IndyCars - Nashville: How often can you race over a river in an IndyCar?

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The answer is only once a year and that once is this weekend, as the IndyCars do the 2nd-ever street race in Nashville, Tennessee…

The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix

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The track is most notable for its two longest straight-aways which are over the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge, which spans the Cumberland River. The course is 2.17 miles in length, with 11 turns total. The Start / Finish line is coming off the bridge. In the first year, the Finish / Restart line was right in front of Nissan Stadium - home of the Tennessee Titans NFL team - but it has since been moved to the Start line for better restarts after cautions. The stadium’s parking lot is turned into the paddock while the pit lane is much like Toronto - bent 90 degrees in the middle to accommodate all the cars, with the entrance between Turns 10 and 11.

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Like last year, the expected huge Nashville crowd will be treated to an incredible weekend of family entertainment, with family fun zones, parades, many music concerts at the venue every day, fireworks displays and vintage cars / vintage IndyCars on display and driven on track.

And, of course there will be racing - lots of racing. The crowd will be treated to 7 races over the weekend. They include:

  • Trans Am - 1 race on Saturday
  • GT America - 2 races on Saturday and Sunday
  • Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks - 2 races on Saturday and Sunday
  • Indy Lights - 1 race on Sunday

and, of course, the IndyCars will race on Sunday.

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Let’s look at that support racing:

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Trans Am - This is the road and street course series that features big America iron - Mustangs, Camaros, Challengers and Corvettes. With some 800 hp on tap, this series is LOUD and muscular, yet agile. As there will be no IndyCar guys in here, we will wish them safe and happy racing and concentrate elsewhere.

TransAm

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GT America - This is one of the SRO Motorsports Group support series to their GT World Challenge series. It’s a multiple-make road and street course series meant for FIA Bronze class and Gentlemen drivers and has 4 classes within - GT2, GT3 Overall, GT3 Masters and GT4, with a sprint race format. As there will be no IndyCar guys in here, we will wish them safe and happy racing and again concentrate elsewhere.

GTAmericaSeries

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continued…

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Support series…(continued)…

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Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks - IndyCar veteran and off-road champion Robby Gordon created an off-road truck racing series that competes inside stadiums on purpose-built dirt tracks and then discovered that they were extremely popular when driven on pavement, utilizing metal ramps for jumps. The powerful trucks delight children and adults alike with leaps into the air of over 20 feet high and 200 feet long. The series has become one of the most popular events at every race weekend they support, just for the sheer audacity of them and the incredible noise the 600 horsepower Chevy V-8s make, and Nashville will eat them up. Along with Gordon, there are usually a number of IndyCar or Road to Indy alums in the trucks, which race both here in the US and in Australia.

StadiumSuperTrucks300-12

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Indy Lights - The Road to Indy is the ladder system that develops IndyCar drivers . The Indy Lights are the top step on the ladder - one step away from driving IndyCars. The car is the Dallara IL-15 and it is substantially close to an IndyCar in performance and feel - a great training ground to step up to the big cars. The Dallara uses a 450 hp turbo-charged engine from AER. The adjustable brakes are by PFC and are the biggest in the Road to Indy. The cars have widest wheels in the Road to Indy and the biggest wings, providing much aero and mechanical grip. The IL-15 has one more thing - Push-to-Pass, just like on the big cars. That is, an additional burst of 50 horsepower is available to the driver under most conditions, with the push of a button on the steering wheel.

The drivers are typically graduates of USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000, but can often come from GP3 or GP2 in Europe. These drivers are ready to make the move to the big cars by season’s end and many of the drivers in IndyCars are recent graduates of Indy Lights. The Lights have held 9 races, so far, and the current points leader is Swedish sophomore Linus Lundqvist for HMD Motorsports, with 9 TOP FIVES including 4 WINS.

