Key Points: NBC Sports remains exclusive home of NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indianapolis 50013 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races on NBC in 2022; remaining races on USA Network, PeacockPeacock to stream all races; home of qualifying, practice and Indy Lights INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, July 20, 2021) – INDYCAR and NBC Sports today announced a multiyear extension of their…
Archives for NTT IndyCar Series PR
INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, July 15, 2021) – INDYCAR has formed a new, official partnership with leading racing game developer, publisher and esports ecosystem provider Motorsport Games Inc. (NASDAQ: MSGM) to create and distribute INDYCAR video games, with a debut title expected to launch in 2023 on Xbox and PlayStation consoles and PC.
In addition to the new game, an NTT INDYCAR SERIES esports competition featuring potential driver participation and collaborations could begin as early as this year. Details will be announced at a later date.
“Our partnership with Motorsport Games will bring the fierce competition of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to a global gaming audience hungry for quality motorsports content,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO, Penske Entertainment Corp., the parent company of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. “Like the talent and depth of our field, INDYCAR’s universe continues to expand and grow rapidly. Motorsport Games is an industry leader with a track record of innovation, and we know our fans will have 2023 and the debut of this new NTT INDYCAR SERIES video game circled on their calendars.”
Motorsport Games’ partnership with INDYCAR will produce a brand-new franchise that has been eagerly anticipated by racing and gaming fans. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ bold, audacious and unapologetic style of racing is primed for a video game franchise built entirely around its expanding brand.
North America’s premier open-wheel racing series features a growing roster of rising young stars and talented veterans with global name recognition. These defiant athletes compete across a uniquely challenging and diverse set of ovals, road and street courses.
“I am super excited our fans will be able to bring the NTT INDYCAR SERIES into their homes with this new video game franchise,” Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward said. “This is such a great opportunity for fans to connect to our series even more, from watching us on the weekends to playing as us on their favorite tracks whenever they want.”
Motorsport Games, a Motorsport Network company, combines innovative and engaging video games with exciting esports competitions and content for racing fans and gamers around the globe.
The company is the officially licensed video game developer and publisher for iconic motorsport racing series and events, including NASCAR, 24 Hours of Le Mans and the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). Motorsport Games is an award-winning esports partner of choice for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Formula E, BTCC, the FIA World Rallycross Championship and the eNASCAR Heat Pro League, among others.
“Motorsport Games and INDYCAR are thrilled to provide fans with a long-overdue dedicated gaming experience,” said Dmitry Kozko, CEO of Motorsport Games. “After decades of world-class racing, we cannot think of a more deserving league for a video game franchise. INDYCAR shares our commitment to bringing authentic experiences to motor racing enthusiasts. Fans can anticipate the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to meet the same level of excellence and immersive gameplay they expect from Motorsport Games.”
|Historic Elkhart Lake Road Course To Remain on Calendar|
in Multiyear Agreement
INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, July 6, 2021) – INDYCAR and Road America announced today a new, multiyear extension designed to keep the NTT INDYCAR SERIES racing at the legendary 4.014-mile permanent road course for years to come.
The series began racing at the picturesque layout in 1982. After a brief hiatus, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returned in 2016 to packed grandstands and campgrounds. This year marked the sixth consecutive year Road America has hosted North America’s premier open-wheel series since the series’ return.
“INDYCAR is pleased to continue its relationship with Road America,” said Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles. “It is clear that NTT INDYCAR SERIES events in Wisconsin’s scenic Kettle Moraine have developed into exciting and favored weekends for our fans and athletes, as well.
“Last year, Road America became a central figure in the series’ return to racing during the global pandemic and the first to host a doubleheader. It has been a fantastic addition to our championship, and it is gratifying to know that it will remain a mainstay on our calendar.”
A stellar list of INDYCAR SERIES champions have claimed victories at one of the world’s fastest permanent road racing tracks. Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi and Michael Andretti are three-time winners at Road America. Double winners include Jacques Villeneuve, Paul Tracy and Scott Dixon. Danny Sullivan, Alex Zanardi, Dario Franchitti, Sebastien Bourdais, Will Power and Josef Newgarden have also visited victory lane.
This year, Alex Palou thrilled a massive crowd with a daring drive and a late-race pass to win the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR on June 20.
“The NTT INDYCAR SERIES is clearly one of the greatest forms of open-wheel racing ever to grace our beautiful 4-mile road course,” said Road America President and General Manager Mike Kertscher. “We’ve had a strong relationship since its return in 2016, and we are very proud to continue the tradition. The response from our fans has been tremendous over the past five seasons, and as part of showing our appreciation to them, we are offering a special four-day ticket package for $122. This special is only available online as a print-at-home ticket, and the special price ends on Sept. 30, 2021, so go to roadamerica.com and get yours today.”
The 2022 race date will mark the 33rd appearance of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES at “America’s National Park of Speed.” The entire 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule will be announced at a later date.
LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sunday, July 4, 2021) – This victory almost seemed like destiny for Josef Newgarden and Team Penske.
Newgarden drove to the first victory of 2021 for himself and Team Penske on Sunday, leading 73 of 80 laps and holding off a charging Marcus Ericsson to win The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the HPD Ridgeline in the No. 2 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet. It ended a dry spell of nine races without a victory for Newgarden and Team Penske, the winningest team in INDYCAR SERIES history.
The win, the first for Newgarden and Team Penske since the 2020 season finale last October at St. Petersburg, also snapped a streak of two straight race weekends of heartbreak for the driver and team. Newgarden has won the NTT P1 Award at the last three races, including this one, but lost the lead late in the final three laps at both Race 2 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit on June 13 and the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR on June 20 at Road America.
Two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Newgarden also earned his 19th career victory on the same weekend that the legendary Team Penske is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first INDYCAR SERIES win, by Mark Donohue on July 3, 1971 at Pocono Raceway. It also didn’t hurt that American driver Newgarden won on Independence Day.
“I’d start each stint and feel like we had everything under control,” Newgarden said. “You get to the back end of it, and I felt like I was starting to fall apart, so it was really hard to hang on. I had my wing man, Tim (Cindric, Team Penske president), coaching me all the way, just making sure I knew what was up.
“This team has been doing the job. Everyone has been giving me a hard time, asking what’s up with us not winning a race. But I don’t think these people at Team Penske could have done anything different. We’ve been in the game almost every race, had great performance. It’s great to seal a win here finally.”
Ericsson’s late charge in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda fell just short, but he earned his seventh top-10 finish of the season. Championship leader Alex Palou captured the final podium position in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
Reigning and six-time series champion Scott Dixon helped Chip Ganassi Racing take three of the top four finishing positions, ending up fourth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda. 2016 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Alexander Rossi finished fifth in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda, his best result this season.
The fraught moments over the last 10 laps of the race for Newgarden were quite a contrast from earlier portions of the race on the undulating, 13-turn, 2.258-mile circuit. Newgarden led Ericsson by 6.6 seconds before entering the pits for his final pit stop, on Lap 53.
That lead was trimmed to approximately four seconds shortly after Ericsson made his final stop, one lap after Newgarden.
The gap between the top two ebbed and flowed over the next 15 laps, with Newgarden padding his lead to 7.1 seconds on Lap 66. But then Newgarden started to encounter slower traffic ahead, and Ericsson began using his push-to-pass button more often to draw closer.
Ericsson pulled to within 2.6 seconds with five laps remaining, slicing that margin to 1.4 seconds with two laps to go. When the white flag waved to signal the final lap, Newgarden led Ericsson by .8665 of a second.
One mistake, and it could have been a third consecutive race of late calamity for Newgarden. But he kept his cool and deftly maintained enough of a gap from the slower traffic ahead so those cars’ turbulent air didn’t affect the handling of his machine and also didn’t let Ericsson get close enough to attempt a pass for the win.
“We had a great day,” Ericsson said. “I’m really proud of the whole team. We were pushing very, very hard there at the end to catch Josef. A couple of more laps, and we could have challenged for it. But overall, P2 was a very good result today.”
The strong day for Chip Ganassi Racing ended with three of its drivers in the top five of the series standings. Championship leader Palou is 39 points ahead of Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP. Dixon is third, 56 points behind Palou. Newgarden remained fourth, 69 points back of the leader, and Ericsson jumped three positions to take fifth in the standings, 104 points behind Palou.
In the early laps, Colton Herta – who started second in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda – appeared to be the only driver who could keep pace with Newgarden. But Herta’s chance to compete at the end for a win was eliminated by two troublesome pit stops.
A fuel probe issue kept Herta in the pits for 25 seconds on his first stop, on Lap 31, dropping him from second to eighth. Herta’s car then stalled when he was exiting the pits after his second and final stop on Lap 57. Herta ended up finishing 13th.
It took a few laps for the race to find its rhythm due to two early incidents.
On Lap 1, 2012 series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and Felix Rosenqvist ended up spinning after contact from cars behind them in Turn 4 due to first-lap traffic. Teammate James Hinchcliffe hit the rear of Hunter-Reay’s No. 28 DHL Honda, punting him into the tire barrier, and contact from Romain Grosjean turned around Rosenqvist’s No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
All of the drivers were able to continue. But Rosenqvist and Hunter-Reay needed lengthy pit stops for repairs and ended up finishing 23rd and 24th, respectively, both two laps down.
