The Month of May shifts into high gear today as the stars of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES take on the GMR Grand Prix on the action-packed Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Weather has been a factor in Indianapolis so far this weekend, with Friday’s heat and humidity challenging drivers with constantly changing track conditions. Today, the weather forecast predicts a 60 percent chance of rain with a high of 82 degrees. The start time of the 85-lap race has been moved up to 3:07 p.m. (ET) due to the anticipated storms.
Should there be rain, Firestone is supplying five sets of rain (gray) tires in addition to six sets of primary (black) tires and four sets of alternate (red) tires. Firestone is supplying more than 1,500 race tires total for this weekend’s race.
SEE: Starting Lineup/Tire Choice
Both the primary and alternate tires feature the same tire construction used on other road courses, while the compounds are tuned specifically for the IMS road course due to the different surface makeup presented by the oval portions of the track versus the infield road course portions.
Live coverage of the GMR Grand Prix starts at 3 p.m. (ET) on NBC, Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network. You can listen to radio broadcasts live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 160, INDYCAR.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.
Here’s what you need to know to get ready for today’s action.
Start Up Front, Stay Up Front
In four of the eight GMR Grand Prix events, the winner of the race started from the pole.
Simon Pagenaud won the 2016 race from the pole, and Will Power has won each of his GMR Grand Prix trophies after starting first in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
Oddly enough, however, the last two GMR Grand Prix races have been won from the seventh starting position: Scott Dixon won this race in 2020 from seventh, and Rinus VeeKay scored his first career NTT INDYCAR SERIES win from seventh last year.
While other NTT INDYCAR SERIES races have been held on the IMS road course, Pagenaud, Power, Dixon and VeeKay are the only drivers who have won the GMR Grand Prix. Power won the Harvest Grand Prix Race 2 in October 2020 and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race during Brickyard Weekend last year, while Josef Newgarden won the Harvest Grand Prix Race 1 in 2020.
So, if you’re looking for a driver to put some stock in for your INDYCAR Fantasy Challenge driven by Firestone team, look no further than pole sitter Power, who won the 64th NTT P1 Award of his career in Friday’s GMR Grand Prix qualifying session. If you’re interested in the weird statistics: rookie Callum Ilott starts seventh.
Keep an eye on Team Penske drivers this weekend.
Only three times in any NTT INDYCAR SERIES race on the IMS road course has the winning car not been a part of Team Penske: in the inaugural event in 2014, Simon Pagenaud won for Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports, in 2020 Scott Dixon took the July race for Chip Ganassi Racing, and last year Rinus VeeKay won for Ed Carpenter Racing.
Team Penske made up for missing out on last year’s GMR Grand Prix by scoring a win on the 14-turn road course during Brickyard Weekend with Will Power. It was his fifth win on the IMS road course.
That means Team Penske drivers have won eight of 11 races on the road course. What’s more, when you factor in Team Penske’s sweep of the Harvest Grand Prix road course races in fall 2020, Team Penske has won at least one race on the IMS road course every year since 2015.
Power is leading the team in today’s race in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet after scoring his sixth career IMS road course pole. Newgarden will start behind his teammate, qualifying third in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet. Scott McLaughlin will start 11th in the No. 3 Snap-on Team Penske Chevrolet.
Be warned: in the three GMR Grand Prix races that Power has won, he started first in all of them.
Newgarden Accepts Challenge
Josef Newgarden will continue his pursuit of the final leg of the $1 million PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge in today’s race.
The PeopleReady prize is offered for the second time this season, rewarding the first driver to win on all three types of circuits – road courses, street circuits and oval tracks – in 2022. If earned, the $1 million will be shared with $500,000 going to the team/driver and $500,000 donated to their chosen charity.
Newgarden is the leading candidate, two-thirds of the way to the requirement. He won the XPEL 375 oval race March 20 at Texas Motor Speedway and the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach street circuit race April 10.
The feat has been accomplished five times since 2016 – twice by Newgarden and four times by Team Penske drivers.