Colton Herta wins chaotic, rain-soaked IndyCar GMR GP on Indianapolis road course

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Colton Herta won a wild GMR Grand Prix, which descended into chaos Saturday as intermittent rain turned many NTT IndyCar Series drivers’ fortunes upside down on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

After making his second switch to rain tires, Herta took the lead from Pato O’Ward, who was trying to hang on with slicks, on Lap 67 of a scheduled 85.

Herta, who started 14th, took the checkered flag on Lap 75 under yellow after a Turn 11 crash for Juan Pablo Montoya. The race was shortened by 10 laps because it was run under a two-hour time limit after IndyCar declared a wet start.

GMR GRAND PRIX RESULTS: Race boxscore l Lap leader summary

STATS PACKAGE: Full results and points after the race

“That was the hardest race I think I’ve ever done,” Herta told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “Wet to dry, dry back to wet. And thank you so much for the Hoosiers for sticking around. I know you’re used to this kind of weather, so thank you so much. Love you guys.”

Herta became the fourth winner in five IndyCar races this season with his seventh career victory and first since the 2021 season finale at Long Beach.

It was the first victory on the IMS road course for Andretti Autosport (which has five Indy 500 wins).

It also was the first victory of the season for Honda after four consecutive victories by Chevrolet to start 2022.

Simon Pagenaud finished second, followed by Will Power, Marcus Ericsson and Conor Daly.

“I couldn’t see; I couldn’t drive at the end,” Pagenaud told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee. “The car felt really good in the wet, but I just couldn’t see. It was treacherous at the end. You have to say congrats to Colton because it was really tough to finish the race.”

After a yellow flag on Lap 57 for a spin by Jimmie Johnson, Herta was one of several lead-lap drivers who pitted for slick tires. But he was back in the pits two laps later for rain tires as showers intensified.

It proved to be a wise decision as leader Scott McLaughlin, who elected to stay on slicks, spun under yellow, and Herta quickly passed O’Ward for the lead into Turn 1 after the race returned to green.

“It was just so hard to decide whether to go to wets or slicks when it was raining on one side of the track and dry on the other,” Power, who maintained his top-five streak to start the season, told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch. “We just talked about it and decided we had to get wets because you were going to make a mistake if you stayed on slicks, which we saw so many guys under yellow doing.

“I tried to be smart and didn’t want to take too big of a risk. I give it to guys like Colton and Pato who can wheel it in these conditions. They’re hard to contend with, these guys. Congrats to Colton to put the race together like that and get it done.”

The race started nearly 40 minutes later than planned because of delays for nearby lightning.

The 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course already had begun to dry at the green flag, and several drivers — led by Herta on the third lap after he started 14th — quickly began diving into the pits to change onto slick tires.

After making an impressive save while sliding through the infield course on his first lap on slicks, Herta cycled into the lead on Lap 5 as O’Ward and the rest of the field pitted to get off the rain tires.

 

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:


Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change