We spoke with the drivers after qualifying yesterday to get their take of racing under the lights and if they thought we would have incidents due to the cooler temperatures.
Simon Pagenaud, driving the number 1 entry for Team Penske with Menards sponsorship this weekend, shared his thoughts. "The track will be faster with the sun down. I think the race will be very competitive and a very fast pace. Everyone will have to have complete focus and that’s not always the easiest thing. It’s not like Pocono where there are some long straights to take a little break. Turning 24-second laps is pretty quick, but we’re definitely looking forward to going for a win like we had at Phoenix."
Will Power, the Team Penske number 12 entry and polesitter for the race, had this to say, "we will just have to be smart during the race and see how it plays out. It will be good if we stay up there with our teammates and get a couple of other Chevys in the mix. You never know in these races. Just be smart, have good pit stops and no mistakes."
Josef Newgarden, the Team Penske driver who is leading the close championship points going into this race, added his thoughts on what would be involved with the night race. "No difference in concentration. I think preparation is different. Nigh time is cooler, track is cooler, so we're going to run different stuff than what we would run at 3:00 in the afternoon in the full heat. From that standpoint it'll be different, but I don't think from a concentration standpoint it'll be different, though."
"I've been sleeping in and waking up late for this race just because it's an hour behind Charlotte and it's also going to be starting around 9:00. I think it's 8:30 or 8:45. You don't want to be tired at that point, so I've been staying up more this week."
Scott Dixon, the Ganassi Racing driver who is second in the points race, was confident about his race car handling the racing conditions. "The hardest part will be to work out how much you can trim. The straight is extremely long because it is really from the exit of two back to turn one. So that is a big difference. The gain that you get down the straights is a lot more hence why the Hondas are struggling so much because of the drag that we have. So it going to be a race of just trying to get best in class."
The Indy Lights drivers, who raced this evening at 6 pm, have noted that turn one is starting to slid up higher with the rubber on the track. It is still a one lane turn, which will make both races interesting tonight.
We will update you through the afternoon.
Lucille Dust and Tim Wohlford reporting live from Gateway Motorsports Park