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Sports IndyCar 2021 race predictions: Newgarden's fast start, Rossi's 2nd Indy 500 set up epic finale

01:10  17 april  2021
01:10  17 april  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

NHL postpones Canucks' next three games due to COVID

  NHL postpones Canucks' next three games due to COVID The NHL has postponed three more games for the Vancouver Canucks, shutting them down through April 6 after Travis Hamonic was added to the COVID protocol on Thursday. Hamonic joined Adam Gaudette, who has tested positive for coronavirus and a member of the team’s coaching staff. © Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports The NHL has shut down the Canucks through April 6. The league is hoping that the Canucks will be able to play on April 8 against the Calgary Flames, but games against the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets in the coming days will have to be pushed. All practices have also been canceled for the time being.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series will be the 26th season of the IndyCar Series and the 110th official championship season of American open wheel racing .

2021 IndyCar & RtI Schedule. Date. Race . Newgarden ’ s comment “This race was won in the pits” pretty much sums up this race . Indycar just had yet to use that gimmick as the races are scheduled to end under a set amount of laps. I don't know if I missed anything between the race start and final part of the race because I slept (when I woke up , it was caution period & boom, white flag) but with all

This is where I went wrong a year ago. Right. Here. Thinking even for a second that predicting a single race-winner correctly over the course of an IndyCar season was an easy task.

Because even when factoring in the oddities of a pandemic-plagued season where the series missed eight of the 16 tracks it was supposed to visit and ran 11 combined races on five other tracks, I didn’t land any of my race winners. But there were some close calls:

>> I had Scott Dixon winning the first race of the year, which he did, but Texas Motor Speedway, not at St. Pete as I predicted.

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Ferrucci lands Indy 500 seat with defending winner Rahal

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2021 IndyCar Schedule. Date. Race . Herta vs Newgarden , late brake turn 1 indy GP. And Darlington lost its Southern 500 Mother' s Day weekend date to give Kansas a second 400 mile race , which has now lost its date to give Darlington a (presumably 400 mile) Mother' s Day weekend date

NBC. 2021 IndyCar Schedule. Date. Race . If Indycar stopped hiding their classic races under the unlisted mode and started group-watchalongs like F1/NASCAR are doing I've watched Newgardens stream a bit and after Lando passed Rahal and Pagenaud they came on the radio and started In IndyCar at ovals, the cars are traveling so fast , and the steering so sensitive, 3-wide is dangerous.

>> Will Power started the GMR Grand Prix on the pole for the race I predicted he would win, and things were looking pretty good before an untimely yellow took away his chance. He also won a race on this track later in the year in the Harvest Grand Prix, an event that wasn’t, in any way, on the original 2020 calendar. Call that a half-win, maybe.

Josef Newgarden holding a microphone: Sep 22, 2019; Salinas, CA, USA; IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden (2) reacts after winning the NTT Indycar Series Championship during the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. © Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2019; Salinas, CA, USA; IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden (2) reacts after winning the NTT Indycar Series Championship during the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

>> Josef Newgarden took pole for Road America Race 1 and looked primed to run away for a wire-to-wire victory before a problem in the pits stole his chance – and probably my best opportunity of the year to call one right.

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Indy 500 2021 : Date, Time, TV Schedule, Live Stream. How to watch the 2021 Indy 500 . NBC Sports has released its broadcast schedule for the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, which will feature a record nine races on broadcast network NBC. The season opener at Barber Motorsports Park (April 18, 3 p.m. ET), the 105th Indianapolis 500 (May 30, 11 a.m. ET) and the doubleheader at Detroit’ s Belle Isle on June 12-13 will be among the six of the first eight races that will be shown on NBC. Josef Newgarden .

Indy 500 Open Test Launches Exclusive INDYCAR Coverage on Peacock Nearly a full field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES participants will begin preparations for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge during an open test Thursday, April 8 and Friday, April 9 at Buckle up , because Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying will have your heart racing ! A boost in turbocharger level will see speeds climb during Indy 500 qualifying. That means the intensity of Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying will be on full display from the start as drivers go all-out at incredible speeds to

>> Though not nearly as close as some of the others, I nailed where Oliver Askew’s best finish of the year would come: Iowa Speedway. The rookie was the top-finisher after Simon Pagenaud and Dixon’s down-to-the-wire battle and took home his only podium of the year – he just wasn’t standing on the top step.

There were some pretty big misses too: namely, Alexander Rossi winning four races and taking home his first IndyCar crown. 2020 became his first winless season since he joined in 2016. And with the Indy 500, my projected winner, Ed Carpenter, had his race derailed in the first of 800 corners after being forced high and brushing the outside wall. Immediate lengthy repairs set him far back, and he finished 26th, 13 laps down.

