It’s Race Day

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:

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Notes

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.

 

 

Today’s GMR Grand Prix Schedule

Good morning from my Pandemic Media Center nine miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Today’s schedule for Indycar practice and qualifying: (All Times Eastern)

11:30-1:00   Practice    NBC Gold

4:30-6:00      Qualifying    NBCSN

Times given are broadcast windows.

A few other notes:

Gary Trout, co-owner of Top Gun Racing, has announced the team will attempt to run in this year’s Indianapolis 500 and two other races. Earlier this week the team said they would wait until 2021. Top Gun plans to have R C Enerson drive in the 500, the Harvest grand Prix at IMS, and the season finale at St. Petersburg.

The 26 entries for this weekend’s race is a record number for this event. Had the race run on its original date there may have ben as many as 30 cars taking the gren flag. The most notable absence is Scott McLaughlin. The two time Australian Supercars champion looked to make his Indycar debut in this race for Team Penske, but the quarantine and pandemic have delayed his first race in the series until 2021.

I will be back after practice with a summary before qualifying.

 

GMR Grand Prix Fast Facts

From Indycar:

Race weekend: Friday, July 3 – Saturday, July 4

Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course (clockwise)

Race distance: 80 laps / 195.12 miles

Media Links: Entry List (PDF) | Trackside Book (Interactive PDF)

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

Firestone tire allotment: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate (Note: An eighth set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie driver.)

Twitter: @IMS @IndyCar, #INDYGP, #IndyCar

Event website:www.ims.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2019 race winner: Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet)

2019 NTT P1 Award winner: Felix Rosenqvist (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda), 1:08.2785, 128.597 mph

Qualifying lap record: Will Power, 1:07.7044, 129.687 mph, May 12, 2017 (Set in Round 3 of knockout qualifying)

NBC Sports telecasts: Qualifying, 4:30 p.m. ET Friday, July 3, NBCSN (live); Race, noon ET Saturday, July 4, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey will be the play-by-play announcer for NBC’s telecast of the GMR Grand Prix alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. The GMR Grand Prix race airs live on network affiliates, Sirius 211, XM 205, IndyCar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying are available on IndyCar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.

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 live streaming product.

At-track schedule (all times local):
Friday, July 3
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, NBC Sports Gold

4:30 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of NTT INDYCAR SERIES knockout qualifications), NBCSN (Live)

Saturday, July 4

9-9:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, NBC Sports Gold

Noon – NBC on air

12:01 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”
12:08 p.m. – GMR Grand Prix (80 laps/195.12 miles), NBC (Live)

Road America Official Announcement on Fan Attendance

From Indycar:

If you are planning to attend Road America, there is some important information in this announcement.

INDYCAR to Welcome Fans
for July 9-12 Race Weekend at Road America

INDIANAPOLIS (June 25, 2020) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will welcome fans back to the track for the first time in 2020 on July 9-12 at Road America for the REV Group Grand Prix presented by American Medical Response doubleheader race weekend.

Under the guidance of public health officials, medical experts and local, state and federal authorities, INDYCAR and Road America will observe safe social distancing practices and provide enhanced hygiene and safety precautions for all fans attending the event.

All guests will be screened in their vehicles with contactless temperature checks before entering the parking areas, and only essential racing personnel will have access to the INDYCAR paddock. A PPE kit that includes a face mask as well as hand sanitizer will be provided to each guest upon arrival to the track.

Fans are encouraged to practice safe social distancing and wear a cloth face-covering where social distancing is difficult to maintain. Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures will also be implemented throughout the facility during the weekend. Guests are encouraged to print their tickets at home to have a contactless experience at the gates and easier entry. Additional protocols and guidelines for spectators can be found at www.roadamerica.com/safety.

The race weekend will feature two full points races for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on back-to-back days – July 11 and 12 – as part of the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR. The weekend schedule will also be bolstered by two junior development series of the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, the Indy Pro 2000, and USF2000, of which many drivers of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES are graduates.

Fans have three quick, convenient methods to buy tickets:

Online: Visit www.roadamerica.com Tickets are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Print your tickets to save time and enjoy a contactless experience at the gates.

Phone: Call 800-365-RACE or 920-892-4576 between 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday.

In-Person: Visit the Road America Ticket Office at the Road America Administration Building off of State Highway 67 (Gate 6) between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday.

Gates open at 7 a.m. and races run rain or shine. For more information, call 800-365-RACE (7223) or visit www.roadamerica.com

Anyone 16 years old and under is always FREE with a paying adult at the gate.

All active-duty first responders will receive FREE entry to the REV Group Grand Prix presented by American Medical Response weekend. First responders, including law enforcement, fire, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians, will be admitted free of charge by showing valid identification indicating active service in the form of a department-issued ID, badge, copies of certifications or an active roster copy from their department on department letterhead. FREE admission must be redeemed at the gate and is only valid during the event weekend.

About INDYCAR:
INDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based governing body for North America’s premier open-wheel auto racing series known as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The series features an international field of the world’s most versatile drivers – including five-time series champion Scott Dixon, reigning series champion Josef Newgarden and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud – who compete on superspeedways, short ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses. The season, which runs from June to October, currently consists of 14 races in the United States and is highlighted by the historic Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, which is annually run in May, but rescheduled for August at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions are owned by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit www.indycar.com.

