GMR Grand Prix Fast Facts

IMS image

Race weekend: Friday, May 13 – Saturday, May 14
Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course (clockwise)
Race distance: NTT INDYCAR SERIES 85 laps / 207.3 miles | Indy Lights: 35 laps/55 minutes
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 (Note: A seventh set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie driver.)
Twitter: @IMS @INDYCAR, #ThisIsMay, #IndyCarEvent website: www.ims.com
NTT INDYCAR SERIES website: www.indycar.com | 
Indy Lights website:www.indylights.com
2021 race winners: NTT INDYCAR SERIES: Rinus VeeKay (No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet) Indy Lights: Linus Lundqvist and David Malukas
2021 NTT P1 Award winner: Romain Grosjean (No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda), 1:09.4396, 126.447 mph.
Qualifying lap record: Will Power, 1:07.7044, 129.687 mph, May 12, 2017 (Set in Round 3 of knockout qualifying)
NBC Sports race telecast: 3 p.m. (ET) Saturday, May 14, 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, and NBC’s GMR Grand Prix race telecast will be simulcast on the streaming service, while 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 Indianapolis doubleheader will be streamed on Peacock Premium with practice and qualifying being shown on INDYCAR Live!
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. Ryan Myrehn and Rob Blackman are the pit reporters. The GMR Grand Prix race (3 p.m. ET), Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis doubleheader (5:25 p.m. ET Friday and 1:10 p.m. ET Saturday) 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, MAY 13 (All times are local)
9:30-10:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice (45 minutes), Peacock Premium10:45-11:30 a.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires practice, INDYCAR LIVE!12:45-1:45 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, (45 minutes) Peacock Premium2-2:30 p.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires qualifying (Sets lineup for Race 1 and Race 2), INDYCAR LIVE!4 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of NTT INDYCAR SERIES knockout qualifications), Peacock Premium(Live)5:30 p.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race 1 “Drivers, start your engines”5:35 p.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race 1 (35 laps/55 minutes), Peacock Premium
SATURDAY, MAY 1410:30-11 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, Peacock Premium1:15 p.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race 2 “Drivers, start your engines”1:20 p.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race 2 (35 laps/55 minutes), Peacock Premium3 p.m. – NBC on air3:39 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”3:45 p.m. – GMR Grand Prix (85 laps/207.3 miles), NBC (Live)
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Notes:
Pato O’Ward broke Team Penske’s three-race win streak by winning the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on May 1. Alex Palou’s third podium finish of 2022 gave him the series points lead for the first time this season. Palou, the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion, leads Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin by three points and the top four drivers in the standings are separated by just 10 points heading into the critical Month of May, which has more than 250 points to offer with races on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course, PPG Armed Forces Qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 and the double points-paying Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in the next three weekends.
The GMR Grand Prix will be the 12th INDYCAR SERIES event conducted on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course. Active race winners who are expected to compete are: Rinus VeeKayScott DixonJosef NewgardenSimon Pagenaud and Will Power.
ACTIVE RACE WINNER
WINS SEASONS
