IndyCar GMR Grand Prix Preview

Pagenaud won in the wet last year
Pagenaud won in the wet last year
Chevy Racing Photo

As the saying goes, if you are not driving for Team Penske your chances for winning at Indy are slim.

Starting off July 4th NASCAR/IndyCar weekend at Indy at noon, the GMR Grand Prix will get the green light.

Three-time winners Simon Pagenaud of France and Will Power of Australia, both driving for Team Penske, will be favored in Saturday's IndyCar Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the second race since the season began last month.

Pagenaud won over the 14-turn, 2.439-mile (3.925km) road course in May of 2019 then captured the Indianapolis 500 oval classic two weeks later for a sweep at the iconic "Brickyard."

Power, the Frenchman's Penske Racing teammate, is also a title threat in the 80-lap Indy road course showdown, having won it in 2015, 2017 and 2018 while Pagenaud won in 2014 and 2016 in addition to last year.

Together with Power's 2018 Indy 500 victory and Pagenaud's 2019 triumph, Roger Penske cars own four IndyCar wins in a row at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and every road-course title.

"Oh, it never gets old," Noblesville's own Conor Daly, 28 said to Fort Wayne's NBC, via ZOOM.

"I love this state, love this city."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Following IndyCar, NASCAR will hold its first ever race at IMS, the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard at 3 p.m.

"I'm a fan first, without a doubt, and I have any NASCAR race that's on, on my TV," Daly said.

The veteran IndyCar racer won't have to watch this one on his flat screen.

"I really hope it happens more often."

The combination of IndyCar and NASCAR culminates Sunday with the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 at 4 p.m. on Fort Wayne's NBC.

Race weekend: Friday, July 3 – Saturday, July 4

Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course (clockwise)

Race distance: 80 laps / 195.12 miles

Entry List (PDF)

Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time, with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

Firestone tire allotment: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate (Note: An eighth set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie driver.)

Twitter: @IMS @IndyCar, #INDYGP, #IndyCar


INDYCAR website:

2019 race winner: Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet)

2019 NTT P1 Award winner: Felix Rosenqvist (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda), 1:08.2785, 128.597 mph

Qualifying lap record: Will Power, 1:07.7044, 129.687 mph, May 12, 2017 (Set in Round 3 of knockout qualifying)

NBC Sports telecasts: Qualifying, 4:30 p.m. ET Friday, July 3, NBCSN (live); Race, noon ET Saturday, July 4, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey will be the play-by-play announcer for NBC's telecast of the GMR Grand Prix alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. The GMR Grand Prix race airs live on network affiliates, Sirius 211, XM 205, and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying are available on and the INDYCAR Mobile app.

NBC Sports Gold livestreaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer live streaming product.

The superior Penske team has dominated this race and should do so again
The superior Penske team has dominated this race and should do so again

Here’s the weekend schedule for IndyCar at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

All Times are Eastern

Thursday, July 2

4 p.m. — IndyCar NTT Series haulers enter

Friday, July 3

6 a.m. — IndyCar NTT Series garage opens

7 a.m.-3 p.m. — IndyCar tech for qualifying

10 a.m. — IndyCar NTT Series driver/team manager meeting via conference call

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. — IndyCar NTT Series practice (NBC Sports Gold)

4:30 p.m. — IndyCar NTT Series qualifying (NBCSN; NBC Sports Gold)

9 p.m. — IndyCar NTT Series garage closes

Saturday, July 4

6 a.m. — IndyCar NTT Series garage opens

7 a.m. — IndyCar tech for race

9-9:30 a.m. — IndyCar NTT Series warmup and pit stop practice (NBC Sports Gold)

10:30 a.m. — IndyCar NTT Series driver, team manager and spotters meeting

11:30 a.m. — IndyCar NTT Series cars to grid; engine prime; final adjustments

11:45 a.m. — IndyCar NTT Series drivers report to cars

Noon — IndyCar NTT Series GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis (NBC, NBC Sports Gold; 85 laps, 207.32 miles)

The 26 drivers entered in Saturday’s event will compete with a condensed schedule. The two-day show will feature a one-hour, 30-minute practice session on Friday, followed by NTT P1 Award knockout qualifying on Friday. With a warmup and 80-lap race, trimmed from the scheduled 85 laps.

