Saturday Morning update from Watkins Glen (Update)

Staying with Indy Lights for 2018
Staying with Indy Lights for 2018

UPDATE An update on the conditions here at the Glen before IndyCar qualifying. The sun has been out and the temperature did reach 70 degrees an hour ago. The dark clouds are moving in now but should not effect today's qualifying. There have been some rain tires mounted in the last two hours just in case we get some drops during the next session.

We did a heap of interviews in the last hour. Look for the videos to be on the site soon. Interesting content regarding the new aero kit testing, team announcements and a review of the new Firestone rain tires.

We also spoke with George Steinbrenner IV, co owner of Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing, as his team was heading out for the last qualifying session for 2017 for the Indy Lights series. Colton Herta is the driver for his team and we asked Steinbrenner what the plans are for next year. Steinbrenner replied, "I think Colton needs to be in Indy Lights for another year before moving up to IndyCars. Herta will probably finished 2nd in the championship this year. We will see what happens after next year."

IndyCar qualifying will start at 3 pm.

Rahal was fastest Friday morning, and Dixon fastest in the afternoon
Rahal was fastest Friday morning, and Dixon fastest in the afternoon


Good morning from scenic Watkins Glen. Mother Nature is not being kind to us this weekend since this morning is only 45 degrees but sunny. It is expected to warm up to 70 degrees later today which will make qualifying interesting this afternoon after running in the cooler temperatures yesterday. The weather does not look dry for race day tomorrow. The forecast for rain starts early morning with a small opening around race time before the thunderstorms roll in.

A year after pacing every practice session, winning the pole position and leading 50 of 60 laps on his way to victory, Dixon topped the end-of-day speed chart on the iconic road course. The driver of the No. 9 NTT Data Honda sped around the 11-turn, 3.37-mile circuit in 1 minute, 22.6187 seconds (146.843 mph) – less than a tenth of a second off the track record he set in capturing the Verizon P1 Award in qualifying in 2016.

Photos from Friday

Dixon commented on how his tires were reacting yesterday with the cooler temperatures. "We had a really strong car. We only ran one set of tires. On our quickest two laps we had a bit of traffic, didn't get to show the potential. Car was really good on blacks. We changed a couple things when we went to the reds. I think we missed the balance there. I was on a lap to equal our black time, but not as good as maybe some of the others on the reds. Little bit of work to do there for the weekend."

"Actually, surprisingly the tires come up really quickly. I was surprised going out this morning, and I know a couple of the teammates, too, were talking about it. But, yeah, it was surprisingly grippy right out of the box. I don't know whether it's just the natural grip that the new seal has. But, yeah, the tires come extremely quick. You're not far off in your first or second time. You're pretty close. So they come in real fast."

"Expect the competition to be tough tomorrow. But the tires are always changing. Everything is always evolving. The basic setup that the team brings here works well with my driving style and definitely well with the track."

Watkins Glen is located on the southern tip of Seneca Lake, the largest of the eleven long and narrow Finger Lakes. The track hosted a Formula One race from 1961-1980, but has recently held events for the World Sportscar Championship, Trans-Am, Can-Am, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the International Motor Sports Association and the IndyCar Series. In 1948 to 1952, the races were run on the public roads in the village. The permanent road course was built in 1956.

IndyCars have a practice session this morning at 10:30 am with qualifying at 3 pm this afternoon.

We will update you during the day….

Lucille Dust reporting live from Watkins Glen

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