What to Watch For: IndyCar at Road America (12:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Photo: IndyCar
0 Comments

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – IndyCar is set for its triumphant return to Road America today, with the KOHLER Grand Prix (12:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) finally occurring after a long buildup.

PREVIEW
QUALIFYING REPORT

Here’s what to watch for ahead of the ninth race of the season, which is labeled as Round 10 owing to the postponed Texas race being moved to August 27.

TIRES, TIRES, TIRES

Usually it’s fuel strategy that is the telltale sign of a race but at Road America it’s likely to be tire strategy, with fall-off evident after five or six laps and not nearly that big a delta between Firestone’s red alternate softer compounds and the black sidewall primary tires.

Say some of the drivers:

Scott Dixon: “I think with the tires, it’s hard to know. It seems the blacks maybe go off a little bit. I haven’t experienced any real degradation with the reds yet, so the reds could be the hot tire to have. But everybody is a little bit different, but I think that the biggest thing is there’s so many unknowns because for everyone here it’s a new tire and new configuration.”

Will Power: “It’s going to be interesting. Actually the compounds are pretty close, the red and blacks, they’re only one step away from each other. I don’t think you’re going to see a huge gain on reds.

“It will be more interesting in the race because you’re seeing cords really early in the front tires, you know, almost after like nine laps or something. That’s going to be more controlling that, especially on the reds because they’re a softer compound.

Graham Rahal: “Like Will said, the blacks definitely show cords pretty quick in the run. They did at the test, too. When I was in the brake test, I was doing long runs, 14 or 15 laps over a fuel stint. They were hanging in there pretty good.

“Like Will said, it’s going to be tricky. We don’t know totally what it’s going to be like. It’s a risk, even to run reds in warmup, if they are magically better, grippier and more consistent, then you don’t want to use them.

“We’ll see. The tire deg seems to be pretty high from your first couple laps until lap five or six.

STRATEGIES

A definite three-stop race over 50 laps, the question that could emerge is whether anyone gambles to go to four stops, and tries to run harder, faster, to burn off the tires.

It’d need to be someone back in the field, a bit, to try it – but it wouldn’t surprise at all to see someone attempt to work an off-sequence strategy to perfection.

A GREEN TRACK

With an overnight into morning storm sweeping through the track, it’ll have dried the track of any rubber laid down from the last couple days. Still, there will be Cooper Tires rubber (Indy Lights) and Pirelli rubber (Pirelli World Challenge) set to be on course before IndyCar’s Firestones return later on.

PENSKE/GANASSI VS. THE FIELD

With drivers in six of the top seven positions, IndyCar’s proverbial powerhouse teams are poised to capture IndyCar’s Road America. It’s Team Penske in spots 1, 4 and 5 with Chip Ganassi Racing Teams in spots 2, 3 and 7. Only Charlie Kimball (P11) and Juan Pablo Montoya (P14) are outside the top seven from these two team’s proverbial four-packs.

If it’s a straightforward race with no crazy yellows or interesting strategy plays, you will likely see two or three drivers from these two teams on the podium. Throw a lottery of a yellow out there and things could get interesting.

THE JOSEF STORY

Josef Newgarden has been the big story of the weekend given his health and recovery from his collarbone and hand injuries sustained at Texas Motor Speedway.

Unfortunately a qualifying error where he lost control off the Carousel meant he caused a red flag and will start 20th.

How he recovers will be an interesting story on Sunday, but the fact he is racing at all speaks volumes to his dedication and determination.

World of Outlaws release 2023 Sprint Car Series schedule

2023 Outlaws Sprint schedule
World of Outlaws
0 Comments

The 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule features 87 races, almost identical to the last year’s number, to be contested at 36 venues across 19 states. With cancelations for mostly weather, they closed out this year’s calendar on November 5 with 69 events in the books. Carson Macedo won a series high 11 races.

In 2022, David Gravel chased Brad Sweet into the three-race finale on the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in one of the most hotly contested championships in Outlaws history. Sweet emerged victorious for the fourth straight year.

For the 19th consecutive season, the Outlaws Sprints will begin their season at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals from Feb. 9-11 and will return March 5-6 for another two-day show before hitting the road with a three-track swing into Pennsylvania to take on the Posse.

MORE: 2023 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule

“Every year we continue to build the best schedule we can for drivers and fans across the country,” said World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter is a series release. “I’m excited for the journey we’ve put together, which includes the biggest races in Sprint Car racing, our new Spring Swing through Pennsylvania, the thrill of combining the World of Outlaws and ‘Bike Week’ and so much more.”

Some tracks returning from hiatus and one brand new course include 81 Speedway in Park City, Kans. in April and again in October, Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon City, Ill. in April, Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway in June and BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Penn.

BAPS hosts its first race in more than 30 years when the track was known as Susquehanna Speedway. This midweek show will give the local Pennsylvania Posse 14 attempts to beat the traveling Outlaws.

Ogilvie Speedway is completely new to the series and makes it the 224th different venue they will have challenged.

MORE: Brad Sweet protects his place in history

Notably missing from the calendar are Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park, Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

In addition to the new spring Pennsylvania Swing, the second date at Volusia Speedway will coincide with Daytona Beach’s Bike Week and bring new eyes to the sport.

Knoxville Raceway adds another multi-night show to the calendar in April, giving this track eight sanctioned events in 2023.

And of course, there are plenty of mainstays and high dollar events, such as the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, the 35th running of the Brad Doty Classic in July and the Labor Day Spectacular at Gray’s Harbor in Elma, Wash.

Several big paydays are on the line in 2023 including the 40th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio paying $175,000 to the winner, the Huset’s High Bank Nationals’ $250,000-to-win finale and the grandaddy of them all, the 62nd Knoxville Nationals with a total purse exceeding $1 million.

2023 Outlaws Sprint Schedule

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Sunday-Monday, March 5-6 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, March 17 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, March 18 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday, March 24 – Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, AL)
Saturday, March 25 – Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS)
Friday, March 31-Saturday, April 1 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)

Friday, April 7 – US-36 Raceway (Osborn, MO)
Saturday, April 8 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, April 14-15 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday, April 28 – Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Saturday, April 29 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, May 10 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Friday, May 19 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Saturday, May 20 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27 – Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, OH)
Monday, May 29 – Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Friday, June 2 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, June 3 – Ogilvie Raceway (Ogilvie, MN)
Friday-Saturday, June 9-10 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday-Saturday, June 16-17 – Beaver Dam Raceway (Beaver Dam, WI)
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24 – Huset’s Speedway (Brandon, SD)
Friday, June 30-Saturday, July 1 – Cedar Lake Speedway (New Richmond, WI)

Friday, July 7 – 34 Raceway (West Burlington, IA)
Saturday, July 8 – Wilmot Raceway (Wilmot, WI)
Tuesday, July 11 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, July 19 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Friday-Saturday, July 21-22 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday-Sunday, July 29-30 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)

Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 9-12 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 17-19 – Jackson Motorplex (Jackson, MN)
Friday, Aug. 25 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Red River Valley Speedway (West Fargo, ND)
Thursday, Aug. 31-Saturday, September 2 – Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA)

Monday, Sept. 4 – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, WA)
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 7-9 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA)
Friday, Sept. 15 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford, CA)
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Friday, Sept. 22 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 6-7 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, Oct. 13 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21 – TBA

Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 1-4 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC)