Racing lines, rubber, and rain on the agenda in Texas

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Racing lines, rubber, and rain on the agenda in Texas


Racing lines, rubber, and rain on the agenda in Texas


If all goes according to plan, the NTT IndyCar Series will complete its 250-lap PPG 375 race today at Texas Motor Speedway before rain begins to fall.

With last year’s event taking two hours and nine minutes to complete and a predicted start to rainfall approximately three hours after the original planned 11:15am Central start – the race start time has since been moved to 11:01 with the NBC broadcast set to begin at 11 – the series will hopefully avoid weather-related dramas.

Assuming teams will have all 250 laps at their disposal, drivers are expected to make use of the second lanes in Turns 1-2 and 3-4 at some point to create more passing opportunities after the entire field spent time on Saturday working Firestone rubber into the groove above the bottom lane.

“I think it’ll be better than it was last year,” Ed Carpenter told RACER. “I think there still needs to be some level of fall off – of tire deg(radation) – to really make it useful. But it’s definitely more usable if you need it. So that’s good. I think that the aero changes they made were the right call, and they’re still putting a margin in to keep it safe.”

With IndyCar and Dallara developing a revised aerodynamic package for Texas that offers an additional 250 pounds of downforce for those who elect to install all of the optional pieces, A.J. Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci is among the majority who believe the 28 entries will pile on all the downforce they can.

“I think everyone’s gonna be at 100 percent,” said Ferrucci, who starts 14th in the No. 14 Chevy. “I’m gonna take everything I can get.”

Carpenter, who lines up 18th in the No. 33 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy, agrees with his Bowtie stablemate.”

“I don’t think anyone’s not going to run everything available,” he added.

One factor that will present an early adjustment period is found with the overnight NASCAR Craftsman Trucks race at TMS. Having applied Goodyear rubber over IndyCar’s Firestone rubber, it will take a few laps before optimum grip is available to polesitter Felix Rosenqvist and the rest of his rivals.

“It definitely makes for a different balance,” Carpenter added. “That’s the sad part after the high-line session we just did. It starts over a little bit in the race, but it’ll go away quick.”

The notoriously brave Ferrucci has no concerns about the rubber mismatch to start the race.

“Honestly, I don’t think the Goodyear rubber is going to hurt us at all,” he said. “So I don’t see it hurting us at all, but it won’t be a two-lane race the whole time, by any means. But you can definitely get up there and set up a pass if you have a run.

“I was pretty uncomfortable for most of that final session, but we made a change in the last five minutes and found the race car. So I wasn’t comfortable and wasn’t working the second groove for a while in that final practice, but I’m excited to go back out there in the race and give it a try.”