NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr was happy with how practice went ahead of his NTT IndyCar Series iRacing Challenge Chevrolet 275 at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday. Earnhardt Jr driving the No.3 Nationwide Chevrolet commented saying:
Practice was a lot of fun, and I don’t have any time in the car on the simulator. I’ve been on iRacing for a couple decades, but I haven’t put much time on the Indy car and obviously have no real-world experience, so there’s a lot of learning and trying to understand why the car reacts the way it does and what creates those issues because some of them are realistic and some of them may be because of the sim or the tire model of the sim. I had such a great time when I went to the Indy 500 last year, and I have so much respect for the guys that are in the field and the guys that we’ll be practicing with and racing with this weekend. I think these guys have such great personalities, and they’re even more diverse than what we have in NASCAR because they’re from all over the world. I think that that’s the real value in the series is the drivers and their personalities and who they are, and so I’m ‘fan boying’ myself just being out there hearing them talk, hearing them interact with each other, getting to know them better. I’ve got a few friends in the series but certainly want to know the other guys and get to know the rest of them really well, so this is such a great opportunity for me to do that. I think the fans are really going to appreciate getting the opportunity to see them on the racetrack, on the virtual racetrack throughout this break, to get to know them even more. I love it.
AJ Foyt Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais in the No.4 Tresiba Chevrolet is looking forward to this weekend’s race saying:
I have been turning laps around MIS on my own and in small groups. It is pretty easy flat on your own with fresh Firestones, but when you get past half tanks, if you catch some traffic, it gets very tricky. Much like the first two races, it will be a game of survival where managing to stay out of trouble will prove very hard. I am looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of our No. 4 Tresiba car and hope to make AJ Foyt Racing and Chevrolet proud
Team owner Ed Carpenter in the No.21 Sonax Chevrolet is looking forward to getting on an oval and speaking ahead of Saturday’s race saying:
I am thrilled to get back on an oval! Michigan is a track I am familiar with from the past, and I am excited to race there again. I hope that all of our friends in Detroit tune in for this one, especially since we won’t see them until 2021 on Belle Isle. Any Michigan race are always extremely important for Chevrolet, so we will be trying to get one for them this weekend!
Max Chilton in the No.59 Gallagher Chevrolet for Carlin Racing will make his NTT IndyCar Series iRacing Challenge at Michigan International Speedway for the Chevrolet 275 and speaking ahead of the race he said:
I’m actually really excited to get back to some form of racing in the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet this weekend with the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. I’m in the same boat as a lot of the other drivers in terms of not having much iRacing experience, but I’ve done quite a bit of work on the simulators over the years, so I’m really hoping that it translates in some way. I’ve never raced at Michigan International Speedway, but I’ve been working remotely with our engineers on the Carlin simulator trying to get up to speed, and it’s honestly been a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to Saturday!
Conor Daly in the No.20 US Air Force Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing is looking forward to the race on Saturday saying:
I’m really excited to get back to oval racing in an Indy car – or a virtual Indy car, that is! Michigan is going to be a lot of fun. Even the practice laps with the INDYCAR Challenge league have been entertaining. It looks like the cars are going to race well there. It may be tough for people to get their heads in the game and there’s the potential for stupidity, but that’s the hilarious part of sim racing! Hopefully, we can put on a good show for the U.S. Air Force and all the people at Ed Carpenter Racing.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson in the No.8 Huski Chocolate Honda commented saying:
I’m hoping for a third time luck this weekend. I’ve been taken out in Lap 1 in the first two races without anything I could do differently, so that has been a bit frustrating. I’ve felt like I’ve had good practice, and hopefully now this will be my weekend! It’s very exciting to go on an oval for the first time in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I think it’s going to be a very entertaining, fun race to both drive and to watch. I’m hoping the fans will love it and that we’ll have a great show. I’m also hoping to bring the Chip Ganassi Huski Chocolate No. 8 car up to the front!
