Welcome to More Front Wing’s live blog from the 2014 Pocono INDYCAR 500 Fueled by Sunoco! MFW Co-editor Paul Dalbey is at the track tapping out updates all weekend long. Updates are posted with the most recent at the top, so if this is your first visit to the live blog please go to the last page and work your way forward. For Verizon IndyCar Series time sheets and race info, visit the 2014 Pocono INDYCAR 500 Fueled by Sunoco Event Summary.
9:05 PM ET – Hi, folks — Steph here. Paul is already en route for his Illinois home, so I’m filling in to provide the end of day links to the rest of our Pocono IndyCar 500 coverage here at More Front Wing:
As always, we hope you enjoyed our coverage and thank you for taking part. We’ll be back throughout this week and again next weekend at Iowa!
5:20 pm ET – If you’re reading this on MFW, then you probably already know that Juan Pablo Montoya took the victory today in the Pocono INDYCAR 500 Fueled by Sunoco. In what was the fastest 500-mile race in Indy car history, Montoya finished 2.3404 seconds in front of Penske teammate Helio Castroneves and fellow Colombian Carlos Munoz.
The race pretty much played out according to script with fast drivers able to move to the front of the field, though passes were certainly earned, not freely given. In the end, it became a question of fuel mileage as Josef Newgarden and Tony Kanaan both tried to stretch a very long fuel stint caused when the only caution of the race slowed the field between laps 159 and 164. Neither Newgarden nor TK were able to make the mileage work, and Montoya came home victorious for the first time in an Indycar since 2000.
Once again, Will Power found himself on the receiving end of a penalty, this time initiated by a viscous block he put on Castroneves around lap 170. Power was furious with the call, but the block was blatantly obvious to anyone not driving the #12 car. The call was certainly justified, and Power once again has senselessly thrown away a huge chunk of points. It is likely Power would have finished in the top 2 or 3, perhaps even won the race, so this penalty probably cost him at least 30 points and perhaps as many as 60. Ouch!
Another impressive drive was turned in by Carlos Munoz, who in four 500-mile races has finishes of second, third, and fourth (and a DNF at Fontana last October). The young Colombian has certainly found his comfort zone on the big ovals and now finds himself a very respectable sixth in the point standings.
Another tip of the cap goes to fellow rookie Mikhail Aleshin. Quite honestly, nobody expected too much from Aleshin this year, but he continues to impress week in and week out on all different tracks. His next big challenge though will come next week at Iowa when he experiences short track oval racing for the first time.
One of the questions coming into the weekend was in regards to the fan turnout today. There is no denying that the crowd was down this year compared to last year, but I don’t think the dire predictions of a completely empty grandstand came to fruition. I spent much of the race in Turn 2 and had a perfect view of the entire grandstand. I would estimate the stands were 1/4 to 1/3 full. Given a stated capacity of 76,812, I could easily believe a crowd estimate of 20,000-25,000, especially when considering those fans that spend the entire race on the inside of the track and those hiding away in the suites. The crowd obviously needs to increase to make this event viable in the long term, but things certainly weren’t as bad as Brandon Igdalsky seemed to imply earlier in the week.
That’s going to wrap it up for me tonight. I have a very long drive back to Illinois now to be borderline functional at some point tomorrow. I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Steph for the rest of the evening to cover any other news that comes in through the night, and I’ll be with you later in the week to review all the weekend’s activities on the MFW podcast. Thanks again for all the support and messages this weekend!
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