Extreme heat figures to be a factor in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Temperatures are expected to reach the low 90s for the race, which has a 3 p.m. green flag. There’s also a good chance of thunderstorms.
Fortunately for drivers, a new system that better circulates air in the cars should provide at least some relief.
“It’s not going to be air conditioning by any means,” said Kyle Busch, who won the 2015 Brickyard. “So we’ll take the best of what we can and go from there. At least it will kind of start moving some air around a little bit.”
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Jimmie Johnson is one of the more fit drivers on the circuit, and he’s paying attention to how hot it will be. He said he once overheated at a race at Richmond when cool air that was blowing into his helmet turned hot.
Heat is tricky.
“It turned into a heater, actually,” Johnson said. “I cramped and then the cramping led to me passing out in front of cameras and everybody to see.
“Heat is tricky. I find that heat training and trying to cycle or run in the heat of the day, as brutal as it is, does help. It helps me mentally try to win that battle. Also, it helps me to understand it from a nutrition and hydration standpoint what I need to do to function so that I don’t cramp.”
▪ Qualifying for the Brickyard 400 is Saturday at 1:45 p.m. Johnson led Friday’s first practice session with a lap of 184.185 mph. Kyle Busch’s lap of 182.350 mph was fastest of the second session.
▪ Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 will be the final Dash 4 Cash Xfinity Series race of the season. The top two points-earning drivers in each of Saturday’s two qualifying heats will be eligible to win a $100,000 bonus. Erik Jones (Bristol and Dover) and Ty Dillon (Richmond) were winners of the first three Dash 4 Cash races. Dillon finished second to Dale Earnhardt Jr., who isn’t a points-earning Xfinity driver.
▪ NASCAR’s presence among top companies continues to grow, with 45 Fortune 100 companies investing in the sport (up from 43 in in 2015). Among Fortune 500 companies, 130 are invested in the sport now, nearly one in four. The numbers have either grown or been sustained each year since 2012, according to a NASCAR spokesman.
▪ Roush Fenway Racing announced a multi-year extension with SunnyD as a primary sponsor for Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s No. 17 Ford. SunnyD is on Stenhouse’s car this weekend at Indianapolis, and will also be the primary sponsor at Charlotte’s Cup race and the Xfinity race at Phoenix later this season.