Sunday, March 20, 2022

Three Things: Sunday Morning at Texas

 Good morning from Texas Motor Speedway!

It's an early start for the IndyCar series as we are about 45 minutes away from the green flag for the Xpel 375. But breaking news never sleeps, so let's get into it.

Harvey Out -- Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver Jack Harvey, who was set to go off 24th in today's race, was not cleared to drive after his accident during Practice 2 yesterday afternoon. He is being replaced by former RLL driver Santino Ferrucci, who was on site this weekend. While it is a very tough break for Harvey, Ferrucci is of course a solid replacement. The 23-year-old has run at Texas twice, with a best finish of 10th in 2019. The Hyvee 45 car will be moved to the back of the field.

PJ1 -- After yesterday's special practice that was run with the intention of putting some rubber down in the area stained by the PJ1 compound, it seems like it didn't work. It's estimated that the cars lose about 20 percent of grip moving up into the second lane. While it doesn't appear that it's a feasible option, does someone take a chance and run up there to set up a pass late in the race? I'm not sure if anyone will do that, given that loss of grip also relates to a loss of speed, but you just never know.

Who wins the race? -- If there is the possibility of passing, I'm going with Josef Newgarden. Though he is starting seventh, the Team Penske driver was just .02 seconds off polesitter Felix Rosenqvist's time, and was quickest in the final practice. Still, the first 22 cars in the field were separated by a half-second in the final practice, so if there is passing, it can be a very competitive race.

The rest of the podium -- I'm going with Scott McLaughlin and...Helio Castroneves. McLaughlin's confidence is at an all-time high, and Helio can still get it done on the ovals. There is certainly a lot of star power at the front of the field, so in all honesty, today looks to be a huge crapshoot, with the winner needing a bit of luck and a sense of perfect timing.

Enjoy the race! 

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