NBC/Indycar Package-A Peek into the Future

The future is upon us. In the extension of the current broadcast package with NBC Indycar has kept the traditional television component and is dipping its toes into the future. I am ecstatic about the 13 races on NBC. It will save a lot of time and angst every race week. I can pretty much know where to find the race.

The two races on USA, one of which I assume will be the Texas night race, should be easy to remember, as should the two races on Peacock. Which races will be on USA and Peacock? Besides the Texas night race, I’m guessing another nioght oval joins the schedule. As for the other two, I have no idea right now.

Streaming two races is quite a gamble for both the series and the network. Mark Miles said yesterday showing races exclusively on Peacock is an attempt to draw in younger fans, who are more likely to watch on their phones. I applaud the strategy. I have no desire to watch a live race on my phone, but if others do, great. Regardless of the broadcast channel, give me a television set.

I do see streaming as the wave of the future. Broadcasting and viewing is changing rapidly. The races on peacock are just the beginning. Eventually, our viewing habits will change. As long as I can watch on a large screen, I don’t care how the race is delivered.

Miles also said something about being able to follow the race on your phone while you are at the track. If I am at the track, I’m not going to be looking at my phone. I might take a look during a caution to get some details of what caused the yellow, but otherwise, I will just watch the live action and the video boards.

Next year will be interesting as afr the race broadcasts go. I hope NBC keeps improving the race graphics. I really like the pit stop clock and the tire choice images they have begun showing. I like all the information given in Formula 1 races and I would love it if Indycar races got to that point.

Notes

Josef Newgarden led testing at laguna Seca yesterday. The test included Team pernske, Andretti Autosport, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Each of the remaining six races should have at least 25 cars on the grid. Helio Castroneves will participate in every race except Gateway. Romain Grosjean is expected to race at gateway, but i’m not sure if he will be in the 51 or a third car.

Miles hinted that some of Indiainpolis 500 qualifying will be on NBC as it was last year. All qualifying qwill be on Peacock in 2022.

Road America Day 2-Qualifying, Weather or Not

Today’s Schedule All time are Central Daylight Time

Qualifying will be shown on NBCSN at midnight. Personally, not my idea of how to build a lead in for the race, but Peacock we must.

The weather looks a bit wet.There is a high probability of a thunderstorm in about an hour (8am local) . Another chance of rain is between 11 am and 1 pm Practice could be wet and qualifying might be damp.Right now it is mostly sunny. High temperature will be around 74.

I hope to have brief post session reports all day and a wrap up later tonight.

Pole Fight and Last Chance Battle Involve Former Winners

Today’s Schedule; All Times eastern

Gates Open 9:00am 7:00pm

Last Chance Practice 11:00am 11:30am

Firestone Fast Nine Practice 11:30am 12:00pm

Last Chance Qualifying 1:15pm 2:30pm


1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET

Firestone Fast Nine 3:00pm 3:45pm


2:30 PM – 4:30 PM ET

NTT IndyCar Series Practice 5:00pm 7:00pm


4:30 PM – 7:00 PM ET

Grandstands open:

Paddock, Paddock Penthouse, A Penthouse, B Penthouse , E, E Penthouse, Tower Terrace, Northwest Vista and Deck, Southeast Vista and deck.

Note: only limited sections open in all stands.

Parking:

North 40 is free. All other lots are paid. $10

Four former winners have a shot at the pole this afternoon in the Fast Nine shootout. That is a routine occurrence. Onf ormer winner will fight to make the field. That doesn’t happen often.

Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, and Ryan Hunter-Reay earned a chance to run for the pole this afternoon. Dixon had the fastest time yesterday, Kanaan was third, Castroneves sixth, and Hunter-Reay eighth.

I think the pole battle is between Dixon, Kanaan, and Colton Herta. Dixon is favored, but don’t dismiss Herta’s chances.

On the other end of the field, five drivers, including 2018 winner Will Power, need to qualify for the final three spots in the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. Power had the 31st fastest time yesterday, but the if three of the other four can outrun him, the 2014 series champion will sit out next Sunday. Power, one of the greatest qualifiers in Indycar history, will get one of the spots, but it may be tight. The cars are competing just against each other today, and not against the rest of the field.

