Josef Newgarden to Romain Grosjean after Nashville collision: ‘Welcome to IndyCar’

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Josef Newgarden had no apologies for Romain Grosjean but does have some admonitions for the younger set in the NTT IndyCar Series after another wild Music City Grand Prix.

The hometown favorite finished sixth on the 11-turn, 2.1-mile street course after emerging on the more favorable side of a Turn 9 collision with Romain Grosjean on a Lap 76 restart.

Grosjean, who battled through the corner for position after Newgarden’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet dove underneath, wound up in the wall with his No. 28 Dallara-Honda. The Andretti Autosport driver gestured angrily multiple times about the wreck, waving his arms at Newgarden’s car under caution.

COMEBACK HISTORY: Scott Dixon wins wild Music City Grand Prix

“Welcome to IndyCar; it gets tight,” Newgarden told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after watching the replay and deciding his move was fair. “He’s been on a worse end of that. I don’t know what to tell him. Good thing I was ahead. That’s the biggest thing. You’re going to want to be ahead of this guy at this type of moment, but yep, it’s tight street course racing.

“Let me tell you what: I about got taken out six times myself. I probably need to have some discussion with some of the younger guys, but they’re aggressive. They’re very aggressive and if you’re not aggressive back, then you get run over. That’s IndyCar racing. You’ve got to learn that pretty quick. I don’t like it, but that’s the game that we’re in.”

Last year’s inaugural Nashville race had produced nine caution flags, and drivers had predicted a smoother affair after IndyCar moved the restart zone to the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge entering Turn 9.

But the collision between Grosjean and Newgarden was one of several shunts throughout the Lap 80 race, which still produced eight cautions, a red flag and piles of damaged front wings and carbon fiber.

Grosjean also made contact with Marcus Ericsson, leading to a snippy postrace sequence on social media between the Formula One veterans. Ericsson, who finished 14th because of a mechanical failure, also retweeted a suggestion that Grosjean applied a double standard.

It’s not the first time the Frenchman has been in the middle of controversial contact this season after feuding with teammate Alexander Rossi at Mid-Ohio and with Graham Rahal (who suggested several IndyCar drivers were unhappy with Grosjean) after Barber Motorsports Park.

Later Sunday night on Twitter, Newgarden took on many Grosjean defenders and suggested the Andretti Autosport driver had been guilty of rougher driving.

Newgarden, who grew up and resides in Nashville, led 12 laps in trying to win with an off-sequence three-stop strategy, but the Team Penske driver remained in title contention. The two-time series champion is ranked fourth, 32 points behind teammate Will Power, with three races remaining.

“Ultimately we had a big fight back with the PPG car and Team Chevy,” said Newgarden, who has a series-high four wins. “That’s all I can say. This has been a really frustrating year in a lot of ways and the way it’s built. We’ve won a lot of races. We’ve had a ton of good luck. All thanks to the team and the effort they’ve put in, but more than not, we’re either winning the race, or things are completely going against us one way or another.

“So it’s built frustration for me because it’s hard to see that happen for this crew when they work so hard. I hate it, too. I’m very competitive, and it happens a couple of times a year where things don’t go your way. It’s part of the luck, but it’s just happened one too many times, and today was another unlucky day with just the way the whole thing played out, and you just can’t predict these races. It’s part of the game, but it can be frustrating at times.”

2023 MotoGP schedule announced, highlighted by trips to India and Kazakhstan

2023 MotoGP schedule
Hasan Bratic / Getty Images
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A new opening venue and the addition of two Grands Prix in India and Kazakhstan will highlight the 2023 MotoGP schedule.

The 2023 MotoGP season will kick off March 24th with the opening round in Portugal instead of the typical trip to Qatar. Work on the Losail International Circuit pushed their date back to the penultimate weekend after the series finishes a series of races around the Pacific Rim.

Following Portugal, MotoGP heads to Argentina and the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas for their only visit to the United States before heading back to Europe for most of the next 10 rounds.

Interrupting the long European stint will be the series’ first visit to the Sokol International Circuit in Kazakhstan on July 7, 2023. The traditional summer break will be three weeks and then MotoGP heads to England for the British GP in August.

After three more European rounds at Austria, Catalunya and San Marino, the second new date on the calendar will come on the 16-turn, Buddh International Circuit for a September 24 race date. Both the India and Kazakhstan races are subject to homologation and approval by the circuit.

The next six races will be held in Asia and Oceania before Qatar and Valencia close out the schedule.

“We’re very proud to announce that Buddh International Circuit will be on the 2023 calendar,” said Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna, which manages the series. “We have a lot of fans in India and we’re excited to be able to bring the sport to them.

“India is also a key market for the motorcycle industry and therefore, by extension, for MotoGP as the pinnacle of the two-wheeled world. We very much look forward to racing at Buddh International Circuit and can’t wait to welcome the fans through the gates to see this incredible sport in person.”

One of two new races announced for 2022, in Finland, did not materialize this season and has not been added to the 2023 MotoGP schedule. In addition, the Aragon GP has been removed to keep the rounds at 21.

2023 Provisional Schedule

Portugal GP, Algarve, March 26
Argentina GP, Termas de Río Hondo, April 2
American GP, Circuit of the Americas, April 16
Spanish GP, Jerez, April 30
French GP, Le Mans, May 14
Italian GP, Mugello, June 11
German GP, Sachsenring, June 18
Dutch GP, Assen, June 25
Kazakhstan GP, Sokol, July 9 *
British GP, Silverstone, August 6
Austrian GP, Red Bull Ring, August 20
Catalan GP, Catalunya, September 3
San Marino GP, Misano, September 10
Indian GP, Buddh, September 24 *
Japanese GP, Motegi, October 1
Indonesia GP, Mandalika Street Circuit, October 15
Australian GP, Philip Island, October 22
Thailand GP, Chang International Circuit, October 29
Malaysian GP, Sepang, November 12
Qatar GP, Losail International Circuit, November 19
Valencia GP, Ricardo Tormo, November 26

* subject to approval