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IndyCar Racing Championship 2021 Schedule. Keep track of every single race and program it yourself so you do not miss any dates from the calendar. Hildebrand to race Foyt tribute car in Indy 500 . XPEL ups primary sponsorship of Newgarden to three races .

Pagenaud wins 2019 Indy 500 . Simon Pagenaud completed his perfect May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, winning the 103rd Indianapolis 500 by edging Alexander Rossi in a closing shootout by 0.2086 of a second. Lap 188: Rossi repays Pagenaud and takes the lead. Takuma Sato moves up to 4th. Restart on Lap 187: Simon Pagenaud passes Alexander Rossi headed into Turn 1. Josef Newgarden gets by Ed Carpenter for 3rd. Alexander Rossi ' s crew tells him there are angry drivers behind him.

There’s a minor amount of method to the madness. Some important stats to consider:

>> Over the last 10 seasons, IndyCar has had between three and seven multi-race winners (an average of 4.5).

>> Seasons over that span have consisted of 16.5 races on average, making this year’s 17-race slate a near-normal number.

>> Series champions have won between three and five races, have averaged 3.9 victories and have notched exactly four of them seven times.

>> IndyCar’s top drivers have some fairly lengthy consecutive season marks with at least one victory, including Dixon (16), Power (14), Newgarden (6), Takuma Sato (4) and Colton Herta (2). Additionally, Pagenaud has won a race in six of the last eight years and Rossi had won one in his first four season.

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I learned a year ago that trying to go exactly race by-race without any sort of plan and seeing where I ended up at the end left me with maybe one or two picks that didn’t belong and one or two too many race-winners for the year overall. This time around, I’ve selected guys who I think will win this year and placed them in the spot I think they’ll do it.

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Like I said earlier, you can essentially pencil in Newgarden, Dixon, Power and Herta in for at least one – probably a couple – and I don’t think anyone believes Rossi will repeat his winless 2020. Despite one win in 2020, the season didn’t meet expectations for Simon Pagenaud, and I wouldn’t expect him to fall any farther.

It’s also hard to imagine Pato O’Ward not winning at least once after landing on four podiums in his first full season. Same for series vet Graham Rahal, who took sixth in the championship with five top-5s. He’s winless since sweeping the Belle Isle Grand Prix weekend in 2017, and you know that’s going to change at some point.

Maybe my biggest out-there prediction for 2021? I think Jack Harvey and Meyer Shank Racing will find their way to Victory Lane for the first time in IndyCar. Six top-10s a year ago means they’re close, and bad luck or accidents not of their doing plagued them often. Something will fall their way this season in a big way, I think.

Here’s a deeper look at my race-win picks for the 2021 IndyCar season, one where I believe Newgarden will take home Astor Cup No. 3 and join 12 other drivers with at least three American open-wheel championships.

(all broadcast start times Eastern Time)

Race 1: Barber Motorsports Park, April 18, 3 p.m., NBC

Winner: Josef Newgarden, Team Penske

Colton Herta matches dad, grabs pole in tight IndyCar field

  Colton Herta matches dad, grabs pole in tight IndyCar field ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Colton Herta bounced back from a disappointing IndyCar opener by winning the pole Saturday for the street course race in downtown St. Petersburg. Herta was enveloped in a first-lap crash in last week’s season-opening race in Alabama that knocked the championship contender out before he’d even warmed his tires. The Andretti Autosport driver said he’d rebound in St. Pete then delivered on the 1.8-mile downtown temporary course that runs along Tampa Bay. His pole-winning run put Herta at the front of a competitive field separated by just 0.17955 seconds from first to 24th in qualifying.

Takeaways: No one drove better in the second half last season. Three wins and five top-5s over the last seven races, all to end up 16 points shy of Scott Dixon. Newgarden's performed well in off-season testing and won three of the last five races held at Barber. During his two championship seasons, he’s started ultra-hot, and this seems like a logical start for the Team Penske driver, who will be joined on the podium by his fellow championship contenders Dixon (second) and Rossi (third).

Race 2: Streets of St. Petersburg, April 25, 12 p.m., NBC

Winner: Will Power, Team Penske

Takeaways: The driver of the No. 12 Chevy has this track on lockdown for qualifying with nine career poles, but he’s only won here twice. Since the start of 2015, he’s struggled to find that early-season victory and he’s said that may be his biggest focus of this season. Power grabs one of his patented wire-to-wire victories, just edging out a furious late-race charge from two Andretti Autosport drivers (Rossi and Herta) who felt they let last year’s race here slip away.

Race 3: Texas Motor Speedway Race 1, May 1, 7 p.m., NBCSN

Scott Dixon holds up the winner's trophy after winning at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6, 2020. © Tony Gutierrez, AP Scott Dixon holds up the winner's trophy after winning at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6, 2020.

