IndyCar GP of Indy Preview
Last year for the third time in four years, Will Power drove the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to victory in the IndyCar Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon was second, with standout rookie Robert Wickens third while Sebastien Bourdais and Alexander Rossi rounded out the top-five. Can the winner of the 2018 Indy 500 continue his dominance of the Indy road course in 2019?
INDYCAR Grand Prix fast facts
Race weekend: Friday, May 10 - Saturday, May 11
Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course (clockwise)
Race distance: 85 laps / 207.315 miles
Entry List: INDYCAR Grand Prix (PDF)
Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.
Firestone tire allotment: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate (Note: An eighth set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie driver.)
Twitter: @IMS @IndyCar, #INDYCARGP, #IndyCar
Event website: www.ims.com
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
2018 race winner: Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet)
2018 NTT P1 Award winner: Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet), 1:09.8182, 125.761 mph
Qualifying lap record: Will Power, 1:07.7044, 129.687 mph, May 12, 2017 (Set in Round 3 of knockout qualifying)
Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Anders Krohn. Jake Query, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young are the turn announcers with Dave Furst, Rob Howden and Ryan Myrehn reporting from the pits. The INDYCAR Grand Prix race airs live on network affiliates, Sirius 113, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. All NTT IndyCar Series practices and qualifying are available on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app, with qualifying also airing on Sirius 113 and XM 209.
NBC Sports Gold livestreaming: All NTT IndyCar Series practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports' direct-to-consumer livestreaming product that will put more INDYCAR programming content at viewers' fingertips than ever before. In addition, full-broadcast, same-day replays of NTT IndyCar Series races, live streams of Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires races, edited cutdowns of NTT IndyCar Series and Indy Lights races and more will be available.
At-track schedule (all times local):
12:30-1:15 p.m. - NTT IndyCar Series practice #2, NBC Sports Gold
4:30 p.m. - Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of NTT IndyCar Series knockout qualifications), NBCSN (Live)
Saturday, May 11
3 p.m. - NBC on air
3:43 p.m. - "Drivers, start your engines"
3:50 p.m. - INDYCAR Grand Prix (85 laps/207.315 miles), NBC (Live)
Count – Driver – Car, Team, Engine
* The first four NTT IndyCar Series races of 2019 have been won by four different drivers - Josef Newgarden, Colton Herta, Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi - representing four different teams - Team Penske, Harding Steinbrenner Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Andretti Autosport. In 2017, there were seven winners in the first seven races. The record for most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.
* There have been seven different winners in the last 10 NTT IndyCar Series races (Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi, Will Power, Takuma Sato, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Josef Newgarden and Colton Herta) The only repeat winners in that stretch are Rossi (3 wins - Mid Ohio, Pocono in 2018 and Long Beach 2019) and Sato (2 wins - Portland 2018 and Barber 2019).
*The top 10 in the NTT IndyCar Series point standings - Josef Newgarden, Alexander Rossi, Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power, James Hinchcliffe, Sébastien Bourdais, Graham Rahal and Colton Herta - are represented by seven different teams - Team Penske, Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan and Harding Steinbrenner Racing.
* The INDYCAR Grand Prix will be the sixth Indy car event conducted on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course. Simon Pagenaud and Will Power are the only drivers to win on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Pagenaud won the inaugural race in 2014 and again in 2016, Power won the race in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
* Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Sebastian Saavedra are the only drivers to have won the pole position on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Saavedra claimed the pole in 2014, Power in 2015, 2017 and 2018 and Pagenaud in 2016.
* Four NTT P1 Award winners have won the race from the pole: Will Power in 2015, 2017 and 2018 and Simon Pagenaud in 2016
* Competition reigns in qualifying for the NTT P1 Award, too, with 13 drivers earning a spot in a Firestone Fast Six qualifying round thus far in 2019: Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Felix Rosenqvist, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Colton Herta, Takuma Sato, Graham Rahal, James Hinchcliffe, Sebastien Bourdais, Spencer Pigot and Simon Pagenaud. Only Dixon has earned a Firestone Fast Six spot in each of the first four races.
