Quick Thoughts- Day 2 at COTA

Photo: Colton Herta led part of the afternoon before finishing fifth. Photo by Kyle McInnes

First, I am excited to announce my partnership with Race Fan Heaven for 2020. My stories will also appear on their website, RaceFanHeaven.com. You can also find them on Twitter @RaceFanHeaven. I will be posting when they have new podcasts up, generally Friday evenings, and when they post videos. Give them a follow. They have a lot of fun doing their podcasts and have a great passion for racing.

For a brief moment the top five were four drivers with less than three years experience and Sebastien Bourdais. I thought that was great to see.

Nice that the weather improved today and that the cars got some real testing done.

It hit me watching the live stream what I find odd about the aeroscreen. From the front, the screen looks too round. I know it’s not but that is the illusion I noticed. It’s a round piece on a rectangular base. I understand that there is not much that can be done about it since it is a retro fit. I hope this problem can be addressed in the next generation car.

The newer drivers had fun in the top 10 early, but in the end the veterans led the day. Still, four drivers in the top 10 have less than a full Indycar season of experience. Pato O’Ward was the only one of them who has driven in a race.

Scott McLaughlin is an amazing talent. His last open wheel experience was in a Formula Ford several years ago. To drive a car so different from what he usually races and finish P3 is quite an accomplishment. I hope he can get more than one race this season.

I was also impressed with Alex Palou and Oliver Askew. I realize testing times don’t mean much, but to be in the top 10 today is a good beginning.

I’m looking for a lot of great pole battles this year between Will Power and Colton Herta. We saw a great fight for the top spot in two qualifying rounds at Portland between them. Today Power and Herta traded the top spot for a while.

Speeds were quicker than I thought, within just a few tenths of 2019 times.

There is just one more test day at Sebring before the St. Pete season opener. The track build begins next week.

Back tomorrow with more.

 

 

 

COTA Test Day 2 Looks for Better Conditions

Schedule for today:

Session 1- 10-1 EDT

Session 2- 1:30-6

The latest forecast calls for rain to taper off and be gone by noon. Temperatures should ride above 50 degrees. This with be a busy afternoon.

COTA has opened the track to the public today. It was originally going to be a closed session. Thanks to COTA for thinking of the fans.

I’m flying home this morning and will cover remotely. I have some photos to post later from my good friend Kyle McInnes.

Testing Halted for Weather

Photo: Robert Wickens talks to rookie Oliver Askew

Cold and rain have stopped the first practice session. Seven cars took one lap each and other cars just did installation laps. Josef Newgarden and Max Chilton were the only drivers under three minutes on a wet track. The cars ran under a yellow flag before the red came out at 10:45. There is one hour remaining in the morning test round, which likely won’t restart.

Here are some photos from the session.

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Indycar Spring Training Tests Aeroscreen, Rookies

Weather update:  High of 48, steady rain beginning around 10 pm CDT
Today’s Schedule: (All Times Eastern)

11:00-1:00  Indycar Series Open Testing

2:30-6:30 Indycar Series Open Testing

Weather forecast from Indycar Weatherman at 8:19 Austin time Monday night:

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The rain should be intermittent, but the temperatures may prevent the cars getting on track. That call may come from Firestone. I don’t know if there is a temperature delta for the rain tires.

While the test is for the teams to prepare for the upcoming season, it will also be the first full field test for the aeroscreen.  Most drivers didn’t think it will affect the racing. Some were concerned about vision after a few laps in less than optimal conditions. Today is also a good day to test the heating/cooling system of aeroscreen.

Updated entry list:

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Seven rookies will participate today. Three of them, Oliver Askew, Dalton Kellett, and Rinus VeeKay, drove in Indy Lights last year. The Road to Indy continues to do a great job training drivers for the NTT Indycar Series.

I will have up dates throughout the day. 

Indycar Classic at COTA- Quick Thoughts

That was an entertaining and dramatic race. Good battles throughout and quite a twist of fate at the end for Will Power.

Congratulations to Colton Herta and the Harding Steinbrenner team. They have had this track figured out since the February test.  The win was a great team rebound from a rough Friday.

George Michael Steinbrenner IV looked stunned in the post race interview.

The rookies at fun to watch. What a great move O’Ward put on Rahal.

Great job for Jack Harvey with a second straight top 10. Meyer Shank Racing is doing a steady solid job this year.

Having the blend line right at the entrance to turn 1 made for some interesting moments.

Weird to see Ganassi struggle as a team like they did today. Yet somehow Dixon is third in points. He will be a factor by the halfway mark of the season.

Rahal had his best race in quite a while. This is the most comfortable I’ve seen him in the car since the UAK was introduced last year.

The no track limits call helped the racing and made for some great action. This rule can be COTA’s unique feature.

The caution period seemed to last longer than necessary.

O’Ward and Carlin need to practice pit stops. He lost at least two spots with his slow releases.

Power and Rossi got burned sticking to their strategy. This is not the first time Team Penske has been burned by a caution by not pitting early.  Rossi got caught out by this situation at Portland last year as well.

NBC Coverage

Great camera work on a very photogenic facility.

Does every pit stop by every driver need to be shown? A great pass was missed because NBC was showing a backmarker’s stop.

There were too many and too long replays of the start of the race and too many in race recaps. This isn’t F1 where there is nothing happening on track.

I like the side pylon where the whole field is shown at once. I like that the board shows the tire choices and the push to pass time remaining.  It’s way better than nothing than the intervals  all the time.

 

Look for my full race report tomorrow on Wildfire Sports. Back here next week with some Indycar news and another  Indianapolis 500 program feature.

 

 

 

COTA Qualifying-Quick Thoughts

 

Will Power is trying to pass Mario Andretti’s pole record this season.

Another first round red flag cost Sebastien Bourdais a chance to advance. Has to be frustrating for him, especially since his teammate, Santino Ferrucci, advanced. The red flag to end group 2 may have cost Marco Andretti. Unlike St. Pete, the reds came with less than a minute left in each session, so no one can complain about not having a shot.

I’m not so sure now that the race will be caution free. Turn 19 could be an action packed spot tomorrow.

This rookie class is good. Four of the six advanced to the second round. Felix Rosenqvist was the only to get through to the Fast Six for the second race in a row. He has out-qualified Scott Dixon twice. Rosenqvist had the fastest qualifying lap, 1:45.5 in round 2.

It’s great to see the rookies contending for starting spots at the front every week.

Look for the Power-Rossi front row a lot this season, though not always in this order.

Cars are sliding a lot, which will make for some exciting racing.

Round 2 was one of the best qualifying rounds I’ve seen.

Thank goodness there are no track limits in turn 19. The series might want to move some Porta Potties around, however.

The cars of Pato O’ Ward and Kyle Kaiser look very similar. Doesn’t help that they are numbers 31 and 32.

The race could be 2 hours long at these speeds.

A full qualifying report will be on Wildfire Sports later this evening.