Also looking for a spot on next Sunday’s grid are Simona DeSilvestro, Sage Karam, Charlie Kimball, and R C Enerson.

Stay tuned. this will be a fascinating day at both ends of the field.

Some photos from yesterday:

Can Helio Castroneves win another pole?
Always nice to see Robert Wickens at the track
Simona DeSilvestro after her first qualifying run.

Dixon Leads as Some Contenders Struggle

Scott Dixon qualified first and no one has been able to match his four lap average of 231.320 mph. Colton Herza, Tony Kansas, and Ed Carpenter put up a challenge for two laps, but their last two laps brought their average below Dixon’s.

The Fast Nine as of 3:15 Eastern:

Dixon

Herta

Kanaan

Ed Carpenter

Rinus VeeKay

Helio Castroneves

Alex Palou

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Marcus Ericsson

The botzom five, two of whom will miss the race:

Saze Karam

Will Power

Charlie Kimball

Simona De Silverstro

R C Emerson

Qualifications run until 5:50 Eastern. Coverage is currently on NBCSN as well as on Peacock

It’s Qualifications Day!

Photo: Can Conor Daly win the hometown pole?

It’s time to build the grid. For the first time in two years, fans will get to witness qualifying in person. The size of yesterday’s fast friday crowd indicates there could be a huge turnout today. More grandstands are open today, including parts of the Northwest and Southeast Vistas.

here is what you need to know:

Today’s Schedule:

Gates Open 8:00am 6:00pm

Indianapolis 500 Practice 9:30am 10:30am

Indianapolis 500 Qualifying 12:00pm 5:50pm


12:00 PM – 2:00 PM ET


2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET


3:00 PM – 6:00 PM ET

Grandstands open:

Paddock, Paddock Penthouse, A Penthouse, B Penthouse , E, E Penthouse, Tower Terrace, Northwest Vista and Deck, Southeast Vista and deck.

Note: only limited sections open in all stands.

Parking:

North 40 is free. All other lots are paid. It cost $10 Friday; may be $15 today.

From last night:

https://thepitwindow.blog/2021/05/21/dixon-goes-233-pole-battle-wide-open/

Qualifying Order:

Draw #Car #DriverEngine
    
19Scott DixonHonda
298Marco AndrettiHonda
328Ryan Hunter-ReayHonda
406Helio CastronevesHonda
518Ed JonesHonda
629James HinchcliffeHonda
725Stefan WilsonHonda
848Tony KanaanHonda
92Josef NewgardenChevy
1021Rinus VeeKayChevy
113Scott McLaughlinChevy
1230Takuma SatoHonda
1345Santino FerrucciHonda
1424Sage KaramChevy
1551Pietro FittipaldiHonda
1686Juan Pablo MontoyaChevy
171JR HildebrandChevy
1812Will PowerChevy
1920Ed CarpenterChevy
205Pato O’WardChevy
217Felix RosenqvistChevy
2259Max ChiltonChevy
234Dalton KellettChevy
2447Conor DalyChevy
2515Grahal RahalHonda
2660Jack HarveyHonda
2775RC EnersonChevy
2810Alex PalouHonda
2922Simon PagenaudChevy
3026Colton HertaHonda
3127Alexander RossiHonda
328Marcus EricssonHonda
3316Simon De SilvestroChevy
3411Charlie KimballChevy
3514Sebastien BourdaisChevy

Since cars and drivers can make multiple attempts, the order doesn’t matter as much as it used to. The heat of mid day will probably determine when a second run occurs. It will be interesting to see who pulls out of the line to wait for better conditions.

I hope to have an update around 3 pm. Enjoy the day no matter where you are viewing from.

Practice and Qualifying Schedule and Channels

This might be a good week to sign up for Peacock if you haven’t done so yet. All times Eastern

