In a session with cool temperatures and a clean track, the NTT IndyCar Series drivers lapped close to last night’s qualifying pace in the half-hour warm-up session for today’s Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix on the the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. In the end it was last week’s hero, Marcus Ericsson, who set the pace with a lap of 1m11.371s in the No. Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, a scant 0.19s ahead of Alexander Rossi’s No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda and a couple tenths up on Josef Newgarden in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevy. Ericsson’s speed was encouraging for the Swede after his 11th-place showing last night.
“We were not super happy with qualifying, the balance kind of got away from us,” admitted Ericsson, “but we made some changes overnight and that really put trhe car more in the window for me.”
The session results might not mean a lot for this afternoon’s race, given that NASCAR Xfinity Series qualifying and Cup Series practice will put a lot of Goodear rubber on the 2.49-mile, 14-turn Indy road course before the open-wheelers return to action, but Ericsson reckons the race might provide some openings for surprises like his own improbable charge to victory on he streets of Nashville last week.
“I have a feeling there will be a bit more cautions than normal, just because there re so many cars out there and it’s a short lap, so there’s going to be quite a lot of things going on out there,” he noted. “So I’m expecting a bit more — hopefully not nine cautions like last week, but I think it’s going to mix it up. But at the end of the day you have to have the speed in the car to move forward and we qualified 11th, so we definitely have some overtaking to do; but we’re pretty good at that so let’s see how far we can get up.”
UP NEXT: Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN