Welcome to World Wide Technology Raceway

Good morning from a cloudy and very muggy World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois; directly across the mighty Mississippi River from the famous St. Louis Arch. Based on what the radar showed around 6:30 this morning, it looked as if a long morning of steady rain was imminent. A storm system with red cells moved through Kansas City last night and appeared to be bearing down on the St. Louis area. The red cells expanded to large areas of dark green that were headed our way and looked certain to, at best, create a wet track for the only practice session of the weekend – scheduled for 12:15 CDT (available on Peacock). But within the last area, what didn’t dissipate headed to the south of us. At this point, it looks as if practice will take place as scheduled.

We arrived at the track yesterday afternoon around 3:00. We weren’t here very long – just long enough to pick up our credentials across the street from the backstretch. When this race started back in 2017, the line was long and a little disorganized, as team members and media types were all very disgruntled as it took almost an hour. This year it took us about five minutes, so kudos to the track for being flexible and adaptable to improve the process.

After that, we drove across the street and through the tunnel to the infield. There weren’t tons of people on site, so we got to park pretty close to the paddock and media center. We just wanted to make sure we had spots inside. Once that was confirmed and we said Hi to a few people, we made a trip through the paddock as teams were preparing for today. We saw Tony Kanaan ride by on a scooter, but he was the only driver we saw.

It’s a good thing we had no desire to go through the NASCAR paddock, for the Camping World Truck Series that raced last night. New NASCAR mandates prohibit anyone other than drivers and essential crew from getting into their paddock. They left last night and that area is now open. Fortunately, IndyCar is still allowing fan access.

Did I mention how hot it was here yesterday? The temperature was a balmy 90°. But this entire facility is black asphalt, unlike the white concrete that blankets IMS. Heat absolutely radiates from the pavement here. Couple that with very high humidity that comes with August in St. Louis, you can imagine it didn’t take long to get very uncomfortable. It is currently 77°, with a projected high of 86°, but with higher humidity today than yesterday.

It’s a one-day show today. Practice is at 12:15, qualifying at 4:00 and the NBCSN race begins at 7:00 pm CDT. I will be watching several drivers in practice. I am most curious about Romain Grosjean. He tested here a few weeks ago, but testing on an empty track is one thing. Dealing with traffic, even in practice, is another. I will also be curious to watch Tony Kanaan. He hasn’t raced an IndyCar since May, but he has been busy this summer racing SRX and Brazilian stock cars. He is about the only driver in the field to have raced an oval since May. Will Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden find the speed to return to victory lane, like they both did a year ago in the double-header? It should be a very interesting practice.

That will do it for now. Susan is currently working on a post that will be up sometime today before the race. I will post after practice and before qualifying. So please check back here after practice. We will be posting here through the day and night after the race. You may also follow us on Twitter for videos, photos and comments. You may follow Susan at @MrsOilpressure or me at @Oilpressureblog. Please check back later.

George Phillips

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