An Afternoon at the Track

I had some free time yesterday afternoon and I drove to Nisissan Stadium to see how much of the track I could see. It was an adventure. The streets of downtown Nashville are very narrow, but the stadium was easy to find. It is a very nice looking stadium.

Not only could I se the track, part of it is still open t traffic, including the bridge. The bridge will be fast. There is a rise in it and a downhill. The turnaround ds at each end could make for some action. As for a car going off the bridge and into the water, I don’t see that even remotely happening. This isn’t Driven.

Here are a few photos I took from my car. I wanted to stop to get some better shots but the cars behind me didn’t realize or care that I was doing important research.

From the bridge

Approaching the bridge

I turned right to enter the track and access the bridge here

Othan than the bridge the track looks very tight. Most passing will be on the bridge or just coming off of it. I’m looking forward to the event and the race.

Ferrucci Returns to RLL for Music City Grand Prix

Photo from RLL Twitter accountSantino Ferrucci returns to the number 45 car at Nashville. Despite only appearing in handful of races, the 45 is in contention for the Leaders’ Circle, which awards the top 22 entrants at the end of the year. Ferrucci has finished in the top ten in each of his four Indycar races this season.

From Rahal Letterman Racing:

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 19, 2021) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Santino Ferrucci will return to the team to compete in the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry at the inaugural Music City Grand Prix of Nashville, August 6-8. Hy-Vee, Inc. – an employee-owned supermarket chain that operates more than 280 retail stores across eight Midwestern states – is the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for two races this season as well as a full season associate and was the primary sponsor of Ferrucci’s car at the Indy 500, doubleheader races in Detroit and the Mid-Ohio event.

At the Indy 500, Ferrucci piloted the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda to his third straight top-seven finish with a sixth-place result, finished sixth in Race 1 and tenth in Race 2 in Detroit and ninth at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

“I’m super excited to be back driving for RLL and Hy-Vee,” said Santino Ferrucci. “It’s going to be an incredible race as it’s our first time racing in the streets of Nashville. The track has an incredible layout that has us racing over a bridge. I have been to the track before on a scooter so I at least know a little about the layout. I’m excited to get the chance to continue with consistent top-10 finishes for the team but I definitely think we can challenge for a win if the weekend goes smoothly.”

“Our partnership with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team has continued to bring excitement to our employees and customers,” said Randy Edeker, Chairman, CEO and President of Hy-Vee. “We look forward to teaming up with Santino Ferrucci again to drive the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry in Nashville.”

Hy-Vee first joined the team as the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for Race 2 at the Iowa Speedway in 2020 where he finished third. The company was also the primary sponsor of the team’s entry for Spencer Pigot at the Indy 500 and an associate sponsor of Rahal’s entry for the legendary race. In 2021, they have been a primary sponsor at five races: the Indy 500, Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader and Mid-Ohio races with Ferrucci and at Road America with Rahal.

After two full INDYCAR SERIES seasons in 2019-2020 and a partial one in 2018, Ferrucci joined RLL for the Indy 500 and the Detroit Grand Prix races. To date, his best Indy car start is second place at Mid-Ohio (Race 2) in 2020 and he has finished in fourth place four times. In 2021, Ferrucci competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving for Sam Hunt Racing.

The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season continues with the Music City Grand Prix of Nashville which will be broadcast live on NBCSN on August 8 at 4:30 p.m. EDT. All future on-track action can be seen on NBC, NBCSN or NBC’s Peacock Premium streaming service. For more information about the series or team, visit http://www.indycar.com and http://www.rahal.com.

About Hy-Vee, Inc.
Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 280 retail stores across eight Midwestern states with sales of $11 billion annually. The supermarket chain is synonymous with quality, variety, convenience, healthy lifestyles, culinary expertise and superior customer service. Hy-Vee ranks in the Top 10 Most Trusted Brands and has been named one of America’s Top 5 favorite grocery stores. The company’s more than 85,000 employees provide “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle” to customers every day. For additional information, visit www.hy-vee.com.

Photo by Joe Skibinski, Indycar

About Santino Ferrucci
Ferrucci began his karting career at age five and was a multi-time champion by age 11 and was featured in an article in GQ magazine on being a karting prodigy. He also competed in six Formula 2000 races, never finishing worse than fourth in any race. In 2013 he competed in the Skip Barber Racing Series, winning his debut race at Homestead and collecting five wins, two poles and three fastest laps. His career took him to England in 2014 where he competed in British Formula 3, winning two races – both at Brands Hatch, which made him the youngest winner in British Formula 3 history at 16 years, 2 months and 30 days. In 2015, he finished third in the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand with a win and five podium finishes and also competed in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. In 2016, he competed in the GP3 Series as a rookie with DAMS with a best finish of third place at Spa-Francorchamps and joined Haas F1 as a test driver for a July test at Silverstone and became the first American driver to test an American F1 car since 1977. He also made his sports car debut that year, winning his first race in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America event at Circuit of The Americas. In 2017, he continued his role as a development driver with Haas F1, testing at Hungaroring in August. He also made six GP3 starts with DAMS before moving to FIA Formula 2 with Trident. In 2018, he competed in FIA Formula 2 with Team Trident, scoring a best finish of sixth at Baku and served as a Haas F1 development driver for a third consecutive season. He also made his debut in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for Dale Coyne Racing in 2018 with a best finish of 11th at the season-finale at Sonoma and competed in a total of four events (Detroit doubleheader, Portland). In 2019, he competed in the full INDYCAR SERIES season and finished 13th in series standings for Dale Coyne Racing with a best finish of fourth at Texas, Pocono and World Wide Technology Raceway. He was named Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year after an impressive performance en route to a seventh-place finish. Ferrucci returned for his second full season in the series in 2020 with Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan with a best finish of fourth place in the Indy 500 and 13th place, season-ending rank. Always open to new challenges, Ferrucci currently competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving for Sam Hunt Racing.

