Chaves expects tougher second race for Harding
Gabby Chaves, who drove to ninth in the Indy 500 on the new Harding Racing team’s IndyCar debut, says time restrictions at this weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway will create a much bigger challenge.
At Indianapolis, Harding Racing impressed many insiders with 25th on the grid followed by a solid run to a Top 10 finish, masterminded by veteran engineer Larry Curry.
During practice at IMS last month, the team also announced its intention to run the other two superspeedways on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule – Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, and the Pocono Raceway tri-oval in August.
However, Chaves told Motorsport.com that the team has a steeper learning curve at TMS for the Rain Guard Water Sealers 600, given that there will be only 75 minutes of practice before qualifying, and then a further 30-minute evening session on Friday, prior to Saturday’s race.
“I was certainly happy and proud of the effort at Indy for a team in its very first race, and I think they are proud as well,” said Chaves, for whom Indy was only his 24th IndyCar start.
“Things could have gone a little better in our pitstops, particularly the last one, but I think overall we had a really solid car through practice from a really solid group of guys and we made the car work well for the race – the most important part.
“But at Indy we had two weeks to prepare and practice. This weekend we have 1hr15mins! And of course we don’t have the resources of a two-car or multi-car team to split duties with.
“So I think it will be hard for us to have a good qualifying car as well as a good car for the race because there’s only a certain amount changes in setup that we can go through in that time frame. That’s tough.”
Chaves, the 2014 Indy Lights champion with Belardi Auto Racing, who raced for Bryan Herta Autosport in his rookie IndyCar season, drove for Dale Coyne Racing-Honda at Texas last year.
However, he was therefore using a different manufacturer aerokit than he uses at Harding, and since last year's race, TMS has been resurfaced and has had significant changes made to the profile of Turns 1 and 2.
Nonetheless, Chaves believes that previous experience will aid his progress this weekend.
“I think any race you have under your belt, any experience, is a good thing, so last year’s experience will help," he said.
"Plus, we tested there in April, so I have tried the new track. But that was a shakedown test rather than a performance test so we will still have a lot to learn, a lot of work to get through.”
Chaves confirmed that Harding Racing’s current plan for 2017 is to add only Texas and Pocono to its Indy 500 debut, but that the team hopes to go full-time next year.
“The thought behind it is that, as of today, they don’t see why they should spend $70 or $80k on a roadcourse kit this season when it’s going to be obsolete next season," he explained.
"The situation for next year is evolving day by day, but the intent right now is that they do the full 2018 season, which is obviously great.”
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About this article
|Location||Texas Motor Speedway|
|Article type||Breaking news|