IndyCar’s A.J. Foyt Racing playing it safe during shutdown


A.J. Foyt Racing’s IndyCar team has shops located in both Waller, Texas, and on Main Street in Speedway, Indiana. That places the team under the jurisdiction of two state governments.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb issued a mandatory “Stay at Home Order” on March 23 that will run through April. Meantime, Texas was advocating “social distancing” that allowed businesses to remain open as long as individuals stayed 6 feet or more apart.

On Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a mandatory “Stay at Home Order beginning at 12:01 a.m. Thursday that will run through April 30.

AJ Foyt Racing conceivably could have closed their Indiana shop while continuing to work in Texas.

But the team owned by four-time Indianapolis 500 winning driver AJ Foyt decided to play it safe ever since returning from the aborted Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in mid-March.

Foyt’s son, Larry, is the president of the team. Scott Harner is vice president of operations.

“We told everybody stay with your family and be healthy,” Harner told “The No. 1 thing is keep everybody healthy and try to not have anybody in the hospital. The best thing for that is to have everybody stay at home.

“After St. Pete, the trucks came back. Cars got put back in the bays. We have a cleaning service that have come in and done their thing, so that hasn’t been an issue there.

“We are paying everyone throughout, as well, without any salary cuts.

“It is going to be difficult, but the President of the United States (along with the Senate and House of Representatives) has shown they are about making everybody whole to do their best to help the companies get through this. A lot of these companies will get relief and some help. Corporations and individuals should both get help and if they stay the course, that is going to help fill the void and make everybody feel better.

“There are going to be ups and downs, but we should be able to get through this.”

Bruce Martin Photo

The plan for now is to let the employees retain vacation time, though there may be some modifications to the annual “week off” after the season concludes. This year, that would have been at the end of September, but with a revised schedule, the end date is expected to run through October, possibly November if the schedule has to be revised again.

“We haven’t got to that point yet,” Harner said. “The hope is getting back to work by the end of May. I haven’t spoken to Larry Foyt yet about this topic, but we’re going to take our Thanksgiving break and we’re going to take our Christmas break.

“Might we lose the week after the season ends? Absolutely. But everybody understands what we are up against. We’ll just make it work. It’s going to be one of those unique years that whatever is in the handbook is going to go out the window, and we’ll make it all work.”

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg originally was canceled but is being revived as the potential season-finale sometime in October.

“It’s one of our great events and to get that back on the schedule is going to be big for everybody,” Harner said.

Last Thursday, IndyCar announced a revised schedule that hopefully will begin May 30-31 with the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader. That is completely predicated on if the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is under control by then.

The 104th Indianapolis 500 has been moved from May 24 to Aug. 23 when it’s hoped to be safe for large crowds to gather.

“I think it’s great that we got it out sooner than later,” Harner said of last Thursday’s announcement. “We have sponsors that we all have to deal with and answer to and get some clarity. To give them some clarity settles everyone’s nerves. There is light at the end of the tunnel.”

It also will be an extremely busy time ahead if the new schedule goes off as planned. There will be long stretches of the season with racing practically every weekend.

“Is it going to be trying? Sure, it is,” Harner said. “Everybody is in the same boat. They know what we are up against. It’s unprecedented times that no one has ever seen before and hopefully something we never see again. It’s a matter of trying to make it all work. I can’t imagine the amount of time that was spent with Jay Frye (IndyCar President) and the IndyCar group and the NBC group and the tracks to piece it all together and make it all work. I’m sure it was endless hours trying to get it all done.

“It all comes down to the fans and sponsors, and that is the No. 1 thing we have to be cognizant of. If we get 14 races in, that’s great. Eight weeks in a row, it will be eight weeks in a row. If it’s 14 weeks in a row, well that’s what it is.

“We have to make this work, no matter what.

“It would be one thing if it was just us, but every sport out there has canceled everything. There is only so much TV time available and it will be substantially different, for sure.”

