Pato O’Ward captures pole in starting lineup for Indy GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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IndyCar starting lineup: INDIANAPOLIS — Pato O’Ward proclaimed Friday morning he is in “full send” mode for the last five races of the NTT IndyCar Series, and he then backed it up in Indy GP qualifying.

The Arrow McLaren SP driver scored his third pole position this season, turning a 1-minute, 10.7147-second lap in his No. 5 Dallara-Chevrolet around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. O’Ward nipped Will Power with a lap that came after the session ended but counted because he took the green before time expired.

“We had a very tough last three races, and we’re ready to get back into victory lane,” O’Ward, who has finished ninth, eighth and 13th since winning at Detroit for his second victory in 2021, told NBC Sports reporter Marty Snider. “This is the first step to that. Tomorrow we’ve got a job to finish and just continue, man. It’s still five races to go. A lot can happen, but this is definitely on the right track.

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“I’ve never been so excited to race here on the Indy road course.”

Romain Grosjean qualified third, and Christian Lundgaard was a stunning fourth for his IndyCar debut Saturday.

Colton Herta was fifth, followed by points leader Alex Palou, who leads Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon by 42 points and O’Ward by 48 points.

Team Penske lodged a protest that O’Ward had blocked Power early in the final round of qualifying, but IndyCar upheld the pole. Power said O’Ward “did a phenomenal lap to be on pole” and didn’t seem miffed about having to scrub his first lap.

“He started warming his tires and slowing up, then I had to back up,” Power said. “I didn’t get close enough to him. I could have driven right up to the back of him and he would have got a penalty. I had to get a gap for the next lap because I only had fuel for the next lap.

“That’s all that was. Let’s say it wasn’t a blatant block, but he starting waving and backing up. It is what it is. It’s fine. Top four or five cars were on the same 10th (of a second). Anyone’s go, I had a good second lap.”

After vowing to start outscoring the Ganassi cars (which also won the most recent race at Nashville with Marcus Ericsson), O’Ward got off to a great start with his series-leading third pole in 2021, particularly over Dixon (who will start a season-worst 26th after a qualifying spin nullified his best lap).

He did it by “risking it for the biscuit” with a typically bold maneuver through Turns 9 and 10 (“I shipped it, man”) that had the Mexican’s hands dexterously flicking the wheel on his pole-winning lap.

“I’m tired of being in the middle pack,” said O’Ward, who credited a recent test at Portland with improving his car’s handling and stability. “So the goal is definitely to truly return where we belong, which is contend for podiums, for poles, ultimately for wins.

“I think we have the car to do something great tomorrow. We just need to execute. I just think the focus on really executing on every single session that we do from now until the Long Beach (season finale) is going to be critical. But I’m not far back. I can definitely claw my way back into the fight for this championship.”

At the track where he won four Brickyard 400s on the oval layout, Jimmie Johnson qualified an impressive 22nd of 28 and nearly advanced to the second round for the first time during his rookie season with Ganassi.

“That was a good session for me,” Johnson told NBC Sports reporter Kevin Lee. “My confidence keeps building, the more laps that I get under my belt the better I go. That was a great session to be only six 10ths (of a second) off my teammates. This is a huge accomplishment for me.”

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for Indianapolis GP qualifying results | Round 1, Group 1 | Round 1, Group 2 Round 2 

PRACTICE: Session I


STARTING LINEUP FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS BIG MACHINE SPIKED COOLERS GRAND PRIX  

(Qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time and speed)

ROW 1

1. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 1 minute, 10.7147 seconds (124.167 mph)
2. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 1:10.7214 (124.155)

ROW 2

3. (51) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 1:10.7418 (124.119)
4. (45) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 1:10.7433 (124.116)

ROW 3

5. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 1:10.7631 (124.082)
6. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 1:10.8290 (123.966)

ROW 4

7. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 1:10.8875 (123.864)
8. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 1:10.9532 (123.749)

ROW 5

9. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 1:11.0208 (123.631)
10. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 1:11.0240 (123.626)

ROW 6

11. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 1:11.0342 (123.608)
12. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 1:11.1346 (123.434)

ROW 7

13. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 1:11.5084 (122.788)
14. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 1:11.3623 (123.040)**

ROW 8

15. (14) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 1:11.5504 (122.716)
16. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 1:11.4174 (122.945)

ROW 9

17. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 1:11.5583 (122.703)
18. (18) Ed Jones, Honda, 1:11.4360 (122.913)

ROW 10

19. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 1:11.5739 (122.676)
20. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 1:11.5340 (122.744)

