This is my first time seeing Texas Motor Speedway in person, and it’s certainly an impressive facility. I’ve seen stock cars race at Chicagoland Speedway, but never made it to Joliet during the IndyCar era there, so this is my first time seeing these cars on a 1 1/2-mile oval as well.
Texas is certainly different, with it’s larger grandstands, suites and Turn 2 condos. The cars look really fast here, I’m looking forward to seeing them racing under the lights.
After rain shortened practice Thursday night, the series added a 30-minute tire session to Friday’s hour-long practice, and the cars just finished that session, with qualifying coming later this evening.
Editor’s note: There is a lot of talk about tires, of course, but since no one was brought into the media center after practice, I don’t have any quotes or opinions. We’ll revisit that topic after qualifying.
Honda vs. Chevy. The Hondas are really hooked up so far, occupying eight of the Top 10 spots on the speed chart. Colton Herta topped the day’s activity with a lap of 222.451 mph, with Takuma Sato clocking a lap at 220.974. Will Power (4th, 220.412 mph) and Josef Newgarden (9th, 219.622) are the only cars with Chevy powerplants in the Top 10. Power led the field with 154 laps completed during the session.
Indy 500 hangover? Since winning the Indy 500 two weeks ago, Simon Pagenaud posted 6th and 17th-place finishes at the Detroit races, respectively, and was only 13th quick in the practice session with a lap of 218.912. That came after going P16 in practice Thursday night. While his finish in the second race was the result of bad luck, he didn’t qualify well in either race, so we’ll see what qualifying brings later on tonight.
Daly not yet up to speed. Conor Daly, who finished 10th at the 500, found out earlier this week he would be jumping into Max Chilton’s Carlin car for the weekend, and is fighting a bit of an uphill battle finding speed. He was P22 in Thursday’s practice and moved up one spot on Friday with a lap of 216.888. While it’s good to see him in the field, it’s definitely an unenviable task he’s undertaking this weekend.
Pit Lane Parley
It’s Friday so a new episode of PLP is out for your listening pleasure. In this week’s episode, Host Mike, Jess and Matt recap Detroit, preview Texas and talk about some other IndyCar news. You can listen to it here.
Photo credit: Chris Owens/IndyCar media