An incident on Lap 4 ended up eliminating 2014 series champion Will Power and Ed Jones from the race. Power spun after light contact with Dixon during a hard battle for position in Turn 5, with Power’s No. 12 Verizon 5G spinning 180 degrees and pointing toward the onrushing field in a cloud of white tire smoke.
Unfortunately, Jones never saw Power’s stranded car due to the tire smoke, and his No. 18 SealMaster Honda collided with Power’s car. inflicting heavy damage to both. Both drivers were released after evaluation at the track’s medical center.
Those two incidents triggered the only two full-course cautions of the race, helping Newgarden average 108.405 mph in the victory.
The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the inaugural Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on Sunday, Aug. 8 on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee, which starts a stretch of three consecutive race weekends for the series. Following the highly anticipated street race in Nashville, the series heads to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course for the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix on Saturday, Aug. 14 and then shifts to World Wide Technology Raceway for the final oval race of the season, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 on Saturday evening, Aug. 21.
Newgarden Grabs Third Consecutive Pole at Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by the HPD Ridgeline
LEXINGTON, Ohio (Saturday, July 3, 2021) – Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden continued to dominate NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Course, winning his third consecutive series pole. Now he must put aside recent disappointments in races and win the Honda Indy 200 Presented by the HPD Ridgeline.
The two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion and driver of the No. 2 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet became the first series driver since 2015 to win three consecutive poles. Newgarden also was the top qualifier for the second race in Detroit and at Road America on June 19. But this one was close – almost too close.
MEDIA LINKS: Qualifying Results |Driver Video Quotes | Post-Qualifying News Conference Transcript Newgarden edged Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian’s Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda) by 0.031 seconds with his lap of 1 minute, 06.6739 seconds.
“That’s a little tighter than I wanted it to be,” Newgarden said. “That’s INDYCAR. It’s Mid-Ohio. Always tight here. So difficult.
“I think I’ve qualified second like three times, something like that,” he said. “It always comes down to being super tight at the end.”
Herta said he couldn’t compute the distance of a 0.031 second difference around this 13-turn, 2.258-mile circuit:
“Probably very little, maybe like just the length of the P1 sticker,” he said.
The pole was the 14th of Newgarden’s career — his first at Mid-Ohio — and came on the 50th anniversary of Team Penske’s first INDYCAR victory (by Mark Donohue at Pocono Raceway in 1971).
Converting poles into wins has been a challenge of late for Newgarden, who is one of four winless drivers this season from Team Penske. The two-time series champion got passed by Pato O’Ward in the closing moments of the second Detroit race after leading 67 of the 70 laps and then had a gearbox failure at Road America with two laps to go after leading 32 of 55 circuits. He finished second and 21st in those races.
Poles are always important, and they come with a championship point. But at Mid-Ohio, statistics show the value of the pole even more. Fifteen of the 37 previous INDYCAR races – 40 percent – have been won by the fastest qualifier. Both of last year’s races were won from the pole and three of the past four have been.
Newgarden won the 2017 race at this track, and he will be aiming for his 19th career win in the series.
Marcus Ericsson (No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) qualified third with Will Power (No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet) fourth followed by six-time Mid-Ohio race winner Scott Dixon fifth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi sixth (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda). Power advanced despite a nervous first six minutes of the first round when his crew battled an electronics gremlin. They got it repaired in time for him to utilize the Firestone alternate (red) tires to advance.
The Firestone Fast Six was comprised of two cars each from Team Penske, Andretti Autosport and Chip Ganassi Racing.
The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the HPD Ridgeline will air live on NBC at noon. The INDYCAR Radio Network will also have the coverage on its affiliates, INDYCAR.com, the INDYCAR Mobile app presented by NTT DATA and SiriusXM Channel 205.
The first qualifying group had a strange ending. Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey (No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda) spun coming to the timing line on his final lap, drawing a local caution flag. Rossi and Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet) slowed but per rule had those laps disallowed. Harvey lost his fastest lap for creating the situation. That kept Harvey and Pagenaud from advancing to the Round of 12, and they will start 15th and 23rd, respectively, Rossi and Sebastien Bourdais (No. 14 ROKiT/A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet) moved on.
Rossi was one of Michael Andretti’s four drivers securing a spot in the top 12. They swept the podium in last year’s second race at Mid-Ohio.
O’Ward (No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet) had posted the fastest time in Saturday’s morning practice, but the temperatures rose considerably – and it will be hotter Sunday – and he failed to advance from the first round. He will start the 80-lap race from the 20th position.
O’Ward will have work to do to cut into the series lead of Alex Palou (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda). Palou holds a 28-point lead and will start 13 positions higher than O’Ward. Palou missed a spot in the Firestone Fast Six by 0.0384 seconds, bumped by Ericsson on the final lap.
Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay (No. 21 Sonax/Autogeek Chevrolet) and Arrow McLaren SP’s Felix Rosenqvist (No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet) are back in the starting lineup after missing races. VeeKay missed one race after breaking a clavicle in a cycling accident June 14; Rosenqvist was held out of two races following his crash into a tire barrier in the June 12 street race in Detroit. They will start 11th and 13th, respectively.
Two-time Indy Lights race winner Ryan Norman (No. 52 KOINU INU/EVO Honda of Dale Coyne Racing with RWR) will make his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES start from the 26th position. He will start in the 13th row alongside seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson of Chip Ganassi Racing (No. 48 Carvana Honda).
LEXINGTON, Ohio (Friday, July 2, 2021) – There’s one thing clear with Josef Newgarden as he and Team Penske search for their first victory this season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES: Speed is not a problem.
Newgarden led the opening practice for The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the HPD Ridgeline on Friday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The two-time series champion turned a top lap of 1 minute, 7.2524 in the No. 2 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet, continuing a trend that has seen Newgarden win the NTT P1 Award at the last two series races.
“It was a good session,” Newgarden said. “The thing I noticed right was that the car felt phenomenal. When you get into a car and it feels that good, you’re like, ‘Man, we got something right here coming into it.’
“I think we’re on the right track. Getting into the reds (alternate Firestone tires) in qualifying is going to be the tricky bit, to keep the balance. You normally put a lot of understeer here on reds. So far, so happy.”
Saturday’s action includes practice at 9:05 a.m. ET (live on Peacock), NTT P1 Award qualifying at noon (live on Peacock, 8 p.m. Saturday on NBCSN) and final practice at 3:30 p.m. Expect a tight race for spots on the 26-car starting grid, as less than one second separated the top 18 drivers in practice today.
The 80-lap race on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile circuit is set for noon Sunday, live on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network.
Pato O’Ward was second today on the time sheet with a best lap of 1:07.5050 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Jack Harvey ended up third at 1:07.5840 in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda.
2018 Mid-Ohio winner Alexander Rossi was fourth at 1:07.7245 in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda. 2015 Mid-Ohio winner Graham Rahal rounded out the top five at 1:07.7561 in the No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda.
This is a home race for Harvey and Rahal. Englishman Harvey’s team, Meyer Shank Racing, is based in nearby Pataskala, Ohio, and team co-owner Michael Shank is a native of Columbus. Rahal also is a native of the Columbus area.
“We just want a smooth weekend,” Harvey said. “It’s everyone’s home race at Meyer Shank Racing. Mike has been awesome. There’s no added pressure, but we all want to get a good result for him in the place he grew up.”
Championship leader Alex Palou ended the session ninth at 1:07.7951 in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
The practice included one red flag, 25 minutes into the session, when Felix Rosenqvist spun in Turn 1 and stalled in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Rosenqvist returned to the series today after missing the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR on June 20 at Road America and Race 2 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit on June 13 due to a heavy crash in Race 1 at Detroit on June 12.
Rosenqvist ended up 13th quickest in the session at 1:08.0265. Another driver returning from an injury hiatus, Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing, was 18th at 1:08.2367 in the No. 21 Sonax/Autogeek Chevrolet. VeeKay missed the Road America round due to a broken collarbone suffered in a cycling accident.
The spin by Rosenqvist wasn’t the only incident of the session. Colton Herta came within inches of the concrete wall between Turns 9 and 10 earlier in the session in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda after going off track and bouncing through the grass.
|Preview: The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the HPD Ridgeline|
|Chip Ganassi Racing has won nearly half of the INDYCAR races held at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course since 1996, which bodes well for Scott Dixon in his bid to win a record-tying seventh NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship this season. But that also bodes well for the driver he and the rest of the field are chasing for the series title.|
Alex Palou, Dixon’s first-year teammate, has regained the top spot in the standings and holds a healthy 28-point lead over Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward heading to the 10th of 16 races on the calendar. Dixon trails Palou by 53 points, a deficit that will take more than one race weekend to overcome. Only two other drivers – Team Penske drivers Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud – are within 100 points of the series lead. Newgarden trails by 88, Pagenaud by 94.
All of which makes it imperative for those chasing Palou to gain ground in this weekend’s The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the HPD Ridgeline.
Twenty-six car-and-driver combinations are rolling into the permanent road course in Lexington, Ohio, for the 38th INDYCAR race held since 1980. The weekend schedule includes all three levels of the Road to Indy, with doubleheader races for Indy Lights and Indy Pro 2000 with USF2000 staging three races.
On-track activity will effectively be non-stop through Sunday’s main event. INDYCAR’s action begins Friday at 2:30 p.m. (ET) with a 45-minute practice live on Peacock, NBC’s streaming service. A second 45-minute practice, also on Peacock, will be held at 9:05 a.m. Saturday, with three rounds of knockout qualifying for the NTT P1 Award set for Saturday at noon (live on Peacock, delayed on NBCSN until 8 p.m.).
