Happy Fourth of July.
Good morning on Race Day number 2 for the NTT Indycar Series, Today’s schedule ( All Times Eastern):
9:00 am-9:30 Warm up NBC Gold
12:00 noon- GMR Grand Prix NBC
The Starting Lineup:
For all NBC’s hype about the historic weekend doubleheader, I just don’t feel it. The lack of fans takes away from the luster and prestige of the two races.
I wish Jimmie Johnson a speedy recovery from COVID-19. Sooner or later the disease was bound to find its way into a racing paddock. No one knows how many races Johnson will miss. He also won’t get to drive in his scheduled Indycar test for Ganassi next week.
Today’s race theme- Youth vs. Experience.
How far can Simon Pagenaud advance from 20th place? If he gets through turn 1, lap 1, unscathed, look for a top 10 from the defending race winner.
I will be back with a brief summary of the warmup, then a race wrap -up later.
In a teleconference this morning Josef Newgardenand Simon Pagenaud agree the 2020 season will be interesting as teams look to figure out setups with the aeroscreen. Newgarden said that it seems to affect setups differently at different tracks. He said the first team that gets a handle on how to work with it best will have an advantage.
“… it’s very different, I would say. It’s reacting differently to different tracks so far. I’ve had a taste of it at Richmond, COTA and Sebring. Those are all pretty different places. So you get these small characteristic differences everywhere. Sebring was quite interesting. It was very fun I think for all three of us yesterday to sample that and see what it was all about. But the moral of the story is I think there will be definite differences with the car. It’s going to want certain things from a setup standpoint, certain things from a driving standpoint. We’re not the same as 2019. I think it always brings an opportunity for us to try to figure that out quicker than the rest of the pack. We’re working pretty hard as a team right now to make sure we come out of the gates the best with the new opportunity and try to get on top of it the quickest. It’s always fun to have that. As a driver you like change, the opportunity to try and shine at something new. Yeah, we just need to make sure we’re on top of it when we get to St. Pete next week.”
Simon Pagenaud, commenting on Scott McLaughlin, who may drive in as many as eight races for Team Penske this season:
“Scott got the first taste of it in 2020. I must say he did a really good job. He’s obviously a great champion. You don’t win the V8 Supercars champion twice without being an incredible driver. It’s expected for him to jump into anything and be fast and end up understanding the series. I’m as excited as you are. First of all, having champions come from other series for INDYCAR is really good. It just shows the interest. It just shows that the series is on the upward trend. I’m excited to see him come in, do a few races this year. I think he’s going to bring fresh for us blood, a new perspective. That could be very interesting for our development, as well. I’m looking forward to it. He’s a great guy, so far it’s been a great relationship starting. We’ll see how he goes. I hope he does well. I think it’s going to be awesome for us to gather more fans.”
Jimmie Johnson to Test for Arrow McLaren SP
Seven time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson had a sat fitting at the Arrow McLaren SP shop in Indianapolis today. He will test in the team’s Indycar next month at Barber Motorsports Park. There has been talk that Johnson would like to run some Indycar road and street course races in 2021 following his retirement from NASCAR after this season. He currently has made no commitments to running a race next year.
I think it would be amazing if Johnson and Fernando Alonso drove in the same race next season.
On the Way!
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway began mailing tickets for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 today. Receiving the blue envelope is one of the most exciting days of the year.