Josef Newgarden on pole for tonight’s IndyCar season opener

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Tonight at Texas Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series sees its first green flag in over eight months, and Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden will lead them to it.

Newgarden, who won at Texas last year on the way to his second IndyCar championship, claimed the pole position for tonight’s Genesys 300 with a two-lap qualifying average of 215.740 mph.

He narrowly beat Scott Dixon, whose average of 215.638 mph landed him on the outside of the front row.

RESULTS: Click here to see where everyone qualified at Texas

PRACTICE: Scott Dixon tops session; VeeKay, Carpenter, Hunter-Reay spin

“I don’t want to say I was surprised – it felt like the car was quick,” Newgarden told NBCSN. “I didn’t know if we had enough to beat Dixie. He looked really good in his qual trim. But I felt [my] car was great, so I just tried to do as much as I could to stay flat.

“That’s really all I had to do was try to keep it pinned around the track. The car was perfect. I was telling [engineer] Gavin [Ward] on the radio, ‘Great job, man, you nailed it! This is perfect for the first qualifying [of the season].'”

Newgarden’s teammate, Simon Pagenaud (215.464), and Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay (214.311), who rebounded after damaging his No. 28 Dallara-Honda in practice, will make up Row 2 for tonight’s 200-lap race.

“I’m extremely pleased; they thrashed and put this car together,” Hunter-Reay told NBCSN. “You have to make sure everything is absolutely perfect on an oval, and (the contact with the wall) knocked the steering out and smashed the steering rack. They got it back online just before the cutoff.

“To put it up front like this is really impressive.”

Another Andretti-Penske pairing, Zach Veach (213.981) and Will Power (213.930), start behind them in Row 3.

Takuma Sato, last year’s pole sitter at Texas, crashed on his warm-up lap entering Turn 1 through the PJ1 traction compound in mid-corner, then snapping loose.

He later was evaluated and released from the infield care center, but his Rahal Letterman Lanigan crew faced a major time crunch in repairing his No. 30 Honda in time for tonight’s race.

“It was a big moment,” Sato told NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast. “That was the warmup lap. I just lost the back end immediately when I turned in; usually, it doesn’t happen that way. Hopefully, we can fix it and return for the race. It’s quite tight.”

Ed Carpenter Racing rookie Rinus VeeKay and Dale Coyne Racing’s Santino Ferrucci also will start from the rear after skipping qualifying.

VeeKay’s car was undergoing repairs following his crash earlier this afternoon in practice.

Ferrucci’s team put out a statement that the No. 18 Dallara-Honda would focus on the race because “the car wasn’t right during the morning practice. We had more changes to make than the time allotted by IndyCar between practice and qualifying. The priority for the team is on the race and ensuring we have a competitive setup for tonight. ”

SATURDAY INDYCAR START TIMES AND TV SCHEDULE

IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta: How to watch, start times, schedule, entry list

AUTO: NOV 13 IMSA - Motul Petit Le Mans
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Start times, TV schedule: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will conclude the 2022 season this weekend with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta, which also will mark the end of the line for the DPi class.

The premier Daytona Prototype international category, which started in 2017, will be replaced by the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with its LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to Le Mans.

For the third time in four years, an Acura will be crowned the champion in DPi as the No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing holds a 19-point edge over the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing.

Last year, WTR’s No. 10 entered the season finale with a 19-point lead but lost the title to the No. 31 Cadillac of Action Express.

Full-time WTR drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor (who will be joined by Brendon Hartley in the No. 10 this weekend) have a series-leading four victories this season. The MSR duo of Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves this weekend) won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and have five runner-up finishes this year.

Championship scenarios in the other four categories:

GTD Pro: Points leaders Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet will clinch the title by starting in their No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

–GTD: There are 140 points separating the top four teams with Roman De Angelis and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 leading by 45 points.

–LMP2: John Farano is first in the driver standings by 33 points over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel. In the team standings, the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports leads by 19 points over the No. 8 Tower Motorsport (Farano’s team).

–LMP3: No. 54 CORE autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun lead by 83 points over the No. 74 Riley Motorsports of Gar Robinson.

With the 10-hour race requiring an extra driver, several stars from other racing series have been added. In addition to Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay will serve as third drivers in Chip Ganassi Racing’s pair of Cadillacs.

Jimmie Johnson also will be making his last DPi start in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac with Mike Rockenfeller and Kamui Kobayashi. Petit Le Mans could mark the last start in an IMSA prototype for Johnson, who has said limited inventory likely will keep him out of the GTP category in the Rolex 24 next year.

Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (all times are ET):


Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta start times, schedule, TV info

When: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. ET

Race distance: Ten hours on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course

TV: Noon-3 p.m., NBC; 3-10:30 p.m., USA Network. Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and NBCSports.com will have streaming coverage of the event from flag to flag beginning at noon. Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns are the play by play announcers with analysts Calvin Fish, Townsend Bell, James Hinchcliffe and Brian Till. The pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Hannah Newhouse, Dillon Welch and Matt Yocum.

IMSA.com live TV qualifying stream: Friday, 3:35 p.m. ET.

IMSA Radio: All sessions are live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at noon (XM 207, Internet/App 992).

Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 63 degrees with an 85% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the 48-car field for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta


Daily schedule IMSA Petit Le Mans

Here’s a rundown of the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia:

Wednesday, Sept. 28

9:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

10:25 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup

12:30 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

1:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practcice

2 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

3:30 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

Thursday, Sept. 29

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

9 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying

9:50 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

11:40 a.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

12:10 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

1:50 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

2:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

5 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 1

6 p.m.: Michelin Challenge qualifying

7:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Friday, Sept. 30

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge race

9:50 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

10:55 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 2

1:10 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race

3:40 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

Saturday, Oct. 1

9:15 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:10 p.m.: Petit Le Mans