Linus Lundqvist
LinusLundqvist300-1

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The schedule calls for practice on Friday for the IndyCars, the Indy Lights and the Super Trucks, with the trucks also qualifying. Let’s GET THIS GOING!!

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Friday at Nashville - the Indy Lights hold their 1st practice session…

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The Lights will have two sessions, this weekend, and they were the first in the IndyCar fraternity to get on track for their P-1 session. This was the first time that most of these drivers have seen this course. Fastest on track was Benjamin Pedersen for Global Racing Group w/ HMD Motorsports and he crushed it!

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Here was the order of speed for the Indy Lights P-1 practice, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Benjamin Pedersen, GRG w/HMD Motorsports - time of 01:21.8473s for a speed of 92.367mph
BenjaminpedersenGRGw-HMD300-

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2 - Danial Frost, HMD Motorsports - time of 01:22.2616s for a speed of 91.902mph
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3 - Hunter McElrea [R], Andretti Autosport - time of 01:22.3069s for a speed of 91.851mph
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4 - Linus Lundqvist, HMD Motorsports - time of 01:22.3188s for a speed of 91.838mph
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5 - Matthew Brabham, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:22.3457s for a speed of 91.808mph
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6 - Sting Ray Robb, Andretti Autosport
7 - Christian Rasmussen [R], Andretti Steinbrenner Racing
8 - James Roe [R], HMD Motorsports
9 - Jacob Abel [R], Abel Motorsports
10 - Christian Bogle, HMD Motorsports
11 - Kyffin Simpson [R], HMD Motorsports
12 - Ernie Francis, Jr. [R], Force Indy

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Notable:

  • Benjamin was a full 4/10ths of a second faster that Danial and the rest of the field - that’s phenomenal.

  • Matthew Brabham is the only driver who was here in the inaugural race weekend in 2021, but he was in one of the Stadium Super Trucks - not a formula car. Still, he knows the track just a bit better than the other Lights drivers.

  • James Roe has moved from TJ Speed Motorsports to HMD Motorsports for this race and the rest of the season. After also losing Kyffin Simpson earlier, that means TJ Speed is out of business in the Lights for 2022. James is taking over the # 11 car that has been contested by Antonio Serravalle, of late.

  • TJ Speed, which still has a presence in FR Americas, was started by Tim Neff, who is one of the best engineer / mechanics in the business. Tim will be working in the Lights with Abel Motorsports for the rest of the season and possibly in 2023 as Abel explores going full-time as a two-car team.
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James Roe (left) and Tim Neff
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Benjamin Pedersen - Speed demon!
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The Indy Lights will be out first thing Saturday morning for their 2nd practice session. Next, the IndyCars come out for their first practice…

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Friday afternoon at Nashville - the IndyCars hold their first practice session of the weekend…

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…and a track and series rookie steals the show, as Christian Lundgaard for Rahal Letterman Lanigan, fresh off a P2 finish at Indianapolis, TOPS the session, with fellow track and series rookie David Malukas for Dale Coyne Racing w/ HMD Motorsports also in the TOP THREE.

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Here was the order of speed for the IndyCars P-1 practice, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Christian Lundegaard [R], Rahal Letterman Lanigan - time of 01:15.9659s for a speed of 99.518mph
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2 - Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP - time of 01:16.2050s for a speed of 99.206mph
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3 - David Malukas [R], Dale Coyne Racing w/ HMD Motorsports - time of 01:16.2366s for a speed of 99.165mph
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4 - Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske - time of 01:16.5755s for a speed of 98.726mph
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5 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske - time of 01:16.6957s for a speed of 98.571mph
JosefNewgarden150-2

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6 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport
7 - Will Power, Team Penske
8 - Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport
9 - Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing
10 - Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport

11 - Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing
12 - Simon Pagenaud, Meyer Shank Racing
13 - Callum Ilott [R], Juncos Hollinger Racing
14 - Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP
15 - Takuma Sato, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing
16 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing
17 - Kyle Kirkwood [R], AJ Foyt Enterprises
18 - Devlin DeFrancesco [R], Andretti Steinbrenner
19 - Jack Harvey, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
20 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan

21 - Conor Daly, Ed Carpenter Racing
22 - Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing
23 - Helio Castroneves, Meyer Shank Racing
24 - Jimmie Johnson, Chip Ganassi Racing
25 - Simona De Silvestro, Paretta Autosport
26 - Dalton Kellett, AJ Foyt Enterprises

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Notable:

  • There are six drivers who are at the track for the first time. They are Lundgaard, Malukas, Devlin DeFrancesco, Kyle Kirkwood, Callum Ilott and Simona De Silvestro. It didn’t seem to matter to Christian and David, both of whom are hotly contesting Rookie of the Year, with Christian leading those points, right now.

  • Lundgaard is the best RLL car off the truck, lately. Graham Rahal can always hustle a bad car to a decent finish but the engineers at RLL seem to be able to give Christian what he needs, right away. Not so with Graham or Jack Harvey.

  • Another nice session for Felix Rosenqvist, doing all he can to stay in IndyCars for 2023, instead of moving over to McLaren’s Formula E team. (It might be too late to impress the AMSP team leaders).

  • A nice mix of Chevy (4) and Honda (6) in the TOP TEN.

  • Best team is Team Penske with all three drivers in the TOP SEVEN

  • Despite putting in the least laps (16) because he spent most of the session in the pits with some sort of brake problem, Alexander Rossi popped out there and made the TOP SIX in the last few minutes. It seems his WIN at Indianapolis has refreshed the Californian.

Alexander Rossi
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Christian Lundgaard - on a great roll
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The IndyCars will have their P-2 session on Saturday In the late morning, in anticipation of Saturday afternoon qualifying. Next up, the Stadium Super Trucks practice and qualify…

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Friday at Nashville - the Stadium Super Trucks qualify for Race 1…

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The SSTs held a practice session and then qualified for their first race of the weekend.

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Here was the order of speed for the qualifying:

  1. Robert Stout
  2. Max Gordon
  3. Matt Brahbam
  4. Ryan Beat
  5. Gavin Harlien
  6. Stanton Barrett
  7. Ben Maier
  8. Zoey Edenholm
  9. Cleetus McFarland
  10. Bill Hynes

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Robert Stout - TOPS in qualifying
Robert Stout

Robert Stout
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However, the SST’s always reverse their qualifying order to grid their races, so…

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Here is the grid for the Stadium Super Truck Race 1:

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Row 1

Pole - Bill Hynes
P2 - Cleetus McFarland

Row 2

P3 - Zoey Edenholm
P4 - Ben Maier

Row 3

P5 - Stanton Barrett
P6 - Gavin Harlien

Row 4

P7 - Ryan Beat
P8 - Matthew Brabham

Row 5

P9 - Max Gordon
P10 - Robert Stout

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The race is scheduled to be the last on-track activity on Saturday. This was the last on-track activity of today.

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Saturday morning at Nashville - the Indy Lights hold their P-2 practice session…

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…and it wasn’t without incident, as Sting Ray Robb for Andretti Autosport and Kyffin Simpson for HMD Motorsports both did some damage by hitting walls in the pit-in area of the track. Both will be repaired in time for qualifying. The big news was that Benjamin Pedersen for GRG w/HMD was once again dominant, with a full 0.30 second gap on the field.