The 80-lap INDYCAR race is Sunday at noon on NBC, with the green flag set for 12:05 p.m. The INDYCAR Radio Network will have complete coverage on its affiliates, INDYCAR.com, the INDYCAR Mobile App powered by NTT DATA and SiriusXM Channel 205.
Among the storylines to monitor:
The Second Half
Applying a legendary quote from baseball great Yogi Berra, it’s getting late early in this NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.
Of course, a different, improving phase of a pandemic is part of that, but the calendar just turned to July and yet nine races have been held. Last year, only one had by this point.
Also, at Sunday’s checkered flag the season will be almost two-thirds completed, and for those drivers with significant ground to make up on the standings leader, the season finale won’t be a double-points race as it has been in recent years. Assuming all drivers participate in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sept. 26, those with designs on the title must be with 45 points of the lead to mathematically have a chance.
Thus, it’s time for many to get motoring. Include former series champions Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda), Newgarden (No. 2 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet), Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet), Will Power (No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet), Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda) and Sebastien Bourdais (No. 14 ROKiT/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet) in that group. Each is 88 points – or more – out of the lead.
A Large Field
Twenty-six cars are three more than competed in last year’s doubleheader at the 13-turn, 2.258-mile flowing road course, and the driver lineup includes returnees and newcomers.
Back in the lineup after recent injuries are Felix Rosenqvist (No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet) and Rinus VeeKay (No. 21 Sonax/Autogeek Chevrolet).
Rosenqvist missed the two most recent races – the back end of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit on June 13 and the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America on June 20 – due to lingering effects from his abrupt, nose-first impact with the Turn 6 barrier in Race 1 at Belle Isle Park. VeeKay suffered a broken right clavicle in a cycling accident June 14, with surgery the next day forcing him to be held out of the Road America race. He was in Chevrolet’s simulator earlier this week and was cleared by INDYCAR’s medical staff Wednesday.
Santino Ferrucci will be back in Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda for a fourth time this season, and he has had top-10 finishes in the first three, including finishing sixth in the 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. He finished sixth and 10th in the Detroit races.
The newcomer in the Mid-Ohio field is Ryan Norman, a two-time race winner in Indy Lights who has been driving for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian in IMSA’s Michelin Pilot Challenge series.A former motocross rider, the 23-year-old Norman hails from a Cleveland suburb, which makes Mid-Ohio his home track. The circuit is also one where he has a significant amount of experience, competing in six Indy Lights races with Andretti Autosport and testing last week in the No. 52 KOINU INU/EVO Honda of Dale Coyne Racing with RWR in which he will make his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut.
This will be INDYCAR’s largest field at Mid-Ohio since the 2011 race when there were 27 cars.
Best Driver, Best Team
As mentioned, Chip Ganassi’s Indianapolis-team has dominated INDYCAR races at Mid-Ohio, winning 11 of 23 races since Alex Zanardi won the first of his two in 1996. Other race winners for the team include Juan Pablo Montoya, Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Charlie Kimball. The team won five in a row from 2009-2013, with Kimball’s win in ’13 the fastest ever at the track (117.825 mph).
Dixon has won at Mid-Ohio a record six times, most recently in 2019. His starting position hasn’t been a factor in the races he has won — he has started as high as the pole (2011) and as far back as 22nd (2014).
For capturing a sixth INDYCAR championship in 2021, Dixon is a leading candidate for Best Driver at the ESPYs. Fan voting, which plays a significant role in determining the annual winner, continues through 8 p.m. (ET) Friday, July 9. Votes can be cast at this link. https://www.espn.com/espys/story/_/id/31633865/espys-2021-vote-best-driver
Challengers Are Plentiful
For all of the Dixon and Ganassi dominance at Mid-Ohio, it was Andretti Autosport which fared the best overall last year.
Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda) led the team’s podium sweep of the second race, with Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda) and Hunter-Reay rounding out the podium and a top-five Honda sweep. Rossi won the 2018 race and finished third in last year’s first race, won by Power.
Power has been the best of INDYCAR’s Mid-Ohio qualifiers, earning the NTT P1 Award a record five times, including two of the past three.
Be mindful of the hometown motivation of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Meyer Shank Racing. Both teams consider this the second-most important race on the schedule after the Indianapolis 500 because both outfits either started in the Columbus area or still maintain facilities there.
The team co-owned by Bobby Rahal, David Letterman and Mike Lanigan fields 2015 Mid-Ohio winner Graham Rahal (No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda), Takuma Sato (No. 30 Panasonic/Mi-Jack Honda) and Ferrucci, while MSR co-owners Michael Shank and Jim Meyer have Jack Harvey (No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda) primed for this event.