Will Power 5 2015, 2017, 2018 (GMR Grand Prix); 2020 (Harvest Grand Prix-2); 2021 (Gallagher Grand Prix)Simon Pagenaud32014, 2016, 2019 (GMR Grand Prix)
Scott Dixon 1 2020 (GMR Grand Prix)
Josef Newgarden 1 2020 (Harvest Grand Prix-1)
Rinus VeeKay 1 2021 (GMR Grand Prix)Four
NTT P1 Award winners have won the GMR Grand Prix from the pole: Will Power in 2015, 2017 and 2018 and Simon Pagenaud in 2016. Power also won the second Harvest GP race from pole in 2020.
ACTIVE POLE WINNER POLES SEASONS
Will Power 5 2015, 2017, 2018, 2020 (GMR Grand Prix and Harvest Grand Prix-2)
Pato O’Ward 1 2021 (Gallagher Grand Prix)
Romain Grosjean 1 2021 (GMR Grand Prix)
Rinus VeeKay 1 2020 (Harvest Grand Prix-1)
Felix Rosenqvist 1 2019
Simon Pagenaud 1 2016
Sebastian Saavedra 1 2014
Eight drivers have competed in every INDYCAR SERIES race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – Scott DixonJames HinchcliffeRyan Hunter-ReayJosef NewgardenSimon PagenaudWill PowerGraham Rahal and Takuma Sato. All but Hinchcliffe and Hunter-Reay are entered this year.
Scott Dixon has finished first or second in four of the last five GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis. Dixon won his first race on the IMS road course in July 2020.J
osef Newgarden can clinch the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge’s $1 million prize by winning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – where he won in 2020 in the Harvest Grand Prix. Newgarden has won on an oval (Texas Motor Speedway) and street circuit (Streets of Long Beach). A win on a road course would earn him a $500,000 bonus and a matching $500,000 donation for his charities, Wags and Walk Nashville and SeriousFun Children’s Network.
Team Penske has eight wins on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020-Race 2, 2020-Race 3, 2021-Race 2). Ed Carpenter Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing and Arrow McLaren SP are the only other teams to win at the track. Ed Carpenter Racing won in 2021-Race 1 with Rinus VeeKay. Chip Ganassi Racing won with Scott Dixon in 2020-Race 1, and Arrow McLaren SP won the inaugural race in 2014 with Simon Pagenaud when it was known as Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
ix NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year contenders – Tatiana CalderonDevlin DeFrancescoCallum IlottKyle KirkwoodChristian Lundgaard and David Malukas – are entered. All but Lundgaard will race an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car at IMS for the first time. Lundgaard made his series debut at the track last summer in the Gallagher Grand Prix. Twenty-two of the drivers entered in the event have competed in INDYCAR SERIES races on the IMS road course.
Twelve entered drivers have led laps in the GMR Grand Prix: Will Power 210, Scott Dixon 69, Simon Pagenaud 68, Romain Grosjean 44, Graham Rahal 36, Rinus VeeKay 33, Josef Newgarden 25, Felix Rosenqvist 15, Alexander Rossi 2, Marcus Ericsson 1, Jack Harvey 1 and Alex Palou 1.Milestones: Felix Rosenqvist will attempt to make his 50th NTT INDYCAR SERIES start … Scott Dixon will attempt to make his 293rd consecutive start, the second-longest streak in INDYCAR SERIES history.
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Notes:
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires will conduct the first of three doubleheader weekends with a pair of 35 lap races on Friday and Saturday. Linus Lundqvist, who won one of the two races at Indianapolis in 2021, took the series points lead with his win at Barber Motorsports Park on May 1. The field for the weekend’s doubleheader races will be set by a single qualifying session on Friday.
The two drivers who have won Indy Lights races this season – Matthew Brabham of Andretti Autosport and Linus Lundqvist of HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing – are also the only entered drivers to have won at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Brabham won Race 1 of a doubleheader at IMS in May 2014 while Lundqvist won Race 1 of last season’s doubleheader. 
 

