There's been plenty of time for talking at Indy thus far. (IndyCar photo)
Killing time is killing me. The frustrating part is that we've had a bit of running: I tasted the meat, but now I'm back in my cage and there's a whole carcass outside that's out of reach.
When you're one of the drivers who has to pay to play, you want to play as much as possible – for your own satisfaction and for the sake of your sponsor who made the whole project possible – and Mother Nature is stealing time from us. I never trust the weather forecasts, so, at some point, we've got to throw caution to the wind and make the decision to switch from practicing with the racecar to setting it up for qualifying. I want to give KV Racing, GEICO and my personal sponsors – Kicker Car Audio, Monster Energy, Ridetech, Oakley and CEC Wheels – and my fans something to cheer about this weekend and next weekend. I want to get the best from the car in qualifying and on race day, and the weather is just acting like an anchor on us.
The first couple of days went OK. Our GEICO No. 15 car had high downforce on – basically what we're going to be starting the race with – and, considering the speeds we ran relative to other people's downforce level, I think we should be pretty happy.
We're trying out ways of reducing drag without taking downforce off, so we have some mechanical changes to try. We had a couple of small issues with mechanical drag on the car – some wheel-bearing stuff that we need to work through – but now we're just sitting waiting. The beauty of being part of a four-car team at KV Racing is that instead of one car trying 20 different changes, we've split up duties with each of us having four or five test items to try. At the end of the first day, we all sat down and had a really good debrief and everyone got good feedback, good solid readings of what direction to take the cars.
Obviously, we all had different downforce configurations, so we're all spread out speed-wise, but everyone's working as a team and the car is simple as pie. I was flat all the way around on my first flying lap, so I have a lot of confidence in the way the car feels. No question, KV has got a really good handle on the Dallaras this year.
But the clock is ticking, and there are still more things that we all want to try to get a race balance; but like I say, we've also now got to start thinking about trimming it out for qualifying. Mario's car was the quickest last weekend – a 225mph lap – and all four of us (me, Mario, EJ and Taku), are really encouraged by that. I'm just chomping at the bit, waiting to put those settings on the No. 15.
I've seen some forecasts say it's going to be clear tomorrow but it'll rain Saturday, others say the complete opposite. You never know at this freakin' place. So, I'm filling in time going to the gym, riding my bike and just waiting and waiting and waiting. It's due to rain all through today, and there's already so much on the ground from yesterday and last night, and there's no wind to drive the clouds away. But it's cold, too, so there's no evaporation. Since the motor home arrived last week – it threw an alternator belt on the way, so it was a few hours late – I haven't had to turn the AC on once, and the last couple of days I've needed the heater on. It's like spending a May week in England. But at least the motor home's not leaking like it was this time last year.
One bit of positive news is that I'll soon be able to confirm the plans for the Canadian races. We've signed another sponsor for Indy and Edmonton, which is great news. And our GEICO Racing digital magazine has just been launched on RACER.com (click here), so at least you can read what we'd be doing if the weather allowed it. For now, I'll just continue sitting here in a holding pattern. Frustrating doesn't begin to describe it, to be honest.