Nashville Wrap Up

Photo by Chris Owens, Indycar

The Race

Fans either enjoyed or hated the Music City Grand Prix. Overall, I thought it was a terrible race with some intriguing twists and turns. My parameters for a good race include no more than 25% under caution. 46% is way too high.

Four drivers have had contact in both Nashville races. Colton Herta was able to continue this year and finished fifth. Dalton Kellet, Takuma Sato, and Jimmie Johnson have not seen the checkered flag in the Music City.

Indycar photo by James Black

I am out of ideas for how to improve the racing. The track revisions didn’t help produce a better race. Maybe it is on the drivers. I had a conversation with some Twitter friends last night. We discussed the aggressive driving this race seems to produce. I wonder if Nashville’s place on the schedule has anything to do with what we see?

I don’t recall seeing such aggressive moves throughout the race in St. Pete, Detroit, or Long Beach. By the time Nashville occurs, with just four races left, drivers at the top are trying to get every point they can. Other drivers are fighting for jobs for the following season, and some may be fighting for the last spot in the Leaders’ Circle. Would this race be better earlier in the year?


The Music City Grand Prix snatched a permanent place in the Indycar record book as the track where Scott Dixon won his 53rd career race. Now only A. J. Foyt, with 67, is ahead of him. I was happy to hear the two men in their twenties sitting next to me talk about this near the end of the race. I hope they appreciate this in future years.

Chris Owens photo

I’m not sure how many times I have seen Dixon win in person, but I think it is at least a dozen. I have seen him win in the manner of legends- starting last at Mid Ohio and ending up in the winner’ circle; coming from nearly 60 points behind to win the last race of the year for the championship; saving fuel to outlast the rest of the field.

Dixon is just six points behind Will Power with three races left. he is the last person Power wants to see this close to him at this point of the year. Should Dixon emerge as the season champion, he will earn anbother place in history- tied with Foyt with seven titles.

The Event

Music City Grand prix organizers made a lot of improvements since their first event last year. Digital tickets were much easier to access since fans didn’t have to go through the Titans’ app to try to find them.

Gate access was much easier this year. The staff was friendlier and the line moved quickly. There was some confusion as to which gate was for fans with VIP access and which gates ere for other fans.

The grandstands and other infrastructure was all in place buy the time the gates opened Friday morning. The crossover bridge from turn 1 to the infield had an in and an out bridge, which made the trip much easier both ways. Track crossing points were added for fans who have mobility issues. They should have adjusted the times yesterday during the rain delay. many fans hoping to cross to the outer grandstands needed to take the long trek around to get to their seats.

Another crossover bridge near grandstands 6 and 7 might solve a problem here.

Suites and Stands

I am glad that the event has enough interest that more suites appeared for this race. The suites cut off some good grandstand views, however. The new grandstand 7 blocked the view of turn 9 from grandstand 6, which I expected when i chose to sit there. I was not that thrilled with the sightline from my seat. The suites need to be moved back about five feet.

Getting Around

One addition I would like to see for 2023 is a tram shuttle. Fans with seats in the outer stands have a very long walk to get to their seats. For some, the distance may preclude them coming over to the main area around the stadium of the in field to visit friends.

The path from the stadium to 6and 7 also needs work. it is a narrow sidewalk which is used by both pedestrians and golfcart. The accumulated water at the end of the walk Sunday made it even more congested. It appeared there is enough room to accomodate a wider path. One of their clubs might have to give up some space, but it would improve safety.

The Back Entrance

On Friday my Uber driver let me off at the back entrance, near grandstands 6 and 7. This entrance looks like it was added as an afterthought. There is no welcoming signage, just TSA style security gates. Next door is an auto recycling yard, fully visible to all who enter. I understand the need for this entrance. It does take some pressure off the main entrance for the crowds who will sit over there, but the area needs some major spiffing up.

An overhead banner, some signs of welcome, and event volunteers to greet fans would help this desolate outpost feel like it was part of the event.+

Thanks to everyone who followed this lowly site this weekend. I had a better time this year than I did here in 2021, and I was pleased to see the improvements that were in place. I realize it takes several years for an event like this to get everything right. This event is going in the right direction. Let’s work on the racing.

A Few Thoughts on the Music City Grand Prix

Move over, kids, the adults are back in charge. Scott Dixon’s historic win today moves him into second place in the championship, six points behind Will Power. It is going to be fun watching these 40 year olds duke it out the last three races of the year.

