AVOID TIRE TURMOIL
Ever since an aerodynamic package with lower downforce was introduced at Texas Motor Speedway a few years ago, tire management has become vital to success at this track. Tonight, teams will have the option to run as much as 300 extra pounds of downforce on their cars, which could help somewhat with degradation problems. But taking care of the rubber throughout a fuel run will still be important for the drivers.
Yes, Team Penske’s got the mojo after Detroit and one of those Motor City winners, Will Power, is on pole. But three of the four Chip Ganassi Racing guys – Tony Kanaan (starting third), Scott Dixon (seventh), and Ryan Briscoe (13th) – have been excellent in practice heading into tonight. And let’s not forget Charlie Kimball, who’s coming off a podium finish in Detroit Dual 2 and has proven he can hold his own on high-speed ovals like Texas.
Considering the nature of racing at Texas, you’d figure that rookies such as Carlos Munoz, Mikhail Aleshin and Jack Hawksworth – all of them blessed with heavy right feet – are willing to let it all hang out on the high banks. But that pesky tire management thing could blunt their progress if they’re not careful. Watch and see if these guys can keep their youthful aggression in check.
GIMME 20 MORE!
Tonight’s race has been increased to a distance of 600 kilometers from the previous 550, which works out to 20 extra laps around TMS (248 in total). Could that have an impact on tire and fuel strategies toward the end?