LIVE BLOG: 2014 Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston

IndyCar, IndyCar commentary — By on June 29, 2014 6:00 am
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8:47 AM CT (Steph) – We’re starting our day here on Sunday at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston with news from one of the team press releases that came in late last night. Simon Pagenaud is reporting a brake issue after race 1 and says it’s been an ongoing problem, and team General Manager Rob Edwards goes to the point of saying that IndyCar has been made aware and has not fixed it. From the Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports press release:

“The start went really well,” Pagenaud said. “The track was damp, but we managed to stay out front for four laps. Almost instantly we started having an issue with the brake temperature in one of our front axels, however. We’ve been struggling with the problem all weekend. We’ve tried mixing the brakes with all of the different shocks that we have, but we can’t find any that behave normally.”

Large temperature splits between the different rotors prohibited Pagenaud from braking effectively on the wet track.

“To make it easy to understand, when a brake rotor has a high temperature it performs very well,” Pagenaud said. “Inversely, when a rotor is colder it doesn’t stop like it should. I was having trouble slowing down and stopping the car on the wet surfaces at the beginning of the race.”

According to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports General Manager Rob Edwards, action is required from the Verizon IndyCar Series to eliminate discrepancies between the performance levels of various brake rotors.

“We have made IndyCar aware of the fact that there is an issue with the brakes, and they have not fixed it,” Edwards said. “Until they act teams are going to have days like we had today. I hope IndyCar can see that there’s an obligation on their behalf to address the situation, and I look forward to the discussion with them.”

With IndyCar and Brembo not yet having had an opportunity to respond to these statements, this should be considered a developing story. It’s also pertinent to point out the broken rotor that Jack Hawksworth experienced at the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit, which may or may not be related to this issue and on which a statement was never released. We’ll have more on all of this here on More Front Wing as it unfolds.

By the way, the full IndyCar report from yesterday’s first race of the weekend was posted on More Front Wing this morning, and you can find it here along with quotes from most of the field: Huertas lands first IndyCar win in bizarre Houston double-header opener.

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SATURDAY

10:36 PM CT (Steph) – Here’s a quick snapshot of our post-race coverage following race 1 at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston:

First Impressions: 2014 Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Race 1

Event Summary: 2014 Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston (with results and points after race 1)

MRTI: Hargrove claims Pro Mazda victory in tough Houston conditions

The race report from IndyCar hasn’t yet arrived, but we’ll get it posted first thing in the morning.

There’s so much I’ve wanted to talk to you all about, but I haven’t had time to type any of it out. It’s amazing how busy these double-header weekends can keep you! But rather than stay up too late and be useless for tomorrow, I think I’ll get a good night’s sleep and take a shot at having time to do it in the morning.

We hope you’ve enjoyed More Front Wing’s coverage of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston and look forward to bringing you even more tomorrow from trackside on race day number two!

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12:40 PM CT (Steph) – The qualifying sessions for today’s Pro Mazda and Verizon IndyCar Series races are complete.

In Pro Mazda, MFW driver blogger Garett Grist of Andretti Autosport picked up the pole position late in the session. It briefly looked to be an all-Canadian front row with Scott Hargrove sitting in second until the very last lap, but his championship rival Spencer Pigot nipped him in the end and will therefore start alongside Grist. Jose Gutierrez will start on the second row in fourth. The full qualifying results can be found at the Pro Mazda website here.

The Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Fast 6 was intriguing, if uneventful. In round 1 group 1, Kimball was set to move through into round 2 and got pipped by teammate Scott Dixon on the last timed lap to bump Kimball out of the top 6. In group 2, the most notable result was that of points leader Will Power, who did not advance and will start today’s race 18th. The rest of the session went off without a hitch — notwithstanding a review with no action for an incident between Bourdais and Aleshin in group 3 — and ended with Simon Pagenaud’s first Verizon P1 award ever. (Ever?! Yeah. Pretty much everyone here was surprised by that, too.) The full qualifying results and starting lineup for this afternoon’s race can be found at our Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Event Summary.

The next on-track action for open-wheel cars will see Pro Mazda roll out for race 1 of the weekend, set to go green at 1:05 PM local time.

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