2014 Dual in Detroit
I know that's a WHOLE lot to digest. So, let's break it down. Here are five drivers, who by my math from last year and their performances this year (so far) have compelling stories this weekend.
1) Graham Rahal -- I like Graham Rahal. If Graham had remained at Ganassi Racing or had shown some serious fight since moving over to the family business, there would have been no Chase for My Heart. Graham would have easily been my favorite driver. All this is to say that the "Kurt Busch leads Graham Rahal in the points" talk makes my heart hurt. But, fear not, me! Detroit was kind to young Rahal last year. He gained positions both races. He scored over 45 for a Race Score both times. If there was ever a time for Graham to un-funk himself, this would be it. I won't hold my breath, but dang I want this for Graham.
2) Mike Conway -- This weekend last year was what made me sit up and take notice of Mr. Conway. I began referring to him as a Destroyer of Worlds after Race 1, and he held it up in Race 2. Conway had a good start to 2014, but it's been over a month since his last decent performance. Will a trip back to his greatest conquest of 2013 get him back on track? The next two days will tell.
3) Ryan Hunter-Reay -- Fresh off his Indy 500 conquest, Hunter-Reay comes to a track where he had highs and lows last year. It's also been a year of highs and lows for RHR. Now that I read that, however, I should say "a year of highs and low." Hunter-Reay's one bad race was in Long Beach, where he got excited and rammed the back of Josef Newgarden. Now, Long Beach is a narrow street track, not unlike Belle Isle. Will Hunter-Reay be his own worst enemy again?
4) Simon Pagenaud -- After an excellent strategy race at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Pagenaud was decidedly average in the 500. Not that average is bad. Average at the 500 is pretty solid stuff. But, Pagenaud has gotten shuffled way back in the points shuffle. But, just like double points are available at Triple Crown races, they're available at doubleheaders (except that you have to do it twice). Could Pagenaud re-insert himself into the conversation?
5) Will Power -- My Australian Overlord has never been especially brilliant at Belle Isle. He was near the front in 2012. He improved his position a little in Race 1 last year. He got tangled up in some brouhaha in Race 2, and wound up farther back. On the whole, Power hasn't looked on RHR's level this year (I'm not entirely sure that this is right, but I'm saying it, push back on Twitter if you want). If Power wants to get on track for the IndyCar Series championship that has eluded him, this would be a great time to do it...
I'll be putting up race predictions once qualifying for Race 1 is done. Those are always a hoot. Follow @ScoringIndy on Twitter to make sure you always see those predictions, as well as blog updates. See you after the races!!