Tyre issues rather than mechanical ones hamper King

Jordan King suffered another frustrating weekend, this time in Detroit. Picture submitted
Jordan King suffered another frustrating weekend, this time in Detroit. Picture submitted

For the first time in his rookie season, Jordan King completed a weekend of IndyCar action without any on-track or mechanical issues.

Though King improved on his starting position over Race 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix to finish in 16th place, it was a long second race of the weekend for the No. 20 as he ran alone most of the day to finish the second Dual in Detroit in 18th.

After showing promising pace in the first four races he had contested, King headed to Detroit looking to convert his impressive performances into a solid race result for the first time in 2018 and with the weekend hosting two full-length races it was the perfect opportunity for him to do so.

After qualifying in 20th for the 70-lap first race, he elected to start on Firestone’s red alternate Firehawk tyres and moved up a spot early on.

He elected to pit three laps later for a splash of fuel and black Firehawks and rejoined the race in 23rd.

A second stop on Lap 26 saw him re-emerge just seconds in front of leader and eventual race winner Scott Dixon and it needed a much-needed caution on Lap 47 to allow him to catch back up to the field and remove the danger of going a lap down.

After a final pit stop on Lap 49 he found himself in 18th and he picked up two positions in the closing stages on his way to completing his first race of the year without a mechanical issue or contact.

“The second half of our race was quite good, we were quite strong the second half pace-wise,” said King.

“I am a bit confused as to why I couldn’t get much pace out of it at the start of the race, we were just kind of holding on to everybody but not able to do anything.

“After that, we got into quite a good rhythm and made some good progress.

“Starting at the back just made it difficult. We overtook a few people but I think our pace was a little better than where we ended up.

It’s tough out there, the field is quite close which makes strategy calls difficult as well.

“It was good to get a first full race with no issues in. That’s quite nice but it’s annoying in that we’re further down the field than we want to be.”

On Sunday, King, starting, from 11th, struggled with the red tyres during the opening laps, falling three positions.

He eventually worked his way up to ninth but fell four positions on Lap 13 as he lost all grip in the tyres.

The decision was made to go to a three-stop strategy and to pit King for a switch from red to black Firestone Firehawks tyres and it proved an extended stop as there was an issue securing one of the wheels.

Now down in 21st, King spent his next two stints virtually by himself on track with few cars around to challenge and wound up the 70-lap race one lap behind the field in 18th.

“It was a long, long race,” he admitted. “The only thing keeping me motivated was my lap time delta. I was just trying to beat my lap time delta every lap.

“Our speed was alright, we maybe could have had a top ten but the first stint did not allow for that. We struggled a bit with the reds and probably stayed out a bit long.”