Quick Thoughts- GMR Race 2

First, I want to send best wishes to George and Susan Phillips as Susan begins her journey to recover from cancer. This issue hits me hard. I know they will be fine in the end. I’m glad I got to spend some time with them this weekend. they are such great people.

I though history might be made today. There was, but not the history I expected. The youngest front row in history. I’m sure someone has stats on this, but it may have been the youngest top 3 starters in history.

This was a day for the younger generation to shine. Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta on the front row  had less than two full years of experience between them, and third place starter Alex Palou is a rookie. The duel at the end between O’Ward and seconds year driver Felix Rosenqvist was compelling. Rosenqvist has been close to winning before. he nearly nipped Dixon at mid Ohio last year. This is probably the most patient race I’ve sen Rosenqvist drive.

It was an exciting finish to what was mostly a processional race. Two younger drivers, one Honda, one Chevy, battling in the closing laps, made for great drama..  I happened to be in the right spot at the right time at the end to catch the photos in this piece. The main photo is after.

Before:

RA 20 644

Scott Dixon didn’t go four for four on the season, but the Ganassi team did. The pit bobble bug hit Dixon today. His car didn’t seem to have the pace it had Saturday.

Colton Herta missed the pole, but he had his fourth top 10 and third top 5 of the season. Herta is now second in the point standings. Maybe the television crew could talk about him more than they talk about Ferrucci now?

I watched the replay of yesterday’s start. It seemed O’Ward brought the field to the line a little slow. that  usually leads to the cahos that occurred after the green flag. The restarts looked to be at the correct pace.

Alexander rossi finally got the result that everyone had expected to see all season. A series of unfortunate events has seen Rossi finishing at the bottom of the field. Third place must feel like a victory to him.

Charlie Kimball had a good weekend for A. J. Foyt Racing with an 11th on saturday and a 10th yesterday. Kimball could have a decent season. The team is showing more consistency this year.

I’m not sure what Will Power was doing at the start. It’s too bad NTT Indycar Series officials could only issue one penalty.  I think the penalty of going to the rear of the field is too light, especially when it is assessed that early in the race. It allowed Power to go off strategy and take the lead at one point. I think a drive through at least would be more appropriate.

All in all, it was great to be back at a race.

Safety Protocols

I saw a lot of social media concerns about what was seen on television and posts from the track about lack of social distancing and people not wearing masks. From what I observed, masks were not as prevalent as I expected. Some track personnel weren’t even wearing one. I had mine on when i was walking about, but took it off when I was with people I knew to safe. Some people I saw never wore one all weekend.

As for distancing, there were some large groups of people who seemed to be together both days. The track signage said family groups could be together. I assumed that meant living in the same household. Groups were bigger than that. the top of hill in utrn 5, the most popular viewing spot, was pretty packed on Saturday. yesterday the crowd was lighter and more spread out there. I watche d yesterday from turn 7. A decent amount of people, not a huge group by any means, spread out in their groups. Groups gave each other plenty of space.

The track did everything it could as far as signage and PA announcements. track personnel could not police the entire area. What Road America could have done is sell fewer tickets to this event. Compliance was left up to each individual. Sadly, many chose to not follow the protocols. I don’t believe the track is at fault. their efforts were commendable, but as i said, they couldn’t force anyone to follow their guidelines.

I’m interested to see how Iowa handles distancing in their grandstands next weekend. From what i saw, I just don’t see how IMS can hold the 500 next month. There will be more than three times as many people as there were at Road America. I don’t expect to see better compliance than I saw this weekend.

 

 

Dixon Goes for Sweep and History

Good morning from Road America as we prepare for race 2 of the GMR Grand Prix weekend.  I hope for another race as entertaining as yesterday’s was.

Today’s schedule: (All times Eastern)

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Scott Dixon could become the third driver in Indycar history to win 50 races. He now is within three of tying Mario Andretti for second place on the all time list. Dixon is also looking to win the first four races of the year.  Today could also be just the third time that a driver has swept a doubleheader weekend. Dixon did that in Toronto in 2013 and Graham Rahal won both days in Detroit in 2017.

Another three on the line today is whether Jack Harvey can get his third consecutive front row start. Harvey has started second for the last two races, but his fortunes in the races themselves have turned out well. He is in the second qualifying group today, which increases his chances for the pole.

