Ganassi Goes 1-2 in Morning Practice at Pocono

Charlie Kimball ran his No. 83 Chevy to the front of the pack during this morning’s practice session at Pocono Raceway. The Chip Ganassi Racing Teams driver is fighting to put another win on his Verizon IndyCar Series resume. Especially since the next race win for his team will be a monumental one – the 100th IndyCar win for CGRT.

20150802_102906(1)Ganassi had a strong year in Long Pond, PA back in 2013 with a swept podium where Kimball took P2. That was also the year that Dixon won his third and most recent IndyCar Series Championship (which, by the way, he is in contention for again this season). Kimball was mathematically eliminated from Championship probability after Mid-Ohio three weeks ago, the same track where he gained his first and only race victory. But the focus is not on the Championship completely, at least not this weekend. We still have one more race to get through until the final battle. And everyone should be aware that Kimball wasn’t the only Ganassi driving making an impact on practice this morning.

Young and somewhat-controversial (depending on who you ask), Sage Karam, was out early today in the hour-long rookie practice session, prior to the full field practice. He ended up clocking 83 laps in his No. 8 Chevy and running second fastest in the regular practice. The Nazareth, PA native is certainly not taking it easy today, not that he ever has. Karam might be new to the IndyCar field but he’s as aggressive and hungry as any veteran on that track – a trait that bodes well for his longevity as a professional IndyCar driver but has been known to rub some drivers the wrong way. That could be because he’s also been known to rub their car the wrong way. Karam however, is unapologetic for his drive and if this morning is any indication to how qualifications could pan out this afternoon, we may see him with his best IndyCar career start on Sunday.

The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Chevy is similar to the aforementioned drivers, in that he is looking to make an impact on his season this weekend at Pocono. Simon Pagenaud has had a less than stellar season. A new team, a new car, a new crew – it’s a lot of adjustments to make, particularly under the ever-watchful eye of The Caption, Roger Penske. But Pagenaud has kept his focus throughout the tribulations and achieved two podiums with the most recent one in the last contest at Mid-Ohio. Can he keep that Midwest momentum going? Whatever adjustments or setups the team was playing with this morning at the track seem to have yielded a winning combination, as Pagenaud jumped up to P3 towards the end of the session. Pagenaud earned a Verizon P1 Award at Auto Club Speedway in June and has started from the front row 4 other times this season, so a pole today for the Frenchman is a high probability.

Last year, the Team Penske car of Juan Pablo Montoya started from that pole position, so I’m sure Roger wouldn’t mind back-to-back P1 Awards. The team has won here 8 times including Montoya’s victory last year. Montoya is the only points leader this season. Yes, the only one. He took a commanding lead when he won in St. Pete’s to kick off the year back in March, and he has yet to look back. Besides Barber Motorsports, Iowa Speedway and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the Colombian has finished in the Top 10 at all courses this season – including his second victory of 2015, the Indianapolis 500. He will be one to watch today as the field attacks the Tricky Triangle in pursuit of bragging rights and leading the ABC Supply 500 field to green tomorrow afternoon.

Tune in this afternoon to watch Qualifying for the ABC Supply 500 on NBC Sports at 2:00 PM ET or on your NBC Sports Live Extra app from your wireless device by logging into your cable or satellite provider account when prompted.

The Verizon IndyCar Series ABC Supply 500 race will take place tomorrow, Sunday August 23rd. The race will broadcast live from Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA… also referred to as the Tricky Triangle due to it’s tri-oval shape without a Turn 4! Make sure you are watching on NBC Sports (or the Live Extra app) at 2:00 PM ET.

The IndyCar 15 app is available on Android and iOS devices, with additional live camera and audio features accessible if your device is powered by the Verizon Wireless network, the title sponsor of the IndyCar Series. 

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