IndyCar is back home again in Indiana. Colton Herta won the previous stop at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on a damp Sunday on May 14 that threw all strategies out the window. Things are likely to be a little clearer on the weather front this Saturday for the Gallagher Grand Prix, but on the driving front it has gotten cloudy.
Santino Ferrucci is on standby at Team Penske, where Josef Newgarden is undergoing concussion protocols and may not be available to race. Newgarden appeared to escape serious injury on Sunday when a suspension piece broke on his car and sent him into the wall as he was leading the race. He was cleared by the infield medical center at Iowa Speedway but later suffered a loss of consciousness that ended up with him hitting and cutting the back of his head. Further tests and scans of Newgarden came out negative.
Ferrucci has two top-10 finishes in the series, as he has only competed as a fill-in at the Texas Motor Speedway (for Rahal Letterman Lanigan), the Indianapolis 500 (for Dreyer Reinbold) and Detroit (for Juncos Hollinger) while he pursues a career in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series.
At Chip Ganassi Racing, things have gotten more contentious between the team and defending IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou, with CGR fling a suit against the Spaniard in an Indianapolis court over him signing a contract to race for McLaren in 2023. Palou is slated to start on Saturday, but Ryan Hunter-Reay (who is under contract at CGR) is on standby.
How to watch the IndyCar Gallagher Grand Prix
- Date: Saturday, July 30
- Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Indianapolis
- Time: Noon ET
- TV: NBC
- Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
What to watch for
It’s all about that long run down the straight at Indianapolis and who will out brake who as the pack dives into the road course section. The weather looks like it will behave this weekend, with no rain forecast and temperatures reaching a high of 82 degrees on Saturday’s race day. If all that holds out, expect teams to be thinking along the lines of running a three-stop strategy, with the possibility of five to six caution periods.
On the back foot
Rahal Letterman Lanigan: As good as Toronto was for RLL, Iowa was anything but. Christian Lundgaard was the team’s highest finisher back on that rainy Sunday on May 14, starting eighth and finishing ninth, as Jack Harvey come home in 13th (after starting ninth) and Graham Rahal 16th (after starting 15th). All that was before a test at Sebring, where they found some pixie dust and sprinkled it around to surprise the field at Toronto. The team will certainly hope that Sebring/Toronto data with the previous data from the earlier Indy road course race will add up to better results this time out.
Running in place
Arrow McLaren SP: Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist are coming off a pretty solid weekend at Iowa, where O’Ward won on Sunday. If the series was heading to another oval, the case could be built that momentum is being carried over. But this is the road course at the Brickyard, and O’Ward finished 19th there back on that rainy May 14.
Chip Ganassi Racing: The argument could be made that Marcus Ericsson started his challenge for the driver’s title with a fourth-place finish on the Indy road course — ahead of his win at the Indianapolis 500 later in the month — and the Swede would like nothing more than to produce similar results again on Saturday to keep his championship dreams alive. Scott Dixon fought his way from 21st to 10th on that May 14 race, and qualifying better would certainly help his chances. Defending series champion Palou was a non-factor in that earlier race.
Best foot forward
Andretti Autosport: Colton Herta came from 14th to win this race back on May 14, possibly one of the headier drives he has put together in the IndyCar Series. AA seems to have lost its way on road and street courses this season, and it will be interesting to see if the data from the earlier race will make them more competitive this go around.
Dale Coyne Racing: David Malukas continues to impress. Coming off finishes of eighth (Sunday) and 14th (Saturday) at Iowa, Malukas seems to have unlocked something.
Team Penske: Will Power has five wins in 12 starts on the IMS road course, and one has to think that if he can sort out why his qualifying runs have not worked out, he will be in the mix at the Brickyard. He started on pole the previous race at the road course, back on May 14, and finished third.