Motorsport.com's Christopher DeHarde looks at the drivers who must perform this weekend in Houston.
At Texas Motor Speedway I wrote a story about five drivers that needed to have a good weekend, but only one of them did. Now that the series is in Houston, it’s time for five more drivers that need to have a good weekend.
1. Justin Wilson
Wilson had an unfortunate accident with Sebastien Bourdais at Texas Motor Speedway, and that’s done nothing to stop the hit-and-miss season he’s had so far. He’s had one top five, two other top ten finishes, but the rest have been 11th, 12th, 16th, 21st and 22nd. Bourdais had two bad races in Belle Isle race two and at Texas, so the driver that sits tenth in points needs to get back into a good grove.
2. Graham Rahal
Rahal is still in somewhat of a tailspin. He’s 19th in points with one second place finish and his next best finish is a 12th. Rahal said at Texas that his team was close on nailing the street course package, but this weekend will be a major test for the team, as if Texas wasn’t enough. Long story short, Rahal needs a good weekend almost as bad as his car needs fuel.
3. Will Power
Power still needs to put the hammer down after his three near-championship runs and cannot afford to give away points at this stage of the championship. Power has two ovals after Houston and then the rest of the season will be at tracks where he has performed well. Power has a 39 point lead on Helio Castroneves but Castroneves will be looking to rebound from last year.
Bourdais has had a three race slide since a 4th and 7th at the Indianapolis races with finishes of 13th, 20th and 20th. He’s had two accidents in the last three races and is looking to rebound with a win, given his victories at this venue in 2006 and 2007. Bourdais sits 12th in points but will need to get a top five to vault himself into the top 10.
5. Takuma Sato
Sato had two top ten finishes this year but overall has been nowhere. He had a pole at Detroit and St. Pete, but finishes are where the big points are paid out. This is Foyt’s home race, so Sato will need to step up his game to give the fans a popular winner. Sato’s mired down in 17th in points, right above Newgarden and Rahal, so the former F1 pilot will want to perform given that this race weekend is presented by The Greater Houston Honda Dealers.