Skip to content

The IMS road course is legit – a view from the passenger’s seat

May 10, 2014, 9:37 AM EDT

photo-8

In the run-up to today’s inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, drivers have pretty much offered near universal praise for the revised Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

That’s to be expected, because lest you be viewed as “the critic” who isn’t trumpeting the series’, or track’s, efforts to make this a circuit worthy of the “hallowed ground” distinction that IMS has held for more than 100 years.

You don’t want the law coming after you saying, “Hey, why aren’t you pimping this new race and new track?”

And while the IMS road course doesn’t pose a threat to the purpose-built, North American natural parks disguised as permanent road courses like Road America and Barber Motorsports Park, I can confirm the drivers aren’t BS-ing when it comes to the quality of this track.

The IMS road course is freaking legit, and that’s with a view from the passenger’s seat in a Chevrolet Camaro.

The Indy Racing Experience always makes both pace car rides and two-seater rides available, and while the latter would have been incredible, the former was no slouch.

I saddled up with my man Anders Krohn, who’s carved quite a career outside the driver’s seat between his NBCSN Indy Lights TV analyst role, his co-founding of the CoForce International driver development program and his continued role with IRE driving both the pace cars and the two-seaters.

Here’s the funny part. As part of NBCSN’s Indy Lights coverage, Krohn has already done stand-ups and called Race 1 of the double-header weekend, but only having completed a single track walk lap before our rides this morning.

“Now I get to understand the lines that I’ve been telling them to run,” “The Viking” joked.

Believe it or not the first thing that came on the radio as a pump-up to the lap was DJ Hardwell, who will be playing the Turn 3 Snake Pit on Indianapolis 500 race day. “I’m down with that,” I cracked, much to Krohn’s amusement.

But we got our game faces up and burned out of the pits – Krohn driving a manual transmission for the first time in a while – behind the quartet of two-seaters.

Turn 1 is tight, like full-on 90-degree right-hander tight. This has clearly been tightened from the almost flowing right off the banking used by Formula One in its run here, and based on yesterday’s three Mazda Road to Indy events there’s going to be a wealth of passing as has been projected.

Turns 2 through 4 will test how hard these guys can push with the quick left, right and right again. We’ve already seen a number of incidents in Turns 3 and 4 and the apex and line through 4, as projected, will be crucial to the run down the backstraight.

Krohn hit both apexes nicely on the Turns 5/6 chicane and powered down Hulman Blvd., a.k.a. the backstraight on the run down to Turn 7. Like Turn 1, this is another full-90, tighter than it was in the F1 era. Even at 8:35 this morning, there’s fans already camped out on the hillside mounds.

Grip’s high at all points on this track, as there’s no sliding.

The back section of the course from Turns 7 through to 12, a left, right, left, and three rights complex, is where teams that have opted for a higher downforce setting should be in good shape, and perhaps have the opportunity to pass into Turn 12.

The entry to 12 is a bit hard to nail, as you’re briefly back on the oval and not completely flat, but have to apex tighter into the right-hander, then be in proper position for the left-handed Turn 13 that will prove pivotal as cars launch through Turn 14 and back onto the front straight.

Not bad for Krohn’s first lap, and certainly not bad from the passenger’s seat.

And by not bad, I mean freaking awesome.

Thanks to Indy Racing Experience and Chevrolet for the opportunity.

Latest Posts
  1. Tony Stewart’s return to NASCAR may be one of hardest things he’s ever done

    Aug 28, 2014, 8:22 PM EDT

    Coke Zero 400 - Qualifying Getty Images

    While he’ll be returning to the familiarity of being in a race car and around fellow drivers and race fans Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway after missing the last three races to grieve over the Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy, it’s almost as if Tony Stewart will be starting his career anew.

  2. Drivers, SHR crew chiefs react to Stewart’s return on social media

    Aug 28, 2014, 7:40 PM EDT

    FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks - Practice Getty Images

    First reactions from the NASCAR community are starting to emerge after today’s announcement.

  3. NASCAR AMERICA: Trouble at Turner Scott Motorsports (VIDEO)

    Aug 28, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 - Practice Getty Images

    NASCAR AMERICA has more on the situation surrounding one of the Nationwide and Truck Series’ more prominent outfits.

  4. NASCAR AMERICA: Tony Stewart’s decision to go racing again (VIDEO)

    Aug 28, 2014, 6:17 PM EDT

    Samuel Deeds 400 At The Brickyard - Practice Getty Images

    USA Today’s Nate Ryan calls in to NASCAR AMERICA to talk about the impact of the three-time Sprint Cup champion’s return this weekend at Atlanta.

