It is race day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The atmosphere is not anything like the buzz on race day at the end of May. It is very quiet even though the gates are open for the public and we have an 8:15 am ET warmup for the NTT INDYCAR Series this morning.
The weather has been so pleasant the last few days. Temperatures are expected to be in the low 80s again today with plenty of sunshine for the 85-lap Gallagher Grand Prix starting at 12:20 pm,
Qualifying yesterday was quite interesting with some of the drivers in the points lead not getting up to the front of the grid. Marcus Ericsson, driver of the number 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing entry, had an issue during the first session of qualifying and it starting at the end of the field today.
Alex Palou, driver of the number 10 American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing entry, had the best qualifying time of the team of tenth while his teammate Scott Dixon, driver of the number 9 PNC Bank entry, ended up in 20th.
This is expected to be an alternative (red) tire race, using more red tires than the primary black ones. Some of the drivers had a bit to say about the Firestone alternative tires yesterday after qualifying.
Colton Herta, driver of the number 26 Gainbridge Andretti Autosport w/Curb-Agajanian, was not pleased with his starting spot of ninth. Herta won the rainy Grand Prix here in May.
“These last two years, the Firestone tires have been so inconsistent. We go out with one balance, don’t change the car at all. We change tires, go out the next time and it is incredibly different. Everyone has had problems with this the last year and a half.”
“It is so frustrating; when you have a good car. It is not the car, the car is fine. It is not the car’s fault. And then you have inconsistent tires. It sucks.”
“You are locking up rears and it is super loose. I am pretty frustrated about it.”
“It is not terrible. Rossi is right up there and we were just as fast as him. We should have been in there.”
Conor Daly, driver of the number 20 BitNile Ed Carpenter Racing entry, is starting tenth after having the same issue Herta experienced.
“There is a bit of red tire inconsistency. Like you put on another new set of red tires and the balance is completely different. We have seen that a couple of times this year, and a couple of times with the black tires too.”
“Firestone is a great tire partner but there are just some odd inconsistencies. I don’t know whether it is the weight of the car now.”
Alexander Rossi, driver of the number 27 NAPA Auto Parts/AutoNation Andretti Autosport entry, qualified second. The American also talked about the red tires after his run.
When asked about the red inconsistencies, Rossi replied, “I think we all at one point unfortunately will get burned by it at one point in the year. ”
“Yeah. I mean, it is a thing. It does exist. It’s frustrating for sure when it happens.”
“Firestone for the most part does a very good job, but there certainly has been inconsistencies that have popped up, especially on the red tire, I think for the past couple of years.”
We will be watching how the reds tires do in the early afternoon race today.
Lucille Dust reporting live from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway