Alexander Rossi collected his third career pole today, in the wet conditions of the 14-turn 2.35 mile temporary street circuit on Belle Isle. The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear Race 2 qualifications rounds produced two red flags, one in each session, which saw Tony Kanaan and Josef Newgarden get parked and give up their two fastest lap times. There were a few slides, kick-outs, and spins around the track as well, but those situations were all manageable by the drivers and did not cause additional delays.
The rest of the field should be ready to battle for the front this afternoon because Rossi has a habit of winning races where he starts from the pole. He’s two for two, actually – Watkins Glen in 2017 and earlier this season on the Streets of Long Beach.
He’s starting on the front row alongside Robert Wickens, and a racer like Rossi is anticipating and welcoming one heck of a battle with the SPM Racing rookie,
“We race each other really hard. I always like racing him, I know he’ll be really aggressive on the first couple laps.”
I think that will create some really awesome racing action for the fans that do make it out to the island wedged between Detroit, MI and Windsor, ONT. I hope that it will translate just as well for all of you awesome folks watching from home today, as well!
Firestone Firehawk Rain Tires – New Tread Design
Rossi also had some great things to say about the new Firestone rain tires after his qualifying effort – saying the new tread pattern was ‘really stout’ and that the tires made things predictable, allowing him to find the limits and gage it’s abilities very quickly.
The focus of the engineers and developers for the new Firestone Firehawk rain tires was to ‘deliver premier high-speed wet performance’ for the Verizon IndyCar Series. The tires feature ‘both asymmetric and directional tread patterns’ as Rossi commented on. Firestone explained that the design pulls from information ‘from Bridgestone Americas passenger tire engineers to achieve an optimal balance of water evacuation, accelerating, braking, and cornering ability.
As it was explained, we could expect to see rain more evenly dispersed behind the cars, rather than in a solid stream of water and that was definitely the case based on what I could see on the tv screens and along the frontstretch with me own eyes. It looks like a light fog behind the cars, rather than the rooster tails we’ve been accustomed to in the past. So as usual, Firestone has produced an awesome product for the series and I look forward to the first rain race of the season to see how these tires allow the field to run in full traffic, maneuvers, and restarts.
We will have to wait though, because according to the weather gods… and meteorologists… the rain on Belle Isle is over for the day. We go green at 3:50 p.m. ET. Make sure you tune in to ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET for coverage live from the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear for Race 2 of this doubleheader weekend.