IMS Releases May Schedule

The month of May schedule is announced in the following IMS press release. It looks like things are back to normal.

From IMS:

 Month of May Schedule Packed with Action, Excitement on IMS Oval, Road Course 
 INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, April 27, 2022) – It’s almost time to come Back Home Again.The Month of May will return to its normal schedule at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with full seating capacity, including the traditional lineup of on-track and off-track activities surrounding the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 29 and the GMR Grand Prix on Saturday, May 14.
Fans can enjoy 11 days of on-track activity on the IMS road course and the historic, 2.5-mile oval. Action on the road course for the GMR Grand Prix will start Friday, May 13, with practice for the Indianapolis 500 starting Tuesday, May 17 on the oval.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers will line up to take the green flag for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” at 12:45 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 29 on the historic, 2.5-mile oval (live on NBC, Telemundo Deportes on Universo, INDYCAR Radio Network).
The ninth GMR Grand Prix will kick off the Month of May at IMS at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11 on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course (live on NBC, Peacock Premium, INDYCAR Radio Network).
Helio Castroneves will capture the attention of the sporting world as he tries to follow his emotional, record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in 2021 with a fifth win, elevating him above A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as the most successful Indy 500 driver. On the road course, Team Penske will look to continue its hot start to the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season – it has won the first three races – with its sixth GMR Grand Prix victory.
“We have looked forward to a ‘normal’ Month of May for more than two years, and we can’t wait to see all of our loyal fans at the Racing Capital of the World,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “But as anyone who has attended even one Indianapolis 500 or GMR Grand Prix knows, there is nothing ordinary about this magical time of the year at IMS. It’s so special, with action, excitement and memories every single day. We truly welcome everyone back home again.”
Among the highlights of the Month of May at IMS is an exciting new format for PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying on Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22.
After Day One of qualifying from noon-5:50 p.m. (ET) Saturday, May 21, Day Two will include two rounds of qualification attempts to decide the first four rows, including pole position.
Starting in reverse order of speeds based on Day One, each of the top 12 drivers will have a guaranteed attempt to post a traditional four-lap qualifying time starting at 4 p.m. The fastest six will advance to the Firestone Fast Six at 5:10 p.m. to determine positions one through six and compete for the NTT P1 Award for pole. The slowest six will fill out starting positions seven through 12 according to their recorded time.
In the Firestone Fast Six, each entrant is again guaranteed one attempt and will qualify in reverse order based on their Top 12 qualification results. The fastest wins pole position, which includes a $100,000 prize, with the remaining five drivers filling out the remainder of the first two rows.
A post-qualifying practice from noon-2 p.m. Monday, May 23 will give fans another opportunity to see NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers hone setups in traffic before Race Day.
Miller Lite Carb Day will feature the final practice before Race Day, with cars on track from 11 a.m-1 p.m. Friday, May 27. The popular INDYCAR Pit Crew Challenge also returns after a two-year hiatus, rewarding the fastest crews in the sport and putting their talent in the spotlight from 2:30-4 p.m.
Month of May action will start on the IMS road course with the GMR Grand Prix, with two full days of on-track action open to the public Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14 featuring the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.
The GMR Grand Prix is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14. Only two drivers have swept this event and the Indy 500 in the same year – Will Power in 2018 and Simon Pagenaud in 2019.
A great variety of live music also will complement the exciting on-track action throughout Race Weekend.
Rock’s ultimate supergroup Kings of Chaos and legendary Grammy Award winner Rick Springfield will co-headline the Miller Lite Carb Day Concert on Friday, May 27. Legendary funk and R&B band Morris Day and the Time will open the concert, followed by Springfield and Kings of Chaos. The show starts at 3:30 p.m. on the Miller Lite Stage inside Turn 3 of the IMS oval, a new location this year.
Country music superstar Dierks Bentley will headline the Firestone Legends Day Concert on Saturday, May 28. Special guests Ashley McBryde and Dillon Carmichael will open the show, which begins at 7 p.m. (ET) at the TCU Amphitheater in White River State Park, further expanding the celebration of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” into downtown Indianapolis.
Superstar DJ and producer Martin Garrix will headline a stellar lineup of global electronic music artists at the Indy 500 Snake Pit presented by Coors Light on Sunday, May 29. deadmau5, Galantis, Steve Aoki and Yellow Claw also will perform at the Race Day concert during the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Performances begin at 8:15 a.m. in the infield adjacent to Turn 3 of the IMS oval.
Tickets are on sale now at IMS.com for the ninth GMR Grand Prix and 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. All fans 15 and under are admitted free for general admission with an accompanying paying adult. There is no free admission for reserved seats on Race Day for the Indianapolis 500 or GMR Grand Prix.

NINTH GMR GRAND PRIX PUBLIC SCHEDULE
(All times local, subject to change; all on-track activity on IMS road course)
FRIDAY, May 13 (General admission $20)
7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Public Gates Open
8-8:30 a.m.
USF2000 Qualifying
8:45-9:15 a.m.
Indy Pro 2000 Qualifying
9:30-10:30 a.m.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 1 (45 minutes)
10:45-11:30 a.m.
Indy Lights Practice 1
11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
USF2000 Race 1
12:45-1:45 p.m.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 2 (45 minutes)
2-2:30 p.m.
Indy Lights Qualifying
2:45-3:35 p.m.
Indy Pro 2000 Race 1
4-5:15 p.m.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES NTT P1 Award Qualifying
5:35-6:30 p.m.
Indy Lights Race 1 (35 laps or 55 minutes)
SATURDAY, May 14 (General Admission $40; Reserved Seats Start at $41)
7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Public Gates Open
8:05-8:50 a.m.
USF2000 Race 2
9:10-10 a.m.
Indy Pro 2000 Race 2
10:30-11 a.m.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Warmup
11:15-11:55 a.m.
USF2000 Race 3
12:10-1 p.m.
Indy Pro 2000 Race 3
1:20-2:15 p.m.
Indy Lights Race 2 (35 laps or 55 minutes)
2:40-3:05 p.m.
Silver/Bronze Badge Grid Walk
3:30 p.m.
Ninth GMR Grand Prix (85 laps)
5:45 p.m.
GMR Grand Prix Post-Race Track Invasion
106th INDIANAPOLIS 500 presented by Gainbridge PUBLIC SCHEDULE
(All times local, subject to change; all on-track activity on IMS oval)
TUESDAY, May 17 (General Admission $15)
8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Public Gates Open
9-11 a.m.
Veteran Practice
1-3 p.m.
Rookie Orientation Program, Veteran Refresher Tests
3-6 p.m.
Open Practice
WEDNESDAY, May 18-THURSDAY, May 19 (General Admission $15)
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Public Gates Open
Noon-6 p.m.
Open Practice
FRIDAY, May 20 – FAST FRIDAY (General Admission $15)
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Public Gates Open
Noon-6 p.m.
Open Practice
6:15 p.m.
Qualifications Draw
SATURDAY, May 21 – PPG Presents ARMED FORCES QUALIFYING (General Admission $20)
8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Public Gates Open
9-10:30 a.m.
Pre-Qualifying Practice (Two groups)
Noon-5:50 p.m.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifying (Setting positions 13-33 or 13-30 if there are more than 33 entries)
SUNDAY, May 22 – PPG Presents ARMED FORCES QUALIFYING (General Admission $20)
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Public Gates Open
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Last Chance Practice*
12:30-2 p.m.
Top 12 Practice
2-3 p.m.
Last Chance Qualifying (Positions 31-33)*
4 p.m.
Top 12 Qualifying
5:10 p.m.
Firestone Fast Six Qualifying for NTT P1 Award
5:40 p.m.
NTT P1 Award Presentation
* — if necessary
MONDAY, May 23 (General Admission $15; Infield Access Only for Fans)
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Public Gates Open (Gates 2, 4, 6S, 7, 7S only)
Noon-2 p.m.
Open Practice
TUESDAY, May 24-THURSDAY, May 26
No track activity
 
FRIDAY, May 27 – MILLER LITE CARB DAY (General Admission $40)
8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Public Gates Open
11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Final Practice
2:30-4 p.m.
INDYCAR Pit Stop Challenge
4-6 p.m.
Miller Lite Carb Day Concert, Turn 3 infield
SATURDAY, May 28 – LEGENDS DAY presented by Firestone (General Admission $10)
8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Public Gates Open
9-10 a.m.
Full Field Driver Autograph Session, Pagoda Plaza
10:30 a.m.
Public Drivers’ Meeting, Tower Terrace
Noon-1:30 p.m.
AES 500 Festival Parade, downtown Indianapolis
7 p.m.
Firestone Legends Day Concert, TCU Amphitheater in White River State Park, downtown Indianapolis
SUNDAY, May 29 – RACE DAY (General Admission $50; Reserved Seats Start at $55)
6 a.m.-4 p.m.
Public Gates Open
7 a.m.
Indy 500 Snake Pit presented by Coors Light Gates Open, Turn 3 infield
12:45 p.m.
106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge (200 laps)
 
 
 

Indy Postscript- A Most Satisfying Day at IMS

Photo: Chris Owens, Indycar

A few more items from a great day at IMS:

I just watched the replay of the NBC broadcast of the GMR Grand Prix. I thought it was great coverage. I like the graphic showing which tire each car was using at the time and laps since pitted information. More of that, please.

The VeeKay family celebration on the victory podium was heart warming. We don’t often see a driver’s family enjoy the fruits of heir sacrifices to get a driver to the top of his profession.

How no one got into the marbles and spun is miraculous. the track was one large used rubber pile. VeeKay’s tires at the end show how much wear everyone’s tires had. this is a screen grab from Victory lane.

Rinus VeeKay drove the wheels off the car yesterday. He drove between Jimmie Johnson and Alex Palou to take second, and made a great pass on Grosjean to be in position to assume the lead when Dixon pitted.

