Indy 500 test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Entry list and how to watch on Peacock


The calendar still says April, but the NTT IndyCar Series offers the first real glimpse of May with an Indy 500 test April 20-21 that will be shown live on Peacock.

With 32 drivers scheduled to turn laps on the 2.5-mile oval, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will open for business at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday in a seven-hour session. Thursday will feature a six-hour practice starting at 10 a.m. ET.

“I think the biggest thing for all of us is those two days are the start of our month” of May, Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward told NBC Sports. “You want to get the car in a happy window, but there is time to get it in the window. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t get frustrated. Be patient. And just try things. See what works and doesn’t.”

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Though they already have passed their Rookie Orientation Program courses, this test will begin preparation in earnest for the Indy 500 debuts of Jimmie Johnson, who finished a career-best sixth in his oval debut at Texas Motor Speedway in March, and Romain Grosjean, who comes in off a second place in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Johnson will be driving with a surgically repaired right wrist that he fractured in a crash during an April 8 practice at Long Beach.

But he is expecting to manage just fine behind the wheel of the No. 48 Dallara-Honda — particularly with the confidence from improving his handling over two days at Texas by freeing up the car and adapting to making adjustments from the cockpit.

“I feel really good about it,” said Johnson, who won the Brickyard 400 four times during his NASCAR career. “I know my way around Indy. The biggest thing I took from Texas was understanding the sweet spot of the car. The more I made the car turn, just the easier it was.”

Johnson and Grosjean will be joined by five other rookies getting acclimated to the Brickyard for the first time.

Many other drivers and teams will be fine-tuning, notably the Team Penske Chevrolets that have started the 2022 season with three consecutive victories and a 1-2 finish at Texas. Two-time defending series champion Josef Newgarden has won the past two races (including his first Long Beach win) while also becoming a first-time father this week as he renews the quest for his first Indy 500 victory.

O’Ward and Arrow McLaren SP teammate Felix Rosenqvist also enter the Indy test with solid expectations despite stumbling at Texas.

Rosenqvist’s No. 7 Chevy started on the pole position (a career first on an oval for the Swedish driver) but was eliminated with 100 laps remaining by a mechanical failure.

“Texas doesn’t translate as much as you want to Indy, but we were flying there,” Rosenqvist told NBC Sports. “We had the pole and me and Pato had the fastest laps of the race. That’s always going to be a good indicator, but it’s a long month, man. I think we have a good base to start.”

O’Ward rebounded to a fifth at Long Beach after starting the season with a 12th and 15th.

“In Texas, man, we had great race cars,” said O’Ward, who has a sixth and fourth in his two Indy 500 starts. “We truly did. So I think there’s nothing but positives on that end. I think there were mistakes that put us in a much worse situation to not score as many points that we could have.

“I think we’re going to have a great month, man, I really think everybody has been working tirelessly to get stuff better than we were last year, and I’m confident we’re going to be contenders.”

The 106th Indy 500 will take place May 29 (with coverage starting at 11 a.m. ET on NBC).

Here are the details for the 2022 Indy 500 test on Peacock (all times are ET):

SCHEDULE: Wednesday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (veterans 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Rookie Orientation Program and Refresher 1-3 p.m.; open test 4-6 p.m.). Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

TV: All 13 hours of on-track action will be covered by NBC Sports on Peacock Premium. Click here for more information about IndyCar on Peacock, which features comprehensive live coverage of every minute of the 2022 season with practices, qualifying and race simulstreams. Click here for the 2022 IndyCar broadcast schedule.

FORECAST: According to the Weather Underground site, it’s predicted to be 49 degrees at 11 a.m. Wednesday with a 49% chance of rain. Temperatures are expected to climb into the 60s by late afternoon as rain chances drop. Thursday temperatures are expected between 58 and 68 degrees with a slighter chance of rain.

ENTRY LIST: There are 32 driver-team combinations entered in the test.