Pagenaud (2016) and Newgarden (2017) are also former winners at the track.
A Change in Race Distance
Last year’s two races at Mid-Ohio were 75 laps, lower than the standard 85 or 90 used since the resumption of INDYCAR racing in 2007.
For the first time in track history, INDYCAR will stage an 80-lap race, the goal to force teams to decide between making the strategy based on two stops or three.
“It just makes people do different things,” said Ferrucci, who finished 14th in each race last year. “You can either do fuel savings or you can run hard and fast. It definitely changes up the grid a little bit, and I’m looking forward to it. It will make the racing more entertaining.”
Race weekend: Friday, July 2 – Sunday, July 4
Track: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a 13-turn, a 2.258-mile road course in Lexington, Ohio
Race distance: 80 laps / 180.64 miles
Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.
Firestone tire allotment: Six sets primary, four sets alternate to be used during the event weekend. One additional set of primary tires may be used by teams fielding a rookie driver. Teams must use one set of primary and one set of new (sticker) alternate tires for at least two laps in the race.
Twitter: @Mid_Ohio, @IndyCar, #Honda200, #INDYCAR
Event website: www.midohio.com/
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
2020 race winners: Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) and Colton Herta (No. 88 Capstone Turbine #ShiftToGreen Honda)
2020 NTT P1 Award winners: Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet), 1:06.3343, 122.543 mph and Colton Herta (No. 88 Capstone Turbine #ShiftToGreen Honda) 1:26.2788, 94.215 mph
Qualifying record: Simon Pagenaud, 1:03.8700, 127.271 mph, July 30, 2016
NBC Sports telecasts: Qualifying: 8 p.m. ET Saturday, NBCSN (same-day delayed); Race: Noon ET Sunday, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for NBC Sports telecasts this weekend alongside analyst Townsend Bell.
Peacock Premium Live Streaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on Peacock Premium, NBC’s direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.
INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Jake Query, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young are the turn announcers with Joel Sebastianelli and Alex Wollf in the pit lane. The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the HPD Ridgeline will air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 205, indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying are available on SiriusXM 205, indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.
At-track schedule (all times local):
Friday, July 2
2:30-3:15 p.m.: NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 1, Peacock Premium (live)
Saturday, July 3
9-9:50 a.m.: NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 2, Peacock Premium (live)
Noon-1:15 p.m.: Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (Three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock Premium (live); TV: NBCSN (8 p.m. ET, Same-day delay)
3:30-4 p.m.: NTT INDYCAR SERIES final practice, Peacock Premium (live)
Sunday, July 4
11:58 a.m.: “Drivers, start your engines”
Noon: NBC on air
12:05 p.m.: The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the HPD Ridgeline (80 laps/180.64 miles), NBC (Live)
- There have been seven different winners in nine NTT INDYCAR SERIES races this season. Alex Palou (Barber Motorsports Park, Road America), Colton Herta (Streets of St. Petersburg), Scott Dixon (Texas Motor Speedway-1), Pato O’Ward (Texas Motor Speedway-2, Raceway at Belle Isle Park-2), Rinus VeeKay (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-1), Helio Castroneves (Indianapolis 500) and Marcus Ericsson (Raceway at Belle Isle Park-1) have all won in 2021. The modern record (1946-present) for most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.
- There have been eight different winners in the last 10 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races (Josef Newgarden, Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Scott Dixon, Pato O’Ward, Rinus VeeKay, Helio Castroneves and Marcus Ericsson) The only repeat winners in that stretch are O’Ward (Texas-2, 2021 and Belle Isle-2, 2021) and Palou (Barber 2021 and Road America 2021)
- The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by HPD Ridgeline will be the 38th INDYCAR SERIES race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Will Power and Colton Herta split the doubleheader races in 2020. Johnny Rutherford won the first INDYCAR SERIES race at Mid-Ohio in 1980.
- Scott Dixon is the winningest INDYCAR SERIES driver at Mid-Ohio with six victories (2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2019). Emerson Fittipaldi won at Mid-Ohio three times, while Michael Andretti, Helio Castroneves, Teo Fabi, Bobby Rahal, Al Unser and Alex Zanardi all won at Mid-Ohio twice. Past winners Dixon, Graham Rahal (2015), Simon Pagenaud (2016), Josef Newgarden (2017), Alexander Rossi (2018) Will Power (2020-Race 1) and Colton Herta (2020-Race 2) are entered this year.
- Will Power has won five poles at Mid-Ohio, the most of any driver. Power won the pole in 2010, 2012, 2017, 2019 and 2020-Race 1. Mid-Ohio pole winners entered in this year’s race are Power, Scott Dixon (2011, 2015), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2013), Simon Pagenaud (2016), Alexander Rossi (2018) and Colton Herta (2020-Race 2).
