The aerodynamic specification of mandatory and optional elements used at Indianapolis and Auto Club Speedway were utilized for the track that features a 3,740-foot front straight and banking in the three turns of 14, 8 and 6 degrees.
The track lap record is 211.715 mph set in 1989 by Emerson Fittipaldi in qualifying, which was breached by almost 3 mph in the morning session.
“It was kind of like a higher-speed short oval because you still have to work, especially turn one,” Andretti said. “For me, it was about finding the limit in turn three, getting a feel for the banking. It will be interesting trying to find the balance between turn one and three. It’s like Nazareth on steroids.”
Added Franchitti, who competed at Pocono in 2008 in a stock car.
“There’s always compromise, especially at a track with three such different corners. There’s the big banking in turn one, almost flat tracking in turn three and the tunnel turn. You’re always going to be better at one corner than another. The trick is to figure out which one you can give away the most in order to still be competitive.
“You have to figure that out, which one is the one you can give away something to be perfect on the one or two other corners. Turn three flat out defies logic. The difference from being here in 2008 is remarkable. This was a bumpy old place before. Now it’s very, very smooth. There has obviously been a great deal of investment in the track, the SAFER Barrier in different places, as well. That’s really allowed IndyCar as a group to come back here.
“All those investments have been made. I said at the time to run an IndyCar around here would be a blast, and it is. It’s going to be a very good race.”