While most drivers are tucked away deep in their team haulers avoiding the Iowa heat (it’s currently 89 degrees Fahrenheit, but feels like 95, with an 18 mph wind out of the South), I was able to talk to both Zach Veach and Peter Dempsey prior to qualifying.
Veach, who traded the top spot in the second and final practice session, said his car felt good. Aside from a few minor changes, the team plans to qualify the car as is. The qualifying session will take place in a little less than one hour (4 p.m. Central). Veach has run USF2000, Star Mazda (Pro Mazda), and Indy Lights at Iowa Speedway. He says the [Indy Lights] car feels much better over the infamous bump between turn one and two than both the USF2000 and Mazda cars, probably due to the downforce.
I watched both sessions from turn one and the cars looked very smooth though that section, compared to years’ past.
I found Peter Dempsey working in the team garage, cleaning and waxing his car before qualifying. He agreed with Veach that the bump didn’t affect the Lights car much compared to Star Mazda. Dempsey said his car felt good, but the team had made several changes to eliminate some understeer. “We were flat our in about six or seven laps,” Dempsey said, “but we’re still dealing with a bit of understeer. We’ll just have to keep working on it.”
Drivers should be lining up for qualifying shortly. IndyCar is qualifying now.
The Firestone Indy Lights will take the green flag for the Sukup 100 at 7:50 p.m. I will most likely try to get a birds-eye view for the race and then return to the media center following the event. Stay tuned for more updates and make sure to follow on twitter @JOWT.