- Fourteen drivers have won the race from the pole – Mario Andretti (1984), Bobby Rahal (1985), Roberto Guerrero (1987), Teo Fabi (1989), Michael Andretti (1990, 1991), Al Unser Jr. (1994), Alex Zanardi (1996), Patrick Carpentier (2002), Paul Tracy (2003), Scott Dixon (2011), Simon Pagenaud (2016), Alexander Rossi (2018), Will Power (2020-Race 1) and Colton Herta (2020-Race 2)
- Twenty-two drivers entered in the event have competed in past INDYCAR SERIES races at Mid-Ohio. Scott Dixon (17) has made the most starts at Mid-Ohio among the entered drivers. Ryan Norman, one of four rookies who will make their first start at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, will make his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut. Thirteen drivers have led laps at the track (Dixon 261, Will Power 205, Josef Newgarden 89, Alexander Rossi 71, Colton Herta 61, Sebastien Bourdais 38, Simon Pagenaud 37, Ryan Hunter-Reay 33, James Hinchcliffe 30, Graham Rahal 27, Takuma Sato 16, Felix Rosenqvist 15 and Marcus Ericsson 1).
- Chip Ganassi Racing has won 11 times at Mid-Ohio, including eight of the 15 races sanctioned by INDYCAR at the track. Ganassi’s winning drivers are Alex Zanardi (1996, 1997), Juan Pablo Montoya (1999), Scott Dixon (2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2019), Dario Franchitti (2010) and Charlie Kimball (2013).
- Team Penske has 10 wins at the track with Emerson Fittipaldi (1992, 1993), Al Unser Jr. (1994, 1995), Helio Castroneves (2000, 2001), Ryan Briscoe (2008), Simon Pagenaud (2016), Josef Newgarden (2017) and Will Power (2020-Race 1)
- Scott Dixon has finished in the top five in 11 of his 17 starts at Mid-Ohio, including six wins between 2007 and 2020 … Will Power has finished in the top five in nine of his 13 starts at Mid-Ohio … Simon Pagenaud has finished on the podium four times in his previous 11 starts.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sunday, June 20, 2021) – In yet another nerve-fraying finish, Alex Palou passed Josef Newgarden with two laps remaining Sunday to win the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR at Road America and regained the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship lead.
Palou drove his No. 10 NTT DATA Honda to a 1.9106-second victory over the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda of Colton Herta. 2014 series champion Will Power finished third in the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet. Palou, who led five of the 55 laps after starting fifth, averaged 119.424 mph in a race slowed by four full-course caution periods.
“It always feels awesome even if it’s your lucky day or just because you have really good pace,” Palou said. “We’ve been close. Indy road course, Detroit, Indy 500, and today I was like, ‘Oh, no, we need to get that win.’ A win is a win. It’s always the best thing.”
Palou took a 28-point lead over Pato O’Ward in the series standings with his second victory of the season, as he also won the season opener on April 18 at Barber Motorsports Park. O’Ward, who led Palou by one point as the series leader entering this race, finished ninth in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
Spanish driver Palou became the first Chip Ganassi Racing driver other than six-time series champion Scott Dixon to earn at least two victories in a season since Dario Franchitti in 2011. Palou also kept Chip Ganassi Racing spotless at Road America over the last two seasons, as Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist swept the doubleheader here last summer for the team.
While Power returned to the podium for the first time since finishing second in the season opener at Barber, this was the second straight heartbreaking result for his Team Penske teammate Newgarden.
NTT P1 Award winner Newgarden led a race-high 32 laps in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet and looked to be poised for his and Team Penske’s first victory of the season on a restart at the end of Lap 53. But Newgarden’s car suffered a mechanical problem when the green flag flew, and Palou blew past him on the outside before Turn 1 on Lap 54 for a lead he wouldn’t surrender.
Meanwhile, Newgarden limped the final two trips around the 14-turn, 4.014-mile circuit with his compromised car and ended up a disappointing 21st as the last car on the lead lap.
It was the second straight Sunday of despair for Newgarden, who was passed by O’Ward for the lead with three laps remaining in Race 2 of the Chevrolet Dual at Detroit and ended up finishing second at Belle Isle after leading 67 of 70 laps.
“Down the front straightaway, as soon as I got to fifth gear, I tried to shift to sixth, and it didn’t take the selection, so I was stuck in fifth,” Newgarden said. “I was trying to get it up to sixth gear, and it wouldn’t go. Then I got stuck in fifth in Turn 1. I finally got it to go down, and I just could not get it to upshift after that. I got it to first, essentially, and tried to stay out of the way.
“I’m not sure what happened. Disappointing for all of us. I knew we had a great car all day.”
