The guys changing tires should beat me
and the car should be on the ground
before I pull out the fuel probe.
As soon as the fuel fills, I just pull out
the probe and step straight back to clear
myself of the car as fast as I can.
If it doesn’t go according to plan, I know
before anyone tells me. I can just feel it. I
know how long a stop takes, and if it doesn’t
then something went wrong, whether it’s
with me or one of the other guys.
It’s really about slowing everything
down, so I can visualize it the instant
before it happens. I want to see it in my
mind just as it’s happened throughout
practice. Most of the time I don’t even
remember it, especially if the stop goes
well, because it’s just all muscle memory.
Occasionally, a stop is just a “splash
and go.” When it comes to that, the car
engineers have worked out the amount of
fuel required, which they convert to
seconds based on a fuel flow meter
calculation. The fuel probe has a set of five
LED lights. One is green and four are red.
Everything else about the stop is the same
as a full fill, except that I pay very close
attention to those LED lights. When the
probe goes into the buckeye, they light up.
Green indicates that fuel is flowing. Let’s say
we need eight seconds of fuel, the red lights
will go out one per second at four seconds
remaining. When that last light goes out, I
know to pull the probe and clear the car.
People ask me if it’s dangerous. Of
course I’ve thought about it, but it’s never
front of mind. Everyone around me is very
capable, and there are a lot of precautions
taken. Something could always go wrong,
but I’m just focused on doing my job as
best as I can for the good of the team,
and hopefully it results in a win.
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When an IndyCar driver like Marco
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edge of grip and the car is 122lbs.
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ready for a car that will emerge
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levels and a heavy load of fuel.
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