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Here was the order of speed for the Indy Lights P-2 practice, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Benjamin Pedersen, GRG w/HMD Motorsports - time of 01:21.0820s for a speed of 93.239mph
BenjaminpedersenGRGw-HMD300-2

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2 - Hunter McElrea [R], Andretti Autosport - time of 01:21.3900s for a speed of 92.886mph
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3 - Matthew Brabham, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:21.3932s for a speed of 92.882mph
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4 - Linus Lundqvist, HMD Motorsports - time of 01:21.4379s for a speed of 92.831mph
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5 - Danial Frost, HMD Motorsports - time of 01:21.4623s for a speed of 92.804mph
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6 - Jacob Abel [R], Abel Motorsports
7 - Sting Ray Robb, Andretti Autosport
8 - Christian Rasmussen [R], Andretti Steinbrenner Racing
9 - Christian Bogle, HMD Motorsports
10 - Kyffin Simpson [R], HMD Motorsports
11 - Ernie Francis, Jr. [R], Force Indy
12 - James Roe [R], HMD Motorsports

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Notable:

  • The weather may play a roll in qualifying, as it may rain, though the forecast for tomorrow’s races is dry and hot.

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Benjamin Pedersen cools off after a stellar session
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The Lights will qualify in the mid-afternoon today. Next up, the IndyCars do their own P-2 session…

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Saturday at Nashville - The IndyCars hold their P-2 practice session…

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…and the guys from Team Penske show the way.

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Here is the order of speed for the IndyCars P-2 practice, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske - time of 01:15.4609s for a speed of 100.184mph
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2 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske - time of 01:15.7554s for a speed of 99.795mph
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3 - Will Power, Team Penske - time of 01:15.8415s for a speed of 99.682mph
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4 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:15.8457s for a speed of 99.676mph
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5 - Kyle Kirkwood [R], AJ Foyt Enterprises - time of 01:15.9972s for a speed of 99.477mph
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6 - Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP
7 - Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport
8 - Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport
9 - Christian Lundegaard [R], Rahal Letterman Lanigan
10 - David Malukas [R], Dale Coyne Racing w/ HMD Motorsports

11 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing
12 - Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing
13 - Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP
14 - Simon Pagenaud, Meyer Shank Racing
15 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
16 - Callum Ilott [R], Juncos Hollinger Racing
17 - Helio Castroneves, Meyer Shank Racing
18 - Jack Harvey, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
19 - Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing
20 - Devlin DeFrancesco [R], Andretti Steinbrenner

21 - Takuma Sato, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racin
22 - Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing
23 - Conor Daly, Ed Carpenter Racing
24 - Simona De Silvestro, Paretta Autosport
25 - Jimmie Johnson, Chip Ganassi Racing
26 - Dalton Kellett, AJ Foyt Enterprises

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Notable:

  • Scotty Mac put in the best time of the weekend, so far, besting Christian Lundgaard’s P-1 session time by a full half second. In fact, the TOP FOUR guys all beat Christian’s time. It’s getting quick out there, be we are nowhere NEAR the top qually speed of 2021, yet - Colton Herta’s 1:13.6835.

  • While Team Penske is obviously the best right now, the Andretti veteran drivers also all made the TOP TEN while none of the Chip Ganassi guys did, though a few are close. Defending race champion Marcus Ericsson isn’t one of them. He’s still struggling.

  • Also struggling are the two Ed Carpenter guys, Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay. Daly posted a P12 finish in the race here last season from his P20 start.

  • Three series and track rookies made the TOP TEN - outstanding. Kyle Kirkwood led the way in P5 but afterward, didn’t feel confident that he had something. The numbers say otherwise.

  • Glancing walls during the practice were Rinus VeeKay, Graham Rahal, Felix Rosenqvist and Devlin DeFrancesco. None did significant damage and all were able to motor back to the pits.

  • There may be some rain on the track in the afternoon, just in time for qualifying. It will make the hot track feel like a Turkish bath.

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Scott McLaughlin - TOPS in practice, so far.
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The IndyCar will qualify in the mid-afternoon, today. Next, the Indy Lights are set to qualify…

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Saturday afternoon at Nashville - The IndyCars are qualified!..

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The Indy Lights were scheduled to qualify but lightning and thunderstorms entered the area for a short time and changed all the plans. After being put off for a time and after letting the track eventually dry, the Lights qually was cancelled. They will grid based on points. The IndyCars came out to qualify, instead.

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Here is the way the IndyCars will grid for Season Round 14, with times for the TOP SIX: [R] denotes rookie

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Row 1

Pole - Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske - time of 01:14.5555s for a speed of 101.401mph
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P2 - Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:14.6975s for a speed of 101.208mph
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Row 2

P3 - Christian Lundegaard [R], Rahal Letterman Lanigan - time of 01:14.7149s for a speed of 101.185mph
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P4 - Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 01:14.9087s for a speed of 100.923mph
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Row 3

P5 - Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP - time of 01:14.9261s for a speed of 100.899mph
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P6 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske - time of 01:15.1461s for a speed of 100.604mph
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Row 4

P7 - David Malukas [R], Dale Coyne Racing w/ HMD Motorsports
P8 - Will Power, Team Penske

Row 5

P9 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
P10 - Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing

Row 6

P11 - Jack Harvey, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
P12 - Dalton Kellett, AJ Foyt Enterprises

Row 7

P13 - Simon Pagenaud, Meyer Shank Racing
P14 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing

Row 8

P15 - Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP
P16 - Kyle Kirkwood [R], AJ Foyt Enterprises

Row 9

P17 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport
P18 - Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing

Row 10

P19 - Callum Ilott [R], Juncos Hollinger Racing
P20 - Takuma Sato, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing

Row 11

P21 - Simona De Silvestro, Paretta Autosport
P22 - Conor Daly, Ed Carpenter Racing

Row 12

P23 - Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport
P24 - Helio Castroneves, Meyer Shank Racing

Row 13

P25 - Devlin DeFrancesco [R], Andretti Steinbrenner
P26 - Jimmie Johnson, Chip Ganassi Racing

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Scott on his pole:

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Notable:

  • Of course, we expected McLaughlin to be in the Fast Six, but we also expected a few others to be there, including Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi and probably Felix Rosenqvist but Herta caused a red flag during Q1, Group 1 and lost his two best laps. He also made it impossible for Rossi and a few others to put in laps that would advance them, too. It didn’t help that Devlin DeFrancesco also caused a red flag in the same session, and that is why time just ran out for so many people.

  • Scott’s other pole this season was at St. Pete, which he later WON. With this pole McLaughlin has more Team Penske poles than any driver in team history, at 61 for the Captain. Previously, he was tied at 60 with Helio Castroneves.

  • Because he put in a decent banker lap in the Q1, Group 1 session, Dalton Kellett was one of those who advanced, making this the first IndyCar race that Kellett has made it into the Fast 12.

  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan was able to get all three cars in the Fast 12 and Christian was able to post his best-ever starting position, besting his P4 from Indianapolis in 2021 - his only race, that year.

  • Will Power lost his fastest lap from the Fast 12 due to a yellow he caused by going up the run-off in Turn 3. He would have slotted into the Fast 6 otherwise, and might have gotten that 67th pole he needs to tie Mario Andretti on the all-time list. His bad luck advanced Pato O’Ward into the Fast 6.

  • Josef Newgarden took a chance that primary tires would be better in the Fast 6 than alternates but they were wrong. He was never better than P3 in the session and mainly stayed in P6.

  • The alternate tires for this race aren’t “reds” but are actually “greens” in look and practicality, as the sidewalls are made from an easily-obtained plant called “guayule” which is grown here in the States and in Northern Mexico. The different rubber in the sidewall is supposed to have no effect on performance.

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P2 Romain Grosjean on his effort:

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…and P3 Christian Lungaard on street course:

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The IndyCars will have a Sunday morning “Warm-Up” P-3 session, to see what else can be extracted from the cars before the Sunday afternoon race. Next, we give you the Indy Lights grid for their race…

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Saturday evening at Nashville - The Indy Lights race grid…

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As the Indy Lights were unable to qualify due to lightning and thunderstorms, they will grid based on series points.

