Race Notes: Grand Prix of Louisiana

2015 Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana Race Notes

Photo: Chris Owens

IndyCar heads to NOLA Motorsports Park this week for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana. Juan Pablo Montoya has the early points lead over Will Power and the rest of the Penske crew who currently hold four of the top five positions in the points standings.

Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday at 5:15 p.m. EDT and the green flag waves on Sunday at 3:37 p.m. EDT.

At St. Pete Penske proved that they are the team to beat this year. They led sessions throughout the weekend and nearly swept the top four places during the race. Tony Kanaan of Chip Ganassi Racing broke up the Penske team with a third place finish.

Being that the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana is a new event this year, the only time drivers have run on this course is during pre-season testing at the track which took place in March. At the test, Scott Dixon posted the fastest time of the day with a 1:18.140 lap. Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya were just .05 and .250 seconds behind him, respectively. The latter will be looking to claim his second win of the season on Sunday.

Then, unlike what we saw at St. Petersburg, we had a Honda finish in fourth position. Graham Rahal posted a 1:18.353 in his Honda powered and aero kit equipped machine and slotted himself into the top five. Chevrolet seem to have the early advantage over Honda, but it is still early. With rain expected for qualifying and the race, things could get quite shaken up this weekend. Don’t be surprised if a wet race causes Honda and Chevy to run closer together this weekend.

Other than that, there’s not much to discuss with a new race on the calendar.

Weather Forecast 
There are chances of rain and thunderstorms all throughout the weekend and the temperature warms up for qualifying and the race. For more information about the forecasting process, you can view our interview with Doug Schneider of RaceCast Weather here.

Off The Track
Sunday’s race at NOLA Motorsports Park is the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana. It’s a blank canvass for drivers to make their mark on the track in the Verizon IndyCar series. Who do you think will win in New Orleans? Can Montoya win his second race this year? Let us know in the comments below and vote in our pole here.

Current Points Standings



Rahal looking to bring momentum to Louisiana

2015 Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana

Photo: Chris Jones

Graham Rahal, despite an eleventh place finish in St. Petersburg, says his team has a lot of momentum heading into the second round of the season.

Rahal was given a penalty for making contact with Charlie Kimball through turn ten on the streets of St. Petersburg, ending any hopes of a top five finish. He improved all weekend, qualifying 15th and leading the final warm up session before Sunday’s race.

“Even with an 11th-place result in St. Pete,” Rahal said, “we feel we had one of the best cars in the race and the team has a lot of momentum and can’t wait to get on track again. I really think that all signs are pointing to us being able to have a great year.”

“Our goal is to go to New Orleans and try to rack up as many points as we can, move ourselves up in the championship and kick off Long Beach and the rest of the season.”


Team Penske dominated the opening weekend of the year, finishing in four of the top five spots. Even so, Rahal said that “I think we are seeing that there are a lot of teams that are very, very close together. You certainly can’t slip up and in qualifying we slipped up a little bit and had our worst session of the weekend and that really hurt us.”

“We need to make sure we are on top of our game because there is no margin for error with the field as tight as it is. You have to be on it and that’s what makes the Verizon IndyCar Series so exciting right now.”


Indy grand prix of Louisiana track guide

2015 Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana



The series heads to New Orleans this week for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana. Here’s a quick look at some of the key areas of the track the drivers will be facing on Sunday, courtesy of Scott Dixon.

Turns

“The section from Turns 1 through 6 is a lot of fun and there is another great section toward the end through Turns 10 through 14.”


High speed corners
“There are also high-speed corners and some tight hairpins as well. For the fans, the coolest part is that it’s quite flat, which for a driver sometimes is not the best thing, but visually it’s fantastic – from one spot you can see the whole track.”

Large braking zones
“There are big braking zones and long straights, so it’s kind of a combination of all the things that you need at a new track and one that spectators are going to love.”


Bumps
“I think we were one of the first INDYCAR teams to actually test at NOLA before the big test where everybody went. It was a little bumpy in some areas, but it has very long straights that are very fast.”

Poll: Will a Penske car win the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana?

2015 Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana Poll

Photo: Chris Jones

At the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg team Penske locked out the first two rows of the grid and finished the race with four of their drivers in the top five. Heading to the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana this week, Penske will be looking for more of the same.

But can they do it? Tony Kanaan of Chip Ganassi Racing managed a third place finish at St. Pete and was only seconds behind the race winner, Juan Pablo Montoya. With a new track, it’s possible other drivers and teams will be better suited for NOLA. You never know. Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Hunter-Reay also looked competitive in round one. 

What do you think? Will another driver be able to battle back against the early success we’ve seen from Penske? Have your say below and let us know who your race winner is in the comments section.

#qp_main286018 .qp_btna:hover input {background:#3ba038!important} #qp_main286018[results=’0′] .qp_a:hover {background:#d8d8d8!important} #qp_main286018[results=’0′] .qp_a[sel=’1′] {background:#D4DDFA!important}

Will a Penske car win the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana?
<div class="qp_a" onclick="var c=this.getElementsByTagName('INPUT')[0]; if((!event.target?event.srcElement:event.target).tagName!='INPUT'){c.checked=(c.type=='radio'?true:!c.checked)};var i=this.parentNode.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName('INPUT');for(var k=0;kYes

<div class="qp_a" onclick="var c=this.getElementsByTagName('INPUT')[0]; if((!event.target?event.srcElement:event.target).tagName!='INPUT'){c.checked=(c.type=='radio'?true:!c.checked)};var i=this.parentNode.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName('INPUT');for(var k=0;kNo

Poll Maker