SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Last year the GMR Grand Prix was entertaining for the fans watching, but basically hell for the drivers competing in the race. It looks like we could be in for a similar ride this year.
“We will have showers and storms throughout the weekend,” said Joe Nield with the National Weather Service. “There is an outside shot that we could see a strong storm primarily west and southwest of the metro area on Saturday.”
This means bringing out the wet tires for the first time this season. So far this year each IndyCar race has been a dry race. Regardless of the conditions, drivers agree that racing on the IMS road course is a great way to kick off the month of May.
“The track itself is maybe not the most challenging on the calendar, but it produces some good racing, always super close,” said points leader Marcus Ericsson. “Early May is usually tricky around here weather-wise. I think it’s a perfect way to start the month.”
Colton Herta won the race last year in exciting fashion thanks to brilliant strategy calls by his Andretti Autosport team. He also did it while surviving a near mishap on a slick track in the esses reminiscent of a RallyCross driver drifting through a dirt turn.
“I still have that same feeling. I can feel that motion, which I’ve never been able to feel in any moment of my career, like remember it so clearly,” Herta said. “So it was something that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.”
Obviously, emotions are high for drivers as the GMR Grand Prix is the penultimate race to the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500.
“For the business of INDYCAR, for us as drivers, it’s the biggest race of your life. But you have to control those emotions as well,” said Team Penske driver Scott Mclaughlin “I think you can burn yourself out by thinking about it too much.”
Even though four races have been contested so far this year, drivers are already feeling the pressure to get points. With four different winners already this year, the points race is tight at the top. Then you throw in the fact that the 500 is no longer a double-points race.
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