It’s race day for the Indycar Grand Prix, the first event of the month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This race has the potential to be the best of the Grand Prixs for several reasons. A rookie is on the pole, three championship contenders start mid pack, and weather could come into play.
Felix Rosenqvist showed at St. Pete that he can take charge of a race. How he handles the start with 5 time champion Scott Dixon alongside him will determine how his race goes. Dixon hasn’t won a race yet this season, but in 2018 he didn’t win or lead a lap until the first Belle Isle race. He has led laps already this year, so he is ahead of last year’s pace. The only other contender in the first three rows is Will Power, starting sixth. Power admitted last night that his car lacks speed on the long straights. This is odd for a Chevrolet here. Power has fallen behind the other points leaders a bit with his last place finish at COTA.
Power and Dixon are in great position to gain on Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi, the top two in points. Neither driver showed much speed yesterday in any session. Newgarden starts 13th and Rossi starts 17th. Rossi will need to use his masterful passing skills to move up, but he needs to do so quickly. Newgarden will likely rely on a different pit strategy to gain positions.
Ryan Hunter-Reay starts 16th. He has not had the best luck in this event. Last year an engine misfire slowed him to a low finish. He had a chance to win the inaugural race, but fuel strategy cost him at the end.
Weather and Tires
It will be cool, with air temperatures below 60 degrees and track temperatures maybe reaching 80. It is sunny right now with a few scattered clouds. Rain is still a possibility during the race. The later in the race it comes, the more interesting the finish could be.
Dixon thinks the alternate reds will be the tire of choice today because they seem to last longer here. I will update this post when tire choices come out after the warmup at 11:15.
A Different Channel
The race is on NBC, not NBCSN. If like me you have your recording set to record all Indycar programs on NBCSN, remember to go to your NBC channel and set up the recording. It does not transfer, trust me.
Before the race coverage begins at 3, watch the documentary Drive Like Andretti at 2 pm on NBC.
Back later with an update on tire choices and weather.