Racing’s Triple Crown

With it being a big weekend in the Motorsport world, Connor Ferguson, Chris Soulsby, and Alex Gallacher look at the action that will unfold in Formula 1, IndyCar, and NASCAR, making their predictions as to who will win and what to watch out for.

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This weekend marks Motor Racing’s Tripe Crown, with drivers taking to the track to compete in Formula 1, IndyCar, and NASCAR respectively. In Formula 1 there is the Monaco Grand Prix – F1’s most prestigious race of the season. In IndyCar there is the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 – the race that stops America. In NASCAR there is the Coca-Cola 600, held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina.

In this article, our pundits look at each race, and make their predictions for what to watch out for and who they think will win.

Racing’s Triple Crown

Formula 1: Monaco Grand Prix

What to watch for

‘The Monaco Grand Prix is the crown jewel event of Formula 1, and marks the sixth round of the 2017 Season. Success around the street circuit does not require a good car alone, but also skill behind the wheel. In Monaco, it is important to remember to expect the unexpected, and to be prepared for a real shake up of the grid, especially in qualifying. The race has seen a number of surprises over the years such as Olivier Panis‘ shock win in 1996 and Jules Bianchi‘s surprise points finish for Marussia in 2014. With the midfield so close on the grid in 2017, a number of surprise names could finish inside the points and it could be the breakthrough race for McLaren this season.’ – Chris Soulsby

‘Usually, by Monaco, the Formula 1 point standings will show a little bit of separation between teams heading into the wild card event. However, this season Mercedes and Ferrari are as close as ever. The two teams are separated by just eight points in the constructors standings, while their two big name drivers sit six points apart in the drivers standings. It will be interesting to see whether the battle for first place will include either Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton, or if it will be a lesser named driver rolling in for the upset.’ – Connor Ferguson

Picks to win

‘After practice this week, it is clear that Ferrari are ahead of the rest of the field, with their nearest rivals in Mercedes shaping up to be the third or fourth best team this weekend around the principality. Qualifying is everything in Monaco, and since Kimi Raikkonen secured pole position for the race – his first since the 2008 French Grand Prix – it will be hard to see past him for the win, providing that he can hold onto his lead going into the first corner. With Sebastian Vettel starting alongside his team mate on the front row however, the four-time champion is in with a shot at getting the win. Valtteri Bottas is also in with a chance if Mercedes can take advantage of strategy and Safety Car periods, with the Finn only 0.002 seconds slower than Vettel in qualifying. – Chris Soulsby

‘Although fans should look for a wildcard in Daniel Ricciardo or Max Verstappen, who have been fast in practice this week, Sebastian Vettel will be the favorite. Vettel has done exceptionally well this season and there is no reason to think that doesn’t continue this week.’ – Connor Ferguson

Indy-Car: 101st Indianapolis 500

What to watch for

‘The Indy 500 is the cream of the crop for North American auto racing and maybe even world racing. Drivers come from far and wide to take part in this historic event. Nobody should be counted out of the race, not even the so-called “joke” drivers. That’s why I believe you should watch out for a potential first time winner. Maybe even a driver in lower-leveled equipment. Alexander Rossi and even Dan Wheldon are famous examples of drivers who won the event in not-so-stellar gear. It’s a long race, it ain’t over until you cross the line.’ – Alex Gallacher

‘This year’s Indy 500 Starting lineup features one of the most solid 33-driver lineups that the race has ever seen. On top of the IndyCar regulars, two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso headlines the field of alternate drivers joining the series for the big race. Alonso has been near the top of the speed charts all week and lines up fifth. Right behind him will be J.R. Hildebrand who is still trying to rebound from his last-turn crash in the 2011 500. Not to mention the return of Juan Pablo Montoya, who has raced in each of the triple-crown events once. All of these drivers are big threats to win, but they’re not who I’m picking. – Connor Ferguson

‘Indy is the race that stops America and it is known as that for a reason. In Indy, anything can happen and the race is only over once the first placed driver has crossed the finish line on that final lap. This can be seen in 2011 when then-rookie J.R. Hildebrand took the lead with two laps to go, only to crash in the final corner of the final lap to hand the win to Dan Wheldon. With a strong field shaping up for 2017, the 101st running of the race will definitely have a few surprises in store and may mark a new winner in IndyCar.’ – Chris Soulsby 

Pick to win

‘My picks for the Indy 500 are Ed Carpenter, Josef Newgarden or Scott Dixon. These drivers have shown some mad fast speed over the course of speedweeks and Dixon even landed the pole. Scott Dixon is hungry for a win and could potentially do it. Ed Carpenter has had some terrible luck in the past but has always remained fast and competitive at Indy each year. Josef Newgarden is the hotshot at Team Penske look for him to be extra hungry in his new ride. My sleeper picks are Fernando Alonso and Carlos Munoz. Never count anyone out, Munoz was so close to winning the event last year but came runner up to Alexander Rossi. Fernando Alonso put his car in fifth and if Kurt Busch can run well here, then it should be a hell of a run for the Spaniard.’ – Alex Gallacher

‘This was easily the most difficult race of the day to pick for me. There are so many drivers that are capable of winning, but one name has stood out for me this week: Scott Dixon. His name has been in the news a lot lately. He is on the pole for the race. He was robbed at gunshot at a Taco Bell drive-thru. The headlines span the whole nine yards. Why won’t the headlines continue this Sunday?’ – Connor Ferguson

‘The field is looking strong for the 101st running of the Indy 500, and after taking pole last weekend, it is hard to see past Scott Dixon for the win. Dixon has consistently looked strong over the course of the speedweeks and I don’t see why this speed won’t continue into the big day. Rookie Fernando Alonso is also looking very strong after putting his McLaren run Andretti Autosport car into fifth place in qualifying. Alonso winning in Indy would be a fantastic news story and one that I for one would like to see. The 2005 and 2006 F1 champion has the experience in other series and the credentials to do well in IndyCar, so I’m going to stick my neck out and say that Fernando Alonso is going to win the race in his first attempt.’ – Chris Soulsby

NASCAR: Coca Cola 600

What to watch for

‘The Coke 600 is the longest race of the Cup series schedule. It has hosted many different winners and even some first time winners in the case of David Reutimann and Casey Mears. The key to this event is strategy. It is a long race, and the drivers and teams need to be ready for that. Conserving resources and getting that clean air could be the defining factor between glory and running out of gas on the final lap. Being aggressive too early will only end up with a wrecked car and burning emotions. Be smart and make sure to prepare for the long haul.’ – Alex Gallacher

Pick to win

‘My picks for Charlotte are Martin Truex Jr, Jimmie Johnson, and Kyle Busch. Martin Truex put on a dominate performance last season, winning the event and leading over 390 laps. Look for the #78 to park it in victory lane. Jimmie Johnson loves Charlotte, it’s been his playground for the last 16 seasons. Johnson has always been strong here and look for him to pick up another win. Love him or hate him, Kyle Busch is hungry for a win. He won the all-star race last week and is riding the wave of adrenaline after such a win. Look for the younger Busch to be aggressive and hungry. My sleeper picks are Jamie McMurray and Ryan Blaney. Jamie McMurray has tamed Charlotte before and even won the all-star race in 2014. Look for McMurray to potentially play spoiler. Blaney on the other hand has been hungry for a win, and always runs well on the 1.5 mile tracks. Look for Blaney to also play upset and put the Wood Brothers #21 back in victory lane. – Alex Gallacher
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