Jimmie Johnson spins during wild IndyCar practice as drivers adapt in return to Detroit


The NTT IndyCar Series held a wild practice Friday for the Detroit Belle Isle doubleheader as Jimmie Johnson was among multiple drivers who went for a spin, and Will Power vowed revenge on an unnamed driver after turning the fastest lap in the session.

It’s the lone tuneup as IndyCar will hold qualifying sessions for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on each of the next two days ahead of 70-lap races Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (noon). Both races are on NBC.

Power was fastest Friday, turning a 1-minute, 17.2768-second lap around the 14-turn, 2.35-mile street circuit ahead of Sebastien Bourdais (1:17.4291) and Pato O’Ward (1:17.5143).

DETROIT GRAND PRIX: All the details for the weekend’s races

But the Team Penske driver still was miffed after the 75-minute practice, telling NBC Sports reporter Marty Snider he planned to confront someone because “he causes me trouble all the time and just about had enough.”

PRACTICE SPEEDS: Click here for the speeds from Friday

QUALIFYING GROUPS: How they will go out Saturday

In a news conference later, Power said he hadn’t talked to the driver, whom he still refused to identify but said he would be exacting revenge Toowoomba style (referring to his Australian hometown).

“I can’t stand the last few races running back there, getting stuck behind wankers through exchanges that shouldn’t be even out there,” Power said. “I want to get up the front, man.

Will Power turned the fastest lap Friday in practice for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix (Rodney Coleman-Robinson/Detroit Free Press/USA TODAY Sports Images).

“This dude … how many times you want to back up? You eventually have to do a lap time. Don’t worry, I’ll get him. Not on the track. I don’t get people on the track. I’ll get him off the track.”

Power did confirm the offender wasn’t Johnson, who spun 15 minutes into the practice in Turn 3 but was able to avoid damage to his No. 48 Dallara-Honda.

The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, who has been involved in at least one incident in all four race weekends so far in his rookie IndyCar season, was last among 25 cars in the session.

His fastest of 26 laps was 1:22.7353, more than 1.5 seconds behind 24th-ranked Scott McLaughlin, who turned only five laps after smacking the Turn 5 tire barrier with his No. 3 Dallara-Chevrolet.

Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Dallara-Honda was slowest Friday (Matt Fraver/IndyCar).

After three weeks out of the car, Johnson said he had knocked the rust off in a Road America test earlier this week and simply struggled to learn Detroit’s punishing course.

“I’ve done a lot of sim work at home and at (Honda) and nothing got me ready for the experience here,” Johnson said with a laugh. “I was just floored how technical this track is, how rough it is, how little grip there is.

“And I have a huge challenge ahead of myself this weekend. … The spin, I’m just trying to find the limits of the car and my ability. I just got into Turn 3 a little too fast and had a little too much rear brake in the car and did a little lazy spin, so it was one of those things that rookies do, and I’ll keep learning from those mistakes and getting better.”

Johnson has extra help this weekend as Chip Ganassi Racing has brought in racing veteran Scott Pruett as a driving coach.

Pruett won twice in CART IndyCar during a 10-season career that covered 149 starts, and he also made 51 Cup and Xfinity starts in NASCAR. He scored 60 victories in sports cars (including 41 with Ganassi in Grand-Am from 2002-13) before retiring three years ago to become the winemaker for Pruett Vineyards in Auburn, California, near Sacramento.

“This is a new adventure for sure,” Pruett told NBC Sports reporter Kevin Lee. “As many years as I spent with Ganassi, all the stuff I’ve done over the years with teammates and bringing them along and helping as much as I could, it seemed like a good opportunity.

“I got a call from (CGR managing director) Mike Hull, and he said, ‘Hey, Scott, how would you like to get out of the vineyard and all the wine stuff and all the Lexus stuff and come be a part of the program with Jimmie.’ Made a few phone calls, talked to Jimmie, talked to the team, and it just looks like a great opportunity moving forward, so I’ll be working with him on track. I’ll be talking about strategy, I’ll be sitting here calling races. So it’s going to be quite a bit of trying to do whatever I can to help move things forward.”

Johnson wasn’t alone among drivers who flirted with disaster Friday. Romain Grosjean, Rinus VeeKay and James Hinchcliffe also had minor incidents during the session as IndyCar drivers re-acclimated to Detroit after a two-year absence (last year’s races were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

Qualifying will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday ahead of Race 1 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC.

Winner Josef Newgarden earns $3.666 million from a record Indy 500 purse of $17 million


INDIANAPOLIS — The first Indy 500 victory for Josef Newgarden also was the richest in race history from a record 2023 purse of just more than $17 million.

The two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, who continued his celebration Monday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned $3.666 million for winning the 107th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The purse and winner’s share both are the largest in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

It’s the second consecutive year that the Indy 500 purse set a record after the 2022 Indy 500 became the first to crack the $16 million mark (nearly doubling the 2021 purse that offered a purse of $8,854,565 after a crowd limited to 135,000 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

The average payout for IndyCar drivers was $500,600 (exceeding last year’s average of $485,000).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, whose team also fields Newgarden’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet, had made raising purses a priority since buying the track in 2020. But Penske but was unable to post big money purses until the race returned to full capacity grandstands last year.

The largest Indy 500 purse before this year was $14.4 million for the 2008 Indy 500 won by Scott Dixon (whose share was $2,988,065). Ericsson’s haul made him the second Indy 500 winner to top $3 million (2009 winner Helio Castroneves won $3,048,005.

Runner-up Marcus Ericsson won $1.043 million after falling short by 0.0974 seconds in the fourth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

The 107th Indy 500 drew a crowd of at least 330,000 that was the largest since the sellout for the 100th running in 2016, and the second-largest in more than two decades, according to track officials.

“This is the greatest race in the world, and it was an especially monumental Month of May featuring packed grandstands and intense on-track action,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “Now, we have the best end card possible for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500: a record-breaking purse for the history books.”

Benjamin Pedersen was named the Indy 500 rookie of the year, earning a $50,000 bonus.

The race’s purse is determined through contingency and special awards from IMS and IndyCar. The awards were presented Monday night in the annual Indy 500 Victory Celebration at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

The payouts for the 107th Indy 500:

1. Josef Newgarden, $3,666,000
2. Marcus Ericsson, $1,043,000
3. Santino Ferrucci, $481,800
4. Alex Palou, $801,500
5. Alexander Rossi, $574,000
6. Scott Dixon, $582,000
7. Takuma Sato, $217,300
8. Conor Daly, $512,000
9. Colton Herta, $506,500
10. Rinus VeeKay, $556,500
11. Ryan Hunter‐Reay, $145,500
12. Callum Ilott, $495,500
13. Devlin DeFrancesco, $482,000
14. Scott McLaughlin, $485,000
15. Helio Castroneves, $481,500
16. Tony Kanaan, $105,000
17. Marco Andretti, $102,000
18. Jack Harvey, $472,000
19. Christian Lundgaard, $467,500
20. Ed Carpenter, $102,000
21. Benjamin Pedersen (R), $215,300
22. Graham Rahal, $565,500*
23. Will Power, $488,000
24. Pato O’Ward, $516,500
25. Simon Pagenaud, $465,500
26. Agustín Canapino (R), $156,300
27. Felix Rosenqvist, $278,300
28. Kyle Kirkwood, $465,500
29. David Malukas, $462,000
30. Romain Grosjean, $462,000
31. Sting Ray Robb (R), $463,000
32. RC Enerson (R), $103,000
33.  Katherine Legge, $102,000

*–Broken down between two teams, $460,000 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, $105,500 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports