Rain makes guessing critical

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:44 PM ET

It wasn’t that it was raining. IndyCar runs in the rain.

It’s that the rain wouldn’t go away once it came down.

Standing water was the reason the qualifying sessions were wiped out Friday.

Nobody ran a lap in either Indy Lights or IndyCar itself.

And the teams knew early by the weather reports that they weren’t likely to run a lot of laps.

Craig Hampson, senior engineer for Newman/Haas, who has been here for all seven Edmonton Indy events, said when they got out of bed in the morning, all they wanted out of the day was a chance to take a couple of laps.

“We didn’t believe going around in the rain would really help us. All we’d hoped for was to go out and do a recognizance lap with the car, make sure it shifts, make sure it doesn’t leak and call it a day."

“With no practice at all in the dry and then qualifying in the dry, it means you need your simulations and your initial set-up guesses and initial gear selection was correct, because you get one shot at it. One of the limitations is that we only get five sets of rain tires per weekend. If you had a weekend that was completely wet, five sets of tires isn’t nearly enough, so you end up saving them for qualifying and saving them for the race to be safe."

Newman/Haas admits they’ve been surprised by what they’ve seen with their track recognizance without turning a wheel.

“It isn’t what we expected; we expected it to be bumpier but it has fresh asphalt in a lot of places and they really did a nice job. Generally I’d say it is smoother and therefore will be a little faster. Turn 1 is really narrow. It’s a wide straightaway, funneling down to a very narrow exit so the double-wide restarts and the start are going to be extremely interesting trying to funnel people through there, particularly if someone is coming out of pit lane at the same time. Then you are going through three-wide through there!

“The other thing is that there are white lines painted around the track, particularly in the Turns 10, 11, 12 area but those white lines are optional. You can drive across them, so I think you will see cars take some interesting lines through that sequence and probably some of the corners will be faster than initially anticipated.”


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