Here are "5 Things To Look For" heading into Saturday's GMR Grand Prix:

Herta’s car to Accelerate Awareness for Gleaners

Colton Herta
Colton Herta

Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport Honda will carry a new look in this weekend’s GMR Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 in August. And it’s for a good reason – to accelerate awareness of food insecurity throughout Central Indiana.

Colton Herta’s No. 88 car will carry the Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana and its new No One Runs on Empty initiative to highlight the awareness strategy and drive the community to donate at

Gleaners President/CEO John Elliott said food insecurity affects many aspects of life, even for those who may not face the issue themselves.

“Food insecurity is a higher indicator than income for the prevalence of the top-10 chronic diseases and conditions facing Americans today," Elliott said.“But it doesn’t stop there. A food-insecure child can have attendance issues and learning difficulties. A hungry adult may have productivity and attendance issues at work. Hunger can lead to crime, job loss, increased health costs, homelessness and more. We can positively impact both hunger and health outcomes by investing in the healthiest, most nutritious variety of food possible and combining our efforts with health system providers."

There were more than 1 million Hoosiers who are food insecure, with an unacceptable 150 million meal-per-year gap before COVID-19. Based on data from Feeding America, the current food insecurity rate in Indiana is 20 percent , up from 13.3 percent. No One Runs on Empty is a call to action to educate and engage Hoosiers by raising awareness of the faces of hunger – including those who are newly in need. Since mid-March, Gleaners has been distributing nearly 1.5 million meals each week.

“We are really happy to provide a platform for the launch of this campaign," said Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti. “We were very proud to be able to join Gleaners recently at IMS for the Mega Fresh Mobile Pantry event and saw the importance of their work firsthand. This is a key time in our community, and we hope to join Gleaners in doing our part to help create greater awareness and make sure that NO ONE RUNS ON EMPTY."

Meyer Shank Racing Doubles Down on Fourth of July
Meyer Shank Racing is ready to celebrate the Fourth of July race weekend in a big way.

After years of developing its racing programs in both sports cars and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the team will race this weekend at two legendary tracks—on the same day.
The Ohio-based team will enter its first doubleheader race weekend with the INDYCAR GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 4, NBC, noon ET) and the IMSA WeatherTech 240 at Daytona (July 4, NBCSN, 6 pm ET).

The double-race day marks another significant step for the team, which is fielding its first-ever full season INDYCAR campaign in parallel with its IMSA WeatherTech Championship-defending two-car Acura NSX GTD program.

Nearly 30 full-time employees and two separate crews support a total of five drivers for the 2020 INDYCAR and IMSA programs under the MSR banner. While both teams run independently, there is just one overlap between the two programs— team co-owner Mike Shank.

Shank will attend the INDYCAR GMR Grand Prix, where he will call the race for Jack Harvey, and then will fly to Daytona shortly after the checkered flag falls at Indianapolis to call the IMSA race for the No. 57 Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3.

Dixon Seeks First Win on IMS Road Course

Dixon came close in 2019 to win the GP
Dixon came close in 2019 to win the GP

Scott Dixon’s list of accomplishments in a racing career could fill a book. But he’s still looking for a first this weekend.

Dixon, who won the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opening Genesys 300 on June 6 on the Texas Motor Speedway oval, ranks third on the all-time Indy car victory list with 47 wins, but he has yet to win on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

In fact, he hasn’t visited Victory Lane at IMS since his 2008 win in the Indianapolis 500. But that doesn’t mean the five-time champion isn’t among the favorites to win Saturday.

Dixon has finished second in the GMR Grand Prix in the last three seasons and has only failed to finish in the top-10 once in the inaugural race in 2014.

“I think we’ll definitely keep pushing and keep snatching these wins if we can," he said.

Fifth Third Bank Extends with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s cars will carry the familiar colors of Fifth Third Bank for the next three NTT INDYCAR SERIES seasons.

The bank has extended its relationship with RLLR through the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season and will be the primary sponsor of the No. 15 entry for Graham Rahal at the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Race 2 of the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America and the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

“Motorsports is such a vital part of the Indianapolis culture, and as a corporate citizen Fifth Third Bank believes greatly in supporting the sport at the very heart of our state," said Kevin Hipskind, Fifth Third Bank regional president. “Our partnership with the elite Rahal Letterman Lanigan team continues to create even more opportunity for long-term community impact and meaningful business relationships for the bank. We look forward to three more heart-racing years of collaboration and an exciting NTT INDYCAR SERIES ahead."

Fifth Third Bank will also have an enhanced associate sponsor presence in other key NTT INDYCAR SERIES race markets throughout each season, including at the Indianapolis 500, and in Monterey, California and St. Petersburg, Florida. Fifth Third Bank first joined the team in 2016 as an associate sponsor, and the partnership has grown as the two organizations have continued to build upon and pursue new collaborative business-to-business opportunities.

“When this relationship began, I already had the utmost respect for Fifth Third Bank as a company," said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with David Letterman and Mike Lanigan. “As each year progresses, we continue to be inspired not only by how they conduct their business but also how they support the communities in which they serve. Fifth Third Bank can uniquely leverage the partnership with RLL to enhance their commercial banking position with clients across the INDYCAR paddock."

Fifth Third Bank will also have an enhanced associate sponsor presence in other key NTT INDYCAR SERIES race markets throughout each season, including at the Indianapolis 500, and in Monterey, California and St. Petersburg, Florida. Fifth Third Bank first joined the team in 2016 as an associate sponsor, and the partnership has grown as the two organizations have continued to build upon and pursue new collaborative business-to-business opportunities.

“When this relationship began, I already had the utmost respect for Fifth Third Bank as a company," said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with David Letterman and Mike Lanigan. “As each year progresses, we continue to be inspired not only by how they conduct their business but also how they support the communities in which they serve. Fifth Third Bank can uniquely leverage the partnership with RLL to enhance their commercial banking position with clients across the INDYCAR paddock."

Honoring Curb
Andretti Herta Autosport w/ Marco Andretti & Curb-Agajanian is honoring long-time partner, Mike Curb and his Curb-Agajanian Performance Group for 55 years of success in the motorsport industry. Mike Curb and Cary Agajanian have been in partnership with Bryan Herta Autosport since 2011 and joined Andretti Herta Autosport in 2016 with inception of the partnership.

The Curb logo will appear on the rear wing of Marco Andretti’s No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda at starting with Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“Mike Curb has done more to support teams and drivers in every imaginable level of motorsports competition than anyone I know." Bryan Herta said. “He, along with Cary Agajanian, have been cornerstone partners to our team and been part of every major success we have enjoyed in the last decade. We are proud to honor Mike and everything he and Cary have accomplished in 55 years of entering and supporting cars, teams, and drivers."

Race Notes:

