The Off Season-Twists and Turns and Still No Schedule

I’m back after a much needed end of season break and a family trip back to California to meet the newest family member. I thought I’d return to have a 2023 Indycar schedule to discuss, but there is nothing yet. Did the schedule run off with the third OEM? Several other things are going on, though which deserve mention.

Indy Lights Champion’s Prize Cut

Yesterday we learned that Indy Lights champion Linus Lundqvist would receive only $500,000 for winning the title. Kyle Kirkwood collected $1.2 million in 2021, which had been the standard amount.

In the past the Lights champion was guaranteed three Indycar races the following year, including the Indianapolis 500. That guarantee is now gone.

When Penske Entertainment. took control of the top rung of the Road to {ndy at the beginning of 2022, entrants were led to believe that the prize money and the three races were to stay the same.

This reduction in prize money is a slap in the face to the drivers in the series. How many drivers came here expecting a one million driver payoff? Indy Lights was looking at a possible 20 car grid for 2023. How will this development affect that total?

Penske Entertainment should have made their intentions more clear at the start of this season. We may not see Lundqvist in Indycar at all in 2023, which would be a shame. The kid is talented and showed he belongs

Changes at AMSP

Taylor Kiel announced this week that he is leaving Arrow McLaren SP. The announcement seemed to be rather abrupt. The team announced that Brian Barnhart would replace him.

I’m not sure why Taylor is leaving, but he must have something big in the works. He has done a great job bringing the team up to a competitive level.

Herta and the Super License

Colton Herta will not be granted a super license exception by the FIA. The FIA undervalues Indycar in its license points system, and tends to favor their own feeder series. While I don’t like the system, I don’t think any series can make exceptions for any one driver, regardless of his or her talent.

Jamie Chadwick

On a positive note, Jamie Chadwick, two time W Series champion, tested with Andretti Autosport’ Indy Lights team Wednesday at Sebring. I hope the test went well and that Andretti or some other Lights team can find a spot for her in 2023.

She is a alented driver who would be great asset to the Indycar series.

I hope my next post discusses the 2023 schedule.