Schedule Set for GMR Grand Prix

The on track schedule is now in place for the NTT Indycar Series second race of the season. The GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will run July 4 as part of the first NASCAR/Indycar doubleheader. Advertising is now calling it a triple header because of the Xfinity race on July 4 as well. If Indy Lights were also part of the program would they bill it as a quadruple header? I don’t think so. From my perspective, it’s still a doubleheader.

The Indycar on track schedule:

Friday, July 3

11:30 am- Practice

4:30 pm- Qualifying   NBC

July 4

9 am- Warm up

Noon- Race  NBC

Green flag around 12:15

I assume the practice and warmup will be available on NBC Gold.

I’ll be back later today with  comments on some Indycar news of this week.

Television Times and Channels for July NTT Indycar Series Races

As the Indycar series ramps up for its first set of races- Five races in 15 days, NBC Sports now has set coverage times and channels. There will be no fans at the GMR Grand Prix. Road America and Iowa will have fans in attendance.

Iowa will put 6,00 tickets on sale this coming Friday at 10 am ET. I kindly request that you wait until I have purchased mine before you get online. Thanks in advance.

The schedule:

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Quick Thoughts- Genesys 300

Nice that NBC acknowledged what is going on in the country at the start of the broadcast.

It was a race. It was a nice distraction from everything else happening in the world. We got through it. Not the best race ever, but drama was beginning to build near the end. Rosenqvist made a poor decision to pass when he did.

Scott Dixon now has a chance to get his 50th career win this season. I hope it comes at a race where fans are allowed.

I was surprised there weren’t more cautions. VeeKay and Palou’s accident I thought would be the first of rookie accidents all night.

This was probably not the best race to showcase on NBC.

Passing seemed to improve as the night wore on. I hope that high part of the track can be improved for next year.

A 5-7 lap window to require tire changes might have put more strategy into the race. There was mor strategy than i expected with the yellows and teams deciding to pit early. Thanks to NBC for keeping track of tire laps on screen.

Solid runs for Veach, Carpenter, Daly, Askew, and Kanaan.

Kimball lost what would have been a terrific debut for A. J. Foyt Racing. It was nice to see the Foyt cars competitive.

Ryan Hunter-Reay had an amazing run recovering from the issues at the start to finish eighth and on the lead lap.

Conor Daly is the best thing that has happened to Carlin racing since they entered Indycar.

Oliver Askew is exactly what I thought- patient and steady. It was a great job for a rookie at Texas to move up 11 places.

I can’t remember seeing so many cars have issues on the grid before engines fired.

Pit crews were rusty from the layoff, but they will get back into form next month.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some more detailed thoughts. I’m just glad that there was a live race to watch, it was a safe night, and that we all had a taste of the normal for a few hours today.

Thanks for following along today.

 

 

Newgarden On Pole for Genesys 300

Josef Newgarden nipped Scott Dixon for the pole for tonight’s Genesys 300. Newgarden, the final qualifier, averaged 215.740 to beat Dixon by 0.03 seconds.

Takuma Sato crashed during his qualifying run. He will likely start in his backup car.Rinus VeeKay, who had crash in practice, did make an attempt. Neither did Santino Ferrucci. A statement from Dale Coyne Racing said the car didn’t feel right.

Starting grid will be up in a few months minutes.

Dixon Leads Practice; Tough Day for ECR

Scott Dixon moved to the top of the speed chart with two minutes left in the two hour practice session for tonight’s Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. The session in very warm temperatures was interrupted three times for incidents. Two of the stoppages were caused by cars from Ed Carpenter Racing.

About 15 minutes into practice rookie Rinus Veekay drove too far below the white line in turn 2 and crashed hard into the outside wall. The car suffered heavy left side damage, including the gearbox. The crew is trying to get the car ready for qualifying at 5 pm Eastern time. they may use some parts with Air force branding from Conor Daly’s road course car.

With about an hour left, Ed Carpenter spun on the exit of turn 4. He made very light contact with the wall and punctured a rear tire. Carpenter complained of understeer just before the spin.

Two minutes after practice resumed, Ryan Hunter-Reay crashed in turn 2. There was some damage to the car, but it should be ready for qualifying.

Hondas dominated the session, at one time holding the first six spots. Three Andretti Autosport drivers, Marco Andretti, Zach Veach, and Colton Herta, swapped the lead for about 15 minutes. With two minutes left in the session, Scott Dixon  moved to the top with a lap of 215.995 and held on until the checkered flag.

The top 12:

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Notes

A big concern for tonight’s race is the dark sections of the track where a traction compound was put down for the NASCAR race. There is no grip in that area and drivers had a difficult time holding on if they got too much of their car in it. I hope this doesn’t cause the race to be a single groove processional show.

Tony Kanaan’s 7-11 car looks amazing.

Pato O’Ward had the quickest Chevrolet and third fastest in the session.

Five teams had drivers in the top 10.

It was nice to see Charlie Kimball in a Foyt entry finish 11th.

Three Andretti drivers were in the top 10. Alexander Rossi and Hunter-Reay were not two of the three.

The six newest drivers in the field have an average age of 21 years, 4 months. All are in their first or second year in the series. The full field average is just over thirty years,  Kanaan and Takuma Sato raise it to that level.

Race preview from yesterday:

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