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Here is the way the Indy Lights will grid for Season Round 10: [R] denotes rookie

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Row 1

Pole - Linus Lundqvist, HMD Motorsports
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P2 - Hunter McElrea [R], Andretti Autosport
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Row 2

P3 - Sting Ray Robb, Andretti Autosport
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P4 - Matthew Brabham, Andretti Autosport
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Row 3

P5 - Christian Rasmussen [R], Andretti Steinbrenner Racing
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P6 - Benjamin Pedersen, GRG w/HMD Motorsports
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Row 4

P7 - Danial Frost, HMD Motorsports
P8 - Jacob Abel [R], Abel Motorsports

Row 5

P9 - James Roe [R], HMD Motorsports
P10 - Ernie Francis, Jr. [R], Force Indy

Row 6

P11 - Christian Bogle, HMD Motorsports
P12 - Kyffin Simpson [R], HMD Motorsports

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Notable:

  • It’s a great shame we couldn’t have had a proper qualifying because with his outstanding speed over the practice sessions it looked to us like Benjamin Pedersen was going to easily get his first pole of the season and set a record that might have lasted for years.

  • This is Linus’ 6th pole of the season.

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Linus Lundqvist on his pole:

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The race is schedule for broadcast on peacock premium starting at 1:00pm EQASTERN time on Sunday. next up, the Stadium Super Trucks hold Race 1 of the weekend. The grid for this is in post # 5…

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Saturday evening at Nashville - the Stadium Super Trucks hold race 1 of the weekend…

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Anyone waiting around the circuit to see the IndyCars qualify late in the day were treated to a great way to finish the day as the SSTs came out for their first of two races, this weekend.

Rather than tell you about it, we can show it to you.

Enjoy!

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WOW! What a finish.

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This was the last on-track activity of the day.

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Sunday morning at Nashville - The IndyCars hold the morning “Warm-Up”…

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The Warm-Up is actually the P-3 practice session, which is a post-qualifying practice, and that means no one is going to waste any time searching for a great qualifying set-up. Instead, each team, each car will have their own agenda for the session. Some will still be looking for a great race set-up while other are just confirming their race set-up is still great, after the overnight and yesterday’s rain. Others will be testing fuel mileage and / or tire wear for the latest track conditions, which never stay the same. Since there are any number of agendas, it’s impossible to say who will be fastest in the race, based on the P-3 session. We know the fast guys in the session will be fast in the race, but experience tells us they won’t be the ONLY fast guys in the race.

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Here is the order of speed for the IndyCars P-3 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 01:15.6050s for a speed of 99.993mph
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2 - Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:15.6760s for a speed of 99.900mph
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3 - Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske - time of 01:16.0134s for a speed of 99.456mph
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4 - Kyle Kirkwood [R], AJ Foyt Enterprises - time of 01:16.1015s for a speed of 99.341mph
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5 - Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 01:16.2629s for a speed of 99.131mph
AlexPalou150-6

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6 - Christian Lundegaard [R], Rahal Letterman Lanigan
7 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
8 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
9 - Will Power, Team Penske
10 - Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren S

11 - Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP
12 - Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing
13 - Simon Pagenaud, Meyer Shank Racing
14 - Takuma Sato, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing
15 - Devlin DeFrancesco [R], Andretti Steinbrenner
16 - Callum Ilott [R], Juncos Hollinger Racing
17 - David Malukas [R], Dale Coyne Racing w/ HMD Motorsports
18 - Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport
19 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport
20 - Jack Harvey, Rahal Letterman Lanigan

21 - Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing
22 - Helio Castroneves, Meyer Shank Racing
23 - Dalton Kellett, AJ Foyt Enterprises
24 - Conor Daly, Ed Carpenter Racing
25 - Jimmie Johnson, Chip Ganassi Racing
26 - Simona De Silvestro, Paretta Autosport

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Notable:

  • Dixon is showing that despite his qualifying order, he will have great race pace. Colton is showing the same thing. The fun will be watching them move forward through the field.

  • Kyle Kirkwood is still hesitant to say he will be fast in the race, but this session and the P-2 practice both show that if the team gives him a stout car and good pit stops, he could have his best result of the year, here.

  • Alex Palou is still performing at a high level, despite all the turmoil surrounding his contracts with both Chip Ganassi and McLaren. No one should count on him being distracted in the cockpit.

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Scott Dixon - The ice man is ready
ScottDixon300-4

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The race is scheduled for broadcast on NBC starting at 3:00pm EASTERN time, with concurrent broadcast on Peacock Premium. Next up this morning is the Indy Lights race. The grid for this is in post # 9…

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Sunday at Nashville - The Indy Lights race…

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…was WON easily from pole by Linus Lundqvist for HMD Motorsports, adding to his runaway point total. P2 was Sting Ray Robb for Andretti Autosport from his P3 start while P3 went to Hunter McElrea for Andretti from his P2 start.

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The race started quietly enough with a stretch-out and little in the way of passing, Benjamin Pedersen for GRG w/ HMD Motorsports was able to get by Christian Rasmussen for Andretti to take P5 on lap 2. On lap 6 Ernie Francis for Force Indy tapped the wall in Turn 8 and had to pit for a new tow link in the left rear. He dropped two laps down, but rejoined. On lap 8 Robb in P3 moved on Hunter in P2 and the two were side-by-side for a few corners, but Hunter survived in P2. By lap 19 Linus had opened up a gap on the field of about 4 seconds and was slowly increasing it. The battle between Rasmussen and Pedersen continued as they ran nose-to-tail for most of a lap. On lap 21 James Roe for HMD pitted with a computer gremlin, out of the race.

By lap 26 positions P4 through P8 were all running in a tight pack. On lap 27 Jacob Abel for Able Motorsports took Danial Frost for HMD for the P7 spot in Turn 9. On lap 28, Rassmussen and Pedersen, battling for P5, went off together in the Turn 9 run-off, allowing Abel and Frost to take over P5 and P6. Christian and Ben rejoined in P7 and P8, respectively. On lap 29 Robb and McElrea were again side-by-side into Turn 9, but Hunter again kept the P2 spot. On lap 31 Robb moved to the inside as the cars approached Turn 9 and got his nose through enough to take over P2. Once past Hunter, Robb started to make up ground on Linus, now some 8 seconds out front.

On lap 34 Danial and Jacob battled hard through the tight section at Turns 4 , 5 and 6. Frost punted Abel in the rear and the two both spun in Turn 7. Frost was able to rejoin and motor back to the pits with terminal damage. Jacob was also able to back up and rejoin, but now down in P9. One lap later Linus crossed the line for the WIN by 7.2 seconds over Sting Ray who was 3.2 second ahead of 3rd place Hunter McElrea.

A sure WIN at the front but a ton of action for every other spot in the field.

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Notable:

  • With his 5th WIN of the season Linus just opened up his points lead over Hiunter and will have to have a building fall on him not to emerge as the series Champion at season’s end.

  • While it took most of the race to do, once past Hunter, Sting Ray was very quick. Had he made the pass earlier, he might have been able to hunt down Linus and contest the WIN.

  • Having a static race was Matty Brabham for Andretti who started in P4 and ended there, pretty much on his own for most of the race.

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With this result here are the TOP FIVE in points leaving Nashville:

1 - Linus Lundqvist, 436
2 - Hunter McElrea, 341
3 - Sting Ray Robb, 333
4 - Matthew Brabham, 321
5 - Christian Rasmussen, 302

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The next outing for the Indy Lights will be at World Wide Technology Raceway (Gateway) to support the IndyCar Bommarito Automotive Group 500 event, with further support from Indy Pro 2000, August 7th.