When the Hulman-George Family announced the sale of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar to Roger Penske on Nov. 4, 2019, it was relinquishing control of the historic facility for the first time since November 1945. Penske officially took control on Jan. 6, 2020.

With Penske leading the series into a new era, IndyCar was riding a wave of momentum.

That has been brought to a screeching halt by an invisible virus that can be fatal to some, devastating to many.

Beating the COVID-19 virus is priority No. 1 across the world. Once that happens, and life returns to whatever “normal” is, will IndyCar be able to get that momentum back?

“I don’t think anybody involved can underestimate the impact of having Roger in place, and what this would look like if he wasn’t,” Harner said. “I don’t think from the ownership level, all the way through this series, anybody would want anyone else in charge to steer us through this or any other issue that might come along. We all knew it was a great thing for him to take over. He is the best guy to be in this position right now.”

Bruce Martin Photo

But once Americans are allowed to leave their houses and return in public, will they want to sit next to complete strangers at large gatherings? Will they feel safe at a public sporting event?

“There will be things that come out of this that will change how we do some parts of our life forever,” Harner said. “Once we get over this hump and it appears it is under control, I think people will be ready to be out and get together and do things.

“This is unprecedented times. People aren’t used to being trapped at home or in their apartment. Human beings and social distancing are things we aren’t used to doing. Once we get beyond this thing, I think getting people to come out won’t be a challenge.”

That is the big picture view. From the team view, Sebastien Bourdais was sharing the No. 14 Chevrolet with rookie Dalton Kellett. Tony Kanaan was scheduled to run that car on the five oval races on the schedule. Charlie Kimball is in the No. 4 entry.

Bourdais’ schedule has been cut because of cancelations to the April contests, but the team is moving forward trying to bring him a full-time ride in 2021.

“I know Larry is working hard at it and Sebastien as well,” Harner said. “When Sebastien became available for us, it was a great opportunity to get him back in the car and help us as an organization find a way. We thought that would be beneficial for us and the new engineering group to get some feedback from him and get his take to where our cars are. We are happy Portland and St. Pete are on the schedule and that will give us the opportunity to get Sebastien in the car.

“None of TK’s oval races have been affected, and that is huge. Tony is pretty amazing on the ovals. As we all know, he is training harder than ever and will be chomping at the bit to get back in the car on the ovals and be ready to go.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix: How to watch, start times, TV, schedules, streaming


The NTT IndyCar Series will return to the Motor City for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix but with start times in a new location for 2023.

After a 30-year run on Belle Isle, the Detroit GP has moved a few miles south to the streets of downtown on a new nine-turn, 1.645-mile circuit that runs along the Detroit River.

It’s the first time single-seater open-cockpit cars have raced on the streets of Detroit since a CART event on a 2.5-mile downtown layout from 1989-91. Formula One also raced in Detroit from 1982-88.

The reimagined Detroit Grand Prix also will play host to nightly concerts and bring in venders from across the region. Roger Penske predicts the new downtown locale will be bigger for Detroit than when the city played host to the 2006 Super Bowl.

Here are the details and IndyCar start times for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend (all times are ET):


TV: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET on NBC and streaming on Peacock, the NBC Sports App and Leigh Diffey is the announcer with analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Kevin Lee are the pit reporters. Click here for the full NBC Sports schedule for IndyCar in 2023.

Peacock also will be the streaming broadcast for both practices and qualifying.

POSTRACE SHOW ON PEACOCK: After the race’s conclusion, an exclusive postrace show will air on Peacock with driver interviews, postrace analysis and the podium presentation. To watch the extended postrace show, click over to the special stream on Peacock after Sunday’s race ends.


GREEN FLAG: 3:30 p.m. ET

PRACTICE: Friday, 3 p.m. (Peacock Premium); Saturday, 9:05 a.m. (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 10 a.m. (Peacock Premium)

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Combined

QUALIFYING: Saturday, 1:20 p.m. (Peacock Premium)

STARTING LINEUP: Alex Palou captured the first street course pole of his IndyCar career; click here for where everyone will begin Sunday’s race

RACE DISTANCE: The race is 100 laps (170 miles) on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile temporary street course in downtown Detroit.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate. Rookie drivers are allowed one extra primary set for the first practice.

PUSH TO PASS: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation (Indy NXT: 150 seconds total, 15 seconds per). The push-to-pass is not available on the initial start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. The feature increases the power of the engine by approximately 60 horsepower.

FORECAST: According to, it’s expected to be 80 degrees with a 0% chance of rain.

ENTRY LIST: Click here to view the 27 drivers racing Sunday at Detroit

INDY NXT RACES: Saturday, 12:05 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 12:50 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium)

INDY NXT ENTRY LISTClick here to view the 19 drivers racing at Detroit


(All times are Eastern)

Friday, June 2

8:30-9:30 a.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

9 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

9:50-10:20 a.m.: Trans Am Series practice

11:40 a.m.-12:40 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

1-1:30 p.m.: Trans Am Series practice

1:50-2:40 p.m.: Indy NXT practice

3-4:30 p.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

4:50-5:05 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge qualifying

5:30-6 p.m.: IndyNXT qualifying (Race 1 and 2)

6-7:15 p.m.: A-Track concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7:30-8:30 p.m.: Big Boi concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Saturday, June 3

6 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

8:15-8:45 a.m.: Trans Am Series qualifying

9:05-10:05 a.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

10:35-11:35 a.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Muscle Car Challenge

12:05-1:00 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 1 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

1:15-2:45 p.m.: IndyCar qualifying, Peacock

4:10-5:50 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Classic (100 minutes), Peacock

5:30-7 p.m.: Z-Trip concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7-8:30 p.m.: Steve Aoki concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Sunday, June 4

7 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

10:00-10:30 a.m.: IndyCar warmup, Peacock

11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Motor City Showdown

12:50-1:45 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 2 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

2:47 p.m.: IndyCar driver introductions

3:23 p.m.: Command to start engines

3:30 p.m.: Green flag for the Chevrolet Detroit Prix, presented by Lear (100 laps/170 miles), NBC


ROUND 1Marcus Ericsson wins wild opener in St. Petersburg

ROUND 2Josef Newgarden wins Texas thriller over Pato O’Ward

ROUND 3: Kyle Kirkwood breaks through for first career IndyCar victory

ROUND 4: Scott McLaughlin outduels Romain Grosjean at Barber

ROUND 5: Alex Palou dominant in GMR Grand Prix

ROUND 6: Josef Newgarden wins first Indy 500 in 12th attempt 


Inside Team Penske’s bid win another Indy 500 for “The Captain”

Annual photo shows women having an impact on Indy 500 results

Roger Penske feeling hale at another Indy 500 as Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner

Honda needed 45 seconds to approve Graham Rahal racing a Chevy at Indy

A.J. Foyt takes refuge at Indy 500 while weathering grief of wife’s death

Gordon Johncock: The most unassuming Indy 500 legend

Alex Palou on his Indy 500 pole, multitasking at 224 mph and a Chip Ganassi surprise

Marcus Ericsson, engineer Brad Goldberg have ties that run very deep

New competition elements for 2023 include an alternate oval tire

Indy 500 will be Tony Kanaan’s final race

IndyCar drivers say Thermal Club could host a race

IndyCar team owners weigh in on marketing plans, double points

Alexander Rossi fitting in well at McLaren

Phoenix takes flight: Romain Grosjean enjoying the pilot’s life

Helio Castroneves says 2023 season is “huge” for IndyCar future

How Sting Ray Robb got that name

Kyle Larson having impact on future McLaren teammates

Simon Pagenaud on why he likes teasing former teammate Josef Newgarden

HOW TO WATCH INDYCAR IN 2023Full NBC Sports schedule