercar the P1 unless, of course, you return in a second life as Bruce Wayne.  The P1 is sold out, but even if it wasn’t it carries the meager price tag of 1,150,000 dollars without tax, export, customs fees, and other miscellaneous costs of getting the car to your garage.  Many of us would be lucky to make 1.15 million dollars in a decade.  Microsoft’s new tech toy the xBox one retails, currently, at $499 plus tax and for $60 more you can purchase the crown jewel of racing games and the sixth installment from the Forza Motorsport racing franchise; a franchise that has garnered the highest consistent rating over the last decade across all game consoles.  Forza Motorsport 5 harnasses the power of the xBox one to bring the most realistic experience to your living room.  Continuing the franchise’ alliance with the superstar personalities of BBC’s renowned Top Gear program, Jeremy Clarkson welcomes you to the game, just wetting your appetite for what you are about to experience.

After you’re through salivating at Clarkson’s introduction, you are whisked away to one of Forza’s new tracks making their debut, the Streets of Prague in the Czech Republic.  In traditional Forza style you must ‘race’ into the main menus in the game and, also in traditional Forza style, you are graced with the opportunity to drive one of the game’s gems, the aforementioned McLaren P1.  It may seem like an intimidating place to start, but your first experience is with all the game’s assists turned on making the powerful P1 as accessible to drive as 1995 Honda Civic with an automatic transmission.  The speed, the graphics, and the sound are pure exhilaration.  Enjoy it now for it is short lived.

As quickly as Turn 10 gives you the taste of what high end cars are capable of on this title, they return you to reality.  After completion of the “Prague Prologue”, you are returned to the Sport Compact world of the game which is where you begin your quest for Forza Motorsport 5 glory.

CAREER MODE

For Forza 5, Turn 10 has re-engineered the career mode separating it into championship quests by car type instead of car classes like they have done before.  The result is closer competition because each car you are competing against is in the same general ability bracket as your own.  It is true that some cars have advantages in straight line speed but sacrifice corner ability.  There are eight different ‘car worlds’ to compete in Forza Motorsport 5 and inside of each are at least three different divisions with championships and bonus events to keep you busy and racing for hours on top of hours.

CARS AND TRACKS

FM5 RaikkonenBeing a launch title for the next generation game console, Forza Motorsport 5 required a complete revamp of all cars and tracks and brand new digital model creation of each.  The result is fewer race courses and cars than Forza Motorsport 4 which, on the surface, is an unfortunate sacrifice.  But every car and track that is contained in the game BELONGS there. It is regrettable that tracks like Sonoma Raceway, Sunset Peninsula, Road America, and the famed and daunting Nurenburgring Nordschliefe were not included, but additions of Prague, Yas Marina, and the Mount Panorama of Bathurst, Australia provide ointment for the wound of decreased tracks.  Each circuit is created with brilliant, almost eerie, realism and make you feel as though you are actually there.  The Circuit du Le Mans returns as well as Road Atlanta, Catalunya, and, importantly to IndyCar fans, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

So far, Forza Motorsport 5′s car roster, reduced to two hundred from Forza Motorsport 4′s five hundered plus contains no gimme cars that you would have no interest.  Each car is valuable somewhere in the game and will help you get to the promised land of completing every event.  From the Fiat Abarth 500 essesse to Kimi Riakkonen’s 2013 Lotus Formula 1 car, this game has a car for every taste all brilliantly recreated to give the player the exhilaration of what it actually would be like to pilot these awesome machines.  As in previous Forza titles, players are given the freedom to drive the cars as they buy them from the car roster or customize them to their heart’s content with paint, decals, numbers, and bodywork designs.  In fact, with the power of the xBox one the number of decal layers allowed in the game has increased.

DRIVEATARS

The most difficult challenge for games is creating AI players that are believable, unpredictable, and challenging.  If there was one area Forza Motorsport 4 fell short of the bar it was the quality of their AI matrix.  The development team faced this challenge head on for Forza Motorsport 5 and brought a gun to a knife fight.  Their solution is what the call Driveatars and they are a complete game changer for future racing titles.  The system works by observing how you, the player, drives, makes passes, and corners.  Do you race dirty, clean, or somewhere in between?  This data is constantly updated and synchronized and sent up into the cloud for the game to access.  Forza Motorsport 5′s AI is generated from these thousands of player’s data and while you sleep in Colorado, your Driveatar is out in the world of Forza Motorsport 5 being grabbed and pulled down into the career mode of a player in Japan to race against meaning you never race alone and the AI is generated not by the programming of the game, but real world player driving habits.  This means AI makes mistakes, spins out, runs you off the road, and is as unpredictable as possible with current technology.  You, the player, receive credit bonuses each day for races in which your Driveatar competes and making money when you sleep is pretty sweet!