Tuesday Streaming on Peacock, 10-2, 3-6

Gates Open 9:00am 6:00pm

Indianapolis 500 Oval Veterans Practice 10:00am 12:00pm

Indianapolis 500 ROP & Refreshers 12:00pm 2:00pm

Indianapolis 500 Practice 3:00pm 6:00pm

Wednesday Streaming on Peacock 12-6

Gates Open 10:00am 6:00pm

Indianapolis 500 Practice 12:00pm 6:00pm

Thursday Streaming on Peacock 12-6

Gates Open 10:00am 6:00pm

Indianapolis 500 Practice 12:00pm 6:00pm

Fast Friday Streaming on Peacock 12-6

Gates Open 10:00am 6:00pm

Indianapolis 500 Practice 12:00pm 6:00pm

Qualifying

Saturday

Gates Open 8:00am 6:00pm

Indianapolis 500 Practice 9:30am 10:30am Streaming on Peacock 9:30-10:30

Indianapolis 500 Qualifying 12:00pm 5:50pm Streaming on Peacock 12-6

NBC will have a one hour live broadcast from 2-3pm

Sunday

Gates Open 9:00am 7:00pm

Last Chance Practice 11:00am 11:30am Streaming on Peacock*

Fast Nine Practice 11:30am 12:00pm Streaming on Peacock*

Last Chance Qualifying 1:15pm 2:30pm Streaming on Peacock 12-6

Fast Nine Qualifying 3:00pm 3:45pm

NTT IndyCar Series Practice 5:00pm 7:00pm

NBC will broadcast live from 2:30-4:30 pm

* Peacocok lists a one hour slot from 10-11, but the program description says you can watch both practice sessions. 10-11won’t do it for the practices. Only three hours of live television. Sad.


Indycar 2021 Part II-Another Championship Coming Down to the Wire

Photo: Josef Newgarden looks to regain the Indycar title. Indycar photo

Long Beach, September 26- The NTT Indycar Series championship hinges on who finishes ahead of whom. Will Scott Dixon win his seventh title? Does Josef Newgarden win his third? Will Alexander Rossi finally earn the trophy he covets?

This is the scenario I see playing out in the season finale. I’m not ready to declare that the young drivers will be battling each other. We might see a brief spurt mid season where Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta are ibn the hunt, maybe one of them leading for a bit, but I think we have one more year of the old guard. By old guard i mean drivers over 25.

I see O’Ward winning multiple times and another first time winner out of the group including Jack Harvey, Rinus VeeKay, and Alex Palou.

While a driver has just seventeen chances to win in a season, there are 51 chances to get on the podium. The number of podiums could well determine the title since I thin there will be nine different winners in 2021.

The early schedule favors Newgarden. He has dominated at barber the last few years, and he won St. Pete last fall. As always happens, though, is the early leader comes back to the field. Dixon has not won at either of the first two tracks. The lack of short ovals will later be a disadvantage to Newgarden.

It’s gong to be wild ride to the finish line.

Winners

Who are the nine winners this year? I will name them, but unlike some stories I’ve seen, I won’t assign a number of wins. Here they are, in no particular order:

Newgarden

Dixon

Rossi

Herta

Power

Harvey or VeeKay

O’Ward

Rahal

Sato

Sebastien Bourdais could restore some glory to the iconic nuimber14

Will Bourdais Help Foyt?

A storyline to watch is how much will having Sebastien Bourdais in the team’s number 1 car help A. J. Foyt Racing? The season starts at two tracks where Bourdais has done well. In 2020, Bourdais started seventh and finished fourth at St. Pete. I think Bourdais will improve the qualifying and will have several top 10s and a couple of top 5s. A podium spot may sneak in there as well.

Will Peacock Ruffle Some Feathers?

Practices and most qualifying will be on the new Peacock streaming service this season as NBC is phasing out NBCSN. The service is $.99 a month and can be cancelled anytime. If you just get it for the months of the Indycar season, it is 4#0. NBC Gold costs almost $50 for the year. I bought Peacock in tuime for last week’s open test at IMS. I was impressed by the coverage and the picture quality, even on my phone and tablet.

Peacock has now built an Indycar page which has the upcoming broadcasts for the next two weekends. Don’t dismiss it until you try it.

Predictions

Josef Newgarden will win his third Indycar title in 2021. Scott Dixon has always had a difficult time in a year where he is defending his championship. Alexander Rossi and Andretti Autosport need a strong run at the Indianapolis 500 to have a chance. Last week’s test did not give me hope for that to happen.

Scott McLaughlin will win Rookie of the Year simply because he is the only rookie who will drive in all 17 races. He would probably win anyway.

Graham Rahal will win the Indianapolis 500. The team dominated with a first and third in 2020. I expect them to be strong again in May.