Boston IndyCar race promoters hope to finalize all agreements soon


Although Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has expressed concern that agreements still have not been reached with several state agencies, organizers of next year’s IndyCar Grand Prix of Boston are confident those hurdles will be overcome soon.

“They’ve been in dialogue since day one,” Grand Prix spokesperson Jana Watt told MotorSportsTalk on Monday. “We support the Mayor 100 percent. It would behoove us, the quicker these agreements are signed, the better.

“But we also understand that from the agencies’ perspective that they understand everything they possibly can about the event, the usage and everything else and who’s paying for what. We need to nail all that down. We agree, absolutely.”

The race will be held on Sept. 4 on a street course that takes in a good portion of Boston’s riverfront area. It was confirmed as part of the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule last week, having been first announced in May.

In a sense, organizers are patterning it after existing and very successful IndyCar street races in Long Beach, Calif., and St. Petersburg, Fla.

While Walsh and the city are on-board with plans, financial and other agreements still need to be worked out with agencies including the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), the Massachusetts Convention Center and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Those groups control much of the property the planned street race is slated to be contested upon. The final version of the race track layout was only completed in early October.

“Obviously, there are a lot of agreements that have to come to fruition in order for the event to happen, but that’s not unexpected,” Watt said. “That’s part of a race or an event of this nature, that touches so many different agencies. So we’re in 100 percent support of what the Mayor has said. We need these agreements done, too.”

Walsh’s chief of operations, Patrick Brophy, emailed a letter to Jim Freudenberg, chief commercial officer of the Grand Prix of Boston, asking promoters to finalize all outstanding agreements within the next 14 days.

“It is expected that your team will finalize agreements with all interested parties within the next two (2) weeks,” Brophy wrote to Freudenberg. “Please be advised that the Mayor grows increasingly concerned with the progress (or lack thereof) of those discussions.”

In addition to the two-week deadline, Brophy asked that tickets for the race – which were slated to go on sale this month – will not be sold until all agreements are in place.

There is also concern about working closer to allay increasing concerns from community groups about the event, which is expected to generate at least $25 million to the city and state in the first year.

“As you are aware, a predicate to agreements and permit acquisition is the outcome of your discussions with local neighborhood, civic and business associations,” Brophy said in his email. “Mayor Walsh feels strongly that overall community ‘buy-in’ and timely resolution of all financial terms for this proposed event are paramount to his final approval.”

Watt said race organizers remain confident they can reach agreements soon.

“At the end of the day, the conversation didn’t start yesterday,” Watt said. “It’s been an ongoing dialogue and a healthy and good one, a very robust dialogue. It’s been open communication. There are certainly things to finalize.”

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IndyCar Power Rankings: Alex Palou still first as Newgarden, Ferrucci make Indy 500 jumps

NBC IndyCar power rankings
Kristin Enzor/For IndyStar/USA TODAY Sports Images Network

The biggest race of the NTT IndyCar Series season (and in the world) is over, and NBC Sports’ power rankings look very similar to the finishing results in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Pole-sitter Alex Palou entered the Indy 500 at the top and remains there after his impressive rebound to a fourth after a midway crash in the pits. Top two Indianapolis 500 finishers Josef Newgarden and Marcus Ericsson also improved multiple spots in the power rankings just as they gained ground during the course of the 500-mile race on the 2.5-mile oval. Though Alexander Rossi dropped a position, he still shined at the Brickyard with a fifth place finish.

Santino Ferrucci, the other driver in the top five at Indy, made his first appearance in the 2023 power rankings this year and now will be tasked with keeping his A.J. Foyt Racing team toward the front as the IndyCar circuit makes its debut on a new layout..

Heading into the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on the streets of downtown, here’s NBC Sports’ assessment of the current top 10 drivers through six of 17 races this year (with previous ranking in parenthesis):

  1. Alex Palou (1): Three consecutive top 10 finishes at the Indy 500, and yet the 2021 IndyCar champion still seems slightly snake-bitten at the Brickyard. A few different circumstances and a dash of experience, and Palou could have three Indy 500 wins. But he at least has the points lead.
  2. Marcus Ericsson (4): Some want to say the Indy 500 runner-up’s unhappiness with IndyCar race control was sour grapes, but the Swede had a legitimate gripe about the consistency of red flag protocols. Still a magnificent May for Ericsson, especially while the questions swirl about his future.
  3. Josef Newgarden (7): Strategist Tim Cindric and team did a fantastic job catapulting Newgarden from 17th into contention, and the two-time series champion did the rest. Particularly on a late three-wide pass for the lead, it can’t be overstated how brilliant the Team Penske driver was in his finest hour.
  4. Alexander Rossi (3): He winds up being the best Arrow McLaren finisher in a mostly disappointing Indy 500 for a team that seemed poised to become dominant. With a third in the GMR GP and a fifth in the Indy 500, this easily was Rossi’s best May since his second place in 2019.
  5. Pato O’Ward (2): Unlike last year, the Arrow McLaren star sent it this time against Ericsson and came out on the wrong side (and with lingering bitterness toward his Chip Ganassi Racing rival). The lead mostly was the wrong place to be at Indy, but O’Ward managed to be in first for a race-high 39 laps.
  6. Scott Dixon (5): He overcame brutal handling issues from a wicked set of tires during his first stint, and then the team struggled with a clutch problem while posting a typical Dixon-esque finish on “a very tough day.” The six-time champion hopes things are cleaner the rest of the season after the first three months.
  7. Santino Ferrucci (NR): Pound for pound, he and A.J. Foyt Racing had the best two weeks at Indianapolis. Ferrucci said Wednesday he still believes he had “by far the best car at the end” and if not for the timing of the final yellow and red, he would have won the Indy 500. Now the goal is maintaining into Detroit.
  8. Colton Herta (NR): He was the best in a mostly forgettable month for Andretti Autosport and now is facing a pivotal weekend. Andretti has reigned on street courses so far this season, and few have been better on new circuits than Herta. A major chance for his first victory since last year’s big-money extension.
  9. Scott McLaughlin (6): Ran in the top 10 at Indy after a strong opening stint but then lost positions while getting caught out on several restarts. A penalty for unintentionally rear-ending Simon Pagenaud in O’Ward’s crash then sent him to the rear, but McLaughlin still rallied for 14th. Detroit will be a fresh start.
  10. Rinus VeeKay (10): Crashing into Palou in the pits was less than ideal. But a front row start and 10th-place finish in the Indy 500 still were 2023 highlights for VeeKay in what’s been the toughest season of his career. The Ed Carpenter Racing cars have been slow on road and street courses, so Detroit is another test.

Falling out: Will Power (8), Felix Rosenqvist (9), Romain Grosjean (10)


PRESEASON: Josef Newgarden is a favorite to win third championship

RACE 1: Pato O’Ward to first; Newgarden drops out after St. Pete

RACE 2: O’Ward stays firmly on top of standings after Texas

RACE 3: Marcus Ericsson leads powerhouses at the top

RACE 4: Grosjean, Palou flex in bids for first victory

RACE 5: Alex Palou carrying all the momentum into Indy 500