Harvest Grand Prix presented by GMR – pre-race notes

By Steve Wittich..Trackside Online

First up, a massive thank you to an anonymous ghostwriter who covered qualifying for me.

I was at the Race for Equality & Change update. I’ll have more on that later.

Strategy

Harvest Grand Prix presented by GMR Race #2 is is a 75-lap race.

With 25 lap pit windows, that makes Saturday afternoon’s race three stints, with extremely tight pit windows.

Unfortunately, that means that unless there is quite a bit of early yellow running, the drivers will be saving fuel early and often, to widen the window for the final stop.

Usually, in a race with such narrow pit windows, you’ll have a few drivers make an extra stop to be able to run with the right foot to the floor. (Think Simon Pagenaud at Sonoma Raceway in 2017)

However, the pit road delta is around a painstakingly long 37 seconds, making a three-stop race a highly unlikely option.

The drivers are still required to use each of the two Firestone Firehawk at least once, but because it’s a doubleheader, those tires don’t need to be new.

Despite a few drivers struggling on the reds yesterday, they are still the preferred tire. We agree with Alexander Rossi, who said the race would be a little more straight forward.

Obviously, the red tire is going to be the preferred tire,” said Rossi, who grabbed his third straight podium in Friday’s 85-lap race. “It was a little bit jumbled today because you had the guys in group one of qualifying that didn’t get to use the red tires. They had two reds. Guys in group two had used reds. I think it will be a little bit more consistent tomorrow than it was today.”

According to Cara Adams. Director, Race Tire Engineering and Manufacturing, Chief Engineer, Motorsports at Bridgestone Americas, the following allotments of the Firestone Firehawk Alternate Tires (reds)

  • used reds only – Álex Palou and Rinus VeeKay
  • one set of sticker reds – Helio Castroneves, Max Chilton, Conor Daly, Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, Santino Ferrucci, Jack Harvey, Colton Herta, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sage Karam, Charlie Kimball, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi, and Takuma Sato
  • two sets of sticker reds – Marco Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais, Dalton Kellett, Pato O’Ward, and Felix Rosenqvist

Starting line-up with tire designation

STARTCAR NO.DRIVERTIRE
112Will PowerAlternate (Red)
288Colton HertaAlternate (Red)
327Alexander RossiAlternate (Red)
455Álex PalouAlternate (Red)
55Pato O’WardAlternate (Red)
628Ryan Hunter-ReayPrimary (Black)
760Jack HarveyAlternate (Red)
810Felix RosenqvistAlternate (Red)
91Josef NewgardenAlternate (Red)
1015Graham RahalPrimary (Black)
1118Santino FerrucciAlternate (Red)
1298Marco AndrettiAlternate (Red)
1326James HinchcliffeAlternate (Red)
1421Rinus VeeKayPrimary (Black)
159Scott DixonPrimary (Black)
168Marcus EricssonPrimary (Black)
1730Takuma SatoAlternate (Red)
1859Max ChiltonPrimary (Black)
1922Simon PagenaudPrimary (Black)
207Helio CastronevesAlternate (Red)
2114Sebastien BourdaisPrimary (Black)
2224Sage KaramAlternate (Red)
2320Conor DalyPrimary (Black)
244Charlie KimballAlternate (Red)
2541Dalton KellettPrimary (Black)

Points permutations

Championship

First, only Scott Dixon or Josef Newgarden will win the NTT INDYCAR® SERIES championship. Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward, Will Power, Graham Rahal, and Takuma Sato were all eliminated yesterday.

There is no simple way to explain all of Dixon’s clinch scenarios, so we’ll share a few options.

Let’s get the easiest one out of the way.

If Dixon wins, he is the 2020 NTT INDYCAR® SERIES champion.

Dixon can still clinch the championship with a finish all the way down to 17th, depending on where Newgarden finishes.

A couple of scenarios:

  • Dixon clinches with a finish sixth or better if Newgarden finishes outside of the top 10.
  • Dixon clinches with a finish of ninth or better if Newgarden finishes sixteenth or worse.
  • Dixon clinches with a finish of 12th or better if Newgarden finishes worse than 20th.
  • If Newgarden finishes last (25th), Dixon clinches with a finish of 17th or better.

Rookie Of The Year

This one is much simpler.

If Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) finishes ahead of Álex Palou, he will clinch the Rookie Of The Year crown. The Dutchman will also clinch if Palou does not outscore VeeKay by nine points in Harvest Grand Prix presented by GMR race #2.