track-talk

July 12th, 2017

A veteran breaks his winless streak, our championship leader is nowhere to be found, and a rookie keeps gets an oval track education. #TrackTalk reviews the news & notes from the Iowa Corn 300.

Helio Castroneves’ winless streak ends: Helio Castroneves has endured one of the most agonizing winless streaks ever seen by a driver with his level of success. Not only did that come to an end on Sunday at Iowa, but with Scott Dixon finishing 9th, Castroneves was able to close within eight points of the Kiwi’s championship lead.

And speaking of Scott Dixon: All drivers have an off day, but Dixon’s Iowa race was abysmal. With Team Penske occupying 2nd-4th in points, will he be able to continue to stave off their charge?

Team Penske’s winless streak at Iowa ends: Castroneves’ win at Iowa means that Team Penske has now won at every track on the current IndyCar schedule.

And speaking of Team Penske: Usually one or two Penske drivers will rise above their teammates to pose a serious challenge for the IndyCar championship. Not so this time, as all four Penske drivers are so close that it’s anybody’s guess as to how they will finish. We’re coming up to Toronto- a track Josef Newgarden and Will Power have both won. Potential turning point for them? Or can Castroneves continue his winning ways?

JR Hildebrand, oval-meister: Two non-superspeedway tracks in the bag (Phoenix & Iowa), and both featured JR Hildebrand on the podium. He’s improved with each race- a 3rd at Phoenix and a 2nd at Iowa. Can he parlay this momentum into a win at Gateway in August?

Esteban Gutierrez: Esteban Gutierrez’s first oval race was a complete success. He stayed out of trouble, finished the race, and now has 299 more competitive oval laps under his belt. What else does he have? His best ever IndyCar finish of 13th. It might not be something to write home about, but he did spend a fair part of the race in the top-10.

Sebastien Bourdais: The road to recovery for the four-time champ was supposed to take seven to eight months, but Sebastian Bourdais seems to be moving around like he’s ready to jump back into an IndyCar. Could we see him racing before year’s end? Ideally, we’d love to see Dale Coyne Racing field a 3rd along side Ed Jones and Gutierrez. Dale Coyne Racing has enjoyed some fantastic runs from all four of their drivers this season, and definitely has some difficult decisions to make about their 2018 line up. 

Victor Genova is the host of the Media People Podcast and a freelance racing writer. You can follow him on Twitter at @VicGenova

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