NASHVILLE, TN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES debuts its first new street race in a decade this weekend when it takes to the streets of Nashville for the inaugural Music City Grand Prix.
The 11-turn, 2.17-mile temporary circuit incorporates streets in Downtown Nashville and around Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans.
Steelers and Country music fans probably already know that Nissan Stadium, much like Heinz Field and PNC Park, sits on the other side of the Cumberland River from Downtown Nashville, so INDYCARS will be screaming across the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge.
Two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion and Tennessee native Josef Newgarden thinks the city is going to be the star of the race.
“So many people are talking this race, that normally don’t care about racing, I’m thrilled about the response to the event,” said Newgarden. “Growing up in Hendersonville I never thought I would be racing in Downtown Nashville and across the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge.”
“It’s definitely an interesting circuit,” said six-time and defending NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Scott Dixon, who drives the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. “Going over the water on a bridge, very long straights, very tight sections. More importantly very excited to be racing in Downtown Nashville. A lot of big names, celebrities and stars coming to this one and for the local people it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Dixon was second in the opening practice with a fast lap of 1:16.9653-seconds (98.226 mph), trailing only Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta, who’s put down a fast lap of 16.5875-seconds (98.711) in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda.
“What we rolled off the truck with was pretty good,” said Herta. “I feel like when you go to these street circuits that are bumpy and technical like this one is, it’s about having the least worst car, if that makes sense. It’s never going to handle nice, so you just kind of try to get it into an operating window where it’s better than everybody else’s.”
There were two incidents in the first practice session. Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward clipped the barrier in turn 3 ending his session after 22-minutes. O’Ward was not hurt. Conor Daly hit the tire barrier after the rear wheels of Daly’s No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet locked up as he braked for Turn 9 exiting the bridge. Daly climbed without assistance from the car.
Practice continues on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET (Noon local) with knockout-style qualifying starting at 4:30 p.m. ET (3:30 local).
Josef Newgarden puts the PPG colors in victory lane at Road America
ELKHART LAKE, WI (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Josef Newgarden leapfrogged leader Alexander Rossi during green flag pit stops and held off a hard-charging Marcus Ericsson late in the race to win Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America.
The victory was Newgarden’s third of the year and came with a $1-million dollar bonus from PeopleReady. The bonus went to the first driver to win on an oval (Texas) a street course (Long Beach) and a road course (Road America). The money will be spit with half going to Newgarden and Team Penske and the other half to charities of Newgarden’s choice.
“To finally get it done and most importantly to give that money to charity, half of that money is going to charity with SeriousFun Network and Wags and Walks Nashville,” said Newgarden. “I hope they’re happy about it, that’s a lot of money coming their way.”
Newgarden started second and tucked in behind Rossi, the pole sitter, for the first 14-laps when the first round of green flag pit stops took place. Newgarden’s No. 2 PPG Chevy crew got the two-time Series Champion out ahead of Rossi and as the rest of the field completed their stops. Newgarden inherited the lead.
“You’ve got to be on your toes at all times (in this series),” said Newgarden. “You can go in with a plan, but you probably have to change your plan 90 percent of the time once the race starts to unfold.”
Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson finished second in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda after passing Rossi on a late restart. The runner-up finish came despite Ericsson making contact with his teammate, and defending Series Champion, Alex Palou while racing for third in Turn 5 on Lap 4.
“First of all, I’m really sorry,” Ericsson said. “You never want to have contact with a teammate. From my point of view, the door was open, and I was already side by side. If you see a gap, you go for it. It’s important at the beginning of the race to get track position.”
Ericsson regained the points lead with the second place finish and sits 27-points ahead of 2nd place Will Power (293-266). Power, last week’s winner at Detroit, finished 19th after rookie Devlin Defrancesco punted Power into the Turn 5 wall early in the race.
The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by the All-New Civic Type R on Sunday, July 3 (noon ET, NBC, Peacock Premium, INDYCAR Radio Network). Mid-Ohio is the closest track to Pittsburgh that the NTT INDYCAR SERIES races.
Racing Notebook: Rossi on INDYCAR pole; Larson on Cup pole; Busch wins Truck Race
Sunday’s Racing Notebook has details on the starting lineups for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at Road America and the NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma as well as Kyle Busch winning another truck series race>
Rossi on INDYCAR Series Pole:
- Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi earned his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole position in three years by beating Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden in knockout-style qualifying for Sunday’s race at Road America. Rossi’s fast lap of 1 minute, 44.8656 seconds edged Newgarden’s 1:44.9371 in the No. 2 PPG Chevrolet. Defending series champion Alex Palou, who led the final warmup session on Saturday afternoon, qualified third at 1:45.3822 in the No. 10 American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Teammate and 2022 Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson joins Palou in the second row after his best lap of 1:45.4240 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Road America INDYCAR Lineup
Larson Leads Hendrick Cup Series Front Row:
- Hendrick Motorsports Kyle Larson is on the pole position for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma. Larson’s fast lap of 92.111 mph (1m70.776s) edged teammate Chase Elliott’s 92.083 mph in the No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet. Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing’s Chris Buescher qualified third at 91.919 mph after missing last week’s race due to Covid-19. Michael McDowell starts fourth after posting a fast lap of 91.916. Sonoma Cup Lineup
Kyle Busch Wins Truck Series Race:
- Kyle Busch held off Zane Smith to earn his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory of the year Saturday at Sonoma. The win extended his record career total to 62 series victories and a streak of 10 consecutive years with at least one series win. Busch led 45 of the 75 laps in the victory. Wexford’s Kris Wright finished 26th in the No. 44 FNB Chevrolet after starting 30th in his first race at Sonoma. Sonoma Truck Results
Will Power wins INDYCAR Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix in finale at Belle Isle
DETROIT, MI (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Will Power is enjoying the spoils of winning Sunday’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at the Raceway at Belle Isle, just one year later than he thought he would.
Power used a two-stop strategy and held off a hard-charging Alexander Rossi to win by one-second, one year after Power’s Verizon 5G Chevrolet would not re-start following a red flag while he was leading.
Power started 16th in the field on the primary ‘black’ Firestone tires and used them during his first two stints and then switched to the ‘red’ alternate tires for the last stint and was able to hold on for the win.
“For one, I didn’t have to have a blistering outlap and destroy the tire,” explained Power. “I was very conscious and drove it very straight and very focused. I could have pushed at the end; they (the tires) didn’t like die. It was a job well done by the team.”
The victory was the 41st of Power’s career and the win also gives him the Championship points lead, by three points over Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson, heading to next weekend’s race at Road America.
Rossi started the race on the faster but quicker-wearing alternate ‘red’ Firestone tires and was the first to hit pit road to get them off and employ a three-stop strategy. Rossi drove like a man possessed the rest of the way and it almost worked.
“One more lap and it might have been a different story,” said Rossi. “But it was a good day for the team and for Honda. We come here with the fastest car every year, but can’t seem to get a win. Will obviously did an amazing job, so we’ll take second and move on to Road America.”
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon started 9th on the primary Firestone tires but opted for the alternate tires during his second stint and finished the race back on the primary Firestones.
“That was a decent run for us,” said Dixon. “I feel like we were maybe a little too conservative on the opening stint. Congratulations to Will, he drove a fantastic race.”