IndyCar: Saturday Morning Report from Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey

Good morning from the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course built on California’s beautiful central coast, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.  The track is built on part of the US Army’s Fort Ord and is owned by Monterey County.

Today’s weather should be in the high 70s and sunny.  Do you remember the song, It never rains in California?  This weekend should prove that true.

Yesterday’s 75-minute practice session ended up with Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden being the fastest.  The American driver did not feel they used all the speed in the car during this session.

” I didn’t even really put together my best lap, and I’m sure that was the case for the majority of the field. It’s always hard to read off the first session. I think we’ll tighten up tomorrow.”

“But just the early read is good. I felt like we made really good use of our short time that we had today and short set of tires that we had. We didn’t have a lot to work off of. ”


Dixon                   Penske Entertainment by James Black

Scott Dixon, the Chip Ganassi driver of the no 9 PNC Bank entry, is tied with Newgarden for second in the championship.  He was not anywhere near the front of the field at the end of the practice session.

“We came with a pretty different setup than what we did at the test.  We wanted to try a few different things.  We could see that the 8 car already backed up on some of those, so it looked like he moved in a positive direction.”

“Still, all of us outside the top 10 is not ideal.  We’ll work out of here and see make what we can make out of it.  It is going to be a pretty high degradation race.”

In fact, the six-time champion talked yesterday about the tire deg being really bad and that he thought we might see five pit stops during the race and some pretty crazy strategies.


Johnson                Penske Entertainment by James Black

Dixon’s teammate and seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champ, Jimmie Johnson, talked about making his plans for the 2023 season to the media.  Johnson confirmed that Carvana, his primary sponsor, is going to continue to sponsor him next year.

But for the first time this season, Johnson was not saying he wanted to continue in the NTT INDYCAR Series like he was a few weeks ago.  Johnson stated that he was going to take some time off and then decide what next year will hold.

Today’s 60-minute practice session is scheduled for 10:15 am local time.  The Firestone Fast Six Qualifying is scheduled for 2:05 pm local time, 5:05pm ET.

AR1 will continue to update you throughout the day.

Lucille Dust reporting live from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca


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