Fast Facts-Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey

Photo and content from Indycar


 Race weekend: Friday, Sept. 9 – Sunday, Sept. 11
Track: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, a 2.238-mile permanent road course in Monterey, California
Race distance: NTT INDYCAR SERIES: 95 laps / 212.61 miles | Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires: 35 laps / 78.33 miles / 55 min
Push-to-pass parameters: NTT INDYCAR SERIES: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation. | Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation
Firestone tire allotment: Six sets primary, four sets alternate. Teams must use one set of primary and one new set of alternate tires in the race. (Note: A seventh set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie driver.)
Twitter:@WeatherTechRcwy, @IndyCar, @IndyLights, #FirestoneGP, #INDYCAR
Instagram: @weathertechraceway, @IndyCar, #FirestoneGP, #INDYCAR
Facebook: @WeatherTechRaceway, @IndyCar, @IndyLightsOfficial, #FirestoneGP, #INDYCAR
TikTok: @IndyCar, #FirestoneGP, #INDYCAR
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
Indy Lights website: www.IndyLights.com
2021 race winners:NTT INDYCAR SERIESColton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda)Indy Lights Presented by Cooper TiresRace 1: Kyle Kirkwood (No. 28 Andretti Autosport)Race 2: Kyle Kirkwood (No. 28 Andretti Autosport)
2021 NTT P1 Award winner: Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda), 1:10.7994, 113.798 mph
Qualifying records:NTT INDYCAR SERIESHelio Castroneves, 1:07.722, 118.969 mph, Sept. 8, 2000
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper TiresMax Chilton, 1:14.2329, 108.534 mph, Sept. 12, 2015
NBC Sports race telecast: Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey 3 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 11, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, alongside analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe.
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, while NBC’s race telecast of the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey will be simulcast on the streaming service. Peacock Premium’s exclusive post-race show – featuring driver interviews, podium ceremonies and post-race analysis – will be streamed following the race. The Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey doubleheader (3:15 p.m. ET Saturday and 12:50 p.m. ET Sunday) will be streamed on Peacock Premium with practice and qualifying being shown on INDYCAR Live!
INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the anchor alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Jake Query, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young are the turn announcers. Georgia Henneberry, Ryan Myrehn and Dan Rusanowsky are the pit reporters. Charlie Kimball will provide additional commentary. The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey race (3 p.m. ET Sunday), Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey doubleheader (3:15 p.m. ET Saturday and 12:50 p.m. ET Sunday) and all NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires practices and qualifying sessions air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 160, racecontrol.indycar.com and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.
At-track schedule (all times local):
Friday, Sept. 9 (All Times Local)
1:15-2:05 p.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires practice 1, INDYCAR Live!
2:30-3:45 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 1, Peacock Premium
Saturday, Sept. 10
9:30-10 a.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Qualifying (Two 12-minute sessions / Session 1 determines the lineup for Race 1, Session 2 determines the lineup for Race 2), INDYCAR Live!
10:15-11:15 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 2 (45 minutes limited guarantee), Peacock Premium
12:20 p.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey Race 1 “Drivers Start Your Engines”12:25 p.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey Race 1 (35 laps / 78.33 miles / 55 minutes)
2:05 p.m. –  Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey NTT P1 Award qualifying (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock Premium
Sunday, Sept. 119 – 9:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES final practice, Peacock Premium
9:55 a.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey Race 2 “Drivers Start Your Engines”10 a.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey Race 2 (35 laps / 78.33 miles / 55 minutes)
Noon – NBC on air12:23 p.m. – Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey “Drivers, start your engines”
12:30 p.m. – Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey (95 laps/212.61 miles), NBC (Live)
Championship facts:Will Power leads the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship with one race to go for the fifth time in his career. Power previously led the championship with one race to in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. He won the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship in 2014.There are five drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship: Power leads Josef Newgarden by 20 points with Scott Dixon (-20), Marcus Ericsson (-39) and Scott McLaughlin (-41) behind.Power assumed the point lead following the Gallagher Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30. The lead has changed hands seven times between McLaughlin, Newgarden, Alex Palou, Power and Ericsson.Since the first INDYCAR SERIES race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the winning driver has won the INDYCAR SERIES championship six times: Bobby Rahal (1986 and 1987), Danny Sullivan (1988), Michael Andretti (1991), Alex Zanardi (1998) and Cristiano da Matta (2002).
Point differential: The 20 points that separate Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon is the sixth closest margin with one race remaining since 2008. The 41 points separating the top five drivers in the championship is the tightest title race since 2003, when 30 points separated the top five. The average deficit with one race to go since 2008 is 25.86 points.
Key championship point statistic: This is the 17th consecutive year that the NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion will be determined at the final race of the season.
Race notes:There have been eight different winners in 16 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races in the 2022 season. Scott McLaughlin (Streets of St. Petersburg, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Portland International Raceway), Josef Newgarden (Texas Motor Speedway, Streets of Long Beach, Road America, Iowa Speedway-1, World Wide Technology Raceway), Pato O’Ward (Barber Motorsports Park, Iowa Speedway-2), Colton Herta (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-1), Marcus Ericsson (Indianapolis 500), Will Power (Raceway at Belle Isle Park), Scott Dixon (Streets of Toronto and Streets of Nashville) and Alexander Rossi (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-2) have all won in 2022. The record for most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.
The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey will be the 25th INDYCAR SERIES race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, but just the third since 2004. Teo Fabi won the first INDYCAR SERIES race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in 1983. Colton Herta, who won the two most recent races at the track in 2019 and 2021, and Helio Castroneves, who won at the track in 2000, are the only former winners entered in this year’s race.Thirteen INDYCAR SERIES drivers have won at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca from the pole – Teo Fabi (1983), Bobby Rahal (1985), Danny Sullivan (1988), Rick Mears (1989), Danny Sullivan (1990), Michael Andretti (1991 and 1992), Paul Tracy (1994), Alex Zanardi (1996), Bryan Herta (1998 and 1999), Helio Castroneves (2000), Cristiano da Matta (2002), Patrick Carpentier (2003) and Colton Herta (2019 and 2021).Team Penske has won six times at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Penske’s winning drivers are Danny Sullivan (1988 and 1990), Rick Mears (1989), Paul Tracy (1993 and 1994) and Helio Castroneves (2000). Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has three wins, with Bryan Herta (1998-99) and Max Papis (2001). Chip Ganassi Racing has two wins, with Alex Zanardi in 1996 and Jimmy Vasser in 1997.
Twenty-one drivers entered in the event have competed in past INDYCAR SERIES races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Helio Castroneves has five starts, most among the entered drivers. Six entered drivers have led laps at the track (Colton Herta 174, Helio Castroneves 92, Will Power 6, Romain Grosjean 4, Scott Dixon 2 and Simon Pagenaud 1)
.Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires notes:The Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey doubleheader will be the series’ 25th and 26th races at WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca. Previous Indy Lights winners at Laguna Seca include Bryan HertaAndre RibeiroGreg MooreTony KanaanCristiano da MattaScott DixonTownsend BellSpencer Pigot and Rinus VeeKay. Current NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Kyle Kirkwood swept the Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey doubleheader in 2021.
Linus Lundqvist of HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing is enjoying a dominant season, leading the series in wins (five), poles (six) and top-five finishes (12) through 12 races. Lundqvist, a native of Sweden, owns a commanding 103-point lead over second-place Matthew Brabham of Andretti Autosport. Lundqvist will clinch the season championship by scoring points in Race 1.Benjamin Pedersen joined Danial Frost, Christian RasmussenHunter McElrea as first-time Indy Lights race winners in 2022. Can another talented prospect such as Sting Ray RobbKyffin SimpsonErnie Francis Jr. or series newcomers Flinn Lazier or Nolan Siegel score a first series win at Laguna Seca?Push-to-pass could play a key strategic role at Portland as Indy Lights drivers will have a bank of 150 seconds to use an added 50 horsepower to assist in overtaking, similar to the drivers in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The maximum amount of time for each press of the overtake system is 15 seconds.