Jack Harvey in the No.60 AutoNation Sirius XM Honda for Meyer Shank Racing is looking forward to Saturday’s race saying:
I think Michigan will be a great race. I’ve watched old races at the speedway to prepare, and the track is so naturally cool. It will be great to virtually drive it. I got my very first iRacing race out of the way last weekend at Barber. I’ve been doing a lot of practice all week, so hopefully we’ll have a better go at it this weekend
Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda is looking forward to making his iRacing Challenge debut saying:
I’m look forward to taking part in the iRace Saturday. Due to not having equipment at home and managing the schedules of home school with the boys, I haven’t been able to join the previous rounds. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do future rounds yet, but I was able to come up with some borrowed equipment to take part at the Michigan race this week. After the Thursday practice session, I think it will be an interesting experience, but I’m thankful to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and iRacing for providing the opportunity. I’m looking forward to being back behind the wheel of the DHL car, even if it’s just a virtual version for now!
Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser in the No.11 Chevrolet said:
I’m very excited for the first iRacing oval on the schedule. After practicing all week, I know this race is going to be even more crucial to stay out of trouble and keep clean. This week I’ll be utilizing a crew chief and spotter remotely, which will allow me to focus more on just driving. We’ve been able to run three-wide through the corners at Michigan, so this will be an exciting race for the fans. I’ve been getting more comfortable each week, so I’m hopeful we’ll be fighting for a win this weekend!
AJ Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan in the No.14 ABC Supply Chevrolet is looking forward to the oval event this weekend saying:
I think this weekend’s race will be more fun on the oval. You will see more passing, you’ll see more close racing because it’s the nature of the ovals. It’s a bit more fun for us, too, because at least you can run in a pack
Sage Karam in the No.24 Wix Filters Chevrolet for Dreyer and Reinbold Racing is looking forward the race having taken victory in the season opening Red Cross Grand Prix of Watkins Glen two weeks ago and speaking ahead of the race he said:
I have been practicing on the ovals lately. I never was able to race at Michigan. I was too young then. But I did race at Fontana in 2015, and it’s a similar track, 2-mile oval. I got fifth there that year. I think Saturday’s race at MIS will be just like that Fontana race – pack racing. Anybody can win from any starting spot. I don’t think you want to lead until the last lap. Traffic will be heavy, and guys need to play it smart. It will be pretty wild. I think our DRR WIX Filters Chevy will be strong again. That Barber was tough to take because we had a car to win. Just didn’t get to the finish. I’d like to get back to the front again this Saturday.
Dalton Kellett in the No.41 K Line Insulators Chevrolet for AJ Foyt Racing is excited about his opening oval race saying:
This weekend’s race at MIS is going to be exciting, judging from the practice sessions this week. As the cars are configured, we can definitely run two-by-two at both ends of the track. I think we can expect pack racing with tire degradation and fuel strategy coming into play. I don’t think the pack will spread out as it did during the first two rounds, so it will be a fun race to watch. Important things to focus on will be staying out of trouble and finding clean air to save the front tires.
Last week’s winner Scott McLaughlin who took his maiden NTT IndyCar Series iRacing Challenge victory for Team Penske in the No.2 Snap-On Chevrolet is looking forward to this weekend’s race saying:
I’m really excited to be running the No. 2 Snap-on Tools car in this weekend’s INDYCAR iRacing Challenge race in Michigan and am proud to be representing this iconic brand on the racetrack. This year, Snap-on Tools are celebrating their 100-year anniversary by acknowledging all skilled workers who use their tools through their ‘Makers and Fixers’ campaign. It’s fantastic way to recognize the work they do. And I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to get my first crack at an oval in an Indy car – and to get to race against Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. at the same time. No matter what, the goal is to go out there and be competitive and stay out of the wrecks and finish near the front.
Felipe Nasr is looking forward to the race in his No.31 Carlin Racing Chevrolet saying:
“We haven’t had the best of luck in the first two races of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge with early contact in both events, but it’s honestly been so much fun being on track in some capacity these last few weeks! I’m excited to be joining another INDYCAR iRacing Challenge event this weekend at Michigan International Speedway, which will actually be my first ever go on an oval. It’s something new for me, and honestly I’m pretty excited to try it out. I’ve been able to get in quite a bit of practice with the other INDYCAR drivers since they announced that we’d be at Michigan this weekend, and I’m just trying to learn everything I can before Saturday. After getting in some practice on the oval, I think it’s safe to say we’re going to produce some really good racing for the fans at home. The field is definitely going to be tight, and it’s going to be a matter of strategy and looking after the tires, so it should be a lot of fun for everyone. I couldn’t be happier to have my teammate Max (Chilton) in the race this weekend and also having Dale Earnhardt Jr. joining the field is going to be great for the fans and the race itself. Hopefully luck will be on our side this weekend, and we’ll be able to get the No. 31 up front.”
Defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden in the No.1 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet is looking forward to the race saying:
I cannot say how excited I am for us to race an oval in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. I love racing ovals and to race at Michigan virtually, it just adds icing to the cake. I’m also really excited to have XPEL’s colors on my Chevy this weekend. It’s a really cool design that I can’t wait for fans to see on the virtual racetrack. I’ve been hard at work practicing on my sim at home and am getting more and more comfortable. NBCSN did such a great job with the broadcast last week, so it’s awesome they’ll be airing our race again
Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 DXC Technology Chevrolet is excited about the race this weekend saying:
I’m really excited to head to Michigan in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge because it’s a new track for me and that it’s our first oval since we started doing iRacing as a series. Ovals have become one of my racing specialties, so I have been just waiting for a chance to race one virtually with the rest of the series. I’ve been doing a lot of training on my sim at home running ovals and trying new things to see what might apply best here for the DXC Technology Chevy. I’m thankful that NBCSN will be airing the race and that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be joining us. I met him last year and did his podcast. He’s really into iRacing like me, so I’m excited for the chance to race against him. It’s going to be another great show for the fans!”
Alex Palou in the No.55 Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh is looking forward to his first oval race albeit in the virtual world and speaking ahead of the race the Spaniard said:
When I imagined my first oval race, I didn’t think it would be a virtual one! But I’m actually really excited about it, even if it’s on iRacing. I think it’s going to be really fun, and I’m going to learn a lot from the other drivers. It’s also the first time I’ll be using a spotter when I race. I need to learn about oval racing because I don’t really know a lot about strategy and how to manage the car driving-wise. It will be a new experience for me. I’m also excited after last weekend’s result. The other drivers gained a podium on strategy, but I think we did the best we could. They risked it and they won, but I’m happy with our fourth place. It was a good result and a good race. Hopefully we can have another good one on the virtual Michigan track. I think it will come down to the last 10 laps because when I did some testing this week, it was really close between all the drivers, and that’s going to make the race more exciting. I hope everyone watches, and they can also tune in to my Twitch channel.
Team Penske’s Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet is looking forward to the race this weekend saying:
Oh, man. I am so excited to go oval racing with the rest of the INDYCAR Series at the virtual Michigan. Ovals have really become one of my favorite types of tracks to race and racing via iRacing is no exception. I’ve been practicing ovals quite a bit to prepare for the race with the help of my engineer. It’s also really cool that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is going to join us. I did his podcast awhile back, and he’s just a really cool guy and a great racer. We’re going to do everything we can in the Verizon Chevy to try and win our first INDYCAR iRacing Challenge event.
Graham Rahal in the No.15 Total Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and speaking ahead of the race he said:
I’ve done a few oval races on iRacing. They’re fun and forgiving in the sense you can drive on lines that you normally can’t in real life, but it makes it fun and exciting for everyone. I think people will be thrilled to watch Michigan this weekend, for sure. Oval racing is easier, for sure. It’s much more forgiving on iRacing than real life but also more than iRacing on road courses. I think it’ll be a pretty hectic race!
Felix Rosenqvist in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing has had a great start to the season with two podium finishes and speaking ahead of the race the Swede said:
Looking forward to Week 3 of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge! I haven’t practiced that much yet, but I’ve had a look at the track. I think it’s always going to be very different when a lot of people run, especially because it’s an oval this time. It looks like it’ll be good fun. I did an iRace, the Open Wheel 250, at Indy the other day and it was a different challenge, for sure. Ovals probably require more respect from the drivers to not have any crashes. It’s going to be fun to try an oval with everyone for the first time!