* Thirteen drivers have competed in every Indy car race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course - Marco Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato. All but Kimball are entered this year.
* Helio Castroneves will make his 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season debut at Indianapolis for Team Penske. He is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in every race held on the IMS road course.
* Rookies Marcus Ericsson, Santino Ferrucci, Colton Herta, Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist along with veteran Jack Harvey will race NTT IndyCar Series cars on Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course for the first time this weekend. Harvey, Herta and O'Ward have won on the track in the Road to Indy series. Herta (swept 2018 races) and Harvey (2015 - Race 1) won in Indy Lights, while O'Ward swept the Indy Pro 2000 races in 2016
* Eighteen of the drivers entered in the event have competed in Indy car races on the IMS road course. Ten entered drivers have led laps: Will Power 182, Simon Pagenaud 63, Helio Castroneves 46, Ryan Hunter-Reay 18, Graham Rahal 14, James Hinchcliffe 4, Sebastien Bourdais 2, Alexander Rossi 2, Scott Dixon 1 and Josef Newgarden 1.
* Tony Kanaan seeks to start his 305th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Kanaan will attempt to make his 365th Indy car start, which ranks third on the all-time list.
* Scott Dixon has made 245 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the second-longest streak in Indy car racing. Marco Andretti has made 221 consecutive starts, which is the third-longest streak in Indy car racing.
* Scott Dixon, the longest-tenured driver for Chip Ganassi Racing, is third on the all-time Indy car victory list with 44 wins. Sebastien Bourdais is sixth on the all-time list with 37 wins and Will Power is tied with Bobby Unser for seventh on the all-time list with 35 wins.
INDYCAR GRAND PRIX PRE-EVENT QUOTES:
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Fitzgerald USA Team Penske Chevrolet, NTT IndyCar Series points leader): "I'm so excited for the month of May in Indianapolis. It was really great having a break with some time off to spend at home, but I can't wait to get back on track. And it's May in Indy. Indianapolis is truly a special place that I called home for a while. Everything about the month is so great there and it's always so exciting. The INDYCAR Grand Prix is a race I'd love to win to get it all started. I think a lot of drivers are going to be strong, so it will be a challenge but myself and the No. 2 Fitzgerald USA Chevy crew couldn't be more up to that challenge. We're ready."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet): "I have missed INDYCAR so much since last year and can't wait to get back on track. Being part of Acura Team Penske's IMSA program is truly amazing, but there is just something about Indianapolis that just defines special. There's nothing like it because the whole area comes to life with excitement around the INDYCAR Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500. I've been lucky enough to win the Indy 500 three times, but still haven't won on the IMS road course. That's a big one for me to want to win."
MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "I'm pretty excited to be back for the month of May and racing in Indy again. It's such a special month and a special place to be racing in. We still have a lot of things to improve as a team so it's another opportunity for us to keep working hard and improving our road course setup, which is our weakest point. But I'm excited to kick off the month of May with the INDYCAR GP."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "The INDYCAR GP means the month of May is here. This month is something we look forward to all year. Since they added the grand prix to the start of May back in 2014, I think it's been an awesome addition to the calendar and a great way to kickstart the month. We just had a test there - a bit of a tough day with weather conditions - but I think the Arrow cars ran really well. We had a good package there last year, obviously, with Robbie (Wickens) making it to the podium. We're going to head back there, hope to roll off the truck with a good car and just tune on it over the weekend and try and get a similar result for the team."
MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "I'm really looking forward to starting the month of May with the INDYCAR GP. I had a test there a couple of days ago and it felt really good. It's a fun track; it reminded quite a bit me of the European tracks that I'm used to, so I think it's going to suit me well. I'm just excited to bounce back after the disappointing weekend in Long Beach. The Arrow SPM team is going to push really hard. I think we can be strong there. We know we have a good car from last year; the team had a very strong weekend there. We have a good chance, a good opportunity and we want to kickstart the month of May in the best possible way with a strong result in the INDYCAR GP."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "We've kind of been all over the place with the (INDYCAR) Grand Prix. It's a challenging event, for sure. The first three or four races there, we qualified OK, not great, but respectable. But then had pretty lousy finishes. The last couple of races, we had really bad qualifying efforts but finished really strong on the podium both times. So hopefully this weekend we can find the right balance between qualifying and the race and put it all together for a win in the PNC Bank car."
FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "We had a test at the IMS road course a little while ago and managed to find a few interesting things, notably in the area of tire management. I view that as our main priority at the moment, getting the tires to last over a racing distance and improving our long-run pace, and we seem to have taken a step towards that. The INDYCAR Grand Prix could be a race of attrition and the track has at least two proper overtaking zones, so I expect another exciting event. It's all about getting both qualifying and the race together on the same weekend and, if we can manage that, I'm sure we'll be up there fighting in the NTT DATA car."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet, three-time INDYCAR Grand Prix winner): "With the way last year's month of May went for myself and the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevy team, we all really can't wait to get back (to Indianapolis). Last year was incredible - winning the INDYCAR Grand Prix, bringing home the team's 200th Indy car win and then to go on and win the Indianapolis 500 was just such a dream come true. We're going back hungry hoping to repeat both of those wins. On top of that, I'm pretty excited to have this new black look on my Verizon 5G car. It looked great driving around at the test in April. The fans are going to love to see it drive around the track all month long."
TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "The INDYCAR GP kicks off the month of May activities and although it's an event held at IMS, it's more relaxed than what we'll have with the (Indianapolis) 500. I like the road course layout, in fact, (IMS President) Doug Boles was very proactive in talking to me and to some other drivers when IMS decided to make modifications to the track for the inaugural Indy GP. The fans are able to watch and experience the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a different way. We're looking forward to having a smooth GP weekend and from there work into our Indy 500 program the next weekend."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 United Rentals Honda): "I am hopeful we should be very competitive in the (INDYCAR) Grand Prix. It seemed at the test that it will be extremely close and times will be split by hairs. We will definitely need to be on the right side of the tenths come Friday!" (About using the disappointment of not getting his first podium in more than a year at Long Beach as motivation): "I am motivated no matter what. Am I disappointed with the (stewards') ruling? Absolutely, I don't agree with the penalty. However, May is a great time for us to be at our best and we will all strive to do so." (About two races in May, with the biggest of the year coming up): "I am focused on the grand prix. I want to win it bad. We've been close before but never gotten the trick done, so hopefully this is our year. I will turn my attention to the Indy 500 the second the GP is over and we will get ready to have a great Indy 500 from there on out."
SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda): "I'm very excited to get the month of May started with the INDYCAR Grand Prix this week. I'm very much looking forward to this next race. We had a successful test there last week with our No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda. I have a lot of confidence in our crew and I really enjoyed driving on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It's a fun track. Hopefully, we can have a successful debut at Indy and kick off the month of May with a good result."
ED JONES (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet): "I am really looking forward to the month of May. Having the INDYCAR Grand Prix as the first of the two races is such a great way to start the month. It's really important as it helps us get warmed up and get some good momentum going for the Indy 500. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course has been a good track to me in the past. I've been quick around there. ECR was also very strong there last year. I'm feeling really confident after our oval test last week and I'm ready to get back on track and put us in a good position for the rest of the month."