The Battle for the Title

Alex Palou is the only driver to have led at least one lap in each of the five races to date. We are looking at a championship battle between teammates. Scott Dixon leads Palou by 13 points. Each has won a race. Dixon holds the tie breaker if it should come to that based on his St.Pete finish. I predict Palou will be this season’s first repeat winner.

Last Thoughts

Maybe it was because yesterday was the first may race with fans in attendance since 2019, but yesterday was one of the best days I have ever had at IMS. I’ve been there a couple times, but Saturday just had a very special feeling about it.

How odd that Ed Carpenter Racing’s first win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway should come on the road course. Carpenter’s cars are always very good on the oval. Is there another win for the team coming in two weeks?

Back tomorrow when my coverage of the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 begins. Thanks to all of you for following this weekend.

It’s Race Day

Photo: Romain Grosjean will the field to the green today. Walt Kuhn, Indycar

Today’s schedule:

All Times Eastern

Saturday

7:30am 5:00pm Gates Open

7:50am 8:40am Indy Pro 2000 Race 2

8:55am 9:25am Indy Lights Qualifying 2

9:40am 10:20am USF2000 Race 3

10:45am 11:15am NTT INDYCAR SERIES Warm-Up Peacock

11:40am 12:30pm Indy Pro 2000 Race 3

12:45pm 1:45pmINDY LIGHTS Race 2 Peacock

2:39pm ‘Drivers Start Your Engines’ NBC

2:45pm GMR Grand Prix – Green Flag NBC

Welcome to the first May race day at IMS in two years where fans will be in the stands. This will be an interesting race with many of the favorites starting in the middle or back of the back. After yesterday’s wild qualifying and the way the season has begun, maybe it’s time to consider other drivers besides the usual favorites. Alex Palou and Jack Harvey deserve special attention today. Palou has already won on a similar course, and Harvey always does well at the IMS road course. Pit strategy and track position will be key as always at this track.

In the 2020 version of this race which was held in July, cautions played a huge role in the outcome. Graham Rahal was on an alternate pit strategy that appeared to be working out. The yellow flag dashed his hopes of winning.

Team Penske dominates the GMR Grand Prix and it looks like all four drivers could be contending today.

I think we will have the fifth winner in five races this season. The series has already seen five different drivers on pole, although two were by point standings,

Notes

Andretti Autosport regular drivers had a best qualifying of eighth with Colton Herta yesterday. Alexander Rossi led the first practice session, but faded in qualifying and will start 14th. It is puzzling what’s going on with the team.

Josef Newgarden’s Snap-On car is this weekend’s best looking livery.

, IndycarPhoto by Joe Skibinski

It was a decent sized crowd yesterday, and I will be interested to see how many attend today’s race.

Mask compliance was very high yesterday. The Speedway has hired Mask Ambassadors to give people gentle reminders to wear their face coverings. The ambassadors carry a fan like placard with the phrase “Face Coverings Required” I saw them remind some people of the requirement. certain other tracks I have been to this year could have use a system like this.

The race is on NBC with coverage beginning at 2:30 pm Eastern. Green flag is at 2:45.

I watched the replay of qualifying on NBCSN. The broadcast carried no graphics of any sort, and it was hard to follow the action during the rounds of qualifying. I heard graphics appeared on Peacock. Is NBCSN having a fire sale since they are 2winding down the network? This was a huge disservice to fans who don’t or can’t have Peacock for whatever reason. You still have a contract NBC. Honor it.

The Starting Lineup:

  1. (51) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 1:09.4396 (126.447 mph)
  2. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 1:09.5665 (126.216)
  3. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 1:09.6528 (126.060)
  4. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 1:09.7118 (125.953)
  5. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 1:09.7140 (125.949)
  6. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 1:09.8662 (125.675)
  7. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 1:09.8185 (125.760)
  8. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 1:09.8222 (125.754)
  9. (18) Ed Jones, Honda, 1:09.8548 (125.695)
  10. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 1:09.8722 (125.664)
  11. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 1:09.9060 (125.603)
  12. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, No Time (No Speed)
  13. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 1:09.8243 (125.750)
  14. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 1:09.9012 (125.612)
  15. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 1:09.8382 (125.725)
  16. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 1:09.9512 (125.522)
  17. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 1:09.8665 (125.674)
  18. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 1:10.0726 (125.304)
  19. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 1:09.8759 (125.657)
  20. (14) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 1:10.1830 (125.107)
  21. (11) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 1:10.6810 (124.226)
  22. (29) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 1:10.6174 (124.338)
  23. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 1:11.0455 (123.588)
  24. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 1:10.9312 (123.788)
  25. (86) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 1:11.1370 (123.429)

