Last year, it was IndyCar’s lack of E85 ethanol fuel that kept teams out of the track for a few hours during a private test at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and this year it’s It was the absence of another critical component – the tires – that left 13 drivers sitting idle for most of the morning in Monterey.
Once the truck with all new Firestone tires for use by Andretti Autosport, Arrow McLaren SP, Chip Ganassi Racing, Dale Coyne Racing, Juncos Hollinger and Racing Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing arrived the quick fitment began and after a quick lunch break from 11am to 11.30am the peloton of 13 riders set off on the 2.2 mile road course and raced until 7pm
CGR’s Scott Dixon set the first standard, and by mid-afternoon, AMSP’s Felix Rosenqvist was atop the time chart. He held the spot for most of the day until CGR’s Alex Palou set the fastest lap towards the end of the test.
“So we started really well, Scott and I, and we were super comfortable with our cars,” Palou told RACER. “Then we went through the middle phase of the day where the track wasn’t so good and we tested a bunch of stuff; some worked, some didn’t. And in the end we were left with good tires. so we had a good time and I was happy with the balance of the car.
“We didn’t expect the track to say yes to extending the test to 7 p.m. so we did a lot of laps – I did, like, 100. So we’re ready to race here and I also think we learned some good things.” for Portland. They are really different tracks, but there are always things you can take from Laguna to Portland. It’s always nice to be fast in a test before the last two races of the year.
RLL’s Christian Lundgaard got things going as one of the early venturers and the Rookie of the Year leader quickly buckled his #30 Honda out of Turn 11. was immediately remedied with a burst of power that lit up the rear tires and spun the car the right way. Apart from a few innocuous stops, CGR’s Marcus Ericsson was the only driver to crash.
The championship contender went off in turn 6 and broke the left rear suspension and rear wing assembly. After losing around three hours for necessary repairs on his #8 Honda, Ericsson came back for the final 90 minutes of testing and moved up to fifth in the 67e of the 69 laps he covered that day.
Similar to Ericsson, Andretti’s Devlin DeFrancesco had a late lap that was good enough for seventh with 15 minutes left, but was demoted to eighth when the Indy 500 jumped to fifth moments later. .
Next on the schedule is a late Friday afternoon practice in Portland as the penultimate round of the season gets underway in Oregon.
1: Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, 1m11.440s
2: Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP Chevy, 1m11.677s
3: Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevy, 1m11.710s
4: Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, 1m11.801s
5: Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, 1m11.824s
6: David Malukas, Dale Coyne Racing Honda, 1m11.893s
7: Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, 1m11.967s
8: Devin DeFrancesco, Andretti Autosport Honda, 1m11.999s
9: Callum Ilott, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevy, 1m12.011s
10: Jack Harvey, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, 1m12.061s
11: Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, 1m12.299s
12: Takuma Sato, Dale Coyne Racing Honda, 1m12.531s
13: Jimmie Johnson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, 1m13.449s
—Marshall Pruett (@marshallpruett) August 29, 2022