  • The GMR Grand Prix will be the seventh NTT INDYCAR SERIES event conducted on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course. Simon Pagenaud and Will Power are the only drivers to win on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Pagenaud won the inaugural race in 2014, 2016 and 2019, Power won the race in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
  • Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Felix Rosenqvist and Sebastian Saavedra are the only drivers to have won the pole position on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Saavedra claimed the pole in 2014, Power in 2015, 2017 and 2018, Pagenaud in 2016 and Rosenqvist in 2019.
  • Four NTT P1 Award winners have won the race from the pole: Will Power in 2015, 2017 and 2018 and Simon Pagenaud in 2016.
  • Scott Dixon won the Genesys 300 on June 6 on the Texas Motor Speedway oval and is third on the all-time Indy car victory list with 47 wins. But Dixon has not won a race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He has finished second in the GMR Grand Prix in the last three seasons.
  • Twelve drivers have competed in every NTT INDYCAR SERIES race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – Marco Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato. All but Bourdais, Castroneves and Kanaan are entered this year.
  • Tony Kanaan’s record streak of 318 consecutive race starts will end this weekend. The streak began in June 2001 at Portland. Scott Dixon has made 259 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the second-longest streak and becomes tops among active streaks. Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti has made 235 consecutive starts, which is the third-longest streak all time and moves to second among active streaks.
  • Rookies Oliver Askew, Dalton Kellett, Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay, along with veteran Sage Karam, will race NTT INDYCAR SERIES cars on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course for the first time this weekend. Askew has two wins (in USF2000) and five total podiums in six races, including podiums in both races last year on his way to the Indy Lights title. VeeKay has four podiums in six races, including a victory last year in Indy Lights.
  • Twenty-one of the drivers entered in the event have competed in INDYCAR races on the IMS road course. Ten entered drivers have led laps: Will Power 182, Simon Pagenaud 68, Scott Dixon 40, Josef Newgarden 21, Ryan Hunter-Reay 18, Graham Rahal 18, Felix Rosenqvist 15, James Hinchcliffe 4 and Alexander Rossi


JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet): “Indianapolis is such a special place. It’s like my second home, so racing there means a lot to me personally, especially even more so now that Roger (Penske) owns the track. It’s such an honor racing for him, but with this being our first race there since he purchased the track, it just makes it even more great. And not to mention this will be the first time ever INDYCAR and NASCAR have raced at the same track on the same weekend, and it’s the Fourth of July, so it’s just going to be a huge event. I know myself and my crew on the XPEL Chevrolet are really pumped for this race weekend. We really miss the fans at our races but know precautions are necessary and are glad they will be joining us back at the track soon. It’s going to be such a huge weekend for NBC, and we are so thrilled to be part of it."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 4 TRESIBA / AJ FOYT RACING Chevrolet): “While the GMR Grand Prix usually kicks off the Month of May, this year’s race is just as exciting as INDYCAR and NASCAR come together to celebrate the July 4th weekend with a historic doubleheader. I’ve had great results on the IMS road course in the past and can’t wait to get on track for my first road course in the No. 4 TRESIBA Chevrolet for AJ Foyt Racing! The opportunity to race for A.J. is always special – it means even more when it’s at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!"

PATO O’WARD (No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet): “The next few weeks ahead of us are going to be intense and eventful. There is no better place to start it off than at the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Arrow McLaren SP and I have used this time off to prepare and be ready to tackle the challenges coming toward us at each track and event. I can't wait to get going again this Friday and am really excited to be racing again on NBC. Hopefully, Oliver (Askew) and I can put on a show for all our fans and partners."

OLIVER ASKEW (No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet): “I've always enjoyed racing on the Indianapolis road course, and I've had a lot of success there on the Road to Indy. I hope to take that experience into my first INDYCAR road course race. I think that everyone at Arrow McLaren SP has set the foundations for a very good month of racing, so I'm looking to take advantage of the cars we have been working hard to put together. It will feel weird to be racing in Indianapolis without fans, but hopefully everyone tunes in to NBC to watch the race at noon on Saturday."

MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda ): “I’m very excited to go back racing again. It’s been a bit frustrating to wait it out after Texas. We’ve been wanting to go racing again right away. I think we have a lot of positives to bring as a team from Texas. We have amazing cars, and obviously with Scott (Dixon) winning the first race of the year, as well, that is bringing good momentum for the whole team. Personally, I think the Indy GP is a fun track. I had my best qualifying of the year there last year, so I have some good memories from there and I know the track well. I’m looking forward to building on that. Also, it’s the first road course race with the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda car. It’ll be exciting, and I’m really looking forward to it. I think we can really mix it up in the front of the field and fight for a good result on Saturday."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, NTT INDYCAR SERIES points leader): “I’ve been excited as soon as the NASCAR-INDYCAR doubleheader was announced! It’s fantastic. I was a bit saddened only because I think that would be something great for the fans to see. I hope it’s something that will progress to more in the future. Looking forward to the Indy GP, I think we’ll definitely keep pushing and keep snatching these wins if we can. I just feel very lucky and very privileged to say we are going racing this weekend in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda."

Can Felix Rosenqvist win pole again?
Can Felix Rosenqvist win pole again?

FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It’s good to be back at Indy GP and Indy, in general. I think, considering everything right now, it’s a good feeling to be racing in Indy. It’s easier for everyone involved, the team, the drivers, as most of us live here. I think there’s definitely some unfinished business from last year with having my first-ever pole in INDYCAR at the Indy GP, but I was not able to bring a great result to it. So, that’s what we’re aiming for. We’re hungry and ready to go in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, three-time GMR Grand Prix winner): “Any time we race at Indianapolis is always just something else. There’s so much history at that track, and it means so much to our series. With Roger (Penske) owning the track now, it’s even more special knowing how much the series, the track and our team mean to him. The Verizon Chevy guys have prepared a really great car for this weekend. We have had some amazing success there as a team since Simon (Pagenaud) and I are still the only winners. This is such a fun road course and always is a place where the series really can put on a show. NBC has put a lot of time and effort into this race weekend and having NASCAR and INDYCAR at the same track during the same weekend will be really cool."

DALTON KELLETT (No. 14 K-Line USA / A J Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “I'm excited to get my season underway at the GMR Grand Prix. I couldn't be more grateful for the chance to make my debut in the No. 14 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet! With the long delay to the start of my season, it will be important to maximize all available track time – especially given the condensed schedule. As a rookie, I expect there to be obstacles to overcome and new challenges to face. I am confident in the team we have put together to take these on. The goal is to perform well and learn the most that I can in my rookie event."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda): “There will be a lot of racing in the next three weeks, but we’re prepared. Physically I feel good, rested and ready. I think the team is ready, as well, and we’ve always seen that Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing rises up in the toughest of times, and I think that will continue. It’s very hard to apply anything we got from the COTA test since it was very limited due to conditions. We’re really relying on what we’ve learned in the sim and hoping it will translate nicely for us. The sim work was great. We found some huge improvements over our old setups, found a good lap time and really put ourselves in a better spot. Now the question remains, how will that translate to the track? We will find out shortly. We have worked really hard on resolving any prior issues that may have hurt us in Texas or in the past. I feel with the work on the sim and everywhere else that we’ve developed, our team has done a great job and prepared us for this weekend. It’s exciting to get back, and I’m thrilled to be getting going for the next few months. I imagine it will be a lot hotter now than it would have been in May. It will test the drivers with everything we’ve had going on, limited to no time on track in these cars with the Aeroscreen and everything else. It will be a challenge for us all, and the Fifth Third Bank team hopes to rise to the occasion." (On racing with NASCAR): “It’s monumental. It’s a shame we will not have fans in attendance to see it all with us, but this is a great weekend for motorsports, and I’m excited to see what this can do for us in the future."

SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 18 MOUSER MOLEX Honda): "I’m very excited to get back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and race the No. 18 MOUSER MOLEX Honda. This will be the first time INDYCAR and NASCAR run on the same track on the same weekend, so it's going to be historic and really great for the fans watching on TV. This will also be the first time INDYCAR competes on a road course with the new Aeroscreen, so that will be fun. I think after last year’s result on the IMS road course, the Dale Coyne Vasser Sullivan team can bring the MOUSER MOLEX machine to the front in the GMR Grand Prix."

Conor Daly
Conor Daly

CONOR DALY (No. 20 U.S Air Force Chevrolet): “After what seems like many months together as a team, we still have yet to race together. I'm very excited to get out there with Ed Carpenter Racing and complete our first race together. The car looks incredible. I can't wait to get out there for the U.S. Air Force. ECR has done well at the GMR Grand Prix before, so it's time to get out there and compete for a win. We're looking to get some good points and start off this three-weekend stretch strong."

