After a somewhat controversial opening race of the season at St. Petersburg where there was debris absolutely everywhere, IndyCar heads to the NOLA Motorsports Park for what will be the only new race of the season. Teams and drivers have already tested around the circuit, so it will already be quite familiar to a number of them. After Penske absolutely humiliated the opposition in qualifying at the last round, the other teams will be hoping to at least prevent a 1-2-3-4 again here as we hit the first road course of the season: the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana.
A first look of this circuit makes me think of Paul Ricard for some reason. The double right hander at five and six should provide an interesting challenge for the drivers, and there are plenty of straights for overtaking as well as a tough twisty section at the end of the lap. Here is a lap with Will Power. [Link]
There are no changes to the driver line-up here compared to St. Pete, although it is unknown whether Sage Karam will continue on with Ganassi.
Top of the standings at this early stage is Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya has a seven point lead over Power and a 16 point advantage over Ganassi’s Tony Kanaan. Despite the high amount of debris being deposited in the first race, there were only two retirements from the race itself: Francesco Dracone and Carlos Huertas. None of the rookies had a particularly strong showing at the first round, with Gabby Chaves being the top driver in the standings here.
In the manufacturers’ championship, Honda has a 182 point lead over Chevrolet, despite only scoring 70 points at St. Pete. After the race, Chevrolet had 220 points deducted from their total for 11 unscheduled minor repairs, leaving them on a staggering -92 points.