More heat, more challenges at Indy 500 practice


Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Courtesy: IndyCar – May 20, 2021).

INDIANAPOLIS – Weather and track conditions play an undeniable factor in achieving success in the Indianapolis 500.

And in tuning up a car during practice as well.

“It’s gonna get a lot more difficult,” says 2014 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, with the temperature in Central Indiana rising above 80 degrees for just the second day this year. “When the weather gets hotter, the track heats up. Once the track temp gets above 110, it gets very tough.”

The challenge is a grip-driven one. The hotter the track, the more slippery it gets for IndyCars diving into a turn at 230mph.

“Things can change so quickly here,” comments James Hinchcliffe of Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport. “All it takes is a couple degrees of track temp or a few mile per hour of a wind direction change and your whole setup can go out the window.”

A fact that will keep the powers that be behind the scenes active through the next several days.

“It’s giving us an opportunity to see what these new bits do in all these different areas,” continues Hinchcliffe, “but it’s definitely a lot of work for the engineers and a lot of questions still to be answered.”

Drivers and teams that answer those questions quickly and effectively will enter this weekend with the best chances at a pole and next weekend with the best chances at a win.

“This is what we expect for the race,” adds 2000 and 2015 champion Juan Pablo Montoya, “so this will be the most important running day for race trim, being in traffic, and understanding what you need.”

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