IndyCar Prix View pre-test notes

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – Over four three-hour blocks of sessions, from 3 to 6 and 8 to 11 p.m. ET (or 1 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. MT and local time) both today and tomorrow, the Verizon IndyCar Series will be extra busy banking a boatload of laps at the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway. Streaming is available via racecontrol.indycar.com.

This marks the only full-field open test of the preseason and with reduced team testing in 2017, an important one from a data gathering and chemistry building standpoint.

The season kicks off in St. Petersburg on March 12, and returns to NBCSN in Long Beach April 9.

Among the items to watch:

  • How many Hondas will be able to break through into the top-10 in speeds, and whether any would be achieved by qualifying sims versus race setups
  • Whether Honda has made necessary power unit gains to account for the expected deficiencies in its Road Course/Short Oval (RC/SO) aero kit package compared to Chevrolet, as Honda struggled on these short ovals
  • The progress of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (Honda) and A.J. Foyt Enterprises (Chevrolet) with their new aero kits and engines
  • The first integration of the crew/strategists swap at Team Penske, for the Nos. 2 (Josef Newgarden) and 12 (Will Power) cars
  • The new drivers with new teams: Newgarden (Penske), JR Hildebrand (Carpenter), Sebastien Bourdais and Ed Jones (Coyne), Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz (Foyt) and Takuma Sato (Andretti)
  • How rookie Jones comes up to pace in his step up from Indy Lights
  • Whether Mikhail Aleshin and Alexander Rossi will take advantage of extra testing at this test they didn’t have last year. Aleshin missed it owing to a visa issue while Rossi had only just been signed, so didn’t have his car set yet
  • How different the track conditions will be from an expected mid-80s high today to about 10 to 15 degrees cooler on Saturday
  • Whether any cars will run in bunches, closer together, or more spread out for primarily single-car runs
  • How weird it is to see Scott Dixon, temporarily anyway, in a blank white firesuit

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.