ROW 11

21. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 1:11.6676 (122.516)
22. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 1:11.8624 (122.184)

ROW 12

23. (06) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 1:11.7319 (122.406)
24. (29) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 1:12.0813 (121.812)

ROW 13

25. (75) RC Enerson, Chevrolet, 1:12.3344 (121.386)
26. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 1:12.2660 (121.501)

ROW 14

27. (52) Cody Ware, Honda, 1:13.7572 (119.045)
28. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 1:12.5494 (121.027)

**–Newgarden will lose six starting spots because of a grid penalty

World of Outlaws release 2023 Sprint Car Series schedule

2023 Outlaws Sprint schedule
World of Outlaws
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The 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule features 87 races, almost identical to the last year’s number, to be contested at 36 venues across 19 states. With cancelations for mostly weather, they closed out this year’s calendar on November 5 with 69 events in the books. Carson Macedo won a series high 11 races.

In 2022, David Gravel chased Brad Sweet into the three-race finale on the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in one of the most hotly contested championships in Outlaws history. Sweet emerged victorious for the fourth straight year.

For the 19th consecutive season, the Outlaws Sprints will begin their season at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals from Feb. 9-11 and will return March 5-6 for another two-day show before hitting the road with a three-track swing into Pennsylvania to take on the Posse.

MORE: 2023 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule

“Every year we continue to build the best schedule we can for drivers and fans across the country,” said World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter is a series release. “I’m excited for the journey we’ve put together, which includes the biggest races in Sprint Car racing, our new Spring Swing through Pennsylvania, the thrill of combining the World of Outlaws and ‘Bike Week’ and so much more.”

Some tracks returning from hiatus and one brand new course include 81 Speedway in Park City, Kans. in April and again in October, Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon City, Ill. in April, Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway in June and BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Penn.

BAPS hosts its first race in more than 30 years when the track was known as Susquehanna Speedway. This midweek show will give the local Pennsylvania Posse 14 attempts to beat the traveling Outlaws.

Ogilvie Speedway is completely new to the series and makes it the 224th different venue they will have challenged.

MORE: Brad Sweet protects his place in history

Notably missing from the calendar are Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park, Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

In addition to the new spring Pennsylvania Swing, the second date at Volusia Speedway will coincide with Daytona Beach’s Bike Week and bring new eyes to the sport.

Knoxville Raceway adds another multi-night show to the calendar in April, giving this track eight sanctioned events in 2023.

And of course, there are plenty of mainstays and high dollar events, such as the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, the 35th running of the Brad Doty Classic in July and the Labor Day Spectacular at Gray’s Harbor in Elma, Wash.

Several big paydays are on the line in 2023 including the 40th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio paying $175,000 to the winner, the Huset’s High Bank Nationals’ $250,000-to-win finale and the grandaddy of them all, the 62nd Knoxville Nationals with a total purse exceeding $1 million.

2023 Outlaws Sprint Schedule

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Sunday-Monday, March 5-6 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, March 17 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, March 18 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday, March 24 – Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, AL)
Saturday, March 25 – Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS)
Friday, March 31-Saturday, April 1 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)

Friday, April 7 – US-36 Raceway (Osborn, MO)
Saturday, April 8 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, April 14-15 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday, April 28 – Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Saturday, April 29 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, May 10 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Friday, May 19 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Saturday, May 20 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27 – Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, OH)
Monday, May 29 – Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Friday, June 2 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, June 3 – Ogilvie Raceway (Ogilvie, MN)
Friday-Saturday, June 9-10 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday-Saturday, June 16-17 – Beaver Dam Raceway (Beaver Dam, WI)
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24 – Huset’s Speedway (Brandon, SD)
Friday, June 30-Saturday, July 1 – Cedar Lake Speedway (New Richmond, WI)

Friday, July 7 – 34 Raceway (West Burlington, IA)
Saturday, July 8 – Wilmot Raceway (Wilmot, WI)
Tuesday, July 11 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, July 19 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Friday-Saturday, July 21-22 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday-Sunday, July 29-30 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)

Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 9-12 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 17-19 – Jackson Motorplex (Jackson, MN)
Friday, Aug. 25 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Red River Valley Speedway (West Fargo, ND)
Thursday, Aug. 31-Saturday, September 2 – Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA)

Monday, Sept. 4 – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, WA)
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 7-9 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA)
Friday, Sept. 15 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford, CA)
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Friday, Sept. 22 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 6-7 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, Oct. 13 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21 – TBA

Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 1-4 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC)