INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2022) – INDYCAR, with longtime partner IU Health, is rolling into its new season with a new mobile medical facility.
The INDYCAR Medical Unit will make its debut at the year’s first Open Test, held Thursday- Friday, Feb. 2-3 at The Thermal Club near Palm Springs, California. The transporter with double slide outs will provide an environment for consistent and accessible care during each NTT INDYCAR SERIES and INDY NXT by Firestone event.
Previously, INDYCAR’s medical team utilized a combination of a mobile trailer and the facilities available at the venues that host events. With the substantially upgraded mobile unit, the sanctioning body can better serve its growing paddock.
“INDYCAR medical has always been the industry standard of care and service in motorsports,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “The investment into the INDYCAR Medical Unit is an important step in continuing that expectation and assuring that all personnel will receive excellent care.”
Among the features of the INDYCAR Medical Unit: • Four functional areas, one with two hospital beds • Equipment needed to care for patients with urgent or emergent needs, including a portable X-ray machine, a resuscitation cart and assorted orthopedic care supplies • Workspace for the doctors and nurses who travel with the sport • Meeting areas for patient consultation and emergency updates • Video feeds to enable the staff to monitor the on-track action
The INDYCAR Medical Unit will be available during the hours the garages are open, and INDYCAR will work with local officials to determine the most strategic location for the unit at each venue.
“The INDYCAR Medical Unit is a product of continued collaboration of INDYCAR and IU Health and is an important addition to our continued effort to enhance care for competitors, others who work in the sport and their families,” INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Julia Vaizer said. “The unit will be available to drivers, allowing us to evaluate them in the most efficient yet effective manner to develop next steps. We also will provide that level of care for all members of the paddock.”
INDYCAR’s season begins March 3-5 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding. Coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season debut, Sunday, March 5 will be available beginning at noon ET on NBC with a simulstream available on Peacock.
Peacock also will provide coverage of the INDY NXT season opener that same day beginning at 9:55 a.m. ET. The INDYCAR Radio Network will provide coverage of both races, with audio available on the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.
It’s nearly time to flip the calendar to February, which means the latest NTT INDYCAR SERIES season is nearing.
Next week, 27 NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers will converge on The Thermal Club in Thermal, California, for a full-field open test Thursday and Friday, Feb. 2 and 3.
It will be the series’ first preseason open test since the 2020 test at Circuit of the Americas and INDYCAR’s first appearance at The Thermal Club, a private, world-class facility located just outside Palm Springs, California. The 470-acre property opened in 2012 and is known as a premier circuit for club racers and sports car enthusiasts.
The Thermal Club Open Test – held on an INDYCAR-specific 17-turn, 2.9-mile layout combining the North and South Palm circuits – is the first of three full-field NTT INDYCAR SERIES tests in 2023.
The 17-race NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opens March 5 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding on the city streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. The race will be telecast at noon ET by NBC.
At-track schedule (all times local/Pacific):
Thursday, Feb. 2
9-11:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES testing
1:30-4:30 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES testing
Friday, Feb. 3
9-11:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES testing
1:30-4:30 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES testing
“3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR” AT THE THERMAL CLUB:
1.“On the Move” – The Thermal Open Test will be the first time to see some of the new driver/team combinations for 2023, including 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi moving to Arrow McLaren as part of an expanded three-car lineup alongside Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist.
Rising star Kyle Kirkwood moved to Andretti Autosport, taking Rossi’s former car, while Santino Ferrucci returns to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES full-time driving the famed No. 14 of AJ Foyt Racing. The other Foyt entry will be driven by one of four rookies who will race in 2023 – INDY NXT by Firestone graduate Benjamin Pedersen.
Another INDY NXT graduate, 2022 INDY NXT by Firestone championship runner-up Sting Ray Robb, landed a ride with Dale Coyne Racing with RWR. Argentine touring car standout Agustin Canapino joins an expanded Juncos Hollinger Racing effort alongside Callum Ilott. New Zealand’s Marcus Armstrong moves from Europe to drive road/street events for Chip Ganassi Racing. Armstrong will share the entry with two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato, who will race ovals in 2023.
2. “Power Play” – For the first time since 2015, Team Penske’s Will Power arrives at the preseason test as the defending NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion. The two-time champion made history in 2022 as he became INDYCAR’s all-time qualifying king by winning his record-setting 68th pole in September at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, where he also clinched the title. He will look for more history by becoming the first to repeat since Dario Franchitti won three in a row from 2009-11.
3. Test Coverage on INDYCAR’s Channels – INDYCAR’s digital channels are the go-to source for Thermal Open Test coverage. A robust compilation of content over the two days of testing includes:
INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023) – NBC Sports and INDYCAR today announced the race broadcast start times for the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule, headlined by the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 28 at iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with coverage beginning at 11 a.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.
The first seven races of the season will air on NBC and Peacock, including the season-opening Streets of Petersburg at noon ET Sunday, March 5 and concluding with the new Streets of Detroit circuit at 3 p.m. ET Sunday, June 4.
“Getting off to a strong start to the season is always important in pursuit of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship,” two-time and defending INDYCAR SERIES champion Will Power said. “From a broadcast perspective, our season will also get off on the right foot with seven consecutive races on NBC to start the 2023 season before another NBC run to the championship at Laguna Seca.
“Our race fans are the best in motorsports. This broadcast schedule will continue to make our series accessible and easy to find for them, while continuing to push the most competitive racing series in the world out to the lifeblood of our sport.”
Additional highlights of NBC Sports’ 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES coverage schedule include:
The first race of the doubleheader at Iowa Speedway at 3 p.m. ET Saturday, July 22 begins a stretch of six of the final seven races airing on NBC and Peacock to conclude the season
Indianapolis 500 qualifying coverage from IMS airing on NBC and Peacock at 3 p.m. ET Saturday, May 20 and 2 p.m. ET Sunday, May 21 to determine the starting grid for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”
USA Network presenting three races: Road America (1 p.m. ET Sunday, June 18); Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (1:30 p.m. ET Sunday, July 2); and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course as part of the fourth edition of the INDYCAR-NASCAR Brickyard Weekend (2 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 12)
Season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to determine the 2023 series champion at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 10 on NBC and Peacock
Peacock will once again provide comprehensive streaming coverage of the 2023 season, including the exclusive presentation of the Streets of Toronto for the second straight year on Sunday, July 16, at 1:30 p.m. ET.
The remaining 16 races will simulstream on Peacock, which will also present nearly exclusive coverage of every qualifying and practice session in 2023. Additionally, coverage surrounding the Indianapolis 500, INDY NXT by Firestone races, race day warmups and full-event race replays will be available on the platform. Click here for more details.
NBC Sports’ 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES coverage schedule:
Sun., March 5
Streets of St. Petersburg
Sun., April 2
Texas Motor Speedway
Sun., April 16
Streets of Long Beach
Sun., April 30
Barber Motorsports Park
Sat., May 13
Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course)
Sat., May 20
Indianapolis 500 Qualifying
Sun., May 21
Indianapolis 500 Qualifying
Sun., May 28
The 107th Indianapolis 500
Sun., June 4
Streets of Detroit
Sun., June 18
USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16
Streets of Toronto
Sat., July 22
Iowa Speedway – Race 1
Sun., July 23
Iowa Speedway – Race 2
Sun., Aug. 6
Streets of Nashville
Sat., Aug. 12
Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course)
USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27
World Wide Technology Raceway
Sun., Sept. 3
Portland International Raceway
Sun., Sept. 10
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
Note: Dates, times and networks/platforms are subject to change
INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, Dec. 19, 2022) – For the past two years, MAHLE Powertrain has worked with INDYCAR to develop an innovative, first-of-its-kind hybrid system for the NTT NDYCAR SERIES to provide on-demand acceleration at the driver’s request.
With several milestones now met by MAHLE Powertrain, INDYCAR, in collaboration with Chevrolet and Honda Performance Development, will provide continued development and production of the hybrid system in time for the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.
The new hybrid system is an important extension of the INDYCAR’s objective to be the most sustainable motorsports series in the world. In 2023, the series will use 100% renewable race fuel in its race cars, while the teams’ support transporters will use 100% renewable diesel fuel as they move from their race shops to the event circuits. The hybrid system developed by MAHLE Powertrain demonstrates how innovative technology can also help the wider transportation and industrial sectors achieve their decarbonization goals.
“We are delighted to have supported the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to develop the new push-to-pass hybrid system,” said MAHLE Powertrain Managing Director Hugh Blaxill. “We’re particularly appreciative of the expertise and support we have received from INDYCAR, HPD and Chevrolet during the system’s development, much of which took place during the significant global supply chain issues that demanded even closer collaboration between ourselves, the entire INDYCAR team and our suppliers to help resolve.
“I would like to thank the MAHLE Powertrain team for their hard work and dedication to reaching this milestone, and we look forward to watching the hybrid system perform on track to deliver the exciting racing that INDYCAR fans enjoy.”
INDYCAR President Jay Frye said: “We appreciate the innovative solution initiated by MAHLE Powertrain and their hard work in the development of our new hybrid system. We are also grateful for Chevrolet and HPD, as well as the INDYCAR team, for their close collaboration in this important project and continued work as we proceed toward implementation for the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.”
The 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season will begin Sunday, March 5 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding. Coverage will be available on NBC and simulstreamed on Peacock. Coverage also will be available from the INDYCAR Radio Network with audio available on the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.
INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022) – Penske Entertainment and The CW Network announced Dec. 8 they are joining forces with VICE Media Group for “100 Days to Indy,” a first-of-its-kind broadcast series about the road to the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, the world’s premier motorsports competition.
Produced by Penske Entertainment and VICE Media Group, the six-part series will take fans behind the scenes to chronicle the bold and brash personalities of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES as they begin the 2023 season and start their epic quest for racing’s greatest prize. “100 Days to Indy” will air on The CW Network in spring 2023.
“The Indy 500 is the most unique, exhilarating and engaging event on the planet,” Penske Entertainment President and CEO Mark Miles said. “It’s an unrivaled spectacle fueled by ambitious, fearless and captivating personalities. This series will give viewers an unprecedented front row seat as the racing season begins and the countdown to Indy accelerates. Ultimately, through the compelling creative lens and massive reach of both VICE and The CW, we will bring the world-class competition and drama of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to a newer and more youthful audience.”
The 100-day window is benchmarked by drama, intrigue and fierce competition from the very first race of the season all the way to the checkered flag at the Indianapolis 500. For the winner, it is a life-changing experience, etching his or her name into the history books. This year, four time Indy 500 winner and former “Dancing with the Stars” champion Helio Castroneves is eyeing a record fifth win but will face stiff competition from a rising generation of young talent all eyeing “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and its multimillion-dollar purse.
“100 Days to Indy” will showcase what it takes to compete at the highest levels and at the height of danger, while providing a window into the on- and off-track lives of some of the sport’s most engaging drivers.
“‘100 Days to Indy’ is a high-octane adventure grounded in emotional sports storytelling,” said Brad Schwartz, president, Entertainment, The CW Network. “Alongside our partners at VICE Media Group, Penske Entertainment and NTT INDYCAR SERIES, we have come together to deliver a series that will follow these champions of the racetrack and keep viewers on the edge of their seats.”
The compelling docuseries will be produced by multiple award-winning VICE World News, with Emmy Award-winning Patrick Dimon directing and Bryan Terry executive producing for VICE. The series will have a fast re-air on VICE TV and be supported across VICE’s global social media channels.
“VICE is honored to produce the first sports project with Nexstar and The CW since the acquisition and to bring this series through the checkered flag with everyone at the network,” said Morgan Hertzan, president, Global TV at VICE Media Group. “The team at the NTT INDYCAR SERIES has an incredible journey for the world to join, and VICE is looking forward to being in the driver’s seat with them.”
Source: Series PR INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, Oct. 10, 2022) – INDYCAR will conduct three Open Tests for 2023 in preparation for key moments during the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. The first Open Test of 2023 will feature the series’ initial trip to The Thermal Club for a season preview Thursday and Friday, Feb. 2-3. The…
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Power Wins 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Title; Palou Dominates in Laguna Victory
MONTEREY, Calif. (Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022) – It wasn’t easy for differing reasons, but Will Power and Alex Palou both ended up winners Sunday after the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Power survived varying tire strategies and challenges from rivals to finish third in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and clinch his second NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship, adding to his 2014 title. The championship came just one day after Power set the INDYCAR SERIES career record with his 68th pole, breaking a tie with fellow legend Mario Andretti.
“Man, I had to drive the thing today,” Power said. “It was on the edge, very loose. Man, what a relief. What a relief to get that done.”
Power, 41, from Australia, won just one race this season, but this was his series-leading 12th top-five finish in 17 races – three more than any other driver. Power and Scott Dixon also were the only drivers to finish every lap this season.
That consistency was part of a mental shift this season by Power to take what the car offered each race and not overdrive into mistakes. The newfound, Zen-like focus proved pivotal.
“From the beginning (of the season), it was just playing the long game, not necessarily going for the big wins and all that,” Power said.
This was the 17th INDYCAR SERIES championship by a Team Penske driver, extending the team’s record. Power beat teammate Josef Newgarden to the crown by just 16 points.
Palou ended his reign as series champion with his first victory of the season in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, dominating the race and beating Newgarden to the checkered flag by 30.3812 seconds, the largest margin of victory this season by more than 24 seconds. Palou delivered a victory after a fraught summer marked by a still-unresolved contractual dispute for his driving services next season between Chip Ganassi Racing and McLaren Racing.
The win came despite a six-spot grid penalty for an unapproved engine change after qualifying Saturday, dropping Palou from fifth to 11th on the starting grid.
“We struggled a bit (at) some races, especially the last couple of races,” Palou said. “But today was awesome. Strategy was on point. It’s good to finish a season with a win. We had some power there and good fuel mileage.”
Palou first took the lead on Lap 16 and proved to be the dominant driver almost immediately. He led 67 of the 95 laps in a race slowed by just three caution periods.
Spaniard Palou’s gap over second-place Power was 8.6287 seconds on Lap 50, but Palou rocketed away during the second half of the race as rivals managed varying tire and pit strategies. Palou used the Firestone alternate tires only from Laps 20 to 38 and then blitzed the field for the rest of the way on Firestone primary tires on the slick, highly abrasive surface of the 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit.
By Lap 62, Palou’s gap over Power was 20 seconds. It was checkout time.
“We struggled a bit during the whole weekend, and I don’t know what happened today,” said Palou, who won three races last year en route to the title. “But everything clicked. Super happy to win a race this year.”
Newgarden started the day second in the standings, 21 points behind Power, who earned a bonus point for the NTT P1 Award Saturday. He faced long odds for capturing his third championship due to starting 25th in the 26-car field after spinning off track in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet during the first round of qualifying.
But Newgarden never relented in his tenacious long shot bid to overhaul teammate Power. He started the race on Firestone primary tires – the opposite approach of title rivals Power, Dixon and Marcus Ericsson – and also made one more pit stop than Power in an attempt to use fresher tires and a full-bore fuel mixture to gain track position.
The gambit nearly worked. Newgarden exited the pits on Lap 36 on new Firestone primary tires and started inhaling rivals, especially with frightening closing speed entering the daunting “Corkscrew” turn complex.
Newgarden passed the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet of Pato O’Ward for fourth on Lap 43 in the Corkscrew and then repeated that move one lap later for third place, passing the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet of Felix Rosenqvist.
Power was next on the hit list. Newgarden sailed past his teammate on Lap 46 at the top of the Corkscrew for second place. But Power didn’t panic, again focusing on the long view while doing title arithmetic in his brain at 175 mph.
“I just knew I had to absolutely get the most out of those stints and not lose any more positions,” Power said.
Newgarden had no chance to catch Palou, who already was in a different stratosphere, up by seven seconds just four laps after a Lap 41 restart. The top three cars held station for the rest of the race, sealing the title for Power.
“Even yesterday, with the heartache there, we came back, we fought, and we nearly got there,” Newgarden said. “I’m proud of the effort. We’re going to come back stronger next year.
“But I’m proud of this team. Huge congrats to Will and the entire team.”
Six-time series champion Dixon placed third in the standings, 39 points behind Power, after his 12th-place finish in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Scott McLaughlin ended up fourth in points in just his second season of open-wheel racing after his sixth-place finish in the No. 3 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet.
2021 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Ericsson finished his best NTT INDYCAR SERIES season fifth in points after placing ninth in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
Christian Lundgaard earned series Rookie of the Year honors with his fifth-place finish in the No. 30 PeopleReady Honda. Lundgaard ended with an 18-point gap over David Malukas, who finished 13th today in the No. 18 HMD Honda.
Palou will split $10,000 with his Chip Ganassi Racing team and his chosen charity for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.
MONTEREY, Calif. (Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022) – Will Power wrote a new chapter of INDYCAR SERIES history one day before he could enter his name in the sport’s annals as a series champion for the second time.
Power broke Mario Andretti’s all-time record with his 68th career pole Saturday during NTT P1 Award qualifying for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.
Power, 41, from Toowomba, Australia, drove to his series-leading fifth pole this season in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, burnishing his legend and starting from the perfect position as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship leader entering the season finale Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
“It’s such a big day tomorrow that I can’t celebrate much because I’ve got to be so focused on tomorrow,” Power said. “Tremendous milestone. To be out there with an iconic guy like Mario is amazing. When I think about the era he raced in, how dangerous it was and how much more of a risk it was, it just blows my mind I’m there with Mario.”
Said Andretti: “Awesome. I know how much I loved qualifying, and I can see he’s the same. Trying to reach and trying to do the lap you know you cannot repeat. That’s what puts you on pole. It (losing record) was coming. It’s beautiful. It’s great for the series and the sport. Records are made to be broken, and it’s with a good man.”
Power’s best lap in the Firestone Fast Six was 1 minute, 11.6127 seconds. Rookie Callum Ilott will join him in the front row of the 95-lap race Sunday (2:40 p.m. ET, NBC; 3 p.m. ET, Telemundo Deportes on Universo and INDYCAR Radio Network) after qualifying a career-best second at 1:11.6320 in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet.
The pole gave Power more than just a big piece of history. He also will be awarded one bonus point when the race starts tomorrow, which could be pivotal as he looks to preserve his 20-point lead over Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing and win a second season championship to accompany his 2014 title. Marcus Ericsson (-39) of CGR and Scott McLaughlin (-41) of Team Penske also are eligible to win the championship Sunday.
Power was the only member of the title-contending quintet to advance to the Firestone Fast Six, creating an even clearer path for his championship hopes on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile track where passing is difficult due to the challenging layout and low-grip, highly abrasive surface.
McLaughlin was the best of the rest among the title contenders, qualifying eighth at 1:11.6916 in the No. 3 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet after going off track in Turn 4 during the second round of qualifying. Ericsson qualified 10th after spinning in the famous “Corkscrew” turn during the second round, ending up with a best lap of 1:12.1359 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
Dixon and Newgarden will have plenty of work to do to win the Astor Challenge Cup on Sunday after neither driver advanced from the first round.
Six-time series champion Dixon will start 13th after his best lap of 1:12.1722 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Dixon and every other driver besides Newgarden in the first qualifying group of the first round were forced into a one-lap showdown for position when Newgarden triggered a red flag, lost his two quickest laps and chance to advance by clouting a curb in the “Corkscrew” and spinning off the course.
Two-time series champion Newgarden will start 25th in the 26-car field in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.
Among the other four drivers in the Firestone Fast Six, Alexander Rossi qualified third at 1:11.7698 in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda, with Andretti Autosport teammate Romain Grosjean fourth at 1:11.7858 in the No. 28 DHL Honda.
