By: Spencer Neff
February 11, 2020|3:35 PM
After nearly five months away, the NTT IndyCar Series kicked off its 2020 preparations on Tuesday.
As was the case last year, the 3.41-mile, 20-turn Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas hosts the “Spring Training” for the series. Here is a recap of some of the headlines from the first of two days on track.
Following months of anticipation, rain put the proverbial damper on the opening test session for the day. From the beginning, testing was run under yellow-flag conditions. Because of the limitations, the first 45 minutes on-track were under the yellow.
Following the restricted running, the session was red-flagged. With track and ambient temperatures unable to reach the Firestone-required 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the checkered flag was thrown less than an hour later.
Due to the conditions and the pace restrictions, no drivers made laps at anything resembling race speed. Seven drivers recorded official times on the day – mostly install laps – and Josef Newgarden had the quickest in-and-out lap.
Included in day one’s bunch of notables was rookie Oliver Askew as well as V8 SuperCars champion Scott McLaughlin. While Askew will run the full schedule with Arrow McLaren SP, McLaughlin, a two-time V8 Supercars champion with Penske, is slated only for May 9’s GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
Alongside fellow Brazilian Sergio “Sette” Camara, Felipe Nasr is joining the IndyCar field for this week’s test as drivers in the No. 31 Chevrolet for Carlin. However, neither driver has been confirmed for any races at this time.
As was the case in Session 1, weather altered the on-track plans for session 2. Following a start delayed by more than 40 minutes, cars were on track for less than 20 minutes before the red flag was displayed yet again.
With team managers being called for a meeting, series officials opted to wave the checkered at around 2:52 pm local time.
During the truncated session, Ed Carpenter Racing rookie Rinus VeeKay logged the quickest time of the field.
As the 2019 Indy Lights runner-up prepares for his IndyCar debut next month, VeeKay notched a best lap of 2m41.8165 (75.864) – more than a minute off of Josef Newgarden’s lap of 1m48.6567 in first practice at COTA last March.
Aside from VeeKay, Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi, McLaughlin, Power, ECR teammate Conor Daly and Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh’s Alex Palou were the only drivers to record full installation lap times in Session 2.
Now that Day 1 has ended (albeit prematurely), teams will be hoping for better weather tomorrow.
Wednesday will see the second and final day of testing for the NTT IndyCar Series at Circuit of the Americas. There will be sessions from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1:00-5:00 p.m. local time.
As of this time, there have been reports that the series may opt to remain at COTA and use Thursday as another test day. Once the schedule for the rest of the week is released, we will provide updates on those prospects.
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Header Image By Chris Owens/INDYCAR Media