Dixon also pased Mario Andretti to take sole possession of second place on the Indycar career victory list with 53. I was sad that I missed his record tying win in Toronto last month, but seeing him move into second place alone more than made up for missing the Toronto race.

The track underwent some changrs since last year’s caution filled race. The result was even more caution laps and another totally unnecessary red flag with four laps to go. Indycar was lucky that another caution didn’t occur in the funal two green laps. The odds certainly favored that outcome.

Missed Opportunities

There missed career best finishes. Kyle Kirkwood and David Malukas were both headed for their best results of their rookie campaigns until they collided in turn 9 on lap 63. Kirkwood has had difficulty completing races this season, but Malkukas has bee coming on strong.

Christian Lundgaard was in line for his second straight podium but faded to eighth as he had no push to pass left on the last restart.

Marcus Ericsson had worked his way from 18th spot to get ahead of Power and at one time closed to within three points of the points leader. It all went away as his car stopped with two laps to go. He is third in points, 12 behind Power.

RLL Continues Improvement

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has come to life the last two weeks.

Lundgaard was in contention for his second consecutive podium until he rab out of push to pass at the end. He finished eighth. Meanwhile Jack Harvey finished 10th. The team has ahd two top 10 finishers for two consecutive weeks.

What Else Can Be Done?

The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix made changes to the track afetr the 2021 race to eliminate some of the problems we saw last year. The resuklt was even more cautions. Last year I thought it was the track design. Improvements. This year, I’m thinking it was not the track. I will have to look at last year’s race summary to see if any of the same drivers were involved in incidents last year.

Indycar can’t keep having nearly 50% of an event run under caution.

Final Thoughts

Much of the very large crowd stayed through the rain delay and many stayed for the entire race. Grandstands 4 and 5 were completely filled for the whole race.

The event was much improved in many ways, which I will discuss in my wrap up tomorrow afternoon. There are still a few things to tweak. I realize it takes several years for an event of this type to get things right. The Nashville group made very good progress in their second year.

Thanks for following along this weekend.

Nashville Race Day

Today’s Schedule: All Times Central











It will be another hot sticky day in Nashville, Temperature at race time will be 91 degrees with a heat index approaching triple digits. Stay hydrated if you are at the track.

Drivers expressed concerns about the heat in the cars yesterday. Apparently cooling shirts will not be used as of now. I’m not sure why. If everyone used them the wieght disadvantage is neutralized.

Can Scott McLaughlin win from the pole again? he is the only driver to do so this year. The driver starting second has woin seven times in 2022. Team Penske has looked strong all weekend. I’m going with Josef Newgarden today. His strategy during the Fast Six yesterday tells me that team is on to something.

From Last Night

McLaughlin on Music City Pole

Marcus Ericsson won from 18th last year, and he starts there again today. I don’t think this race will be as chaotic as the 2021 race to allow him to move that far forward. again.

The Starting Lineup

McLaughlin on Music City Pole

A frantic penalty filled qualifying session and a great fight in the Fast Six saw Scott McLaughlin come out on top with his second pole of 2022. He will kead the field to the green flag in tomorrow’s second Big Machine Music City Grand Prix. McLaughlin is the onkly driver to win from pole this season. He won the openeing race at St. Pete from the pole. Romain Grosjean will start second, just nissing his second career pole. The lasy minute of the Fast Six saw Christian Lundgaard jump to the top, then he was qickly replaced by Pato O’Ward. Mclaughlin nabbed the pole on his last lap.

Qualifying started 90 minutes late as thunderstorms and heavy rain moved over the track just before Indy lights qualifying was scheduled to begin. Indy Lights will now line up according to entrant points for tomorrow’s race.

The first group in round one got off to a ragged start. Ddevlin DeFrancesco stopped in turn 4 on the initial out lap. DeFrancesco was not allowed to continue. With a minute left in the session and several drivers about to start their hot kap, Colton Herta slid into the turn 4 tires. Herta lost his fastest two laps, but he cost at least two drivers a chance to advance. Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi did not get to turn a lap on the quicker alternate tires. Pagenaud will start 13th and Rossi 17th.

Will Power led a clean group 2, but in the round of twelve Power had to go through the runoff area and rejoin the track. He lost his best lap and will start eighth.

In the Fast Six Christian Lundgaard just missed his frist career pole. He will start third.

Josef Newgarden starngely chose not to switch to the alternate tires in the Fast Six and will star sixth. Is he saving the alternates for the race?

I will have a pre race story tomorrow morning with an updated weather forecast. I have a feeling we could see a repeat of today.