This weekend will see the first-ever Music City Grand Prix, an IndyCar street races hosted in Nashville, Tennessee and one of the most highly anticipated events of the season. It’s been positioned as a portent of IndyCar’s growth, since the series has enough clout to close off some roads in a busy city for a weekend. It is also incredibly bumpy.
Anyone familiar with American infrastructure probably isn’t surprised. But you’ll still be clenching your teeth watching these drivers taking certain sections of the track — like the transition sections between highway and the Korean War Veterans Memorial bridge. I think I can hear Colton Herta’s teeth rattling in this clip:
Conor Daly tweeted that he “hit the brakes and found a new bump” during Friday’s practice session, resulting in a pretty intense collision with the tire barriers that brought out a red flag:
It was a similar situation for Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward, who was the first driver to make a collision with the wall.
“Man, it’s violent,” O’Ward said after his collision. “Going into Turn 4, the bumps are very violent. I mean, you’re going through there, and the wheel is like getting knocked out of your hands. It’s very unique. It’s unlike any other place we go to, for sure.”
Herta posited that the Nashville track “is even bumpier than Detroit,” the street circuit that hosts a notoriously challenging doubleheader that generally leaves drivers with serious post-race blisters. Herta continued, “I thought the bridge was going to be bumpy, but I didn’t expect coming off the bridge to be quite that bumpy.”
Several other drivers shared their thoughts about the track surface, especially regarding the bridge transition sections — the parts of this track that make it so unique.
After receiving the criticism, Nashville organizers appeared to take action; one Twitter user shared a photo of what appeared to be the track after a smoothing operation that was intended to reduce some of the most dangerous bumps.
With a practice and qualifying session still to run today, it remains to be seen just how helpful this change will be.