Kostecki, who currently leads the Supercars standings with his Erebus Motorsport team, was entering this weekend’s Indy Road Course event with Richard Childress Racing’s No. 33 Chevrolet team with no track time and little preparation.
Saturday’s practice and qualifying sessions showed Kostecki clearly has the pace to contend, but his path to a win or strong finish became much tougher following an incident in qualifying.
In Round 1 of qualifying, Kostecki ranked sixth in Group B. He aimed to secure a position among the top five in his last attempt. However, while maneuvering Turn 11, he lost control and collided with the wall, resulting in considerable damage to his vehicle.
He achieved the 11th-best time overall, and although he will maintain his original starting position, Kostecki will be required to begin Sunday’s race from the back of the pack due to extensive repairs performed on his car.
To be completely honest, I’m quite disappointed in myself,” Kostecki expressed. “I made the mistake of finishing my lap too quickly as I came off the banking, and now our car is damaged. There’s no denying that the car is fast though.
“We ought to be fine for the race.”
Unlike his fellow Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen who got a test on the Charlotte Roval before his Cup debut last month, Kostecki did not have the benefit of any on-track experience in the Next Gen car prior to arriving in Indianapolis.
Kostecki, 25, did get time in the simulator at the GM Tech Center in North Carolina this past week and focused on braking points, pit road entrance and finding the best line to drive the 14-turn, 2.439-mile course.
“I anticipate that time will be my greatest obstacle. Clearly, the practice session is quite brief and it will be my first experience in the car,” Kostecki expressed. “It is crucial for me to quickly adapt and perform well in order to complete laps and provide valuable feedback to my RCR team.”
Brodie Kostecki, Erebus Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Photo by: Edge Photographics
Regrettably, that also posed an issue.
After being on the track for only a few minutes during his practice session on Saturday, Kostecki experienced a problem with his No. 33 Chevrolet. The car stalled and came to a halt on one of the access roads. Fortunately, he managed to restart the car and return to the pit road. Upon inspection, his team discovered a problem with the throttle pedal.
He wasted valuable time on the racetrack but managed to come back and finish a few laps. In the end, he secured the 38th position in terms of speed.
In the initial round of qualifying, Kostecki rapidly increased his speed. However, he unfortunately crashed into the wall while attempting to complete a fast lap that would have allowed him to progress to the final round and contend for the pole position.
Despite the setback, Sunday’s road course event offers the chance for teams to explore different pit strategies and the wild nature of NASCAR’s recent Indy Road Course events shows any outcome is still possible.
“I believe achieving a position within the top 10 would be a commendable objective for my inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race. Richard Childress Racing has dedicated significant resources to enhance their performance on road courses and emerged victorious in this particular event last year,” expressed Kostecki.
“I will have control over the pace at which I become proficient and familiarize myself with the vehicle.”
Returning to the stock car world
Unlike van Gisbergen, Kostecki does have prior experience in NASCAR, which gives him a much different appreciation of reaching the sport’s highest level.
Kostecki had a portion of his early years in the United States and competed in the K&N Pro (currently known as ARCA East) Series during 2013 and 2014.
He achieved two pole positions and achieved a top-five finish once, along with four top-10 finishes, in a total of 16 career starts. His highest career placement, fifth place, occurred at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway in 2014.
“I suppose my career has come full circle to finally achieve my Cup debut, and that’s quite amazing,” Kostecki expressed. “This is truly a dream come true for me.”