Team Penske also lost a possible victory in Race 1 last Saturday at Detroit when Power’s leading car wouldn’t refire on pit road after a red flag period late in the race.
“I don’t know what the luck (is) with our team right now, but with Josef to have a gearbox issue on the last bloody lap, almost the race won, like we were in Detroit, it’s just heartbreaking,” Power said. “I couldn’t believe it when he was pulling off to the side.”
Tire wear was a hot topic through practice and qualifying Friday and Saturday, so pole sitter Newgarden and the other top seven drivers on the starting grid elected to begin the race with grippier but less durable Firestone alternate “red” tires and switch to the more durable Firestone primary “black” tires during their final two stops.
Newgarden was hurt by his tire choice at the end of Race 2 last Sunday, as he was on worn-out alternate tires at the end of the race and was a sitting duck for O’Ward and his primary tires in the last three laps. That mistake wasn’t repeated today, and it was the right call.
Two-time series champion Newgarden, Palou, Herta and Power all were on the strategy of starting with alternate tires and switching to primaries after their first pit stop, biding their time for a final race for the checkered at the end after other drivers on different strategies cycled through their final stops.
Newgarden was running second, about seventh-tenths of a second ahead of third-place Palou, when leader Oliver Askew – on a different fuel strategy – pitted from the lead in the No. 21 Direct Supply Chevrolet on Lap 51.
But Newgarden’s gap to Palou was erased on the same lap when Ed Jones spun in Canada Corner after the left rear tire on his No. 18 SealMaster Honda appeared to deflate. That triggered the last full-course caution, setting up the final restart duel between Newgarden and Palou that never materialized due to Newgarden’s technical problem.
There were seven different leaders and 11 lead changes, mainly due to daring fuel strategies from teams lacking the pace of the frontrunners. But the dramatic finish was the culmination of a no-holds-barred race that featured ferocious battles for position throughout the field, with cars hip-checking each other and kicking up plumes of dirt off course during the duels.
The next event is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Sunday, July 4 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course near Columbus, Ohio. Live coverage starts at noon (ET) on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Saturday, June 19, 2021) – Josef Newgarden’s cagey tire strategy paid off Saturday with the NTT P1 Award for the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR at Road America.
Two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Newgarden was the only driver in the Firestone Fast Six who elected to use new Firestone primary “black” tires for the entire final round of qualifying instead of used primary tires or the grippier, but less durable Firestone alternate “red” tires. That paid off with a best lap of 1 minute, 46.0186 seconds in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet on the 14-turn, 4.014-mile course.
It was the second pole of the season and second straight for Newgarden, who finished second in Race 2 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit last Sunday after winning the NTT P1 Award. Newgarden, from Nashville, Tennessee, earned his 13th career NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole after leading the morning practice and learning an important lesson for the three-round qualifying session.
“We knew this morning this was what we were going to do,” Newgarden said. “I didn’t know where everyone else was at, but this was my plan in the morning. Everybody was on board with it. Just happy to see it work out. I’m a little surprised more didn’t do that. You need to mix it up. It was going to be hard to make used tires work.”
Colton Herta will join Newgarden on the front row in the 55-lap race Sunday after qualifying second at 1:46.2616 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda.
Live coverage of the race starts at noon (ET) Sunday on NBCSN and the INDYCAR Radio Network. It’s the ninth of 16 races this season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
Jack Harvey will start third after a best lap of 1:46.7206 in the No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda. 2014 series champion Will Power will join Harvey on the second row after qualifying fourth at 1:46.8237 in the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet.
Alex Palou, just one point behind championship leader Pato O’Ward, will start fifth after a best lap of 1:46.8633 in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda. Simon Pagenaud was one of three Team Penske drivers in the Firestone Fast Six and will start sixth at 1:47.1274 in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet.
O’Ward will need to charge from almost midway through the field if he wants to earn his third victory this season in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. O’Ward was eliminated after the second round of qualifying and will start 10th after a best lap of 1.46.1069.
“We just haven’t found the right balance since practice one,” O’Ward said. “We were OK with the cooler temperatures this morning, but any time it gets a little bit warmer, we’re not in the window.”
Another title contender, six-time and reigning series champion Scott Dixon, will need to work even harder than O’Ward to race to the front Sunday. Dixon will start 13th in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda after he was eliminated in the first round of qualifying. Dixon is third in the championship, 36 points behind O’Ward.
Dixon lost about 15 minutes of track time in the morning practice due to repairs of his chassis undertray in the pits after he ran over debris in the fast, sweeping Carousel corner.
“It’s frustrating with how compact these weekends are, and if you lose any kind of sequence of it, the roll-on effect is pretty big,” Dixon said. “It is what it is; you can’t do anything about it. It was something on the track, something I couldn’t avoid in a corner that I couldn’t really avoid.”