Bourdais leads early on Fast Friday before rain hits Indy

Photo: IndyCar

INDIANAPOLIS – Rain has been predicted for parts if not all of Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and just before 1:45 p.m. on “Fast Friday,” it hit – hard.

This not before 32 of the 33 drivers entered for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil banked a combined 599 laps, and the speeds went up by seven mph compared to the best speeds this week.

The speed increase is by design as the boost is turned up from 1.3 to 1.4 mbar on the turbochargers, which gives the 2.2L V6 twin turbo powerplants produced by Honda and Chevrolet an additional 40 to 50 horsepower.

Sebastien Bourdais uncorked the fastest lap of the month to date in a new engine now powering his No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, at 233.116 mph with a tow. Bourdais has had two engine failures this month, one in the INDYCAR Grand Prix last weekend, and a second yesterday in practice at the north end of the track.

The Frenchman is yet to finish in the top-five in the Indianapolis 500 in six prior starts – his best finish is seventh – and he could use a bounce back Indianapolis 500 after early retirements at Phoenix and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Bourdais was one of 22 drivers who eclipsed 230 mph in a tow. That number drops to just six drivers who went 230-plus without a tow, which Bourdais also led at 231.192 mph.

Honda’s reliability issues persisted as a motor issue occurred for Jack Harvey’s No. 50 Michael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport car, and smoke came billowing out the back of his car. That’s the fifth engine issue within the last week in the Honda camp; the manufacturer is diagnosing the cause.

More to follow.

Speeds are below.

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