Wet or Dry? Tire Strategy Key for Race Day at Barber

Today’s Schedule

Sunday, May 1

  • Gates open 7:30AM
  • USF 2000 Race #2 8:45 – 9:25AM
  • INDY LIGHTS Race 9:45 – 10:40AM Peacock
  • NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race 12:00 – 2:00PM NBC, Peacock
  • Indy Pro 2000 Race #2 2:30 – 3:20PM

Or is it rain day? Chances of rain have diminished some, but the radar shows Birmingham covered in green from noon to 3 pm. The showers may to be scattered. As long as there is no severe weather, the race will run.

If rain tires are needed after the race starts, I think that favors Josef Newgarden. He won the rain delayed race in 2018 when Tim Cindric called Newgarden in for rain tires before the rain began. If the start is declared a wet start, this race is up for grabs.

Pato O’Ward expressed concern yesterday in the press conference about the current stock of rain tires being two years old and never used. Rinus VeeKay said he has experience racing in the rain inkarts but not much in race cars.

Pato O’Ward

Should conditions be normal, I get the sense most drivers want to be on blacks for most of the race. The reds did not get much time yesterday in practice because of the late red flag. I didn’t see much lap time difference between the two tires in qualifying yesterday.

Rain or shine, it is May 1 and Indycar has cars on track.


Will Power and Scott Dixon have their worst starting positions for a race at Barber. In the 11 previous races here, the two veterans were in the Fast Six a combine 20 times. A 10th Barber podium for Dixon will be difficult to get today.

Scott McLaughlin

There are subtle shifts in team leadership happening at Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing. Scott Mclaughlin has been Penske’s overall best qualifier this year, and he is not far behind Josef Newgarden for the points lead. Alex Palou is backing up last year’s championship with strong qualifying runs and good finishes.

I will have an eye on Alexander Rossi today. He put in a great qualifying effort after his team, with help from other Andretti crew and Honda, put his car back together in two hours after his practice crash yesterday morning. Look for him on the podium.

Romain Grosjean and Josef Newgarden, who had a great duel for the win at Long Beach, make up row four.

Enjoy the race. If you are coming to the track, stay dry.