IndyCar News

Three Cars In The Top Ten In St Pete For Ganassi Including A Podium

The 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season-opening Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding showed us all one thing and that is despite a tricky start to the weekend in terms of pace, you can never count out Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ganassi managed to have three of their four cars finish inside the top ten in Sunday’s 100 lap race on the streets of St Petersburg.

In the opening practice session for the race on Friday, Marcus Ericsson in the No.8 Huski Chocolate Honda was the fastest of Ganassi’s four cars in 15th place.

Defending series champion, Alex Palou in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda was 17th while six-time champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Honda was 19th.

Jimmie Johnson ended the opening session in 24th place in his No.48 Carvana American Legion Honda.

In the second practice session on Saturday morning there was a bit of an improvement from the team with Alex Palou ending the session in seventh place.

Marcus Ericsson improved to 13th while Scott Dixon was 20th. Jimmie Johnson was 26th.

In qualifying for Sunday’s race, Scott Dixon was the leading Ganassi car in seventh place while Marcus Ericsson was eighth. Alex Palou started the race from tenth while Jimmie Johnson started the race from 26th.

In the race itself, it was Alex Palou who made the most progress over the 100 lap race as he came from tenth, making up eight positions to finish on the podium just behind race winner Scott McLaughlin.

Scott Dixon used a three-stop strategy to finish the race in seventh place just ahead of Marcus Ericsson in eighth with the pair finishing where they started.

The Iceman led a number of laps through pit cycles but came home with a solid top ten finish.

Jimmie Johnson finished the race in 23rd place one lap down but felt he made plenty of progress compared to last season and heads to Texas Motor Speedway later this month full of confidence, telling Paddock Eye over the weekend in St Pete that he sees no reason why he can’t challenge to be in the top-15 or even the top ten in the race.

This consistent results are why Chip Ganassi Racing can never be ruled out.

IndyCar News

We Really Showed The Progress We Made

Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay in the No.21 SONAX Chevrolet says that the Team’s performance in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding on the streets of St Petersburg shows the progress the team made over the off-season.

VeeKay started the race from fourth place and came home in sixth.

Taking to Twitter following the race he said:

IndyCar News

It Was A Positive Race

AJ Foyt Racing’s Tatiana Calderon in the No.11 ROKiT Chevrolet says it was a positive opening race of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season at the Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding on Sunday.

It was positive to finish my first IndyCar race. It was one of the toughest races of my career physically, but I learned with every lap about the car, how track conditions evolve and how to adapt to the different tyre compounds. I made some mistakes, it’s all part of the learning process, and we made an extra pitstop at the end to get more of a feeling for new tyres in race conditions when the track gripped up. It was all about gaining as much experience as we could this weekend. I’m happy with the progression we made through practice and qualifying, but the race was a completely different challenge, and no test can prepare you for that, you simply must go through it for the first time to understand how brutal it can be. A big thank you to the whole AJ Foyt Racing team for their hard work and support and to ROKiT for believing in me. Now there’s a month’s break until Long Beach so I’ll be working on the areas where this race showed we need to focus on.

Tatiana will be back in action for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach next month.

IndyCar News

Team Penske Start The Year With A Win And Double Podium

Team Penske come away from the Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding following a fantastic race for the team.

Scott McLaughlin in the No.3 DEX Chevrolet dominated the event, taking the NTT P1 Award and going on to claim he debut victory.

Speaking following the race he said:

This is unbelievable. Thank you to Roger Penske and everyone who put their faith in me… DEX Energy for jumping on board and trusting me, and Roger Penske and Tim Cindric giving me the opportunity to come here. I miss my mom and dad dearly and my family. It was crazy. I really struggled those last couple laps to keep my head to save fuel and all that stuff. We did it. Chevy gave us the fuel mileage. The drivability this weekend has been a big change. To win DEX Imaging’s home race is unreal. I love you Australia and New Zealand. I miss you guys and thinking of all you guys in the Queensland with all the floods at the moment. I just can’t believe this!”

Will Power in the No.12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet started the race from second alongside McLaughlin and came home in third place and speaking following the race he said:

Yeah it (the early yellow) really hurt us badly. We were banking on being able to go long in that first stint and then pretty sure we would’ve got to the lead just because the reds drop so much. Then tried to short pit that middle stint but unfortunately we got the yellow. And I just was really trying to make the reds last. I was really happy with third. I think the Verizon Chevy crew did a phenomenal job with strategy to get us out of that situation and just a good solid day.”

Josef Newgarden in the No.2 Hitachi Chevrolet started the race in 9th and came home in 16th.

was a tough weekend on the No. 2 car. It just didn’t pan out our way. We tried a different strategy than most, and it didn’t seem like the racing gods were shining on us this weekend. There are a lot of positives. We have a lot of new people on the 2 car and I felt like everyone worked super-well together. We’ve learned some things to start this year off, so our goal is to continue to build on this first weekend of the year and get better throughout. I can’t wait for the next one at Texas.”

IndyCar News

We Can Expect A Two-Stop Strategy At St Pete Today

The Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding on the streets of St Petersburg today, the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season-opener is 100 laps and we can expect a two-stop strategy over the course of the 100 lap race according to Chip Ganassi Racing Managing Director Mike Hull.

IndyCar News

IndyCar Ready For A Strong Start To The Season

The NTT IndyCar Series is set for an extremely entertaining start to the 2022 season here in St Petersburg this weekend.

Chip Ganassi Racing have brought Jimmie Johnson in full-time after the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion made his debut with the team last season on road and street course events.

It will be interesting to see how Johnson gets on in year 2 of the series. At Andretti Autosport they have brought in Romain Grosjean full-time to drive the No.28 DHL Honda so it so we will see what he can do this weekend given that it is his second season competing at St Pete.

Arrow McLaren SP will be strong this weekend as both Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist are keen to get off to a solid start following an extremely strong 2021 season for the team.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Scott McLaughlin will be drivers to watch this weekend as the team know their way around this place with the most number of wins of any team with 10 victories.

Scott Dixon who is aiming to win his seventh championship this season has yet to go to Victory Lane in St Pete so he will be hoping that this season will be different.

Meyer Shank Racing’s Helio Castroneves is the winningest driver here having three victories to his name back to back in 2005 and 2006 and again in 2012., Castroneves took victory in the Indy 500 last season and following a strong pre-season test last week in Sebring he and MSR are looking strong for a solid start to the 2022 season.

The Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding is live on NBC this weekend in the U.S and Sky Sports F1HD in Ireland and the UK

IndyCar Motorsport

Welcome To St Pete

The Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding is officially underway with practice getting underway for the first race of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series grtting underway later today.

The series has a number of rookie drivers this season that will be a force to be reckoned with such as Kyle Kirkwood and David Malukas.

Devlin DeFrancesco will also be a force this season as he takes up the No.29 PowerTap Honda with Steinbrenner Autosport.

The usual suspects of Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Colton Herta and Graham Rahal will be drivers to watch as always following strong pre-season tests for the Penske, Ganassi and Andretti Autosport teams.

Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist will also be drivers to watch this season.

As for what might happen this weekend in St Pete? Don’t rule out Romain Grosjean who has moved to a full-time drive with Andretti Autosport in the No.28 DHL Honda.

IndyCar News

Kirkwood Keen To Show His Worth This Weekend In St Pete

NTT IndyCar Series rookie Kyle Kirkwood says that he wants to show his worth this weekend at the 2022 season-opening Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding.

Kirkwood will make his race debut in the No.14 ROKiT Chevrolet this weekend alongside Tatiana Calderon who also makes her NTT IndyCar Series race debut in the No.11 ROKiT Chevrolet.

AJ Foyt Racing has been really happy with their pace over the course of their day of testing at Sebring International Raceway last weekend.

AJ Foyt Racing has great data back to work from with the addition of a third car and they will be hoping that they can show that this weekend and kick off their season in a strong way.

The track action gets underway on Friday morning.

IndyCar News

Broadcasters Ready For IndyCar In 2022

The NTT IndyCar Series heads into the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season-opening Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding this weekend with plenty of momentum with new drivers and now new and existing broadcasters all over the world.

A new relationship with ESPN across Latin America will bring live coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to key markets including Mexico and Brazil, where audiences are set to cheer for Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward and defending Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Helio Castroneves.

Sky Group, which has provided coverage on Sky Sports UK since 2019, has expanded its commitment to the series with the addition of Sky Sport Germany (including Austria and Switzerland) and Sky Italia.

STAN Sport will be the new streaming partner in Australia, showing every race live and advertisement-free. STAN’s sister broadcaster Nine Network also will show race highlights mid-week.

Canal+ will bring the action to French audiences eager to track the progress of Andretti Autosport’s Romain Grosjean and Meyer Shank Racing’s Simon Pagenaud. Canal+ also will provide coverage in Switzerland and sub-Saharan Africa.

Movistar+ will return for a sixth consecutive season as INDYCAR’s exclusive partner in Spain as Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou readies to defend his NTT INDYCAR SERIES crown.

Gaora will continue to broadcast all races in Japan as Japanese racing hero Takuma Sato begins his maiden season for Dale Coyne Racing.

Ziggo Sport will make an expanded commitment as INDYCAR’s partner in the Netherlands, where fans eagerly anticipate Rinus VeeKay’s third season as a driver for Ed Carpenter Racing.

Viaplay and V Sport continue with robust coverage of INDYCAR in the Nordics and enthusiastic support for Swedes Marcus Ericsson and Felix Rosenqvist and Danish newcomer Christian Lundgaard. Viaplay will also expand its rights portfolio to include Poland, Iceland and the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Sportsnet in Canada, Sky Sports in New Zealand, Supersport in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, Network 4 in Hungary, Arena Sport in the Balkans, Viasat Sport East in Russia & CIS, Sport TV in Portugal and VOO Sport in Belgium are all in the roll call of INDYCAR broadcasters for the 2022 season.

A full list of broadcasters can be found here.

