Recapping NASCAR’s frantic first half of the 2013 regular season

2 Comments

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series completed its halfway point in the 26-race regular season last weekend at Dover International Speedway. The TV coverage switches from FOX to TNT starting this weekend at Pocono, for its six-race “Summer Stretch” series. And, there’s been more than a few storylines this year:

  • Penalties, penalties, penalties. Three of NASCAR’s biggest names got hit hard and often for infractions, either via mouth or at the track. Denny Hamlin got it started at Phoenix when he claimed NASCAR’s new Generation 6 car “didn’t race as well” as its old one, and got docked $25,000. Then NASCAR dropped the hammer on Penske Racing after Texas, and Matt Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing after Kansas, although in both Penske’s and Gibbs’ cases they were reduced. Penske got hit again just this week.
  • It feels like the 48 is back. Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet team from Hendrick Motorsports aren’t doing their usual “win a couple races in the regular season, then dominate the Chase” routine. They’ve amped up even more after two consecutive years without a championship. Johnson leads the points with two wins, including his second and crew chief Chad Knaus’ first Daytona 500. And that’s even with a jumped start penalty last time out at Dover.
  • Toyota. Engine. Failures. There have been too many to count of late for the manufacturer, either via its flagship engine builder TRD (Toyota Racing Development) or the offshoot Triad and Arrington builders that supply other teams. Still, to their credit, Gibbs has five wins – three for Kenseth, and two for Kyle Busch.
  • Blue Oval blues. Ford has only two wins thus far, one of which coming in the crapshoot that is Talladega with the shock Front Row Motorsports 1-2 led by David Ragan. Carl Edwards has been the most consistent, with one win and currently second in points, but the rest of the Ford teams – including defending champions Penske and Brad Keselowski, after switching from Dodge – haven’t quite got the full handle on the Gen-6.
  • Danica? Meh. Once we got past the Daytona 500 pole hoopla, Danica Patrick’s first full year in Sprint Cup has gone about as expected – less than stellar. Qualifying hasn’t been great and outside of the eighth at Daytona and 12th place at Martinsville, she has only two other top-25 finishes. Her boyfriend and fellow rookie-of-the-year competitor, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., hasn’t cracked the top 10 yet, but a consistent string of 11 top-20 finishes in 13 races has him a respectable 15th in points. Patrick is 29th.
  • Some abnormal off-track moments. Away from the Sprint Cup ranks, storylines have included catch fence safety after an accident in the Nationwide Series opener, the Nelson Piquet/Brian Scott groin kick and crewmember fight at Richmond, the Mike Harmon/Jennifer Jo Cobb “He said, she said” transporter theft allegations, and a TV cable falling during the Coca-Cola 600. Additionally, NASCAR lost a legend and short track icon in Dick Trickle, at age 71.

The top 10 in points are below, with other points notables thereafter, and number of wins in parentheses:

  • Top 10: Jimmie Johnson 473 (three wins), Carl Edwards 443 (one), Clint Bowyer 423 (zero), Matt Kenseth 399 (three), Kevin Harvick 399 (two), Dale Earnhardt Jr. 398 (zero), Kasey Kahne 392 (one), Brad Keselowski 375  (zero), Kyle Busch 374 (two), Paul Menard 371 (zero).
  • Other notables: Jeff Gordon (11th, -10 points to 10th, zero wins), Greg Biffle (13th, -18, zero), Tony Stewart (16th, -33, one), Kurt Busch (17th, -34, zero), Ryan Newman (20th, -48, zero), Denny Hamlin (26th, -122, zero).

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
0 Comments

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:


Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change