IndyCar: Sunday Morning Report from the Acura GP of Long Beach

Good morning on race day in sunny Long Beach, California where the crowds are gathering for the Acura GP of Long Beach IndyCar race.

The temperatures today will be in the middle 60s, the coolest they have been all weekend.  We definitely saw the track change this weekend from 95 degrees on Friday to 70 degrees on Saturday.

Polesitter and defending race winner Colton Herta, the Andretti Autosport driver who grew up attending this race with his father since he was a baby, talked about the track conditions yesterday.

“Yeah, I mean, just the car when you went out this morning felt completely different. The steering, the kickback, the heaviness of the wheel, completely changed from Friday, which is bizarre. I never really felt that in first practice anywhere in an INDYCAR, let alone a street circuit. It was very weird. But, yeah, the track temp also came down a bunch, which is the biggest thing. We had a little bit more cloud cover today and track temp was down tremendously from yesterday.”

Rookie Tatiana Calderon    Note the sealant and rubbered in Long Beach asphalt.      Photo courtesy of Penske Entertainment – Chris Jones

One factor causing issues is the mysterious sealant on the race track.  Since this course is built just for this race using city streets, how did this sealant get on the track?  Was it planned to make the racing better?  AR1 heard INDYCAR and IMSA drivers all talk about the extra grippy track due to this sealant,  which was a surprise on Friday with the sweltering temperatures.

Firestone Tire Change

AR1 spoke with a Firestone representative this weekend about the change in the construction of tires for street and road courses.  Instead of making the tire to different for each type of surface we are racing on, there will be one tire for all the street courses and another tire for all the road courses this season.  And the alternative (red) tire will be a softer compound and will be the same tire all season.

This makes some of the NTT INDYCAR Series drivers very happy.  It gives the rookies one less thing they have to master when coming into the series and dealing with all the new differences from other series they had been driving in.


Scott McLaughlin.      Photo by Penske Entertainment: Joe Skibinski

Scott Mclaughlin, driver of the no 3 Snap-on Team Penske entry, was pleased when we talked about the tire change.  “That is music to my ears.  Definitely the hard thing last year was learning the different compounds on the street course and then the road courses.  It makes sense that we should keep it the same.  Interesting how the alternative tires come in within one lap.”

Will Power, driver of the number 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske entry, added his thoughts about the tires.  “I like this much better.  It is more suited to our cars.  I like it more when just have to do one lap and put it all together quickly.”

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the no 48 Carvana Ganassi Racing entry, had this to say about the tire topic.  “I will say what we saw in St Pete with the red tires, was they fell off quickly and then you have to change to the primary tires.”

The morning warmup is scheduled for 9 am PT. The pre-race show on NBC will start at Noon local time.

Stay tuned for further updates …..


Lucille Dust reporting live from Long Beach


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