IndyCar notes and quotes: Friday evening at PIR

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – Testing is underway for the second three-hour session of the day at Phoenix International Raceway, with just over an hour remaining until 8 p.m. MT and local time and the end of the session.

There were a handful of driver availabilities following the morning session and here’s a handful of selected quotes:

  • Helio Castroneves, on whether mechanical grip will change from day to night: “It’s extremely important for us to try and drive at night, which is the actual time of the race. Even when we come back here, maybe the weather might not be much of a difference, but still it gives you a direction. But mechanical it’s part of it, for sure. It’s the whole thing. Today is basically the first practice for everyone. Everybody is adapting with the aero package, kind of like getting comfortable, getting the rhythm back. Tomorrow will be a little bit of the momentum from today.”
  • James Hinchcliffe, on the track itself: “The track is a whole lot of fun. This is a tough little place. It’s incredible how little time you have to think about anything around a lap here. It’s so flat out, you cannot let your concentration waiver for even a fraction of a second. The backstraight is not a straight. The front straight is the only chance you have, whether it’s to adjust your weight jack, your roll bars, whatever it is. You have about three and a half, four seconds to get it done over a lap. That’s exhausting.”
  • Marco Andretti, on whether this track will be a one groove track: “It’s definitely too early to say that because I guess I have to run in the nighttime to see what happens with the track temps to give you a better answer on that. I think there’s a little room in one and two to get some clean air up high. It would be a little risky to do that in three and four. You could catch the right front in the marbles. The problem is the exit of one. You could run sort of maybe two wide entry to mid. But it tightens up pretty quick at the exit. The guy on the bottom is going to come up. He can’t hold the guys on But I don’t know, having said that, halfway through the stint, the tires will go out, there will be some degradation, dirty air. It’s a little bit early to give you a full scoop on that.
  • Tony Kanaan, on the timing of sessions: “IndyCar did a great job timing because timing-wise this afternoon’s session was really close to what the times of qualifying is going to be on Friday when we come back and the night session is going to be the time of the race. That’s why you didn’t see anybody running together. Tonight you’ll see it a lot. Tomorrow you’ll see the same thing, people doing qualifying stuff during the afternoon and at night racing stuff.”
  • Will Power, on the track’s physicality: “Yeah. It’s going to be the most physical race of the year, I’m pretty sure. Especially when you add all that downforce. I mean, the wheel is so heavy. Yeah, I have to say after the previous test, I was thinking I don’t think it will be possible to do an entire race physically all green, but we’ll see.”

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
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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