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Next up, the IndyCar race. The grid for this is in post # 8…

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Sunday at Nashville - The IndyCar race…

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In 2021 we thought the inaugural race had a lot of cautions (9 of them), because the drivers didn’t know the new track, so well. Now, with Race 2 on the track complete, we know it ain’t so. It’s just a DEVIL of a track that promotes yellows and we had our fair share again today - 8 of them. And with them we had the improbable happen again, just as it did in 2021 when Marcus Ericsson recovered from nearly flipping over backwards to WIN the race from deep in the pack.

The same thing happened today, as Scott Dixon for Chip Ganassi WON after going all the way back to the end of the chain, penalized for pitting under caution. Dixon was chased across the finish line by pole-sitter Scott McLaughlin for Team Penske in the 4th closest street or road course finish in series history - just .1067 of a second behind Dixon. Coming in 3rd just a half second back of the pair was Alex Palou for Chip Ganassi, who fought most of the day with a damaged front wing, merrily flapping in the breeze.

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More improbable than the finish was the recovery of Andretti Autosport drivers Alexander Rossi and Colton Herta, who both went a lap down early in the race (Alex was actually punted off the track TWICE), and yet recovered to finish P4 and P5 respectively. Also having a day of going from the front to way back and then back up front again was Josef Newgarden for Team Penske, finishing P6

There were only 11 drivers on the lead lap at the end of the day and 15 drivers still running and title-contender Marcus Ericsson wasn’t one of them, going out with a mechanical on the final restart and finishing P14.

The result of all this “to and fro” for top-points drivers was an even tighter fight for the title, with the TOP FIVE separated by just 33 points, with three races to go. While points-leader Will Power for Team Penske suffered somewhat in the race, coming in P11, he retains the points lead. Dixon moves to 2nd place while Ericsson drops a spot to 3rd. Newgarden is 4th. Palou moves into 5th. The guy who was shafted by his racing luck was Pato O’Ward for Arrow McLaren SP who ended the day in P24 after getting punted in the rear by Graham Rahal and losing drive. He dropped out of the TOP FIVE and sits 7th in the points now, as Scott Mclaughlin moves to 6th.

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Here are but SOME of the incredible racing events of the highlight reel:

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Notable:

  • With the WIN Dixon moves past Mario Andretti to 2nd on the all-time WIN list with 53 WINS. AJ Foyt is still first, with 67 career IndyCar WINS.

  • The race was red-flagged with 4 laps to go to clean up the shunt between Newgarden and Grosjean, so they could run green to the finish. That gave us ultimately a two-lap shootout to the finish. Poor Christian Lundgaard was 3rd when that started but was pushed back to a P8 finish in the final melee.

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And now, a few words from our drivers. First WINNER Scott Dixon:

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Next, here’s P2 Scott McLaughlin:

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Here is P3 Alex Palou:

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And finally, Josef Newgarden on his contretemps with Romain Grosjean:

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With this result, here are the TOP FIVE in points leaving Nashville:

1 - Will Power, 450
2 - Scott Dixon, 444
3 - Marcus Ericsson, 438
4 - Josef Newgarden, 428
5 - Alex Palou, 417

Any one of them a possible Champion.

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The next outing for the IndyCars will be the Bommarito Automotive Group Grand Prix at World Wide Technology Raceway (Gateway) in two weeks, with support from the Indy Lights and the Indy Pro 2000 series. Next up, the Stadium Super Trucks hold Race 2 of the weekend to close out the event…

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Sunday evening at Nashville - The Stadium Super Trucks close the show…

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…with race 2 of their weekend. We have the video for you, with the starting grid for this event at the top of the order:

ENJOY!

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Incredible mimicry of the IndyCar race finish! It can’t get much closer than that.
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That’s it from Nashville for 2022!

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