RINUS VEEKAY (No. 21 Sonax Chevrolet):“I am really looking forward to the GMR Grand Prix, finally driving an Indy car at Indy! That's something really special. I am excited to get to drive again and really get the season started now. We've got some really busy weeks coming up. I'm very confident and think we have a strong package for this weekend."

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, three-time GMR Grand Prix winner): “I am thrilled to go back to Indianapolis. My whole life changed last May when my Menards Chevrolet team had that incredible month by winning both the Indianapolis 500 and the INDYCAR GP. Memories I will never forget. Now we finally have the opportunity to return and attempt to win again. We have been very fortunate at Team Penske with that particular road course race since my teammate Will Power and I are still the only winners of the event, which says a lot about how our team works together. I have been training pretty hard since our last race at Texas. Training is such an important part of my race prep. It’s great to feel in the best physical shape and mental space of my career right now. I wish fans could join us but know they will be back soon, and I know all of us in the series can’t wait to see them back starting back at Road America. So, until then, we will do our best to put on a great show for all of the fans tuned into NBC."

SAGE KARAM (No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet): “It’s been a long time for the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team to run more than just the Indy 500. They have been trying hard to expand their INDYCAR program, and this year WIX Filters extended its partnership to run some road courses. We were all ready to go at St. Petersburg when the (COVID-19) pandemic lockout started. We had to pack up and take everything back to Indy. We had put in a lot of work with testing, simulation runs and purchasing some road course parts with Dallara. We were hoping to run more events in 2020. But some races were postponed or canceled. So, I’m very excited to run the IMS road circuit this weekend. The Indy GP was not originally on our 2020 schedule, and I really wanted to do it. Now we get that opportunity. I ran a sim test recently for the IMS road course. I believe we are ready to go. It is a big learning curve for myself and DRR since it’s over seven years since DRR has run an NTT INDYCAR SERIES road race. I raced there in 2014 in the IMSA race with the Ganassi sports car and finished second. It was a tough situation at St. Pete as we were very excited to run there. And it just wasn’t me. There were guys moving up from the Indy Lights and other guys who were looking for full-time rides with new opportunities. It has been tough for all of the drivers to sit. Many guys had been chasing their dreams of INDYCAR racing and had to wait. It’s good that we can show our sport in action again after so many sports have been halted. I think the drivers want to put on the best possible show for the fans because we all – teams, drivers, sponsors and fans – have missed the racing. The fans are what makes the racing world go round."

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): “After the weeks off, I’m really excited to get back to a racetrack and jump into the thick of the season. We had a great run in our Gainbridge car at Texas and we’re looking forward to working as hard as we can to continue it here at the GMR Grand Prix. This weekend marks the first of five races in a 15-day span."

Will Rossi have to suck the Chevy fumes from the Team Penske cars yet again at Indy?
Will Rossi have to suck the Chevy fumes from the Team Penske cars yet again at Indy?

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 Auto Nation / NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “After waiting for what seems like forever, we are kicking off a bit of a marathon stretch here with the GMR Grand Prix. This is quite a challenging track to get right, so our work will certainly be cut out for us with the expected heat, as well as the variable of the Aeroscreen. I am excited to be racing back in Indy, but we will certainly be missing our fans again this weekend."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “Time to go racing again and no better place to do it than at the Brickyard. Obviously, we wish our fans and partners could be in attendance with us and hopefully, that time will come soon enough. It was great to get back in the car at Texas and after a strong qualifying effort, we had some electrical issues on the grid that put us a lap down. The 28 DHL team feels like that was a huge opportunity that got away so we’re looking to capitalize on that form for this weekend’s GMR Grand Prix."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 29 Genesys Honda): “It’s funny, the time between Texas and now feels almost as long as between St. Pete and Texas, so I think everyone is super excited to get back to racing. I haven’t turned right since last September, but it’s a track I really enjoy driving, and any day at IMS is a good day! Hopefully we can get the Genesys car up there and be contenders, especially on such an historic weekend with the INDYCAR/NASCAR doubleheader."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Panasonic One / Cure Honda): “It’s very important to maximize the potential of five races in three weeks, but we need to do our best every weekend, no matter the circumstance. It will be hard for everyone at the team as its consecutive weekends, but hopefully we will be in great shape for every race. I think the biggest challenge of the GMR Grand Prix will be how we deal with just a single practice session before qualifying. It’s a 90-minute session, but we don’t have time for analyzing data between sessions, and if you need to change a suspension geometry or make some big change, then we lose a lot of time. It’s very limited on-track time. It’s challenging, for sure, not to have had on-track testing, as well as very limited access to the sim. Driver cooling on a road course is a little unknown for a hot day, but everyone seemed impressed with the cooling at the (Texas) oval so hopefully, we will have similar performance. The team is preparing everything they can, and we hope all the analysis we’ve done leads to a great performance on the track."

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 45 RLL with Citrone/Buhl Autosport Honda): “The fact that the race was rescheduled will definitely help me a bit. Instead of the GMR Grand Prix being almost midseason, it's the first road course race of the year so everyone will be trying to get comfortable again. Having said that, I think I'm the only driver that has no experience with the Aeroscreen, so that will be a big difference. I've talked to a lot of drivers, and they say it doesn't take too long to get used to. Hopefully, that will be the case for me on Friday. It's going to be a challenging weekend. The IMS road course is always pretty tricky. There are some technical sections with corners right on top of each other, so you have to be very accurate because one small mistake can affect three or four corners rather than just one. It will be great to work with Graham (Rahal) and Takuma (Sato) this weekend. They are two of the top drivers in INDYCAR, so being able to compare data and discuss car changes with them will be very helpful. With their only being one practice session, having three cars within one team will allow us to try more changes to make the best decisions before qualifying. I've been training a lot leading up to this weekend. I've been doing more workouts outside in the heat trying to prepare for the weather and the Aeroscreen. At Pit Fit Training, we've also been adding in some time in the sauna to our workouts to help get acclimated to the conditions we expect. I've also been going to the shop about three days a week, getting to know all the crew members better, get comfortable in the car, practicing pitstops, etc. I've been on the phone with my engineer on a regular basis, as well as going over some setup ideas and trying to plan out the weekend. We aren't allowed inside the track until the morning of practice, so we are trying to prepare as much as possible before we get to the Speedway.

Alex Palou
Alex Palou

ALEX PALOU (No. 55 Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda ): “I’m really excited to get back to racing this weekend at the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Texas was my first official NTT INDYCAR SERIES race, but it was on an oval, after three months off and I had never raced on an oval before, so this weekend feels more like an unofficial first race for me! I’m very happy to be heading to a road course, which is the type of track that I’m used to racing on in Europe and Japan. It’s an environment that I’m much more comfortable with, so I’m looking forward to a good weekend in my Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda. The team had good cars there last season, and I’m confident we can be quick there this year. Hopefully, we can come out of the weekend with a good result."

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “I couldn’t be more excited to get back behind the wheel of the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet this weekend on the road course at IMS after being out of the car for so long. It’s been a long time to be away from a racetrack, but I’ve been putting in a lot of time at my home gym and thankfully I was able to get some time on the sim last week as well as some testing in one of Carlin’s F3 cars at Silverstone to get back into the swing of things. I love being at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and really enjoy driving the road course layout there, so I’ve been anxious to get back over to the US for this one. Conor (Daly) and the team did a great job in Texas a few weeks ago and got us off to a great start, so I’m hoping I can keep us moving in that direction and come away with another solid result for Carlin and Gallagher."

JACK HARVEY (No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda): The GP was obviously the highlight of our year last season with our first INDYCAR podium, not only for me as a driver but for everyone at Meyer Shank Racing. Naturally, we’re hoping to replicate another great weekend and if we can really string it together, we’d really like to end up on the top step."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda): “This hasn’t been mine or the team’s strongest track, so I’m excited to try and turn that around this weekend. I always love coming to IMS. It’s a fun, challenging course that takes a different discipline of driving throughout the lap. It’ll be different without the fans this weekend but can’t wait to see them back here in August."

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