Alex Palou, whose reign as series champion has one more day, qualified fifth at 1:12.1625 in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Pato O’Ward rounded out the Firestone Fast Six at 1:12.4542 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
Ilott was the top rookie qualifier but already is eliminated from Rookie of the Year contention. The two drivers competing for that honor, David Malukas and Christian Lundgaard, qualified seventh and 16th, respectively. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Lundgaard leads Dale Coyne Racing with HMD driver Malukas by five points in the standings.
A 30-minute warmup session at noon ET Sunday will precede the race, with live coverage on Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network. Spanish-language telecast will be on Telemundo Deportes on Universo.
MONTEREY, Calif. (Friday, Sept. 9, 2022) – Josef Newgarden was the first driver among the contenders for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship to move chips toward the center of the table in this high-stakes confrontation, leading practice Friday for the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.
Two-time series champion Newgarden, who is second in points, 20 behind teammate Will Power, was quickest with a lap of 1 minute, 11.4103 seconds in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. Scott Dixon (-20 points), Marcus Ericsson (-39) and Scott McLaughlin (-41) are the other drivers eligible for the title this weekend.
Power must finish third or better in the 95-lap race Sunday (live, 2:40 p.m. ET, NBC and 3 p.m. ET, INDYCAR Radio Network) to win the Astor Challenge Cup for the second time.
“I’m always confident,” Newgarden said. “I feel really good about this team. I’m never discouraged showing up to the track. The team really has done an excellent job this year. We’ve got to be good this weekend.”
Among the five title contenders, Power was second quickest and seventh overall at 1:11.9858 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Ericsson was next, 10th overall at 1:12.0803 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
Next was McLaughlin in 11th at 1:12.0877 in the No. 3 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet. Dixon was the slowest of the title contenders, 17th at 1:12.3911 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
NTT P1 Award qualifying will start at 5:05 p.m. ET Saturday, live on Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network. A 45-minute practice session will precede qualifying at 1:15 p.m. ET.
“You’ve definitely got to go get the pole because you can guarantee Newgarden is going for it,” Power said of his teammate. “Absolutely. And he’s going to be there to win the race.”
Following Newgarden in the overall top five was reigning Laguna Seca race winner Colton Herta at 1:11.8266 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda as the leader of three Andretti Autosport drivers in the top five. Romain Grosjean was third at 1:11.8697 in the No. 28 DHL Honda fielded by Andretti, followed by Alexander Rossi in Andretti’s No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda.
Rookie Callum Ilott rounded out the top five at 1:11.9490 in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet. Ilott is not a contender for Rookie of the Year honors this weekend, but the two drivers vying for that crown, David Malukas and Christian Lundgaard, ended up ninth and 15th, respectively, in the 75-minute session.
All 26 drivers in the field struggled with the low-grip, very abrasive asphalt on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile Laguna Seca circuit, which also features the famous “Corkscrew” turn complex. Most drivers had at least one off-track excursion during the session, especially on the Firestone alternate tires.
“Tough track, man,” Power said. “Very low grip. You get one lap on tires, and they’re gone. It’s hard to get a read because the car changes so much over a run.”
Said Dixon, “It’s going to be a pretty high-deg (tire degradation) race, man.”
There was one red flag, 47 minutes into the session. Jimmie Johnson went off track and hit the tire barrier in Turn 6 with the rear of his No. 48 Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. He was unhurt.
MONTEREY, Calif. (Friday, Sept. 9, 2022) – The five NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers still in contention to lift the Astor Challenge Cup made an early-morning pit stop Thursday at one of golf’s most iconic locations – the 17th green at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California.
Team Penske drivers Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin were joined by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson for a fitting photo at Pebble’s “Turn for the Championship.” They were flanked by the Astor Challenge Cup and scenic Stillwater Cove.
Pebble Beach, the No. 1-rated public golf course in America and home to some of golf’s greatest championships and champions, sits down the road from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the location of the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES (live, 2:40 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC).
Power leads the championship standings by 20 points over Newgarden and Dixon, with Ericsson 39 points back in fourth and McLaughlin 41 points back in fifth. Power can clinch his second series crown with a finish of third or better Sunday. With just 41 points separating five drivers, this is INDYCAR’s closest championship race in 19 years.