Grosjean Pole- From Flames to Fame

Photo: Romain grosjean hug chief mechanic Olivier Boisson after winning the pole. Photo by Mike Silver

Romain Grosjean leaping from his burning car in Bahrain is finally put away. Grosjean won the pole for tomorrow’s GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He did not win the pole by default. Grosjean had to hold off two time series champion and multiple pole winner Josef Newgarden to achieve the top spot for the race. The pole is just the third all time for Dale Coyne racing and the first on a natural road course. Sebastien Bourdais won a pole on the oval at Phoenix in 2018. Mike Conway took the pole for Detroit Race 2 in 2016.

In a qualifying session which saw points leaders Scott Dixon and Pato O’Ward struggle and pokle master Will Power cause a red flag in Round 2, Grosjean joined three other fast six newcomers- Conor Daly, Alex Palou, and Scott McLaughlin to fight for the pole along with Jack harvey and Newgarden.

“Amazing,” Grosjean said. “When I saw the (first qualifying) group I was in, I was like, ‘Oh, dear, if we can get out of the first group, we’re going to be OK,’ and we did. That last few laps, we were on it. What a day for us.

“I’m happier than I have been in a very long time.”

In the only other natural road course run this year, at Barber, Grojean started 10th and finished seventh. His getting to the Fast Six wasn’t much of a shock, but earning the pole was.

Notes on a Strange Day

The wierdness wasn’t reserved for qualifying. The practice sessions had some odd happenings as well. In session 1, Alex Palou’s team discovered a water leak before he got on the track. Palou missed the entire session. Palou bounced back to get in the Fast Six.

During the first practice we learned that Max Chilton and Carlin Racing withdrew from this weekend. Chilton was unable to return from England because of a travel issue. Today’s issue has no effect on their 500 entry.

Scott Dixon developed a clutch issue during the afternoon practice, Unlike Palou, he did not recover in qualifying and will start 16th. two spots ahead of Pato O’Ward. Dixon and O’Ward are first and second in points. Newgarden and Palou,, third and fourth in points, start second and fourth.

Juan Pablo Montoya looked quite uncomfortable in the third Arrow McLaren SP entry. He struggled to get the car through the final turns.

Conor Daly made the Fast Six for the first time. It has been a long time since Ed Carpenter racing has been in the Fast Six.

Newgarden and Palou were the only members of the Fast Six who have won a race. The series is on about as level a playing field as it has ever been.

Team Penske still does not have a pole this season.

A. J. Foyt Racing had a promising beginning to the season. All thee cars will start 20th or worse tomorrow.

Newgarden Leads Chevy 1-2-3 in Practice 2

Josef Newgarden led the final practice round before qualifying for the GMR Grand Prix at 4: 30. Newgarden edged Rings Veekay and teammate Will Power in a Chevy sweep of the top 3. All four TeM Penske cars finished in the top 10, with Scott McLaughlin fifth and Simon Pagenaud eighth.

Pato O’ Ward struggled for most of the session but salvaged a ninth place at the flag.

Scott Dixon had a clutch failure and ended 23rd.

Juan Pablo Montoya struggled the entire practice period and was the slowest car

The top 12:

In

Opening Day at IMS at Last!

Good morning from the cozy confines of the IMS Media Center Northwest Annex at 71st and Michigan Road.The Pit Window will soon be heading to its annual opening day staff breakfast at Charlie Brown’s (table for 1, please.)

Two practice sessions and qualifying are on tap for Indycar today.

From last night:

GMR Grand Prix- Time For a Penske Bounce Back?