ECONOMICS AND MICROTRANSACTIONS

Game players have two ways of purchasing cars on Forza Motorsport 5, by using credits obtained from career and online race events and car tokens available for purchase from the Microsoft store system.  The game has received the ire of some fans because buying cars with tokens is more expensive than earning enough credits by playing the game.  For instance, Kimi Raikkonen’s E21 in game credit cost is 6,000,000 which will take the player some time to procure but it can be acquired instantly with purchase of car tokens with a hefty 10,000 token price tag.  10,000 tokens come at an equally heavy price of $100 of the player’s hard earned money from their bank account.  Developers of Forza Motorsport 5 created this system to make the game’s high-end cars more ‘special’ and almost unicorn like because they take investment, be it gameplay or token purchases, to obtain.  Gamers are disappointed in this stance, but let’s be honest.  This game mirrors the economics of life where anything luxurious worth having often requires vast amounts of time to acquire and cost extreme amounts of money to get quicker.  The developers are currently working on changing the economics of the game to alleviate some of the backlash, but, come on, we all bought this game to PLAY IT, so let’s play it and we’ll all get there in time!

OVERALL IMPRESSION

This game is, without doubt, THE definitive racing experience available across all consoles and avenues.  The graphics, handling, and Forza DNA of this game is crazy close to real world.  The game is adjustable to anyone’s ability and can be tuned to be as challenging or elementary as the gamer desires.  Each track is brilliantly depicted in such a way that you can almost feel the brisk cold air of the Bernese Alps, the ocean breeze of Yas Marina, or the palpable history of Indianapolis.  Cars can be customized, upgraded, and painted to the player’s personal tastes and the possibilities are limitless.  Quite simply, this is the best racing game that I have ever played and it lives up to and continues the good name that is Forza Motorsport.

OVERALL SCORE: 10/10

OH YEAH…WHY IS THIS ON HERE?

FM5 DixonFor the first time, we IndyCar fans have the opportunity to drive our favorite style of cars in a realistic, high quality environment.  Sure Grid 2 brought us the DW12 in May of 2013, but Grid 2 is purely an arcade style game and it was great fun to drive in, but it’s not even in Forza’s ballpark when it comes to realism.  Forza Motorsport 5 contains the IndyCars of Scott Dixon (pictured), Ryan Hunter-Reay, Graham Rahal, and Will Power and can be modified from road course configuration to oval configuration so it can be raced at Indianapolis as well as the famed Le Mans circuit.  One of these drivers NOT your favorite? No worries, the Forza design studio will allow you to create any IndyCar on the grid since the 2012 season went green so if you want to race a Sebastien Bourdais McAfee car, make some vinyl groups for sponsors and go for it!

HAPPY RACING EVERYONE! SEE YOU ON TRACK!

And 49 Points Go ‘POOF’!


Castroneves Houstone 2013The signs were all pointing in the right direction.  Helio Castroneves carried a 49 point lead on Scott Dixon into the Houston double-header only needing to maintain consistency to solidify his name atop the IndyCar Points standings signifying him the winner of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series championship.  Not since 2004 has IndyCar seen a driver compete with the consistency that Helio Castroneves has traversed in 2013.  Add to that that the Team Penske driver was ‘untouchable’ on the speed chart during the test at Auto Club Speedway which will serve host to the IndyCar World Championships on October 19.  All Castroneves had to do was keep his nose clean during the Houston weekend and he would clasp his firm grip on the championship.  The IndyCar gods had other plans.

The 2013 season has seen Castroneves benefit from others misfortune on numerous occasions, and, while he deserves credit for putting himself in the position to take advantage of those miscues, it had to come back around at some point.  Luck in racing is like a one hit wonder music artist in that it shines on you for a while and goes away overnight.  Castroneves wishes it had shined for a few weekends more.

