COTA announces $100,000 ‘Win from the Pole’ IndyCar Bonus

Photo by Bruce Martin
Photo by Bruce Martin
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AUSTIN, Texas – If an NTT IndyCar Series driver wins Sunday’s IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas from the pole, he will collect an additional $100,000. That bonus was announced Thursday as teams set up for this weekend’s inaugural IndyCar Series race at COTA, the home of the Formula One United States Grand Prix.

“That will buy a nice bottle of wine,” Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe quipped.

It actually might buy a very nice wine cellar.

The bonus was announced by Rick Abbott, Executive Vice President of COTA.

“We wanted to make this race very special to distinguish ourselves from everybody else,” Abbott said. “It’s always bigger in Texas, and we wanted to do something different and very cool to make qualifying more exciting. If you win the pole on Saturday and win the race, a driver will win an extra $100,000.

“That’s a ‘Welcome to Austin’ with a little extra incentive for you guys.

“Circuit of the Americas is one of the most challenging tracks in the world, and we have the best drivers in the world. This race will be incredibly difficult to win, and it will be exciting to see these drivers navigate this course.”

A collection of some of the NTT IndyCar Series top drivers were at the announcement.

“That’s very generous,” Andretti Autosport driver Alexander Rossi said. “Obviously, we have a huge incentive to do that as it is. This makes it very exciting and I’m sure some guys will commit to it very heavily to make it happen.

“This has been a long-time coming for IndyCar to race at Circuits of the Americas and to be in Austin, one of my favorite cities in the United States.”

Qualifying is set for 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, March 23 with the race scheduled for 1 p.m. ET Sunday. Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for NBCSN alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Kevin Lee, Jon Beekhuis and Robin Miller.

The extra money available for the pole winner is an extra incentive that can help set this race apart from the other events on the schedule. In the past, large bonuses were paid to the pole winner of the Indianapolis 500.

“It’s a pretty long lap in an IndyCar, but hopefully, there will be lots of room to pass,” said former Formula One driver Max Chilton. “It’s also great that an English band, Muse, will be playing on Saturday night.”

When asked if he would be attending the concert, Chilton quipped, “That all depends on how well we do on Saturday.”

One of Rossi’s teammates, Marco Andretti, believes the 20-turn, 3.41-mile race course already is one of the most challenging tracks on the schedule. It’s also the only track that hosts both IndyCar and Formula One on the same layout.

“It’s not necessarily a Marco Andretti track because it rewards smoothness, so I’m going to have to work on my style,” Andretti said. “There are a lot of different ways to drive this track fast and a lot of places where you can screw it up as well.”

Winning from the pole happened in six of the 17 IndyCar Series races in 2018. Rossi won from the pole at Long Beach and Mid-Ohio, Newgarden won from the pole at Barber Motorsports Park and Road America, Power won from the pole in the IndyCar Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Ryan Hunter-Reay won from the No. 1 starting position at Sonoma.

In the seven F1 races at COTA, Lewis Hamilton has won from the pole three times.

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