AJ Foyt Racing (3): Dalton Kellett, Kyle Kirkwood, JR Hildebrand

Andretti Autosport (5): Marco Andretti, Alexander Rossi, Devlin DeFransceco, Romain Grosjean, Colton Herta

Arrow McLaren SP (3): Juan Pablo Montoya, Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist

Chip Ganassi Racing (5): Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Kanaan, Alex Palou

Dale Coyne Racing (2): David Malukas, Takuma Sato

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (2): Santino Ferrucci, Sage Karam

Ed Carpenter Racing (3): Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly, Rinus VeeKay

Juncos Hollinger Racing (1): Callum Ilott

Meyer Shank Racing (2): Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (3): Graham Rahal, Jack Harvey, Christian Lundgaard

Team Penske (3): Josef Newgarden, Scott McLaughlin, Will Power

Ford Mustang GT3 test has Austin Cindric dreaming of Daytona: ‘I want to drive that car’

Cindric Ford GT3 test
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Austin Cindric wasn’t the “mystery” test driver behind the wheel of the new Ford Mustang GT3 at Sebring International Raceway, but the Team Penske driver desperately wanted to be.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, an amateur sports car driver himself, made the big reveal via a Tuesday tweet that provided the first video evidence of the GT3 Mustang on track.

“I’ve watched the video in question about a million times,” Cindric said Wednesday during a Ford Performance Zoom news conference to promote NASCAR’s first road course weekend of the season at Circuit of the Americas. “Definitely exciting times for sure. I want to drive that car. It suits my experience level and also the relationships that I have.”

Ford will enter the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season with its GT3 Mustang, entering a two-car factory effort (that will be managed by Multimatic) in GTD Pro and making customer cars available in the GT Daytona category.

That increases the likelihood of seeing more NASCAR drivers crossing over to IMSA. Cindric has been the only full-time Cup driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona the past two years, but Ford Performance global director Mark Rushbrook has said the GT3 Mustang will provide more opportunities.

Ford has used its GT4 Mustang as a NASCAR driver development tool in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Harrison Burton and Zane Smith combining to win the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January.

“We’re excited about the Next Gen car and the new architecture there and the similarities between that car and GT3 and even GT4 cars,” Rushbrook said at the announcement of the Ford GT3 program in January 2022 at Daytona. “We think it’s a great opportunity and to do be able to do that in a 24-hour race and get NASCAR drivers even more time is something we need to consider taking advantage of that opportunity.”

Given his sports car background, Cindric probably still would be in the Rolex 24 regardless. He has eight IMSA starts since the 2017 season opener at Daytona, racing a Lexus RCF GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT category. The 2022 Daytona 500 winner made his second LMP2 start this year with Rick Ware Racing.

But Cindric’s preference naturally would be in a Ford, particularly with sports car racing enjoying convergence and crossovers in both GT and prototype racing.

“It’s an exciting time in GT racing, just as it is now for prototype racing with a lot of new regulations and manufacturers building new GT3 cars,” he said. “And also the opportunity with WEC (the World Endurance Championship) and Le Mans and how that all lines up for that category of car. It’s definitely an exciting time. I want to be as much of a part of that as possible.”

Though those odds seemingly will increase with multiple Ford entries in the Rolex 24 field next year, Cindric said NASCAR drivers still have to put in the networking to land rides as he has in recent years.

“Now how (the GT3 Mustang) relates to specifically NASCAR drivers and how often they want to be in the Rolex, could it be an influence? Absolutely, as far as the tie-in with the manufacturer,” Cindric said. “But the challenge and the drive and the logistics of getting an opportunity for a race like the Rolex 24 will be just as challenging as it always is to find your one-off ride for the race. At least from my experience, that’s what I still anticipate.”

It turned out the “mystery” test driver wasn’t from NASCAR (Farley revealed the driver to be 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Joey Hand after a fan asked whether it was Joey Logano).

But Cindric believes there could be more Cup drivers — and perhaps himself — behind the wheel of Mustang GT3s in the future.

“There’s definitely more of a pathway than I think there would be before as far as Ford drivers are concerned,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to drive that thing. It’s obviously a great looking car. That’s the first box you’ve got to check. And it’s cool (to have) a guy like Jim Farley, no doubt he’s a racer just as much as he is steering the ship for Ford. It’s cool to see he’s just as excited as the rest of us about it.”