The Indy 500 has been run 103 times and only 5 times has a driver won back to back.
Helio Castroneves - 2001 & 2002
Al Unser - 1970 & 1971
Bill Vukovich - 1953 & 1954
Mauri Rose - 1947 & 1948
Wilbur Shaw - 1939 & 1940
In those 103 races, NOBODY has ever pulled the hat trick. Wilbur Shaw is the closest having won it three times in a four year span. In 1941 he was going for history; trying to become the first person to win the race three times in a row, but also attempting to become the first four time champion (a feat only 3 men would eventually achieve). Shaw was running strong and leading the race at the three quarter mark, when a tire failure caused him to crash on the front stretch of lap 152. Fortunately he survived the crash, but that would be his final lap in the Indy 500.
In the Majors Americas Region, Liam Quinn has won the 500 the last two years, and now goes for a historic 3-peat. One of the drivers in his way, is ironically a teammate in Christian Challiner who is also a defending champion of this race, as Christian won the Indy 500 in Europe last year. Two defending champions? One going for a hat trick? You gotta be kidding me.
Adding to the drama, if you look at the standings you will see that Christian has FIVE wins in FIVE races this year. Now, this is slightly misleading as he did not win the Daytona 500, but he did sweep both races at Zandy and his points total is a PERFECT 1500 pts through five rounds. Something has to give.
In Americas Sportsman, Mark Stevenson and his Forge teammates have swarmed the competition, but with 11 drivers within 200 pts, the championship is still wide open. Every driver in the top 4 has at least one win and Mark will be going for his 4th win of the season in attempt to break away from the field.
In International Pro, Matt Danson holds a 70 pt lead in the series, but the three NASCAR rounds are in the rear view mirror, so... has he built enough of a lead?
Defending region and Indy 500 champ Cam Dance has clawed back within 100 pts and perhaps has weathered the toughest part of the schedule for him. If he can repeat at Indy, his comeback charge may be truly on. Thomas O'Leary has proven extremely versatile and with Kinetic support he should be a factor in every race. His big problem is drops, he has maxed them out, which means any poor race will be especially impactful. He will be on a knife's edge the rest of the year if he hopes to challenge.
Like O'Learly, Marco Mogren has exceptional talent and Kinetic support, but will he make enough races to fully contend. Time will tell, but would be fun to see the four of them fight it out all the way to the finish.
If you want to talk about close championship battles then the European region is where we need to focus. Five points is all that separates 1st from 3rd, no championship has ever been this close at this stage of the season.
While you could throw a blanket over; Ross Banfield, Kurt Krumm and Eric Micke, the chase is strong much, much deeper than that. Joshua Wolf who recently recorded his first win the series is only 40 pts back, mega talent Dallas Pataska just 109 back and 2018 Atlantic Region champion Mike Kelly sits in 9th, only 209 pts back.
As for this race, Kurt Krumm won the Indy 500 in 2018 and TDR's Henry Bennett are probably the favorites, but I think the field is pretty open.
Welcome to Race Week! Indy style!