HOUSTON – The 23 entries for Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers will be split into three groups for a standing start practice following the second Verizon IndyCar Series practice session June 27.
The groups, based on pit lane position for the twin 90-lap races June 28 and 29, will utilize the standing start boxes on the frontstretch of the 1.634-mile, 10-turn temporary street circuit at NRG Park. A standing start is scheduled for Race 1 (3 p.m. ET June 28 on NBCSN).
Additionally, as at Long Beach and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course -- which also featured standing starts this season -- the practice box at the end of pit lane will be available during the 11-11:45 a.m. and 2-2:45 p.m. (ET) sessions. IndyCar.com will stream the practice sessions live in conjunction with the IMS Radio Network broadcast and real-time Timing & Scoring.
Click it: Entrant list || Tickets and information
It's the first time that the racing surface has been used for standing start practice. Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto in July also is scheduled to include a standing start.
“It allows drivers to get used to the racing surface instead of practicing from pit lane, which usually is very different. Indy is a little different in that the racing surface is ground and none of the others that we get to practice on are. There is a big difference,” reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing said. “Many other series (practice) at the end of session one or two.”
Using every other row, the cars will be 200 feet apart. The spacing is 68 feet between rows for the Race 1 start (about 15 feet more than the Grand Prix of Indianapolis). Drivers in Group 1 will take their positions (boxes 1-2, 7-8, 13-14, 19-20), follow the light sequence and be released onto the circuit at pace car speed. They’ll return to pit lane to wait for the next round. Drivers in Group 2 (boxes 3-4, 9-10, 15-16, 21-22) will take positions and be released 75 seconds after Group 1. Group 3 (boxes 5-6, 11-12, 17-18, 23) will then follow.
“I think all the changes they’ll be doing will definitely help,” Dixon added.
Through bulletin to teams, INDYCAR announced today that a driver causing an aborted start during a standing start will start the race from their pit box. The rule had been that driver moving to the rear of the grid.