Andretti leads early, comes home fifth at Texas


Marco Andretti continued his consistent 2013 campaign but fell out of a tie for the IZOD IndyCar Series championship lead with a fifth-place finish in last night’s Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway, which was won by new outright points leader Helio Castroneves.

Andretti looked stout in the opening stint of the race, quickly taking the lead from pole sitter Will Power and staying there through the first caution of the night at Lap 53. In the next stint, he stayed within striking distance of the leaders, but lapped traffic visibly frustrated him – he twice threw up a hand in frustration toward Sebastien Bourdais, with whom he had a close call on the track.

Eventually, Andretti re-assumed the point on Lap 94 after teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay relinquished it to pit. But Castroneves managed to reel him in and pass him for P1 just two laps later, and Andretti found himself set back by a caution later on.

“I think [pit strategy] worked out for Ryan [Hunter-Reay] – he had a vibration and came in early [on Lap 4],” said Andretti.  “He went out, ran some quick laps and he didn’t catch a yellow. We tried to do the same thing, we caught the yellow and the RC Cola car ended up a lap down.”

Andretti would eventually put himself back on the lead lap but by then, his title rival Castroneves had emphatically put his stamp on the proceedings. However, the third-generation driver still managed to post a solid result and that’s what he’ll have to keep doing throughout the summer in order to position himself for a title run.

“It’s unfortunate and to top it all off, the worst guy in the championship fight against me won, but congrats to him,” Andretti said with a a laugh. “We’ll move on to [the Milwaukee] IndyFest next week and try to make the points back.”

Castroneves will take a 22-point edge over Andretti to Saturday’s race at the Milwaukee Mile (4 pm ET, NBC Sports Network).

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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