The weekend started out badly for Castroneves as a mishandling car in qualifying on Saturday resulted in a starting grid position of 21st, his worst of the season on one of the most physically demanding circuits on the IndyCar schedule.  Even with the poor grid position, Castroneves only needed to, methodically, drive his way up through the field as he had done countless races previous, but the unthinkable happened on lap 22 when Castroneves’ No. 3 Shell V-Power Chevrolet slowed in turn four and limped to pit lane with a gearbox issue.  Team Penske rectified the issue but not before Castroneves found himself several laps in arrears of the leader who just happened to be title rival Scott Dixon.  The worst case scenario had occured as Dixon secured the race win and maximum points while Castroneves was forced to settle for 17th place…a result that his points lead shrink to just eight markers heading to the second race of the weekend on Sunday.

Castroneves Car Houston 2013As day broke on Sunday, Castroneves and the No. 3 team caught a break from mother nature as a heavy rain shower washed out qualifying for race two putting Castroneves on the Pole with his rival, Dixon, right alongside.  After a great start, Castroneves hit a colossal bump on the front stretch fracturing the gear box housing putting him behind the wall and last place in the running order.  The worst possible weekend that Castroneves could have dreamed of happened and he leaves Houston, a weekend he entered leading by 49 points, trailing Dixon by 25 points heading to the finale at Auto Club Speedway.

Castroneves Auto Club 2012The scenario becomes very simple headed to Fontana in two weeks.  In order to win the title, Helio Castroneves will have to be at least as special as what was indicated in the test session and he will need some mishap for Dixon.  With 25 points separating the two, if Castroneves wins Pole Position, leads the most laps, and wins the race he has a maximum possible points of 53 for the weekend.  Even if Castroneves scores max points that weekend, Dixon can finish sixth and still win the IndyCar Series championship.  This is far from over and five hundred miles is a long time to race to decide this thing.  Rest assured, no matter what happens in the championship, the IndyCar finale at Auto Club Speedway will be one of the races to watch across the 2013 motorsports calendar!  Make sure to tune in to see how it all finishes out!

Race Preview: Milwaukee IndyFest


MILWAUKEE INDYFEST LOGOMilwaukee MapINDYCAR continues its oval stretch this weekend when they grid cars on the famous Milwaukee Mile for the ninth round of the IZOD IndyCar Series 2013 campaign.  Milwaukee, known as the “Mini-Indy”, is a 1-mile oval which contains no banking.  The lack of banking creates a driver/engineer exercise unlike any other the IndyCars face on the schedule.  The driver must be prepared to drive 250 miles up on the wheel navigating traffic while engineers must work to give their drivers a setup that will allow he or she to attack the track…which is essential to be competitive.  Although designed after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Milwaukee Mile presents INDYCAR teams and drivers with a vastly different challenge.

FUEL, FUEL, FUEL…

Fuel ThingyFuel mileage always plays a huge role in Auto Racing whether it decides a race at the end or if, like in Texas last week, the winning driver is the last to pit each stint of the race giving themselves an advantage and the ability to avoid bad luck yellow flags because they are on a lap of their own.  While fuel mileage will certainly play a role in this race, the distance has been increased from 225 miles to 250 miles to discourage immediate fuel conservation and make the show more entertaining from the get go.  Look for who can run the longest stints on fuel.

HELIO HAS WORK TO DO

Helio Castroneves Milwaukee 2013Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves, fresh of his win at Texas, enters the Milwaukee IndyFest as the IZOD IndyCar Series points leader by 21 markers over Marco Andretti.  Though Castroneves showed very competitive in practice, a greedy qualifying setup resulted in a very neutral, or loose, qualifying run.  The result, Castroneves will lead the bottom third of the grid to the green flag in 18th position.  Castroneves’ problem got compounded when Andretti, his championship rival, already closed the gap by one point by winning the Verizon P1 Pole Award and will lead the field to the green flag.  Castroneves will need to navigate traffic, stay out of trouble, and make it to the front if he is to retain the points lead leaving heading to Iowa because Marco certainly has the leg up so far this weekend.

FOLLOW ANDRETTI…Marco Andretti 2013 milwaukee

Qualifying at the Milwaukee IndyFest looked like an Andretti Autosport parade until Will Power broke into the top-3.  Still, Andretti Autosport captured four of the top five starting positions so they are loaded for bear.  Starting outside row one is James Hinchcliffe who was absolutely out to lunch in practice but a long shot setup thrown at the car generated speed and grip allowing the Mayor of Hinchtown to complete the Andretti Autosport sweep of the front row.  Can they capitalize on their starting positions to win the race?

WHERE’S THE TARGET?

Dario Franchitti Milwaukee 2013While both Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers are now in the top-ten in points, we have yet to see any of the dominant runs that we are used to seeing from the team with the Target painted on their sidepods.  The team that, at one point, won five consecutive series titles seems to be struggling in every way possible so far this season be it mechanical failures, grip, or horsepower.  Scott Dixon led the Ganassi operation with a eleventh place starting position on the grid while Dario Franchitti will start mired back with fellow three time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves in nineteenth position.  Can Ganassi use strategy and find the setup that will allow their drivers to utilize the ‘sweet spot’ on the DW12 that makes the car go so fast?

WHO IS GONNA WIN IT?

Michael AndrettiThis race was dead to rights two years ago until Michael Andretti personally stuck his neck under the guillotine to revive it.  Like Roger Penske revived the Grand Prix of Detroit, Andretti saw value in racing at one of the oldest tracks in North America and created a festival atmosphere around the event to entice all types of fans to come and enjoy the most exciting short track racing any series has to offer.  The 2012 race has saved this race for the time being and, with any luck, the attendance needle will move in the positive direction this year and lead to the Milwaukee Mile holding a permanent place on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule as the series and its management move forward.  From Sam Hornish driving like a madman to win after spinning out his teammate to Ryan Briscoe capturing his first career win while avoiding Vitor Meira climbing over the top of Marco Andretti in 2008, the race at the Milwaukee Mile never disappoints.  Who wins this race, you ask?  All fans of INDYCAR are winners of this race for the simple reason that it is happening!

Through Six Practice Days…Who Has What?!


97TH Indy500 LogoThrough six days of practice, the field for the Indianapolis 500 has left spectators with nothing to be disappointed about.  The weather has been cooperative allowing 9,000 some laps to be turned in six days with a full field of 33 cars all gracing the famed Brickyard with their presence.  Single car runs have dominated the early portions of the day while afternoons have seen packs of at least five cars running together.  The field in IndyCar for 2013 is so competitive that there is no clear favorite to win the Pole or the Race and the enigma that is the IZOD IndyCar Series grid in 2013 continues to grant no clarity.

Each weekend so far in the IZOD IndyCar Series has been a complete crap shoot of who will finish on top; a welcome problem for all of us fans who like to think that our favorite drivers have only a few other cars to worry about in a given race.  It used to be that though IndyCar Series races gridded at least twenty cars each weekend that only four or five drivers had a realistic opportunity to win the race.  Not so in 2013 as each member of the IndyCar grid has a realistic opportunity to find their way at the front and win the race.  The stats speak for themselves.

Go ahead and poll anyone who associates with INDYCAR and ask them if they predicted, going into the Indianapolis 500, that Takuma Sato would be leading the points standings and Will Power would be sitting in 18th position with only a single top ten finish in four races with left and right turns.  If they say they predicted such a situation they are lying their pants on fire.  The first four races of Power’s season are no indication of his competitive pace, but rather outside influences hindering his finishing positions.  This only further indicates that mistakes made in IZOD IndyCar Series races this season will cost you dearly because driving through the field is an order as tall as the Eiffel Tower.

Back to the Indianapolis 500, it seems that Chevrolet has the early jump on the speed chart but we’ve read this melodrama before.  Chevrolet easily had its way in qualifications snatching the Pole and eight of the top nine positions.  In fact, only Josef Newgarden was able to make the shootout at the end of Pole Day while the Ganassi operation was forced to start mid-pack.  While Chevrolet was basking in the Champagne of their gross outclassment of Honda in qualifying, their Japanese compatriots were licking no wounds as they had a plan in place when race engines were installed. Ganassi Hondas drove through the field taking it to Chevrolet in the race and captured INDYCAR’s crown jewel.

The bottom line is that through thirty hours of cars turning laps and practicing on track, we have no idea what anybody has stashed in the back of their DW12s for qualifying this weekend.  Teams get extra boost pressure in the turbo tomorrow so stay tuned as teams may, finally, show their hand in preparation for qualifying…but I doubt it.  Rest assured this will be the closest Pole Day qualifying show in the history of the Indianapolis 500 and Honda will certainly ensure they are not left out of the party as they were a year ago.