Quick Thoughts on a Long Day

David Malukas is the star of this race. He got into position with some great pit calls and his charge to second after the restart was the stuff normally reserved for veterans.

David Malukas

Josef Newgarden has four wins at Gateway and five wins for the season. He still trails Will Power in the points standings by three points.

What a great start by Felix Rosenqvist. He passed 13 cars in the first two laps after starting last.

What started as a processional race turned into an intriguing strategy game as teams tried to play for the rain. The red flag and restart cancelled all the alternate pit stops.

It was nice to see Indycars racing at night. Let’s hope for a full race under the lights next year.

Malukas is back in the Rookie of the Year chase. He made up more than 20 points today and is only 11 behind Christian Lundgaard.

The rookie class got off to a slow start this season, but they have come on strong as the year winds down. Lundgaard and Malukas each have a second place finish.

The top five in points are separated by 43 points with two races to go.

I will have a more detailed wrap up tomorrow evening. Thanks for following along this weekend

Results

Power Leads Bommarito Practice

Points leader Will Power had the fastest lkap in the only practice before qualifying for ther Bommarito 500. Power’slap of 180.539 was 0.04sweconds faster than Alex Palou. Felix Rosenqvist finished third.

The five top drivers in nthe points had laps good enough for the top 10. Qualifying begins at 3:15 Central time, followed by a practice at 6:00 PM.

Results

Qualifying Order

Qualifying order is determinbed by entrant points. I still think qualifying order for each oval should be determined by results of the practice just before qualifying.

Grid Penalty for the 28

Indycar has assessed a nine place grid penalty for car 28 and driver Romain Graosjean for an unapproved engine change.