Helio Castroneves returns to full-time IndyCar competition for the first time in five years with Meyer Shank Racing and speaking about the Brazilian fans he said:

“The fans are so important to INDYCAR, and they motivate us racers to give them the best show possible each weekend. It’s extra special to me that my Brazilian fans have access to all of the INDYCAR action. My home country is where my heart is, and although I’m racing here in America, I want to make them proud back home.”

Andretti Autosport’s new full-time driver, Romain Grosjean in the No.28 DHL Honda spoke about the Canal+ commented saying:

“INDYCAR’s 17-race schedule is dynamic and challenging, featuring competitive events at each and every stop. Canal+ is the place for French fans to catch all of my races, including my first attempt in ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ at the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in May.”

Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward is excited about IndyCar being broadcast in Mexico saying:

“It’s great news to be able to showcase what INDYCAR will be doing this year. It’s been a huge goal of mine, specifically the past year, for everyone back home in Mexico to be able to watch. I think it’s great that INDYCAR has found a solution, along with ESPN, for everyone in Mexico to be able to cheer me and Arrow McLaren SP on. I look forward to making my home country proud.”

Defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda commented saying:

“It’s going to be an amazing NTT INDYCAR SERIES season filled with action-packed racing and exciting finishes. I’m so excited that fans in Spain can tune in to watch every minute of the action as our team goes for the Astor Cup crown again.”

Team Penske’s Will Power, driver of the No.12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet commented saying:

“The variety of drivers that compete in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES is, in my opinion, what makes us one of the premier motorsports disciplines on the planet. As the sport continues to grow, we need to make sure that it is accessible to as many fans around the world as possible. I know the next Will Power is out there watching, and being able to watch our races on television will help keep top talent coming into the sport for years to come.”

Dale Coyne with RWR’s Takuma Sato says:

“Gaora is a great partner for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and will be the go-to place for Japanese fans to see me compete in 2022. From start to finish, this season’s racing will be incredible, and I hope everyone tunes in.

IndyCar News

The Anticipation Is Palpable

Mark Miles, President and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corporation says that the anticipation for the start of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season in St Petersburg this weekend is palpable.

There are many storylines to follow this weekend with the return of Helio Castroneves to full-time series competition with Meyer Shank Racing. The move of Simon Pagenaud to MSR and the new rookies coming into the series, not to mention Tatiana Calderon’s debut with AJ Foyt Racing this weekend.

Speaking ahead of the opening race Miles says:

Anticipation towards the start of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season is palpable. “It is terrific to know the wait is almost over as we approach a marquee year for our series and its stars.

“Kicking off the season in St. Petersburg, followed by three thrilling spring events, is an ideal lead-in to the Month of May, where demand is outpacing all years since the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. The season hits another gear following the ‘500’ with a jam-packed summer punctuated by our return to Iowa and Nashville. Both will prove to be extraordinary events. Combined with our TV partner NBC, we cannot wait to showcase the daring and bold athletes of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.”

In 2022, INDYCAR will gradually introduce the EM Motorsport Marshalling System. The new addition will supplement the use of cloth flags with up to 20 EM Motorsport light panels deployed on road and street circuits. The ultra-bright LED displays will use the same flag codes as existing flags and will still be operated by track marshals via a handheld console.

When fully implemented, all race cars and light panels will carry EM Motorsport GPS units, which will create marshalling sectors to help identify cars as they pass through local yellow sectors. New to 2022, any car that passes through a local yellow will lose that timed lap in practice and qualifying, which will help expedite session officiating. As in the past, any driver that causes a local yellow will lose their fastest timed lap.

Other adjustments to the 2022 rulebook include, for safety, the banning of “pushing” or assisting cars out of their pit stall at the completion of a pit stop.

Pit box locations will be selected in order of entrant qualification results from the previous event in 2022. The order will not be affected by penalties for unapproved engine changes. The process of selecting pit positions for the Indianapolis 500 will remain based on “500” qualifying.

Photograph courtesy of IndyCar

The use of barge boards on the Dallara AK-18 chassis are now optional on all ovals with the introduction of the aerodynamic tool at Texas Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway in 2022. The curved, plate-shaped piece of carbon fiber, located on the leading edge of the underwing, creates front downforce while reducing the reliance of the front wing.

“In race conditions, it should be a benefit to a trailing car,” said Tino Belli, INDYCAR director of aerodynamic development. “Using barge boards combined with less front wing angle will allow cars to follow more closely while still avoiding an aero washout affect through the corners. It also follows the philosophy we have always had with the universal AK-18 to create downforce with the underwing rather than being reliant on the front wing. These optional barge boards will become another crucial tool in the teams’ aerodynamic arsenal.”

Speaking about the start of the new season, IndyCar Series President Jay Frye said:

“We are constantly evaluating ways to improve the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. “We examine every aspect – from safety and officiating to on-track competition – and believe the changes will add to the series’ level of energy, momentum and deep competitive balance.

Jay Frye continued saying that the series expects the 2022 season to be even bigger and better than last season.

“Last season was an amazing year with historic storylines throughout 2021. “With the effort by everyone in the offseason and the continued growth of the paddock, we expect 2022 to be even better. We cannot wait to see it play out.”