 

Open Letter from INDYCAR to NASCAR


Dear NASCAR,

We’ve been watching your races over the last year and a half or so and, while exciting, your “Boys Have At It” mentality to let drivers settle their personal vendettas and scores is starting to push the envelope into the ‘danger zone’.

To begin 2013 you had a car impact the catch fence on the grandstands side of Daytona International Speedway injuring fans who paid their hard earned money to sit in those seats for an enjoyable afternoon of racing and, instead, found themselves in an ambulance on its way to a local hospital.  This crash was all caused by a block thrown by Regan Smith because he did not want to give up the position coming down to the finish.  First of all, we can’t remember the last time somebody was penalized for blocking in a NASCAR race.  The blocking issue will resurface later, but the inherent problem with your racing on circuits like Daytona and Talladega is the ridiculous pack racing that ensues on these tracks.  The fans may crave and scream for it but, eventually, they will pay dearly for it.

The race at Bristol opened a new can of worms when Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano took their Twitter feud to a new level when Hamlin nudged Logano into the wall which resulted in subsequent threats of “He’s got it coming” etc.  This past weekend’s race that ended in carnage, bleeped out post-race interviews, and a hospitalized driver is a prime example of how you are losing control of your sport’s atheletes.

Race car drivers are passionate, emotional creatures that desperately want to win.  Especially in these times where sponsorship dollars seem to grow fewer and fewer, the pressure on drivers to win races and championships is ten fold of what it was a decade ago and, therefore, any fellow competitor who interferes in the pursuit of that goal will be the subject of at least verbal jabs if not worse.  What we are seeing is a complete lack of professionalism and respect on the drivers’ part and a lack of discipline from the sanctioning body of your sport and it must stop immediately.  Although there will be differences of opinion and words between drivers periodically, the racetrack is NOT the time or the place to settle any sort of score.  The drivers must respect each other on the track and, if they do not, the management of NASCAR must take swift and decisive action to discipline any driver that steps outside the bounds of what is acceptable behavior with fines, points deductions, vacation of wins, or suspensions if necessary.

In 2011, we had our own version of ‘Boys Have At It’ where poor choices by our series management allowed drivers to take matters into their own hands when it came to settling on-track melees because there was no clear line of what was acceptable behavior.  We paid for the shortsightedness of everyone involved in our sport with our dearest blood when one of our biggest stars lost his life in a race filled with insane pack racing absent of mutual respect between the competitors causing a 12 car crash.

The insanity of the ‘Boys Have At It’ must stop.  You may think it great for the sport as it allows the drivers to “show their character” but showing their character with 3,500 pound racecar circulating a two mile racetrack at 200 mph speeds will come back to haunt you in the deepest, most painful way possible if you do not change the culture.

Change it now before you endure the heartbreak that we did.

Sincerely,

INDYCAR

St. Petersburg Race Recap: Oh, Canada!


2013 St. Petersburg StartIt had been 190 days since the IZOD IndyCar Series went dark for the long, cold winter when the engines fired once again for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg to open the 2013 campaign for the series title.  Will Power started from the Pole Position after winning the inaugural Verizon Pole Award on Saturday.  Power set sail early leaving the field looking small in his mirrors.  Things changed on lap 19 when Dario Franchitti, exiting the pits, found his way to the wall on cold black primary tires.  Tires would become a central story as the race unfolded.

The ensuing restart saw Power’s Team Penske teammate grab the lead on a brilliant outside pass, a move that Power questioned Race Control about in a post-race interview.  Nonetheless, Castroneves’ pass was legal and Helio set sail in clean air looking much like his teammate did in the first stint leading the most laps through the middle portions of the race.  Then things got crazy.

Sebastien Saavedra brought out the caution flag when his No. 6 Dragon Racing entry found its way into the tire barrier at the exit of turn 10 bringing out the full course caution flag.  The leaders ducked into pit lane for fuel and tires for the final stint of the race.  The exchange of pit stops saw JR Hildebrand pass Simona de Silvestro under the caution flag putting the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car behind the Verizon machine of Will Power.  Coming to the restart, Hildebrand, apparently distracted, drove over the right rear tire of the car directly in front of him which, unfortunately, all but ended the day for the race’s polesitter.  Power’s car was repaired and he rejoined the fight, but he would find the tire barrier in the wining stages of the race saddling him with a disappointing 16th place result to begin his campaign.

