NASCAR Nationwide cars racing on rain tires for third time in sport’s history

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ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin — For only the third time in NASCAR history, cars are racing on wet weather tires in Saturday afternoon’s Gardner Denver 200 at the Road America road course.

The 50-lap race around the 4.048-mile 13-turn track was brought under caution on Lap 25.

Drivers made two more laps around the track under caution before NASCAR officials mandated that all cars stop on pit road on Lap 27 and that installation of the so-called rain tires was mandatory, not an option.

The race remains under caution heading to Lap 28 and is expected to go green on Lap 29.

This is the third time NASCAR cars have raced on rain tires: the other two times were in Nationwide Series races in 2008 and 2010, both in Montreal.

UPDATE: The race is back underway with 22 laps left and Sam Hornish Jr. in the lead.

Alex Tagliani took the lead away from Hornish on the following lap and remains at the front of the field with 19 laps left in the race.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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