PPG 375 from Texas Live Blog – Day 1

Good morning, friends, and welcome to Day 1 of the PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway where the NTT IndyCar Series takes to the track shortly for its first official oval session of the 2023 season. With the open-wheel big cars sharing the facility this weekend with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series today, the IndyCar schedule is very compressed today with all track activity being wrapped up by 2:30 this afternoon.

IndyCar’s only pre-qualifying practice session will kick off bright and early at 8:00 this morning, running for an hour. (The first 10 minutes of the session will be strictly devoted to teams dialing in their two-stage pit limiters, so teams will actually only have 50 minutes to figure out their qualifying setups.) Because of the compressed schedule, this event will be a modified impound race, meaning teams will not be able to work on their cars following their qualifying runs until all cars have completed qualifying. Once the final car returns to the pits, teams will only have 30 minutes to prepare their cars for the final round of practice.

With the shortened schedule, it will be critically important for teams to roll off the trucks fast and get dialed in quickly. I expect the Penske cars will really show their strength during an event like this (which is, admittedly, not a very thin branch to sit upon). But I believe the Arrow McLaren cars will also be particularly fast this morning as well. Pato O’Ward won this race two years ago, and McLaren has really upped their oval game over the past couple years.

Back with more after practice.

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