IndyCar drivers eye key passing spots for Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana _lowres

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Driver Takuma Sato heads to the pits in March while testing new aerodynamic body kits in advance of the IndyCar racing season at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale. Sato drives a Honda setup.

IndyCar driver Takuma Sato said he expects Turns 1 and 3 to be the most popular places for passes, as well as at the end of the back straight, when the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana is contested Sunday.

“There will be a slight modification for Turn 1 from when we tested there, so we will see, but it seemed very bumpy on the inside of the braking area toward Turn 1 so that will be a bit of a concern when overtaking.”

Teammate Jack Hawksworth said the NOLA Motorsports Park course reminds him of “a slightly quicker version of the (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) road course as they’re both very flat with a couple of quick corners and some long straights with big braking zones.”

Straightaway

The New Orleans road course spots the second-longest frontstraight (2,725 feet) on the 2015 circuit. Indianapolis ranks first with a 2,869-foot front straight on its 2.439-mile course.

Louisiana flavor

Louisiana natives preparing to race in the GT3 Cup finished Friday morning’s practice session with fast times.

David Ducote, a New Orleans native, posted a time of 1:43.548. His father, Wayne, who on Friday turned 70, celebrated in his Kelly-Moss car with a best time of 1:44.796.

Meanwhile, Lafayette’s Jeff Mosing posted a best time of 1:44.256. Mosing has raced on the series since its inception in 2006. Lafayette’s Sarah Montgomery finished with a best time of 1:57.534. This marks her second season on the series after moving up from Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge in 2014.

In the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites series, Keith Dusko, a New Orleans restaurateur, posted a best time of 1:40.588 in the masters class. This weekend marks his first race in the series. Also, John Crosby (finished with a best time of 1:43.987.

Numbers

4,000,000: Approximate cost in dollars of one IndyCar vehicle.

10,000: The dollar amount awarded to the team with the shortest amount of accumulated time in pit lane. The Chip Ganassi Racing crew of Tony Kanaan won the challenge at St. Petersburg, Florida, with 99.024 in the pit lane time.

1,600: The minimum amount of tires Firestone delivered to New Orleans. Each entry receives nine sets of primary tires, three sets of alternate tires and five sets of rain tires.

571: Total laps during Friday morning’s IndyCar practice session.

235: Sunday’s race will extend Kanaan’s Indy car-record start streak which began in 2001.

18: Place of Simona de Silvestro, Sunday’s lone female driver, in her return to IndyCar last month at St. Petersburg, the series’ first race. De Silvestro has 65 starts over four previous IndyCar series seasons.