Issue free weekend in Detroit for Jordan King
Issue free weekend in Detroit for Jordan King
Date: 06 / 06 / 2018
For the first time in his rookie season, Jordan King completed a weekend of Indy car action without any on-track or mechanical issues. Though Jordan King improved on his starting position over Race 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix to finish in 16th place, it was a long second race of the weekend for the No. 20 as he ran alone most of the day and finished the second Dual in Detroit in 18th.
After showing promising pace in the first four races he had contested, Jordan headed to Detroit looking to finally convert his impressive performances into a solid race result for the first time in 2018 and with the weekend hosting two full-length races it was the perfect opportunity for Jordan to do so.
Friday’s action saw two free practice sessions commence proceedings in Detroit and Jordan spent the sessions getting up to speed with the bumpy Detroit streets as it was his first time driving the notoriously difficult course. Finishing the first session in 17th place, Jordan made a small mistake in the second session when he had a snap of oversteer and collided with the wall – bringing an end to his Friday.
“We had a good feel of the circuit today and we got up to speed quite quickly. At the beginning of the second session, coming into the last corner, I lost the rear and got a bit of a snap. It wasn’t a big thing but by the time I caught the car, I was in too wide and then obviously the wall was right there. When we touched the wall, it broke the left rear which caused me to go across the circuit and hit the right side of the car. It’s really annoying because it was a tiny error, but it was quite costly.”
Unlike knockout qualifying at other street courses, qualifying for the Duals saw the field split in half with both groups getting a 12-minute session. The fastest driver overall being awarded the pole position, while the rest of the drivers from that group would fill out the odd-number spots. Jordan was drawn into Group 1, finishing the 12 minutes in 10th place, respectively. Marco Andretti from Group 2 would win the pole, assigning Jordan to a 20th place start for the first race of the weekend in Detroit.
Jordan elected to start the 70-lap race on Firestone’s red alternate Firehawk tyres. At the start of the race, King moved up one spot to 19th but elected to pit three laps later for a splash of fuel and black Firehawks. As the first car to choose to go to a three-stop strategy, King rejoined the race in 23rd.
Jordan would bring his No. 20 Allegiant International Chevrolet in for his second pit stop on lap 26 from 19th position. As the pit stop timing fell, King found himself back on track just ahead of the leader and eventual race winner Scott Dixon. Though faster than the cars around him, King, running 21st, was unable to make up any ground and had to remain conscious of the leader mere seconds behind him.
A much-needed caution fell on Lap 47, allowing Jordan to catch back up with the field and no longer be in danger of going one lap down. Jordan then made his final stop on Lap 49 and found himself in 18th after the pit stop, moving up two more positions during the closing laps of the race.
Jordan crossed the finishing line to end in 16th place in Race 1 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit. It was the first race of the year where the Verizon IndyCar Series rookie did not suffer from a mechanical issue or contact and was able to have a clean, steady race.
“The second half of our race was quite good, we were quite strong the second half pace-wise. I am a bit confused as to why I couldn’t get much of pace out of it at the start of the race, we were just kind of holding on to everybody but not able to do anything. After that, we got into quite a good rhythm and made some good progress.”
“Starting at the back just made it difficult, we overtook a few people but I think our pace was a little better than where we ended up. It’s tough out there, the field is quite close which makes strategy calls difficult as well. It was good to get a first full race with no issues in! That’s quite nice, but it’s annoying in that we’re further down the field than we want to be.”
Heavy rains descended upon the 2.35-mile, 13-turn street circuit in the morning, but abated prior to the start of qualifying. However, the track remained wet and all competitors qualified on Firestone’s wet tire. The field was split into the same groups as yesterday; today, Jordan’s Group 1 was the second to go out.
Their 12-minute session was interrupted by a red flag, but with the five minutes of guaranteed green time satisfied, qualifying came to a close and King would line the grid from 11th position, nine spots higher than Saturday.
An accident with the pace car on the opening parade lap brought all the field into the pit lane for a lengthy period. Treated as a red flag condition, crews were not allowed to make any changes to the cars. Once a backup pace car was prepared, the parade laps resumed and the green flag flew the second time by.
King struggled with the red tyres during the opening laps, falling three positions. He gained them back, eventually working his way up to 9th, but fell four positions on Lap 13 as he lost all grip in the tyres. The decision was made to go to a three-stop strategy and to pit King for a switch from red to black Firestone Firehawks tyres the next lap. It was an extended stop as there was an issue securing one of his wheels and King fell down the order to 21st.
Off sequence, King spent his next two stints virtually by himself on track with few cars around to challenge for position. He made his second and third stops on Lap 34 and Lap 50, respectively. Though he was 14th at the time of his last stop, the leader was only six seconds behind. As King came in for service, the leader went by. King then found himself in between Alexander Rossi, running first, and eventual race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, running second. As Hunter-Reay closed, King moved over to let him by as to not impede the race between the Andretti Autosport teammates.
King would finish the 70-lap race one lap behind the field in the 18th position. Fortunately, it was another clean race for the No. 20 Allegiant International Chevrolet. King’s next race will be the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America on June 24.
“It was a long, long race. The only thing keeping me motivated was my lap time delta, I was just trying to beat my lap time delta every lap! Our speed was alright, we maybe could have had a Top 10 but the first stint did not allow for that. We struggled a bit with the reds and probably stayed out a bit long. By the time the pit sequence was through, we were a big chunk of time behind people. After that, on the blacks, we were alright. Pace seemed pretty good, but I had no one behind and no one in front – it was just a long race!”