Today’s Schedule

All Times Eastern

Friday

7:30am 6:00pm- Gates Open

8:00am 8:20am- Indy Pro 2000 Quals

8:35am 9:05am INDY LIGHTS Q1

9:30am 10:15am INDYCAR Series Practice 1 Peacock

10:40am 11:20am USF2000 Race 1

11:45am 12:35pm Indy Pro 2000 Race 1

1:00pm 1:45pm NTT INDYCAR Series Practice 2 Peacock

2:10pm 3:10pm INDY LIGHTS Race 1 Peacock

3:25pm 4:05pm USF2000 Race 2

4:30pm 5:45pm NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qual. / Firestone Fast 6 Peacock (live)

NBCSN– 6 pm ET (Delayed)

Today is a day for reunions with friends and to scout viewing spots for tomorow’s race if you have a flex ticket. If this your first time at the track since 2019, take some time to notice the improvements Roger Penske has made. They are noticeable and impressive.

I will post brief reports on session results and have a full wrap up later tonight. Enjoy the day;.

GMR Grand Prix- Time For a Penske Bounce Back?

It is time. Tomorrow (Friday) the gates to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway open to fans in May for the first time since 2019. Has it only been two years? It seems like a lifetime ago. The eighth GMR Grand Prix takes place this weekend, followed next week by practice for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500.

The Grand Prix began in 2014 as a way to add content to a shrinking May agenda. Attendance at the first event exceeded expectations, and the race has settled in at nice crowd of around 35,000 or so.The 2021 race is the fifth round of the NTT Indycar Series championship. Last year this race took place July 4 in conjunction with the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race. In 2021 it returns to its traditional spot n the calendar.

Several teams and drivers come into this weekend needing a successful run.

Can Penske Continue Its Domination?

The GMR Grand Prix has been practically owned by Team Penske since 2015. Until Scott Dixon won last year in July, Will ,Power and Simon Pagenaud were the only two drivers to have won this race. Pagenaud also won the inaugural event driving for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.Josef Newgarden and Will Power each won a race in the Harvest Classic last October at IMS
.Team Penske uncharacteristically has not won a race this season. As a team their statistics for the first four races show no poles or wins, five of the 12 podium spots, and a total of 31 laps led. Josef Newgarden has two of the podiums. I think this is the weekend the team breaks through with a pole and a victory, not necessarily the same individual.

Will Power has won the pole four times for this race, including the July running last year. he also won the pole for Race 2 at the Harvest Classic. If the team is to begin a run at the championship, this is the race where they can get going.

O’Ward Looks to Build on Momentum

Pato O’Ward jumped to second place in the standings with his win the second race at Texas Motor Speedway two weeks ago. He won the pole at Barber, but strategy cost him the victory there. O’Ward could be the one to break the Penske May spell of this race. O’Ward will have a strong weekend.

Arrow Mclaren SP adds Juan Pablo Montoya to their lineup for May. his experience will be helpful to O’Ward and possibly help Felix Rosenqvist, who has struggled in the quarter of the season.

Andretti Drivers Need a Boost

Except for Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport has underperformed this season. James Hinchcliffe has has been involved in race ruining contact three times this season. Ryan Hunter-Reay eked out a 10th place in Texas race 2 for his best finish to date, and Alexander Rossi languishes in 15th place with one top 10 finish.

The team needs top 10s from all its drivers, and a top 5 from at least one of them. The Andretti armada should be strong for the 500, but they need to get something rolling this weekend.

Rookies

The three series rookies, Scott McLaughlin, Romain Grosjean, and Jimmie Johnson, make their IMS debut this weekend. Only McLaughlin will also run the 500. McLaughlin has one podium with a second place in Texas Race 1. I look for McLaughlin and Grosjean to have strong showings on this track. Grosjean did very well at Barber, earning a top 10, and mcLaughlin has the backing of Team Penske, which should help at this track.

Will Dixon Keep Rolling?

Scott Dixon is in his familiar.number one position in the standings with a victory under his belt and no finish lower than fifth. So far Dixon is giving one of his stronger title defenses. He is actually the defending race winner of this event as well. A win Saturday would tie Dixon with Mario Andretti for second place on the career win list with 52 victories. He would also be only the third winner of this race in the month of May.

As I have said on a couple of other occasions this year, don’t count out his teammate Alex Palou,. Palou held off Power to win at Barber, and he is third in the standings.

The GMR Grand Prix is shaping up to be a very competitive race. Qualifying is key to a good result. No matter the outcome the winner will be the fans, who once again get to enter this sacred ground in the month that Indianapolis lives for. It will be great to back at IMS.