LIVE BLOG: 2014 Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway

IndyCar, IndyCar commentary — By on June 8, 2014 11:00 am

3:10 PM CT (John) — Qualifying has wrapped up here at Texas Motor Speedway, and Will Power has claimed his 34th career Verizon IndyCar Series pole. Power put down a two-lap average of 218.896 mph to claim the top spot for tomorrow night’s Firestone 600. Power was more than 1 mph clear of 2nd place qualifier Josef Newgarden. Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Ed Carpenter, and Simon Pagenaud will round out the first three rows. Full qualifying results can be found in our Firestone 600 Event Summary. I’ll have some quotes from the top qualifiers here in a few.


2:13 PM CT (John) — TK is on track as the first qualifier today for what is being billed as “Verizon IndyCar Series NTT DATA Qualifying Day.” I’ll post updates to Twitter @MoreFrontWing as they run.


12:40PM CT (John) — I want to take a second to point our readers in the direction of a really cool charity item up for auction. The AJ Foyt Racing folks have swung by to remind us that the special helmet that Takuma Sato wore this year at the Indy 500 is currently up for auction at, with proceeds beneftting With You Japan, the charity that Sato founded to aid the victims of the 2011 tsunami. The helmet is signed by Takuma and Super Tex himself!


12:28 PM CT (Steph) — Hi, folks. Steph dropping in here quickly to offer you a note from IndyCar regarding downforce options teams have at their disposal this weekend. From IndyCar:

Verizon IndyCar Series teams will have the option of increasing downforce by about 300 pounds over the 2013 maximum aerodynamic specification for the Firestone 600 on June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway. The more downforce, the more the car is pinned to the racetrack.

Using tools available to reach the higher downforce on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval would result in 50 pounds of drag on the chassis (with temperatures and pressures identical to 2013), which would slow the car but likely have less drop-off in tire degradation through fuel stints in the 248-lap (four-stop) race.

INDYCAR worked out the aero package with driver input and in collaboration with Firestone Racing during a mid-April test at the speedway. Firestone will supply the same tire specification and construction was used at Texas and the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway oval in 2013.

The option would put the field closer to the 2012 specifications, which Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon called “a perfect situation.”

“It’s a lot like Fontana. If you have a good car you can race yourself to the front and stay there but you have to keep following it because as it cools off throughout the night the track and the cars change,” Charlie Kimball, driver of the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing car, said of the race under the lights.

Mikhail Aleshin, Jack Hawksworth, Carlos Huertas and Carlos Munoz will compete on the 24-degree-banked oval for the first time.

“The banking comes up very fast in the turns at Texas, which makes the car loose,” Aleshin said. “I’ve spent the whole week leading up to the race watching previous years’ races on the track. I know we’ll have more downforce this year than the drivers did last year, so hopefully that will give us a bigger range of options to use for car setup.”


11:40 AM CT (John) — Better late than never, I am finally at the track. Free practice one has just wrapped up, and Tony Kanaan topped the time charts with a lap of 219.832 mph. TK was followed closely by teammates Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe.

Qualifying will be coming up at 2 pm local time, right in the heat of the day. Sebastien Bourdais was just in the media center, and he noted that the extra downforce this year is definitely welcome, but that you can still feel tire degradation from lap to lap. Bourdais says to expect some drivers to be  screaming on the radio during the race.

I will be on scene for the rest of the weekend here, so watch this space and the @morefrontwing Twitter account for more updates.


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