Monday, August 8, 2022

2022 IndyCar at Nashville: How to watch, stream, preview for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix

Marcus Ericsson delivered the surprise at the 2021 Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, crashing into Sebastian Bourdais on Lap 4 but somehow recovering to go on and win the inaugural event. It was an outcome likely no one would have predicted after Ericsson’s car launched into the air following contact with Bourdais’ car, yet only sustaining damage to his front wing. 

A narrow course combined with drivers displaying more daring than discretion added up to nine cautions and two red-flag stoppages in 2021. And with Nashville being one of the four final events on the season, it is a good bet that drivers will not be practicing much patience over the 80-lap race, and the caution count will be close to the same this time around.

Colton Herta was the dominant force last season, leading the timing and scoring charts through each practice and capturing pole. He was making it look easy on the tight circuit, seemingly passing cars at will, before crashing out at Lap 75 as he was trying to chase Ericsson down. Chances are that memory will be fresh in the young Andretti Autosport driver’s mind. Could we see a bit of redemption for him, as Will Power got at Detroit this year? Tune in and find out.

How to watch the IndyCar Big Machine Music City Grand Prix

  • Date: Sunday, Aug. 7
  • Location: 2.17- mile (3.49-kilometer), 11-turn street course, Nashville, Tenn. 
  • Time: 3 p.m. ET
  • TV: NBC
  • Stream: fuboTV (try for free

What to watch for

The most memorable feature of the temporary street course is the 3,578-foot (1,091-meter) straight across the Korean War Veterans Bridge spanning the Cumberland River, making it the only stop on the IndyCar Series calendar and one of the few in the world that crosses a significant body of water. 

This track also is one of the few that uses different starting and finishing lines for a race, with this running start for Sunday’s event beginning as the cars come back across the bridge and into Turn 9, and the finishing line being a short chute between the exit of Turn 11 and the entrance to Turn 1, across from Nissan Stadium and the the rows of grandstands.

As last year’s was the first time the series competed at the downtown Nashville temporary circuit, IndyCar and the event promoters listened to input, and some changes have been made. Marshall Pruett of reports that parts of the circuit will be wider while a few areas, such as Turn 9, will be narrower. The city has removed a bump at Turn 5 and has reworked the areas where the street meets the bridge to make that a softer transition.

Running in place

Arrow McLaren SP: Felix Rosenqvist looked racy at the start of the Gallagher Grand Prix this past weekend, taking pole, but faded and finished ninth. Pato O’Ward started fifth but never seemed to be in the mix, finishing 12th. Both will the hoping to put in solid qualifying runs at Nashville in order to start as close to the front as possible on the tight downtown Nashville circuit.

Best foot forward

Chip Ganassi Racing: Likewise, CGR went 1-2 in 2021 at Nashville with Ericsson and Scott Dixon. With both in the title chase and confident at the temporary circuit, things could get interesting when they end up side-by-side. Alex Palou — defending series champion and defendant in a court case CGR has leveled on him — will try to put those feelings to the curbside.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan: Rookie Christian Lundgaard delivered a much-needed podium for the team last weekend on the road course at Indianapolis, giving RLL the validation they sought that things are going in the right direction with only four races remaining. Toronto was where all this feel-good mojo started, and Nashville will be where it continues for Lundgaard, Graham Rahal and Jack Harvey.

Team Penske: Championship leader Will Power had a rough outing at Nashville in 2021, but a lot of that came down to qualifying and starting in the 12th post. Power identified after Toronto that he needs to improve on that, and he has: He comes to Nashville having won two poles at Iowa, albeit an oval. Power is almost always tough on street and road circuits, and it should be expected that he, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin will be in the mix this Sunday.

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