Kyle Kaiser: Indy GP Recap
After a step backwards in Barber from the great start to the season we were having, I was looking to regain some momentum this weekend with strong points finishes to keep us in contention for the championship. Last year as a team we struggled to find a good setup at this track, so we knew there would be some catching up in order to bring home the results we needed.
Our first day on track was a test day on Wednesday, which included two hour-long sessions at 11:30AM and 4:30PM. As expected, the car set up wasn’t quite where it needed to be coming off the trailer, but we had a lot of track time to work on different set ups and try to find something to gain an advantage on the competitors. In the first session we ended up 4th overall, but still 0.5 seconds slower than the fastest car. The gap remained relatively the same for the second session finishing 5th overall. Going into the first official practice day of the race weekend we decided to change the way we ran our practices due to the hotter conditions.
Our first practice was Thursday afternoon, and the track was low grip because it had rained the night before and the temperature was extremely hot. With the hot track temps we struggled to find grip and still found ourselves lacking the pace to challenge up front. Going into the second practice session later that day, we made some big changes to the setup. With bad weather approaching, it was important to get a good lap in while the track was still dry to get a feel for the changed setup. Most cars only got about 5 laps in dry conditions, but for those 5 laps we were quickest in the session. So even though we still were slightly behind the fastest cars, there was more confidence going into qualifying the next day.
Qualifying was longer than usual, so we decided to start on a used set of tires to get a feel for the conditions, and then run 2 sets of sticker tires for the remaining time. On the first set of stickers I had made a mistake on cold tires, so we missed the peak of the tire, but the car felt better than it had all weekend, so I knew there was potential on the last set of tires. When we went to the last set of tires time was expiring and we had to get out by a certain time, so when I was sent out I was put in front of a car on their hot lap. With time expiring and multiple cars behind that car, it would’ve ruined my qualifier if I had pulled aside to let them pass because I would have been stuck e been _wasa, wp- gp.jp=2of tires apprrstake e cars e .a the -pas