If a high line is going to be fully established for use ahead of Saturday night’s Verizon IndyCar Series event at ISM Raceway, it might take more than the “Tire Dragon” to coat a second lane with Firestone rubber.
“I checked it on my out lap and it was definitely better,” Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud told RACER after topping the first practice session. “How much you’ll run up there at the moment is really complicated. But I don’t know if there’s enough banking to do it. They’ve done a good job with the Tire Dragon to add rubber. I could see some people in Turns 3 and 4 running the middle groove, so that’s already a positive thing.”
Pagenaud’s teammate Josef Newgarden said the opening session was not the right time to go exploring the high line.
“It was all qualifying work for us, and I think that’s the case for most teams, honestly,” he added. “We know it’s up there, but the answers people are looking for won’t come until tonight.”
As the defending race winner, Pagenaud hopes most of the field ventures above the yellow line at the bottom of the track and works more rubber into the second lane.
“Unless people start running up there, it’s going to be difficult to use,” he said. “After we get through qualifying, we’ll have a better feel for what’s there.”