IndyCar visited the streets of Nashville on Sunday, and the race showed only a hint of the chaos that the event has become known for.

The sun was out in full force for the event, with the humidity making for nearly unbearable conditions behind the wheel. Physical stamina was nearly as important as any other factor in the race.

There was only one short caution period over the course of the first three quarters of the 80-lap event, but then a couple incidents slowed the action down and threw a wrench into some of the drivers’ strategy.

READ MORE: IndyCar Nashville – Full Race Results

When the green resumed the race with four laps remaining, Kyle Kirkwood was in the lead over Scott McLaughlin. Both men had shown considerable pace throughout the race, and had earned their spot at the head of the field.

The final laps belonged to Kirkwood, however, and the 24-year-old sophomore driver built a gap that McLaughlin was not able to close down before the checkered flag flew.

Kirkwood’s win was the second of his young career, with the first coming at Long Beach earlier in the season.

The victory also served to break Ganassi’s stronghold on the Music City GP, giving Andretti Autosport a victory on the original layout before a new course is introduced for the event next season.

McLaughlin crossed the line just 0.76 seconds behind, and was ever so close to converting his pole into victory.

He led 25 laps in total, and was never far off the lead. A strategy call that saw him race a lengthy opening stint on the softer tires did not help his efforts, and was possibly the biggest reason he wasn’t able to hold the lead throughout.

Alex Palou crossed the line in third, and was fortunate to be on the podium. The runaway points leader was going to be short on fuel, but a couple late stoppages helped him extend his stint through to the finish.

The biggest of the final crashes was on a restart with six laps remaining. Drivers struggled to make it through the tight turn 11 on account of the rubber marbles that had built up all afternoon.

Ben Pedersen, Agustin Canapino, and Felix Rosenqvist found themselves stuck nose to tail in the wall, and race control was forced to throw a red flag in order to have the race finish at speed.

McLaughlin held the lead for the opening stint of the race. Photo: Kevin Dejewski

Shortly before the stack-up, Linus Lundqvist ended his spectacular IndyCar debut by crashing in turn 11 himself.

The 2022 Indy NXT champion misjudged the corner in exactly the same way the veteran Scott Dixon had done the day before, and found his front suspension crunched into the barriers. He was running 14th before the incident.

David Malukas’s afternoon was cut short after a bizarre incident forced him to pull over. As he was braking at the end of the bridge section, his rear wing folded back and was only held on by the safety tether.

The sophomore driver was at a loss to explain what happened, but related that he also had gearbox problems at the same moment when he was coming to an emergency stop on track.

Overall, there were only eight caution laps in the entire race, which was a drastic change from the years previous. That unexpected cadence caught out some drivers who had planned on more chances to visit the pits.

Source:  Read More 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *