NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Simon Pagenaud hit Nashville, took a take a look at the 24/7 wild instances and questioned how on earth he missed Music Metropolis all his life.
“I really like meals, I really like partying, I really like music. So I don’t perceive the place I’ve been,” the Workforce Penske Frenchman stated. “I’m going to come back again on an off weekend, I promise you that.”
Sure, the bars had been packed earlier than brunch, however guess what? So the place the pit lane suites, and the makeshift grandstands had been largely stuffed with followers all to catch a glimpse of the quickest newcomers on the Nashville scene.
Sizzling hen and scorching laps now go hand-in-hand in Nashville when IndyCar made its road course debut Friday over the water, across the NFL stadium, and up the hill 50 ft within the downtown part. The dwell music that’s a staple within the metropolis discovered its method to a stage arrange simply exterior the third flip — of the two.17-mile, 11-turn observe — and the meals vehicles and beer carts had been bustling close to the house of the Tennessee Titans.
Requested what he preferred concerning the observe, IndyCar championship contender Pato O’Ward was blunt:
“It’s violent,” he stated.
That’s an ideal slot in a metropolis dwelling to Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki.
IndyCar could have successful on its palms if the primary few days had been an indicator of the keenness from followers and drivers of the race. IndyCar driver Rinus VeeKay wore a cowboy hat, one metropolis pace restrict signal was modified to 240 mph and Jason Priestley was in the home. The primary take a look at as a race course — together with a 3,500-foot straight straightway that spanned over the Korean Struggle Veterans Memorial Bridge — appeared successful.
Colton Herta turned a quick lap at 1:16.587 and topped the primary apply chart, adopted by six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon. Romain Grosjean was third and Alexander Rossi fourth.
“It’s difficult, there’s little doubt,” Dixon stated.
Will Energy—- who laughed as he stated there was no time on the bridge to take pleasure in “the good water, the good view” — referred to as the experience off the bridge and into downtown “sketchy.”
Honda drivers took the primary six spots. Conor Daley’s slam into the tire limitations ended the session.
From the stands or within the automobile, the bridge is already the landmark of word.
“I believed the bridge was going to be bumpy however I didn’t anticipate coming off the bridge to be fairly that bumpy,” Herta stated. “However it’s not a unfavorable factor. I feel it provides character to the observe.”
IndyCar factors chief Alex Palou was hit with a six-position beginning grid penalty for an unapproved engine change following a staff take a look at at Portland Worldwide Raceway.
“It’s a kind of guidelines that I feel they’ll change sooner or later,” Palou stated. “We simply must recuperate these six locations that we’re going to have. I feel road racing is at all times loopy with the methods.”
MOVIN’ RIGHT ALONG
Grosjean spent IndyCar’s summer time break touring largely the Midwest in his motorhome together with his spouse and three youngsters. His children liked “cage batting” and Monster Vans. His spouse liked Chicago. He discovered Nashville not fairly match for a household.
Like all working dad, Grosjean even discovered time to sneak in some enterprise.
Grosjean made the soar this season from System One to IndyCar and has two straight top-10 finishes driving for Dale Coyne Racing. Like fellow IndyCar rookie Jimmie Johnson, the seven-time NASCAR champion, Grosjean dedicated this season solely to the highway and road course races. Grosjean examined an IndyCar on oval for the primary time final week at a observe simply exterior St. Louis, and even Johnson gave recommendations on navigating ovals.
Additionally like Johnson, Grosjean is likely to be eyeing a full-season experience in 2022.
Grosjean has fielded provides for 2022 — Andretti Autosport has been floated as a possible vacation spot — however nothing is official. Grosjean stated he “wouldn’t say no” to a full-season experience.
“There’s just a few cellphone calls and emails and exchanges. However nothing but, totally finished,” he stated.
Grosjean was practically killed in a November F1 race in Bahrain when his automobile slammed right into a barrier, break up aside and burst into flames. The crash marked the tip of his F1 profession and the 35-year-old driver has no regrets about shifting to America.
“I watch everyone in racing in System One. I nonetheless like to look at it,” he stated. “Do I miss it? Completely not. I feel I’m having extra enjoyable right here. It’s a degree taking part in area.”
Whereas Grosjean, Jack Harvey and Ryan Hunter-Reay are among the many drivers that might be on the transfer, Pagenaud stated he’s solely had talks with Workforce Penske about returning in 2022. The 2016 IndyCar champion and the 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner did name his race future “very fascinating.”
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