Winner: Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing

Colton Herta dominates from pole at St. Petersburg for fourth career IndyCar win, tying father Bryan

  Colton Herta dominates from pole at St. Petersburg for fourth career IndyCar win, tying father Bryan Colton Herta led 97 laps from pole to stay out of the chaos on the street course and win the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.With 17 laps to go, a second restart in less than 10 laps and the two-time Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg defending champion Josef Newgarden on his rear wing equipped with racier red Firestone tires, the younger Herta did what he’d done all day – drove away from the competition, with his father in his ear.

Takeaways: This track appears to be set again as a single-groove oval, meaning it’ll be near-impossible for anyone outside the first couple rows to have a legitimate shot. Dixon breaks his pole drought, which dates back to the end of 2018, and, like last year, leads for much of the race. Felix Rosenqvist again challenges for the lead late but can’t find the proper place to pass and, learning from last year’s crash, settles for second-place. AMSP teammate O’Ward joins him on the podium for the team’s first high-point of the season.

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Race 4: Texas Motor Speedway Race 2, May 2, 5 p.m., NBCSN

Winner: Josef Newgarden, Team Penske

Takeaways: Pagenaud grabs pole at a track he’s never won on. He’s stalked much of the race by Newgarden who, with one of the gutsiest moves of the year, passes on the outside in Turn 1 with under 10 laps to go and gets away with it. Ed Carpenter gets back on the podium in third – just his fifth since jumping into an oval-only routine – to cap a stellar weekend for Chevy.

Race 5: Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, May 15, 2:30 p.m., NBC

Winner: Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Takeaways: Rahal has eight consecutive top-10 finishes on the IMS road course and felt he had the car to beat in the GMR Grand Prix a year ago. This time, an ill-timed mid-race caution doesn’t fall, giving the 32-year-old driver his first victory in nearly four years. Herta takes second, still itching for his first victory of the season, with Harvey in third, his second podium in the race in three years.

Race 6: 105th Indianapolis 500, May 30, 11 a.m., NBC

Winner: Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport

Takeaways: Rossi’s finished inside the top-7 four of his five tries in the 500, including last year’s race where it seemed his car may have had a fighting chance again before a rough penalty sent him near the rear and his furious response to make up for it into the wall. It’s hard not to imagine him without two or three of these by the time his career is over, and this time around he’ll manage to make the late-race pass to pull it off. It comes at the expense of his good friend Conor Daly, who takes an agonizing second-place as just another near-miss for Ed Carpenter Racing on the IMS oval. Newgarden finishes third and goes another year without a check-mark next to an elusive Borg Warner trophy.

Race 7: Raceway at Belle Isle Park Race 1, June 12, 2 p.m., NBC

Winner: Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing

Takeaways: Scott McLaughlin surprises the field with the first pole of his IndyCar career, but that one-lap speed doesn’t last, as he fades back into fourth by the end of the race. Meanwhile, Dixon rides the frustration of another May at IMS without a victory to the front from a poor qualifying run. He’s joined on the podium by fellow CGR driver Marcus Ericsson, who nearly finds a way around his teammate in the final five laps but can’t nail the move. Rinus VeeKay wheels it into third for his second career podium finish.

Race 8: Raceway at Belle Isle Park Race 2, June 13, 12 p.m., NBC

Winner: Josef Newgarden, Team Penske

Takeaways: Sebastien Bourdais puts A.J. Foyt Racing back on pole for the first time in more than five years, and he nearly takes home the victory until Newgarden edges him out of the pits on the final stop. The Team Penske driver takes firm control over the series lead with his third win in eight races, sticking Dixon a good ways behind at the season’s halfway point. VeeKay caps a stellar weekend with a second podium.

Race 9: Road America, June 20, 12 p.m., NBCSN

Winner: Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP

Takeaways: This time, O’Ward is on the chase with Power looking to go wire-to-wire following the final series of pit stops. Near the corner that Rosenqvist overtook him with two to go in 2020, O’Ward succeeds in replicating his now-teammate’s move and holds off a frustrated Power, who sees a chance at keeping pace with Newgarden and Dixon slipping away. Alex Palou finds some confidence in what has been a tough start to his CGR career by grabbing a podium spot.

Race 10: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, July 4, 12 p.m., NBC

a person holding a sign: Colton Herta poses after winning the at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sept. 13, 2020. © Phil Long, AP Colton Herta poses after winning the at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sept. 13, 2020.

Winner: Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport

Takeaways: Herta goes wire-to-wire, putting a couple near-misses at St. Pete and the IMS road course behind him. Rossi narrowly misses out on a win that would have given him the championship lead over Newgarden, but has to settle for second. Power grabs a second-consecutive podium, moving him just a couple points past Dixon into third-place in the championship hunt.

