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.
“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.”
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)
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