Questions for the day- Will Conor Daly’s car be ready for qualifying? It was severely damaged in his contact with Pato O’Ward yesterday. Will Josef Newgarden bounce back from the pit bobble that cost him the win yesterday?  Will Team Penske win their fourth pole of the season.

Some fans yesterday respected the social distancing guidelines while many others didn’t seem to care. Road America would have been wise to perhaps sell fewer tickets to this event.  Masks are hit and miss. I did see more people wearing them yesterday. I will talk about this more tomorrow.

Enjoy the race, wash your hands, and wear your mask in public.

Quick Thoughts- GMR Grand Prix Race 1

We could see history tomorrow. Scott Dixon could win his 50th race. Only two other drivers have reached and surpassed that number.

The second half of the race was quite interesting. Newgarden’ s stall in the pits began to turn the race around. The yellows really made for an exciting finish.

What is going on with Team Penske pit stops? They have had problems e every race this year.  They aren’t the only team with pit issues, but the bar is much higher for them. I wonder if the compressed event schedules are contributing to the pit errors.

Drive of the day goes to Alex Palou. The rookie’s podium finish came after starting 14th, having a long pit stop, and making a nice pass on Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Colton Herta are not being mentioned much, but they are quietly having very good seasons. Herta is third in points and Hunter-Reay is sixth.

Today pretty much ends Alexander Rossi’s title hopes. It was his second straight finish in the twenties.

Conor Daly’s crew has a long night ahead of them repairing his car for tomorrow. Daly may skip qualifying and start last. His accident is the bad part of double headers. My concern is a car getting badly damaged next Friday in the first Iowa race. Would that team be done for the weekend?

After no cautions for two years, today’s race tried to make up for all that lost time. The three cautions came within seven laps of each other.

Turn five saw lots of passing and attempted passing, lots of tire smoke from locked brakes, and several near collisions.

I hoe tomorrow’s race, on NBC, is just as entertaining as today’s race was.

I will have just post tomorrow, in the morning. I will be driving back to Indianapolis as soon as tomorrow’s race is over. Thanks for following along this weekend.

The Day at Road America- New Things, Reunions, A Different Atmosphere

First, it was great to back at a race track. Watching cars speed by was good therapy. What I found even better was getting to see friends I would have seen months ago under normal circumstances. The world was right again for a day. In addition to the changes Road America has made for the fans’ health, there are also physical improvements to the facility.

The main photo is the new viewing terrace on the inside of Canada Corner. This four tier area should relieve some of the congestion on the trail. I tried it for a bit. It presents a nice view of a great corner.

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The biggest structural improvement is to the concession stand near the paddock. The area had been a crowded jumble of people, picnic tables, and golf cart parking confusion. Now, the entrance is elevated, the building remodeled, and carts can’t park right up to the dining area.

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The paddock had a different feel to it. It sat empty until about 4 pm when the transporters began arriving. Seeing the trucks pull in and lineup was exciting. It meant there will be racing tomorrow. The Honda teams are toward turn 14 and the Chevy teams are toward turn 1. Until the transporters arrived, it was sad seeing an empty expanse of concrete that normally is buzzing with activity.

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The crowd was small enough that fans could keep distance from each other. I expect a few more people the next two days. It was a smaller crowd than most days at Road America. Masks seemed to more prevalent this afternoon. I talked to some people who arrived later in the day. They did receive a mask and hand sanitizer. I think I enter a different gate tomorrow.

New Spotter Guides

Indycar has released a spotter’s guide for each race this weekend. The only car changing liveries is the 15 of Graham Rahal.  I will have those posted no later than tomorrow morning.

 

 

REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR Doubleheader Fast Facts

Race weekend: Saturday, July 11 – Sunday, July 12

Track: Road America, a 4.014-mile, 14-turn permanent road course (clockwise), in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Race distance: 55 laps / 220.77 miles (each race)

Media links: Race 1 Entry List | Race 2 Entry List | Trackside Book

Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

Firestone tire allotment: Nine sets primary, five sets alternate for use during the race weekend. Teams must use one set of primary and one set of alternate tires for at least two laps in the race.