Helio Castroneves made his only mistake of the day on the following restart when he was a fraction of a second late getting on the brakes getting into turn 1 locking the right front tire and opening the door for James Hinchcliffe to claim the lead.  While Castroneves attempted to chase Hinchcliffe down, the battle behind them was the thing to watch in the closing stages of the race.

Simona de Silvestro began her final stint on a used set of the red alternate tires which, according to teams, began losing their grip after as few as four laps at speed.  Chasing her first career podium, de Silvestro was holding on for dear life to keep third position but was unable to hold off a hard charging Marco Andretti who passed her coming to take the race’s white flag signalling the final lap.  Teammate Tony Kanaan followed Andretti through but it was far from over for the de Silvestro as she had to try to fend off Scott Dixon and EJ Viso in a crazy three wide finish back in the pack while James Hinchcliffe captured his first win in the IZOD IndyCar Series.  De Silvestro would bring it home in 6th which is a major turnaround from the 2012 she endured.

UP NEXT:

The IZOD IndyCar Series takes a week off for the Easter holiday after which they load into the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama for the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama.  Will Power looks for his third consecutive win at the facility where he came from 9th place on the starting grid to win the 2012 race.

IZOD INDYCAR SERIES POINTS STANDINGS (FOLLOWING ST. PETERSBURG):

1. James Hinchcliffe (Leader)

2. Helio Castroneves (-8)

3. Marco Andretti (-16)

4. Tony Kanaan (-19)

5. Scott Dixon (-21)

6. Simona de Silvestro (-23)

7. EJ Viso (-25)

8. Takuma Sato (-27)

9. Justin Wilson (-29)

10. Alex Tagliani (-31)

14. Will Power (-35)

18. Ryan Hunter-Reay (-39)

25. Dario Franchitti (-46)

CONGRATULATIONS TO JAMES HINCHCLIFFE AND ANDRETT AUTOSPORT

WINNERS OF THE HONDA GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG

James Hinchcliffe 2013 St. Pete Victory Lane

2013 Race Preview: Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg


StPete LogoTRACK LAYOUT:

GP St. Pete Track MapOn March 24, the IZOD IndyCar Series awakens from its offseason slumber with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the event’s ninth year of competition.  It is hard to believe that almost a decade has passed since the circuit hosted the IndyCar Series’ first right turn.  The course, a classic street circuit configuration, encompasses fourteen turns with the main straight normally an airport runway.

Now a staple on the IndyCar schedule, the event’s ninth edition has all the makings of the best race in the event’s history.  The IZOD IndyCar Series prepares to grid the most competitive field in history with everyone powered by the horsepower muscle of Chevrolet or Honda.

INDYCAR Spring TrainingTeam Penske’s record at the track is unmatched as the team looks to capture its sixth win at St. Pete and Will Power fired the first salvo winning the Verizon Pole Position recording a record breaking 105.87 mph. Teammate Helio Castroneves will be striving for his fourth St. Petersburg crown starting from the fifth position.

The positive surprise of the weekend is lone rookie driver Tristan Vautier who outqualified his veteran teammate by thirteen positions making the Firestone Fast Six.  Vautier, a graduate of Indy Lights, showed great speed in testing but it was unsure if it would translate to a competition weekend.  His speed is impressive, however, the verdict is out on whether he will be able to translate his speed into finishes that match.

IndyCar’s heavy hitters are spread throughout the field which should mean for some serious excitement with some, historically, fast drivers needing to weave their way through the field using daring passing and pit strategy that could result in chaos on starts and restarts.  These factors are a breeding ground for exciting racing and unpredictable outcomes.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

  • Chevrolet locked down seven of the top ten starting grid positions, but will Honda find speed to challenge on race day?
  • Chip Ganassi Racing is having a tough time getting their cars to turn through the center of the corners inhibiting their speed
  • Sebastien Bourdais, Simon Pagenaud, and Scott Dixon are starting outside the top-15 so there will be a long day ahead for these drivers
  • Firestone, at the drivers’ request, brought vastly different grip levels on the red tires and black tires so tire strategy will be important to the victor’s race
  • Lap 1, Turn 1…enough said

Enjoy the Race!