IndyCar at Road America: How to watch, start times, TV info and live streaming, schedule

IndyCar Road America start times
Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images, Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment
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IndyCar Road America start times: The NTT IndyCar Series will return to Road America with two women in the field for the first time in more than seven years.

With Tatiana Calderon (who is running the road and street course races for A.J. Foyt Racing this season) being joined by Simona de Silvestro in a Paretta Autosport entry, the Sonsio Grand Prix will mark the first IndyCar race outside of the Indy 500 with multiple female drivers since the 2013 season finale (which featured Pippa Mann and de Silvestro; both of whom also raced in the 2015 Indy 500).

“I’m super happy to see another female driver joining the grid, to see women in motorsport,” Calderon said. “I think it’s great for the series, great for the sport. It’s another very competitive driver joining the grid that is already quite competitive. Yeah, looking forward to seeing Simona and competing against her this weekend and in the next couple of rounds.”

It’s been a long road for de Silvestro, who finished 13th in points with a career-best second at Houston in her most recent full-time season in 2013.

Since then, de Silvestro, 33, has made starts in Formula E, sports cars and the Supercars series in Australia.

Aside from three starts in 2015 with Andretti Autosport, de Silvestro largely has been absent from IndyCar until she returned in the Indy 500 last year with Paretta.

Road America will be the first of three scheduled starts this year for de Silvestro, who also will race at Mid-Ohio and Nashville with Paretta Autosport. After being partnered last year with Team Penske, the team owned by Beth Paretta (which is comprised primarily of women in key positions) has formed a technical alliance with Ed Carpenter Racing.

“I think the last seven years I’ve always tried to come back to IndyCar,” said de Silvestro, who raced full time in IndyCar from 2010-13. “It was really a struggle, to be honest, to get a seat. Trying really hard to do it because I think IndyCar is very special, and it’s something that really suits me, where I really wanted to race.

“(Paretta) putting this program together, especially now doing more races, I think it’s a really big step forward and hopefully we can really build on this and become full-time. I’m super pumped. She’s an amazing person. I wouldn’t be here without her. I think all of the women involved, we’re pretty grateful for her really fighting for this.”

Though women racing in IndyCar has been on the decline in recent years, de Silvestro and Calderon are encouraged for the future.

Simona de Silvesto will be making her first NTT IndyCar Series start at Road America (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment).

“If you look at the junior series, I think it’s much more common to see female drivers, which I think is really positive,” de Silvestro said. “But for sure, the two of us in a top series, I think it can encourage even more girls to go driving and all that. I think it’s really important that we are able to be competing in IndyCar.”

While growing up in Colombia, Calderon said she rooted for de Silvestro, Danica Patrick and Bia Figueiredo.

“It’s a shame it was a long period the last couple of years that we hadn’t had (a woman) in the top level of single-seaters,” Calderon, 29, said. “I think sometimes you have to see it to believe it, for the young generation to say I want to be in IndyCar, because there are females that can compete against men in a very competitive championship.

“I hope that together we can keep that momentum going and to see more females starting also in single-seaters because at the end that’s what we need. It’s a circle, so hopefully there will be more and more joining us in the future, and we can stay and represent women in the best possible way.”

Before leaving IndyCar nine years ago, de Silvestro noted she finished ahead of Josef Newgarden, who would sign with Penske a few years later and win two championships.

“In 2013 I was really kind of at the top where I should be,” she said. “I was really competing up front in IndyCar. To be honest, there wasn’t really an opportunity to go into a bigger team. I think that still is something that we need to fight for. I think if we are able to be really competitive, I think the last 10 years things have changed a lot, that there is in a sense more people willing to maybe take a risk. I think it’s still a bit of a work in progress.

“I think we still need to prove that every weekend we can be running up front and get those results. Hopefully that will even push more opportunities for women to really be at the top level in racing.”

AUTO: MAY 24 IndyCar - Tatiana Calderon Photo Shoot
Tatiana Calderon has five IndyCar starts this season with a best finish of 15th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

Said Calderon: “We need more opportunities with more females starting. It’s a long process. I think it’s been changing, but not at the speed we would like it to change.

“I think we still need that big opportunity. Look at Formula 1 as well, 45 years since a female was on the grid, right? In Formula 2 there has not been that many. We still need to get more opportunities at all levels, not just as drivers. I definitely see people want female drivers more and more, to give us more opportunities. Hopefully we will see them in the upcoming years. But, it’s a long process.”

Corporate support is a necessity.

“In racing definitely money makes a big difference,” de Silvestro said. “If you have sponsors that are really helping teams that also really want to see you successful, I think that will really I think push things forward.

“At the end you need to get the right shot, you need to get people behind you who really want to support you. I think as a female driver, we do get the opportunities, but I think also sometimes it’s really quick when we have a bit of a bad season (to) get dropped.”

Road America will be the first road or street course race in IndyCar for de Silvestro since the 2015 season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Series champion Alex Palou is the defending winner of Sunday’s race and is a solid candidate to continue the parade of drivers to victory lane. There have been six winners in seven races this season as well as seven different pole-sitters (the first time since 2018 that a season opened with seven pole-sitters in the first seven races).

Here are the details and IndyCar start times for the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America (all times are ET):


SONSIO GRAND PRIX AT ROAD AMERICA INDYCAR START TIMES

TV: Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and streaming on Peacock, the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com. Leigh Diffey is the announcer with analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Marty Snider, Kevin Lee and Dave Burns are the pit reporters. Click here for the full NBC Sports schedule for IndyCar in 2022.

Peacock also will be the streaming broadcast for both practices and qualifying.

COMMAND TO START ENGINES: 12:48 p.m. ET

GREEN FLAG: 12:55 p.m. ET

POSTRACE SHOW ON PEACOCK: After the race’s conclusion, an exclusive postrace show will air on Peacock with driver interviews, postrace analysis and the podium presentation. To watch the extended postrace show, click over to the special stream on Peacock after Sunday’s race ends.

Peacock also will be the streaming broadcast for practices and qualifying. The race also will be streamed on Peacock (in addition to the NBC Sports App/NBCSports.com streams and the NBC broadcast).

PRACTICE: Friday, 4:25 p.m. (Peacock Premium); Saturday, 10:45 a.m. (Peacock Premium); 5:20 p.m. (Peacock Premium)

PRACTICE RESULTSSession I l Session II l Final practice l Combined

QUALIFYING: Saturday, 1:45 p.m. (Peacock Premium)

STARTING LINEUP: Click here to see where the 27 drivers will start Sunday

RACE DISTANCE: The race is 55 laps (222.64 miles) on a 14-turn, 4.048-mile road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate for use during the race weekend. One additional set of primary tires may be used by teams fielding a rookie driver. Teams must use one set of primary and one set of new (sticker) alternate tires for at least two laps in the race.

PUSH TO PASS: Two hundred seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation. The push-to-pass is not available on the initial start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. The feature increases the power of the engine by approximately 60 horsepower. Indy Lights: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation.

FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 69 degrees with a 22% chance of rain at the green flag.

ENTRY LIST: Click here to view the 27 drivers racing Sunday at Road America. Callum Ilott returns in the No. 77 Dallara-Chevrolet of Juncos-Hollinger Racing after missing a race with an injured hand.

INDY LIGHTS RACE: Sunday, 9:40 a.m., 20 laps/80.96 miles or 55 minutes (Peacock Premium)

INDY LIGHTS ENTRY LIST: Click here for the 14 drivers entered.


SONSIO GRAND PRIX AT ROAD AMERICA WEEKEND START TIMES

(All times are Eastern)

Friday, June 10

9 a.m.: USF2000 practice

9:45 a.m.: Indy Pro 2000 practice

10 a.m.:  IndyCar garage opens

10:30 a.m.: Radical Cup practice

11:30 a.m.: USF2000 qualifying

12:15 p.m.: Indy Pro 2000 qualifying

1:45 p.m.: Radical Cup qualifying

2:30 p.m.: USF2000 qualifying

3:30 p.m.: Indy Lights practice

4:25 p.m.: IndyCar practice

5:55 p.m.: Radical Cup race, Race 1

Saturday, June 11

8 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

9 a.m.: Indy Pro 2000 qualifying

9:45 a.m.: Indy Lights practice

10:45 a.m.: IndyCar practice

Noon: USF2000, Race 1

1 p.m.: Indy Lights qualifying

1:45 p.m.: IndyCar qualifying

3:15 p.m.: Indy Pro, Race 1

4:20 p.m.: USF2000, Race 2

5:20 p.m.: IndyCar practice

6:05 p.m.: Radical Cup, Race 2

Sunday, June 12

8 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

9:30 a.m.: Indy Pro 2000, Race 2

10:40 a.m.: Indy Lights race

12:10 p.m.: IndyCar driver introductions

12:30 p.m.: NBC broadcast begins for the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America (55 laps, 222.64 miles)

3:15 p.m.: Radical Cup, Race 3

The Thermal Club wants an IndyCar race, and series executives liked its initial impact at test

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THERMAL, Calif. – Many teams in the NTT IndyCar Series questioned the relevancy of having a two-day preseason test at The Thermal Club.

The team owners, drivers and engineers believed the 17-turn, 3.067-mile race course that winds and twists its way through a gated private community (about 45 minutes southeast of Palm Springs) had no relevance to any track on the 17-race schedule.

To the leaders of IndyCar, however, there was plenty of relevance to hosting its “Spring Training” at a sort of motorsports country club that caters to extremely wealthy residents who also are automotive enthusiasts.

“Both with our stakeholders and the media that covers IndyCar, we wanted them to know that we are going to do things differently,” Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles told NBC Sports from the private VIP viewing area that overlooks the long straights and twisting turns of the course. “This is going to be a year when we expect our growth to go to a whole new level.

“What better way to send that message than to be at a place we have never been that is exceptional?

“The quality of this place; the facilities are off the charts. The customer service, the welcoming feeling you get from the staff here. The track itself is fast. The drivers are having a great time on it.

FRIDAY SPEEDSThird session l Fourth session l Combined

‘AN AMAZING PLACE’: IndyCar and its big plans for Thermal

“It really sent a message to our other promoters and our drivers and team owners that something is up. We want fans around the country and the sports industry to know that something is going on with IndyCar this year.”

The Thermal Club is a concept driven by Tim Rogers, who made his fortune by supplying gasoline to 7-Eleven stores in 36 states. He wanted to create a private community that mixed multimillion-dollar homes and luxury villas with a high-speed race course.

The two-day IndyCar “Spring Training” was the most ambitious motorsports project yet for The Thermal Club.

Rogers wants it to be the first step in a long-term goal for the community.

“Our endgame is we want to host an IndyCar Series race at The Thermal Club one day,” Rogers told NBC Sports as IndyCar hit the track again Friday morning. “This was a good trial to see how the facility can handle it and if the facility works for them.”

Felix Rosenqvist makes laps in the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Dallara-Chevrolet during the first day of NTT IndyCar Series testing (Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY Sports Images).

The two-day test was closed to the general public. It was open only to credentialed news media, members of the Thermal Club and a limited number of their guests.

With the spectacular backdrop of the Coachella Valley that is rimmed with snow-capped mountains, The Thermal Club could provide a great setting for an NBC telecast of an IndyCar Series race (and possibly line up a big sponsor for a return on its investment with a larger than normal audience during a ripe time such as the first weekend of February).

NASCAR is using that same model Sunday at the Los Angeles Coliseum by hosting the Busch Light Clash. The National Football League’s AFC and NFC Championship games were last weekend and next Sunday is the Super Bowl.

“That could work, but we have room where we could separate the public and the private members area, too,” Rogers said. “We could accommodate 4,000 or so of the general public.

“This would be a premium event for a premium crowd.”


Rogers’ dream of The Thermal Club began 11 years ago. He will talk to IndyCar about a return for Spring Training next year with hopes of getting a date on the schedule for 2025.

“Whatever fits,” Rogers said.

Miles and Penske Entertainment, the owners of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Indianapolis 500, realize Rogers has an ambitious dream of getting a race on the schedule.

Miles, however, isn’t ready to indicate that a race at Thermal is part of IndyCar’s future (though drivers seem open to the concept).

“Tim and everybody at The Thermal Club have done a phenomenal job of being hosts here for this test,” Miles said. “Everybody is very happy we are here, and I expect we will find a way to continue to be here. Whether that means a race and when is really a bridge we aren’t ready to cross yet.

“We really like opening the championship season each year in St. Petersburg, Florida. We’ll have to see. But it’s a great way to start the season in this way, and right now, we are happy to be here.”

Indycar Series Test - Day 1
Defending IndyCar champion Will Power takes laps at The Thermal Club during the first day of the track’s first test (Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images).

On track, it was a successful two-day test session with 27 car/driver combinations that will compete in IndyCar in 2023. It’s the largest field for IndyCar since the 1990s. There were a few spins here and there but no major incidents across 2,560 laps.

Kyle Kirkwood led the final session Friday while getting acquainted with his new No. 27 team at Andretti Autosport. Kirkwood has replaced Alexander Rossi at Andretti, whom Kirkwood drove for in Indy Lights.

