It’s a tough one. Like all street circuit designers, Tony Cotman could only work with what he had on either side of the bridge, which made for a spectacular setting for the start. But it says much that it was the only realistic point to kick off the race even though it led into Turn 9 of 11. The run to the Turn 1 chicane was an impossibly tight funnel for a full pack of cars to stream into without chaos. The tightest bits need another look if this race is to match the hype and enthusiasm the locals are showing for it – but exactly what can be done within the confines of city limits remains to be seen.
The battle between Ericsson and Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta went some way towards saving the day. Herta had been phenomenal all weekend, setting the pace in all sessions and claiming his second pole position of the season by some margin. In the race too he showed different class, making up for a strategy that lost him track position twice. And it must be said, he proved to the rest that clean overtaking was possible around here – although in Ericsson he finally met his match.
Herta’s final stop, taken during the seventh caution period on lap 51, dropped him from the lead to ninth – but he was spectacular in how he carved his way back up to second, his pass on six-time champion Scott Dixon into the fast Turn 9 the stand-out manoeuvre of the bunch. People keep saying this 21-year-old is the future of IndyCar. He sure looked like it in Nashville – even if he ultimately dropped a clanger in his frustration over a futile chase to win back the lead.