Notes

Tempreature at 3 pm is expected to be 87 degrees with a south wind of xseven miles an hour.

Rain could interefere with tomorrow’s race. Indycar will probably not announce contingency plans until tomorrow afternoon.

Rahal Signs Lundgaard to Multiyear Agreement

From Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing:

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (August 16, 2022) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced today that the team has restructured a new, long-term agreement with NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie-of-the-year contender Christian Lundgaard that will see the Danish driver continue to compete for the team in 2023 and beyond.

Lundgaard has momentum on his side heading into the final three races of the season. He earned an INDYCAR career-best finish of second place at the Gallagher Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30 and earned his highest series start of third place at the Music City Grand Prix in Nashville on August 6. He leads the INDYCAR Rookie of the Year standings with 272 points to second-place David Malukas, who has 231.

The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season resumes with the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway on August 19-20. The race will air live on USA Network at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 20. All on-track action can be seen on NBC or NBC’s Peacock Premium streaming service. For more information on the series and team, visit http://www.indycar.com and http://www.rahal.com.

QUOTEBOARD:

CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD, Driver of the No. 30 Honda: “I have to say a big thanks to Bobby, David and Mike for giving me this opportunity to extend my time with the team. We’ve had some good results lately and I’m sure this has also helped their decision. First of all, I’m just happy and super excited that they gave me this opportunity. A year ago at the Grand Prix, we qualified well and they decided that they wanted me for a full season and we made the most of the opportunity so far. I’m sure there are times when we could have performed better but now we have the opportunity to continue this progress. We’ve been to a lot of tracks so far and have come back to some and finished on the podium, which I hope to continue. Qualifying third in Nashville was a big milestone for me. Making the Fast Six – and not being at the end of the Fast Six but actually having a shot at competing for the pole – was a great experience for me. We didn’t quite finish where we wanted but it was good to have that experience and now everyone is making the most of it. I’m happy for everyone at the team, my family and the sponsors and investors, everyone that has made this possible. I’m looking forward to continuing to build momentum.”

BOBBY RAHAL, Co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “I am so pleased with Christian’s progress with the team and within the series. He has shown that he can be a force to be reckoned with in these races. He works well within the team, and we are pleased that we are continuing for the next several years because I believe he will continue to improve and be a potential winner in the very near future.”

MIKE LANIGAN, Co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “Christian has done a great job acclimatizing to the variety of challenges and new experiences this season. His approach and professionalism continues to impress us and his performance, especially in the second half of the season, speaks volumes about his potential. We are very happy to have him as part of the team for the years ahead.”

About Christian Lundgaard
Christian Lundgaard, 21, from Hedensted, Denmark, came to the INDYCAR SERIES after competing in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, the primary Formula 1 support series, from 2020-2021. Lundgaard was a member of the Alpine Academy, having joined the program in 2017 following an impressive career in European and World Karting Championships. Christian’s first year in single-seaters led to two Formula 4 titles – NEZ and Spanish – before he finished runner-up in the 2018 Formula Renault Eurocup as a rookie. In 2019, Christian stepped up to Formula 3, finishing sixth, before progressing to Formula 2 the following season.

In his first year in Formula 2 in 2020, he won two races and backed that up the following year with three podiums. He finished second in Race 2 at the season opener in Bahrain before claiming third place in Race 1 in Great Britain in July. After his debut in INDYCAR, he made a sensational charge from 19th on the grid to finish third in Monza in Race 1. He tested the R.S.18 on one occasion in 2021 at Silverstone.

McLaughlin Leads Penske 1 2 3 Sweep in Practice 2

Scott McLaughlin led the three Team Penske cars to a sweepif the top three spots in the second practice for the Music City Grand Prix.

The fastest Honda belonged to Alexander Rossi in fourth. Rossi was 0.38 seconds behind Mc Laughlin.

Rookie Kyle Kirkwood was fifth fastest. Chevrolet powered cars took five of the first six positions.

Results