His time of 1 minute, 38.827 seconds (111.721 mph) around the 3.067-mile road course was the fastest of the fourth and final session. But the fastest speed over two days was defending Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing in the Friday morning session (1:38.4228, 112.182 mph in the No. 8 Honda).

Callum Ilott of Juncos Hollinger Racing was second in the final session at 1:38.8404 (111.707 mph) in the No. 77 Chevrolet. Rookie Marcus Armstrong of New Zealand was third at 1:38.8049 (111.707 mph) in the No. 11 Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing. Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing was fourth at 1:38.8718 (111.672 mph) in the No. 10. Defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Will Power of Team Penske rounded out the top five at 1:38.9341 (111.602 mph) in the No. 12 Chevrolet.

Ericsson was the fastest in combined times followed by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard at 1:38.5682 in the No. 45 Honda, Kirkwood, Ilott and Armstrong. Positions 3-5 speeds were from the final practice session on Friday.

Indycar Series Test - Day 1
With members’ houses in the background, Romain Grosjean navigates the turns of The Thermal Club in his No. 28 Dallara-Honda (Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images).

Drivers didn’t know what to expect before hitting the track. After the two-day test was over, NBC Sports asked several drivers what they learned from The Thermal Club.

“I think it’s a first-class facility, no doubt,” two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden of Team Penske said. “I think the entire facility here at Thermal really rolled out the red carpet for us. They did a tremendous job.

“It was a fairly flawless test, I would say, for two days. I think the great thing about this was we had a two-day test, which was fantastic. You got to have this warmup; this preseason build. That was the biggest positive for me, is that we were here, we were running cars. It was a great facility to do it at.

IndyCar Thermal Club test
Josef Newgarden said his No. 2 team (which has a new lead engineer) used The Thermal Club test as an opportunity for building cohesion (Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images).
Indycar Series Test - Day 2
Josef Newgarden (Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images).

“I think the track was a lot more fun than we anticipated. It was challenging, definitely technical. I don’t know how relevant it is. For us, it wasn’t really relevant to anywhere we’re going, but that’s OK.”

But even though the track has no sector particularly similar to any road or street course on the schedule, there still were benefits.

“In a lot of ways, it is relevant,” Newgarden said. “For us it was relevant for building the team up, trying to work in a competitive environment, be competitive together. That’s everything. So regardless of is the setup going to apply to a certain track or another, (it) doesn’t really matter.

“For us, it was applying the principles of how we’re going to work together. From that standpoint, it was very productive for everybody. Raceability-wise, it’s hard to say. It was chewing tires up. Big drop-off from run one to two. I think from a race standpoint, that would be quite positive. You’d have big tire deg here.

“You’d have to do more work on runoff areas if we wanted to race here, but it’s possible. I don’t think it would take much effort to do the things to run an actual race.”


Indycar Series Test - Day 1
Will Power (Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

Kirkwood found speed in his Andretti Autosport machine, but he used the test to create a smooth working relationship with his new crew.

“I wouldn’t say that we found something here that is going to translate to anywhere, right?” the 2021 Indy Lights champion said. “This is a very unique track, although it was a lot of fun to drive, and it kind of surprised me in the amount of grip that it actually produced.

“It was quite a bit faster than what we expected.”

Many of the NTT IndyCar Series teams will test later this month at Sebring, Florida, as they prepare for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg to kick off the season March 5.

“It’s a very nice facility, a nice area, it’s pretty cool to have two days of testing here with a lot of high-profile people,” two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Will Power of Team Penske told NBC Sports. “It’s a very technical, tough track.

“It’s pretty good.”

Indycar Series Test - Day 2
IndyCar drivers turns laps on the second day of testing at The Thermal Club, which is nestled in the Coachella Valley that is ringed by mountains in Southern California (Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images).

The Thermal Club received rave reviews, welcomed IndyCar and provided exposure to the movers and shakers of the business community that own the luxury villas and homes in this ultra-rich community.

Could it be a venue of the future for a series that sells lifestyle as much as on-track competition?

“This is a fantastic facility and the circuit is a fast circuit,” team owner Bobby Rahal told NBC Sports. “It’s pretty exciting to watch the cars run around here. I think it would be attractive to people.

“I’ll leave that up to Mark Miles and (IndyCar President) Jay Frye and everybody else whether we have a race here, but why not?

“It’s a great place.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500