Track Talk: IMS road course has been Pagenaud, Power playground

Updated: 

Event dates: May 7-9, 2020.

The circuit: A 14-turn, 2.439-mile permanent road course that utilizes most of the oval track’s front straight. The course is 46 feet wide in the turns, 50 feet wide on the straights.

Purchasing tickets: The newly named GMR Grand Prix has tickets offered here. Some of the best viewing is from the infield mounds in Turn 7 -- that's a general admission ticket -- but there are numerous infield locations for unique viewing. (The inserted shot is taken from an area near the aforementioned spectator mound.) Best advice: Walk around the property to find your favorite place to watch.

Pick your Penske pilot: Simon Pagenaud or Will Power, or maybe the other way around. Either way, these two athletes have been the only winners of this still-feels-new event. The difference? Pagenaud won the first year's race, in 2014, for Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports before moving to Team Penske the next year. Pagenaud and Power have been dominant in those drives, too, winning five of the six races by an average of 3.11 seconds. They also have won four of the six poles. See how Pagenaud (pictured above) won last year's race in INDYCAR's 30-minute cutdown.

IMS road race

Second, second, second: Appropriately, Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing stands second on the sport’s all-time list for runner-up finishes – he has 46, only 10 behind Mario Andretti for the record -- and three of those seconds have come in the past three road races at IMS. The closest Dixon has come to victory in the event was last year when Pagenaud passed him two-plus laps from the finish. Dixon had six second-place finishes in 2019, something that’s productive when it comes to point accumulation but not the best for securing trophies. He'd dearly love a first-time victory on the IMS road course.

The start of the first IMS road race: In 2014, INDYCAR used standing starts at some events, including this one, which was noteworthy. Sebastian Saavedra started on the pole for the first time in his career, but his car stalled, leaving him in a vulnerable position. Ryan Hunter-Reay made a nifty move around Saavedra as the first trailing car and about half the field made it safely around him. But 10th-row starter Carlos Munoz changed lanes approaching Saavedra, going from the right side to the left, and he struck the stalled car. Behind Munoz was last-row starter Mikhail Aleshin, whose view surely was blocked. Aleshin’s car plowed into Saavedra’s car, scattering debris. The cars of Graham Rahal and Franck Montagny also took contact in the incident, ending their races. Juan Pablo Montoya's car also stalled at the start. Fortunately, subsequent races have gone smoother.

A lot of on-track action to watch: In addition to the NTT IndyCar Series, the event features the best chance for Indianapolis fans to see all three levels of the Road to Indy program, and they put on a heck of a show as evident by the start of last year's Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race (below). Note that it's nearly a six-wide start heading to Turn 1.

PAST WINNERS:

2014 (INDYCAR): Simon Pagenaud

2015 (INDYCAR): Will Power

2016 (INDYCAR): Simon Pagenaud

2017 (INDYCAR): Will Power

2018 (INDYCAR): Will Power

2019 (INDYCAR): Simon Pagenaud

Indianapolis Grand Prix

From the fans