Race 11: Streets of Toronto, July 11, 12 p.m., NBCSN

Winner: Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske

Takeaways: A 19-race winless streak comes to an end for Pagenaud at a place where he enters as the defending champion. That familiarity helps bring him back within striking distance of the top-5 in the championship, but not without some late-race luck. Going into the final set of stops in third, he leapfrogs Andretti Autosport teammates Herta and Rossi, who end up finishing in that order, putting Rossi into a deadlock tie with Newgarden in the title run.

Race 12: Streets of Nashville, Aug. 8, 5:30 p.m., NBCSN

Winner: Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport

Takeaways: His momentum continues, as Rossi jumps into the championship lead with five races to go. Even better, a symbolic late-race duel with Newgarden display just how close things are between the victor and the hometown hero. O’Ward’s second podium in four races puts him back in a heated race for a top-5 championship finish.

Race 13: Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Aug. 14, 12:30 p.m., NBCSN

a motorcycle is parked on the side of a road: Jack Harvey drives the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 3, 2020, during qualifications for the IndyCar Grand Prix. © Jenna Watson/IndyStar Jack Harvey drives the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 3, 2020, during qualifications for the IndyCar Grand Prix.

Winner: Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing

Takeaways: With the positivity of his second podium on the track a couple months back, Harvey and MSR capitalize on a risky strategy that works out as he parlays starting on the front row into his first IndyCar win. Graham Rahal narrowly misses out on his second win of the season on the track, with Dixon finishing off the podium after a couple-month lull.

Race 14: World Wide Technology Raceway, Aug. 21, 8 p.m., NBCSN

Winner: Josef Newgarden, Team Penske

Takeaways: Starting to feel the pressure of trailing yet another championship battle late into the season, Newgarden passes Dixon with 20 laps to go and holds off him (second) and Herta (third), who both come away feeling like they missed a key opportunity to jockey into position for the championship. It’s Newgarden’s third win in six races on the short oval, and he’s now narrowly ahead of Rossi with three races to go.

Race 15: Portland International Raceway, Sept. 12, 3 p.m., NBC

Winner: Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport

Takeaways: Herta makes this a four-man championship race with Newgarden, Rossi and Dixon with his second race win of the year. And what’s better is none of the other three crack the podium. Rosenqvist gives him a threat late before taking second, with Pagenaud in third as both work desperately to stay in the top 10.

Race 16: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Sept. 19, 3 p.m., NBC

Winner: Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing

Takeaways: Dixon pulls a “Newgarden” with a late-race win he had to have to give him a fighting chance going to Long Beach. He dominates, but a way’s back in second and third are Newgarden and Rossi, respectively, giving the Team Penske driver still a healthy lead near 30 points over Rossi and Dixon going into the season-finale. All they can hope for now is for a win and Newgarden to finish outside the top 10 Sept. 26 to do something they’ve never done before: repeat (Dixon) or hoist the Astor Cup (Rossi).

Race 17: Streets of Long Beach, Sept. 26, 3 p.m., NBCSN

a racing car on a track: Will Power navigates the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Oct. 3, 2020. © Michael Conroy, AP Will Power navigates the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Oct. 3, 2020.

Winner: Will Power, Team Penske

Takeaways: It’s a hollow victory for Power, who with it climbs back into the top 5 in the championship for the 12th consecutive season but finishes a ways off of the title he’s only won once back in 2014. More importantly, he helps all-but secure the title for teammate Newgarden by fending off Rossi, who throws a couple last-ditch passing efforts on the second-to-last lap, even touching wheels with Power but unable to get around him. O’Ward grabs his fourth podium in third, with Dixon fourth and Newgarden comfortably in sixth to hang on for his third IndyCar title in five seasons.

The season-long standings end as follows:

1. Newgarden (four wins, seven podiums)

2. Rossi (two wins, eight podiums)

3. Dixon (three wins, six podiums)

4. Herta (two wins, six podiums)

5. Power (two wins, four podiums)

6. O’Ward (one win, four podiums)

7. Pagenaud (one win, three podiums)

8. Rahal (one win, two podiums)

9. Harvey (one win, two podiums)

10. Rosenqvist (two podiums)

Email IndyStar motor sports reporter Nathan Brown at nlbrown@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @By_NathanBrown.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: IndyCar 2021 race predictions: Newgarden's fast start, Rossi's 2nd Indy 500 set up epic finale

Column: Vaccine the key to getting 135,000 into Indy 500 .
It's pretty spacious inside Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a sprawling national landmark of 300 acres that can fit Vatican City, Yankee Stadium, the White House, Liberty Island, the Taj Majal, the Roman Colosseum, Churchill Downs and the Rose Bowl inside. All at the same time. The plan calls to put 135,000 fans in there next month for the Indianapolis 500. During a pandemic. A number that screams too many! Too reckless! But the speedway is not your average place. She's a behemoth along Georgetown Road and 16th Street, the largest sporting venue in the world. On a typical race day, there can be 400,000 people on the grounds for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

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