Friday, June 26, 2009

Richmond Preview

By: Tony Donohue

The Indy Car Series heads to Richmond this weekend to tackle the three fourths of a mile bullring they call Richmond International Raceway. This marks the fifth straight oval for the Indy Car Series and the eighth race on the season.

Last year, Tony Kanaan took the twin checkered flags, capping off a near perfect weekend at RIR, as he started from the pole, lead 166 laps on his way to victory lane. That win was Tony’s last Indy Car Series win, almost hard to believe that he hasn’t won in over a year.

In 2007, Dario Franchitti took the win on in the SunTrust Indy Challenge. He too capped over the near perfect weekend by winning from the pole, and leading 242 of the 300 laps. Dario went on to win the championship that season, which continued the streak of Richmond winners going on to win the Championship. That list included Sam Hornish Jr. in 2002, Scott Dixon in 2003, and Sam Hornish Jr. again in 2006.

Richmond is a track about handling, and keeping you noise clean. Tight short track racing makes for an awesome Saturday night race, but can be breath taking for drivers. Clean pit stops are key as well, with a tight pit lane, getting in and out cleanly can be the difference as track position here is key.

So my predictions last week for Iowa were pretty close to spot on. Dario took the checkered at Iowa going 2 for 2 in the corn fields. This weekend at Richmond it is a little tougher for me to pick a winner. I am stuck between picking Dario Franchitti once again, or to go with Helio Castroneves. So, my pick to win this week is Dario. He knows how to get it done on the short ovals, and his pit crew will do the work in the pits. I will put Helio in a close second and Scott Dixon third.

My darkhorses, once again it has to be Tomas Scheckter, he knows how to run up front at almost any race track, and if his pit crew can be flawless, don’t be surprised to see Tomas on the podium. My other dark horse is E.J. Viso. Now, I know what everyone’s thinking, am I nuts? E.J. finished 10th here last year, and needs to finish a race, since he hasn’t all year, I think he has the determination to have a solid finish, key word finish.


I'll go with Dario too.. he and his team seem to have everything in place lately... and Tomas' team is coming together, so you're spot on suggesting he's a dark horse... not only is he and his team coming together, but he can move through traffic unlike anyone I've ever seen. He's just plain fun to watch race cars!

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