Twitter: @RoadAmerica @IndyCar, #REVGROUPGP, #IndyCar

Event website: www.roadamerica.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2019 race winner: Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda)

2019 pole winner Colton Herta (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda), 1 minute, 42.9920 seconds, 140.306 mph

Qualifying record: Dario Franchitti, 1:39.866, 145.924 mph, Aug. 19, 2000

NBC/NBCSN telecasts: Race 1 Qualifying: 2:15 p.m. ET Saturday, NBCSN (live); Race 1: 5 p.m. ET Saturday, NBCSN (live). Race 2: Noon ET Sunday, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for NBC broadcasts alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.

NBC Sports Gold livestreaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton with Jake Query, Michael Young and Nick Yeoman in the turns. All NTT INDYCAR SERIES races are broadcast live on the INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 211, XM 205, IndyCar.com and on the INDYCAR MOBILE APP powered by NTT DATA. Live coverage of NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying is available on Sirius 211, XM 205, IndyCar.com, and the INDYCAR MOBILE APP.

At-track schedule (all times Eastern Time):
Saturday, July 11
11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, NBC Sports Gold
2:15 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (two groups), NBCSN (Live)
5 p.m. – NBCSN on air
5:08 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”
5:15 p.m. – REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR Race 1 (55 laps/220.77 miles), NBCSN (Live)

Sunday, July 12
9-9:30 a.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (two groups), NBC Sports Gold
Noon – NBC on air
12:35 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”
12:42 p.m. – REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR Race 2 (55 laps/220.77 miles), NBC (Live)

Road America Weekend Schedule

The schedule with broadcast times. Reminder- all times are Eastern. If you are going to the race, times are an hour earlier. Saturday’s race is on NBCSN, the first race of the year on that channel. Sunday’s race is on NBC.

Qualifying will follow the format used for the Detroit races. Two groups get 30 minutes each. The fastest driver in each group gets a point and is guaranteed a front row start. the faster of the two is on the pole. the other cars line up behind the leader of their group.

Thursday is reserved solely for the Road to Indy. USF 2000 and IndyPro 2000 each have practice, qualifying, and two races.

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Tire Choices for GMR Grand Prix

START CAR NO. DRIVER TIRE CHOICE
1 12 Will Power Alternate – Red
2 60 Jack Harvey Alternate – Red
3 88 Colton Herta Alternate – Red
4 15 Graham Rahal Alternate – Red
5 7 Oliver Askew Alternate – Red
6 1 Josef Newgarden Alternate – Red
7 9 Scott Dixon Primary – Black
8 20 Conor Daly Alternate – Red
9 10 Felix Rosenqvist Primary – Black
10 59 Max Chilton Alternate – Red
11 27 Alexander Rossi Alternate – Red
12 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Alternate – Red
13 5 Pato O’Ward Primary – Black
14 8 Marcus Ericsson Primary – Black
15 18 Santino Ferrucci Alternate – Red
16 45 Spencer Pigot Alternate – Red
17 30 Takuma Sato Primary – Black
18 21 Rinus VeeKay Primary – Black
19 29 James Hinchcliffe Primary – Black
20 22 Simon Pagenaud Primary – Black
21 55 Álex Palou Alternate – Red
22 26 Zach Veach Primary – Black
23 24 Sage Karam Alternate – Red
24 4 Charlie Kimball Primary – Black
25 98 Marco Andretti Primary – Black
26 14 Dalton Kellett Primary – Black

Dixon Fastest in Warm Up: Andretti Cars Struggle

Scott Dixon turned the quickest lap in this morning’s warmup for the GMR Grand Prix. Dixon’s best lap of 1:11.0771 came near the end of the 30 minute session. It was an adventure filled period for several cars. the escape roads in turns 1 and 12 saw a lot of traffic.

Five minutes into the session, Marco Andretti stalled. The issue was a CV joint which also gave the team problems yesterday. Alexander Rossi missed the first 10 minutes of the practice with fuel pressure issues. He finished seventh but complained of the rear of the car being loose.

With about two minutes to go Charlie Kimball slid in turn 10, briefly got into the grass, then got the car straightened out and continued. the track stayed green. Colton Herta had several issues with brakes locking up.

The top five:

Scott Dixon    1:11.0771

Josef Newgarden  1:11.2178

Ryan Hunter-Reay  1:11.2380

Graham Rahal  1:11.4352

Felix Rosenqvist  1:11.4380

Turn 12 could be a trouble spot in the race. The temperature should be at least 10 degrees warmer at race time. Back after the race.