Detroit — IndyCar rookie driver Jordan King has learned a lot about the series in a short period of time.
Still, King knows he has a lot more to learn, especially after crashing hard into the wall coming out of Turn 13 during the second practice Friday afternoon on the 13-turn, 2.3-mile street course on Belle Isle.
King’s No. 20 Chevrolet suffered heavy damage to its left side coming out of the turn, then careened across the track and suffered damage to the right side as well. He walked away from the accident unharmed.
“It was a really a small mistake so quite annoying,” King said of his accident. “It wasn’t really a big mistake, just lost the rear a little bit and I touched the wall. We should be all right for tomorrow.”
King, 24, has adapted quickly to running on new tracks this season for Ed Carpenter Racing, qualifying well in the season opener at St. Petersburg, then again last month in the Indy Grand Prix. His best finish is 14th at Alabama.
“He’s had a good year, but unfortunately we have had accidents in the final practice before qualifying in all but one race so that’s a little frustrating,” Carpenter said. “In general, he’s done a good job. He’s a quick learner. He’s recovered quickly from excursions like this so hopefully we’ll be able to rebound tomorrow.
“This is a tough place with the doubleheader and the condensed schedule with a lot less practice time so it makes it a lot harder to recover when you basically miss out on a whole practice session. We’ll just have to battle back tomorrow.”
John Niyo and Gregg Krupa preview the 2018 Detroit Grand Prix with IndyCar drivers Ed Carpenter, Will Power and Max Chilton. The Detroit News
When asked to comment on the damage, Carpenter replied: “It got all four corners, but we’ll fix it.”
King traveled from his native England to California and met Carpenter during a race weekend in Sonoma in 2016 and kept in contact with Carpenter throughout the following year, talking about the possibility of driving for the team during the 2018 season.
“Midway through 2016 I was looking at other racing options and what was available, came out to Sonoma for the year-end race and met a bunch of people and Ed (Carpenter) was one of them,” said King, a former test driver in Formula One. “It wasn’t fully on my horizon, IndyCar at that time, still working on other projects which didn’t materialize.
“I ended up having a last-minute deal with Formula Two again, at the end of the day wasn’t very well planned out. Then, through 2017 I started to talk with Ed a bit more and it took a good six months of talking. We finalized a deal at the end of the year and it turned out to be a great Christmas gift for me.
“I was living in England, then we put the deal together and 17 days later flew out to America and have been here ever since. My first test session was in Sonoma, ironically, in late January or early February. It was a good first day in the car, learned a lot. Really, thinking about where I was back then and where I am now, it’s been quite a long process.”
King showed promise early in his career, having the opportunity to be a test driver in Formula Two at age 15 in 2009. He was a development driver for the Manor Marussia Formula One team in 2015, making his debut during a practice session in the 2016 United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
King is pleased with his progress during his rookie year in the IndyCar series and has enjoyed working for Carpenter who is behind the wheel of the No. 20 car in the oval races. Carpenter earned the pole for the Indianapolis 500 and finished second in the race behind Will Power.
King has arrived to the IndyCar scene with the new aero kit package in play.
“People have told me it’s a good year to come into the series because everyone’s in the same boat, but experience always counts for a lot and I’m not just learning the car, I’m learning the championship, the people, everything that comes with it and even learning a new lifestyle over here,” King said.
“It’s (lifestyle) different is the only way I can describe it. I’ve gone from living at home with my family and having friends and things that I do during the week. I run for my local athletics club and have 15, 20 cycle routes I have around home, all my friends I can go out with. I literally packed a bag and came over here and live in a one-bedroom apartment.”
So, has the new aero kit package tightened up the field?
“Yes, it probably leveled the playing field a bit with driving the car, but I still have a lot to learn,” King said. “It’s been really close, the competition has. Fortunately, I’ve seemed to be doing a really good job qualifying up front so in that sense I’m happy. It’s nice to kind of be able to look at the time sheets and see yourself in the front with guys who have achieved a lot during their careers.
“I qualified fourth at St. Petersburg in the first race, a little disappointed actually because we had a good car, broke the lap record then so I was confident we’d be going for the pole, then rain came down a little bit and we just missed out. We had a good qualifying result at the Indy Road course where I was fifth so we’ve had some really positive speeds.”
King’s best finish is 14th at Alabama. He also placed 21st at St. Petersburg, 18th at Long Beach and 24th in the Indy Grand Prix.
King will now get his first taste of competing in a weekend doubleheader, 70-lap races on Saturday and Sunday. He said he has been working out to prepare for the physical toll it will take on him and his competitors.
“It will be one of the hardest weekends,” said King who was 17th fastest in the first practice session Friday in the 23-car field. “The road course is quite tough with it being practice, qualifying and the race all within 24 hours pretty much so this will be another challenge in itself (on 13-turn, 2.3-mile street course).”
Qualifying for Race No. 1 will be at 11 a.m. Saturday with the race set for 3:30 p.m.
DETROIT GRAND PRIX
Where: Belle Isle
IndyCar: Dual IndyCar races on Saturday and Sunday, 3:30 p.m.; each day, 70 laps each
8:45 a.m. — Trans Am Series Race 1
10:05 a.m. — Super Truck Series Race 1
10:55 a.m. — IndyCar Series qualifying for Race 1
12:30 p.m. — IMSA SportsCar Championship
12:45 p.m. — IndyCar drivers’ autograph session
3:30 p.m. — IndyCar Series Race 1
5:45 p.m. — IndyCar Series post-race ceremonies
10:45 a.m. — IndyCar Series qualifying for Race 2
11:45 a.m. — Trans Am Series Race 2
2:05 p.m. — Super Truck Series Race 2
3:30 p.m. — IndyCar Series Race 2
5:45 p.m. — IndyCar Series post-race ceremonies