A Tire Choice for Gateway; Qualifying Tweaks

Look for red tires on the oval at Worldwide Technology Raceway

It’s an idea I have thought about, but I never dreamed it would really happen. The NTT Indycar Series will require teams to use road/street course tire rules at World Wide Technology Raceway in August. This will be the first time since the 2008 merger that an oval race will require to teams to use different tire compounds. This oval is the best one to try out this idea. The track drives like a road course with incline into turn 1 and the upward sweep into turn 2.

Think of the strategies involved. Does a team start on the alternates to get them out of the way? Do they save them for a late yellow and be at an advantage on a late restart? Does a driver decide to just use them in the middle of the race and hope to gain enough ground to have a chance at the end of the race?

Will the softer tires last an entire stint at high speed? I hope the teams get some test tine with the alternate at Gateway.

Another tire change for 2023- all teams may participate in the rubbering in session that was first employed at Texas Motor Speedway and Gateway last year. In 2022, only one car per team was allowed in the special session. Not everyone put a car on track. The process helped at Texas, and might help even more with more cars in the second groove/

Practice/Qualifying Changes

In an effort to give everyone a fairer chance at qualifying, the series has changed red flag procedures. The session clock will stop for the first red flag of each segment of qualifying but will keep running for any other red flags. The procedure is an attempt to allow the faster cars from not advancing because time runs out before they get their best laps in.

I understand why the rule was changed, but many times I see the faster cars just sitting in the pits waiting to do one final lap, then get hung out because of a red flag. If it’s their choice to play the clock, they have to accept that it may not work I don’t mind a few qualifying surprises. A fast car will find its way to the front most of the time during the race.

Another change Indycar made is when the clock starts for the session. Since the current qualifying procedure began, the clock starts when the green flag waves. In 2023, the clock begins when the first car crosses the alternate start/finish line, which is usually in the vicinity of the last turn before pit in. I like this change. It will allow at least one extra lap of qualifying, which may give someone a chance to make up for a bad lap, or to retake the top spot from someone late in the session.

The cars themselves have some modifications for 2023 which i will discuss next week, along with my season preview.