  5. BREAKING NEWS: Tony Stewart to return to race at Atlanta this weekend

    Aug 28, 2014, 4:38 PM EDT

    Stewart back at atl 2014 Getty Images

    After missing the last three NASCAR Sprint Cup races following the tragic accident that claimed the life of 20-year-old sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. at an upstate dirt track, NASCAR star Tony Stewart will return to racing this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

  6. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 pm ET – More on Tony Stewart’s return

    Aug 28, 2014, 4:21 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    They don’t call it Hotlanta for nothing. As we get closer to Sunday’s Sprint Cup night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, things are definitely heating up.

  7. Team Penske on verge of ending 8-year IndyCar title drought

    Aug 28, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Roger Penske AP

    “The Captain” and his crew have not celebrated an IndyCar Series title since Sam Hornish Jr. won it all in 2006.

  8. IndyCar championship to be awarded in primetime this Saturday on NBCSN

    Aug 28, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT

    MAVTV 500 Getty Images

    NBCSN coverage of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ title tilt at Auto Club Speedway begins Friday at 7 p.m. ET with qualifying, followed by the MAV TV 500 on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.

  9. IndyCar title quest continues for Helio Castroneves

    Aug 28, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Honda Indy Toronto - Day 1 Getty Images

    The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner gets another chance to finally capture an IndyCar Series crown this Saturday night at Auto Club Speedway (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra).

  10. Wilson seeks bounce back, first 2014 podium at Fontana finale

    Aug 28, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    JWilIndy Getty Images

    Justin Wilson back at the track where he got injured a year ago, seeking to end 2014 on a high note.

  11. Could Tony Stewart return to race this weekend at Atlanta?

    Aug 28, 2014, 12:49 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter, File) AP

    Could Tony Stewart’s three-week absence from NASCAR Sprint Cup racing in light of the Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy be coming to an end?

  12. Report: McLaren trying for Vettel or Alonso

    Aug 28, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    Spanish F1 Grand Prix - Previews Getty Images

    McLaren continues to push to try to bring a bigger name driver to its team ahead of Honda’s 2015 return.

  13. Report: Mercedes to hold on Hamilton contract talks until postseason

    Aug 28, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Belgium F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes will wait to extend their deal until after the season ends.

  14. Dixon leads, Pagenaud has accident during Wednesday Fontana test

    Aug 28, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

    MAVTV 500 Getty Images

    IndyCar banks a night of testing before this weekend’s MAVTV 500.

  15. Jamie McMurray having a much different season than he’s used to on and off the track in 2014

    Aug 27, 2014, 11:03 PM EDT

    Kyle Larson, left, and Jamie McMurray, right. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) AP

    It’s pretty simple and straight-forward what Jamie McMurray must do in the next two races if he has any hope of making this year’s expanded 16-driver field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

  16. NASCAR America video: Joey Logano’s maturity shines at Bristol

    Aug 27, 2014, 6:19 PM EDT

    (Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Getty Images

    On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Jeff Burton spoke with Rick Allen and Frank Stoddard about the spectacle of racing at Bristol and just how difficult Joey Logano’s victory at the half-mile oval was.

  17. NASCAR America video: Tony Stewart’s status for Atlanta still up in the air

    Aug 27, 2014, 6:11 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Wade Payne) AP

    NASCAR driver jeff Burton says there has been no word yet from Tony Stewart on whether the latter will return to the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet this weekend at Atlanta after missing the last three races due to the Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy, but it could be a last-minute decision.

  18. Reports: Turner Scott’s NASCAR Truck team in transition (UPDATED)

    Aug 27, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    TSMTrucks Getty Images

    The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ Turner Scott Motorsports team was reportedly set to close; however, that appears to have changed.

  19. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 pm ET — Burton on replacing Stewart, Logano’s Bristol win, Atlanta look ahead

    Aug 27, 2014, 4:11 PM EDT

    140827-NASCAR-AMERICA

    Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America will be chock full of looking back at Saturday’s race at Bristol, as well as starting our lookahead over the next three days for this Sunday’s night race at Atlanta.

  20. IndyCar: New Orleans race confirmed with April 12 date (UPDATED)

    Aug 27, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    indynola

    IndyCar will formally confirm the addition of New Orleans to its 2015 schedule later Wednesday.

Video from NASCAR America

Inside Tony Stewart's return to racing
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (2245)
  2. K. Busch (2132)
  3. K. Harvick (1784)
  4. K. Larson (1686)
  5. B. Keselowski (1285)
  1. R. Blaney (1248)
  2. J. Logano (1247)
  3. C. Elliott (1158)
  4. J. Boston (953)
  5. A. Almirola (870)