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "I'm very ready to get back to racing after a few weeks off. It's the start of an amazing month in motorsports and hopefully a successful month for Ed Carpenter Racing. We haven't got off to the best start for several different reasons, so it will be important to have a few good results to get our championship back on track. I always enjoy the INDYCAR Grand Prix, the track provides great passing opportunities and makes for an exciting race."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): "I really love Indianapolis, as I lived there for nine years. It feels like home. I have been waiting for this time since the checkered flag flew last year. The month of May is full of excitement and anticipation of the Indianapolis 500. We've been running strong this season and want to keep that momentum going for the No. 22 Menards Chevy. We've had some great success with the INDYCAR Grand Prix with two wins there. It's time to shine."
ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): "It's nice to finally be in the month of May. The (INDYCAR) GP and, of course, the Indy 500 is a lot like a home race for many of us and we're excited to be putting on a show the entire month for some of the biggest INDYCAR fans in the world."
ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): "The month of May is finally here and I couldn't be more excited about the next two events. The (INDYCAR) GP is an important race to start the month off right, so we will be looking to capitalize on the strong test we had here last week and hopefully get our first podium at a track that we've always been quick at."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "Despite our first-round mechanical failure (at St. Petersburg in March), we've fought hard to climb to fifth in the championship standings in just three races. The DHL team is really looking forward to keeping that momentum rolling in early May at the (INDYCAR) GP. This is our favorite time of year and no better way to kick it off than with the Indy GP on the road course inside the greatest track in the world."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): "The team is in a good mood, for sure. We had a very successful road course result at the last road course (Barber) and we also had a competitive package at the street course (Long Beach), so we are definitely in a comfortable position coming (to Indy) and are bringing good momentum, good morale to start the month of May. The weather didn't completely cooperate for the road course test which was important for the INDYCAR Grand Prix because it's a short weekend with the two-day event. Practice and qualifying are on (Friday) so there is not much time to analyze and make the car different, so you need to arrive as prepared as possible. It's always nice to be at IMS anyway, plus I have great memories of the road course back in the (Formula 1) days, too. The challenge for this track is that we need to keep momentum (on the lap) because all of the corners are related a bit like Barber. You can physically see that a couple of corners are all together, so if you don't get the first one right, you definitely lose the speed in the others. We have a better understanding of the car compared to last year and we definitely made improvements since then. It's obviously better to have a good result in the grand prix to start the Indy 500 preparations, but technically it shouldn't really matter because the cars are completely different. However, in terms of the mental approach, it definitely helps the momentum, motivation and overall atmosphere if we have a really strong weekend in the grand prix before focusing on the Indy 500."
PATRICIO O'WARD (No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet): "I'm really excited to get back racing after a few weekends off, especially with it being back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the greatest month of racing. It's going to be great to kick the month of May off at the INDYCAR Grand Prix. Last year, I was able to get both poles in the Indy Lights road courses races at IMS, but unfortunately, neither race went as planned. Regardless, I've had a lot of success there over the years, so I'm confident we can build on that and hopefully come away with a good result. Racing at IMS is always a very special feeling and I'm excited to finally be able to race there as an NTT IndyCar Series driver."
MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): "Coming back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the month of May is really a highlight of the INDYCAR season and I'm just so excited to finally get the month started. Obviously, when you think of IMS, you immediately think of the oval, but I think the INDYCAR Grand Prix kicking off the month of May is such a great way to get everything started. I really enjoy the IMS road course and the exciting race that we're able to put on for the fans. I'm really hoping that we can build on the progress we're continuing to make at Carlin and come away with a great result for the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet."
JACK HARVEY (No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda): "It's been such a long time since we were last here, but (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) is by far the coolest place that we come to. Your confidence is like a pendulum. You can go from feeling awesome to really bad very quickly. I think we got through everything that we wanted to (at last week's test) or at least as much as we could do with the weather."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda): "Heading into the next race, a solid finish is what we're really trying to achieve. We need to get back inside the top 10 in points after having two average races. We had a productive test on the IMS road course last week and were able to work through some of our checklist and pick up some answers. The track is very fun and flowing when the conditions are right. It is important to finish well at the Indy GP to kick off the weekend on a high note for the No. 98 team and U.S. Concrete."
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