About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and Brownsburg, Ind., is co-owned by three-time
IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. In 2021, the team begins its 30th year of competition and will attempt to add to its 29 Indy car wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice and the 2020 Indy 500 with Takuma Sato — their 33 poles, 107 podium finishes and 1992 series championship.  The team also competed in the American Le Mans Series from 2009-2013 as BMW Team RLL where they won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011 – Manufacturer, Team and Driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Championship and third in the Manufacturer Championship and in 2013, the team finished second in the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championship. Since 2014, BMW Team RLL has competed in the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a two-car program and has brought their total to 22 wins – including the 2019 and 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance races, 28 poles and 91 podium finishes as well as a second-place finish in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships in 2015 and 2017. The team was also the 2020 Michelin Endurance Champions. For 2021, the team will compete for back-to-back Michelin Endurance Championships.

Music City Grand Prix Adds to Schedule

Update on Marti- Sometime this morning Marti will be flown to Vanderbilt medical Center in Nashville to see a specialist on her blood pressure issue. We hope they have an answer and she can return to a mostly normal life. I will drive down later this morning. Thanks for your continued thoughts, prayers, and cards.

The Music City Grand Prix released a revised schedule yesterday. The weekend looks jam packed. Here are the daily schedules:

When things settle down in Nashville, I will post another update.

Music City Grand Prix Ticket Sales; Some Indycar Notes

Correction: In my post about the entry list for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500, I left out the Paretta team with Simona DeSilvestro driving. I have updated the post. Thanks to reader Matthew for bringing this to my attention. If yoyu missed the story, here is the link:

https://thepitwindow.blog/2021/02/15/500-field-update-how-many-beyond-33/

The Music City Grand Prix begins ticket sales next Tuesday, February 23. there is a lot of buzz about this new race on the Indycar schedule. Their website does not list prices as of yet. there several choices of three day packages. Follow them on Twitter if you haven’t done so.

Andretti Empire Expands and Looks for More

Andretti Autosport has partnered with Michel Jourdain in a touring car entry in the Mexican Super Copa Series. The partnership makes Andretti a part of seven different racing platforms. The organization has cars in Indycar, Indy Lights, Formule E, IMSA Prototype Challenge, Australian Supercars, Extreme E, and Super Copa.

Michael Andretti said they are also exploring the new LMDh formula which begins in 2023. The prototype formula is a car that can race in both IMSA and WEC. This class is wide open for right now with at least three manufactyurers committed to the new spec.

Alonso Released, Should Be Ready to Start Season

Fernando Alonso has been released from the hospital following surgery for a fractured jaw. Alonso sustained the injury in a bicycle accident while training for his return to Formula 1 this year. He will finish recuperating at home and expects to be ready for the first formula 1 race in Bahrain. The delayed start to the season has helped him have time to recover.

US Grand Prix Returning to IMS?

Formula 1 continues to seek expansion to a a second race in the United States. Except for 2020 the series has raced at Circuit of the Americas every year since 2012. Formula 1 held the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway from 2000-2007. It was widely assumed that Miami would host a second race, but according to Stefano Domeicali, F!’s CEO, they are ;looking at other venues. He said that “Indianapolis is in the equation.”

When Roger Penske bought IMS, he expressed the desire to host Formula 1 again.

I am taking a wait and see approach. Formula1 and its teams are notorious for mentioning possibilities just to play different entities against each other. The one advantage IMS has going for it is Penske. Stay tuned.

Notes: Castroneves Swaps Barber for Nashville; Alonso Injured

Three time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves has changed his six race schedule with Meyer Shank Racing. Castroneves will now race at the Music City Grand Prix August 8. He will not drive in the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama. The other races on his slate this year remain- the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500, the IMS road course race August 14, Portland, Laguna Seca, and Long Beach.

Castroneves’s number 06 car will carry sponsorship from Transcard at Nashville.

Alonso Fractures Jaw

Fernando Alonso fractured his jaw in a cycling accident Thursday. The two time world F1 champion was hit by a car. He suffered a broken jaw and underwent surgery. Alonso expects to be ready to drive in the F1 season opener. he is driving for Alpine, the former Renault team in 2021. Formula 1 begins with the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix March 28.

Nashville Joins Indycar Schedule

A street race in Nashville August 6-8, 2021 is the first new race added to the NTT Indycar series schedule under Roger Penske’s ownership of the series, and the first new street race added to the schedule since 2013. The fully privately funded event and Indycar have a three year agreement. The 2.17 mile, 11 turn track designed by Tony Cotman incorporates part of Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. Some of the stadium suites will be viewing areas for the race.

Today’s announcement is the result of several years of planning by Matt Crews, president of Music City GP, Nashville Mayor John Cooper, and the Tennessee Titans.

Nashville officials are planning a music filled festival around the race.

A unique feature of the track is the section over the Korean War Veterans’ Bridge. I can’t think of another series which has a track crossing over water.

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The track resembles the Big Dipper. It runs counter-clockwise, which is unusual for Indycar road and street courses. The turns 7-11 cluster on the other side of the bridge looks interesting, as do the two long straights over the bridge.

Mark Miles was asked how adding another street course, this this is the fifth street event and sixth street race on the schedule,will affect the balance of types of circuits on the schedule, Miles said next year’s schedule will look a lot like this year’s original schedule. Miles said the full schedule will be released in 2-4 weeks.

Tickets are not on sale yet. Go to musiccitygp.com to sign up for notifications about ticket sales.