In advance of their return appearance at the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 in Madison later this month, the stars of the NTT IndyCar Series take to the track this weekend at an inaugural event in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix takes place Sunday with a 4:45 p.m. green flag start on NBC Sports.
The excitement of the first-time race will see drivers tackle an 11-turn, 2.17-mile temporary street course that winds its way through the city and across the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge for 80 laps. The field of 27 will be set following Saturday afternoon’s qualification round.
Sunday’s feature is the eleventh stop of IndyCar’s 16-event docket this season. After this weekend, the series makes a trek to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 14 for a road course race and then continues to World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 on Saturday, August 21.
Through ten IndyCar events this season, eight different drivers have collected checkered flags, which has resulted in a lot of parity within the standings.
With two victories this season, driver Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing) currently holds the lead in points (384) over Pato O’ Ward (Arrow McLaren SP) who also has a pair of wins and trails by 39 points (345).
“I’m super excited for Nashville,” said Palou. “It’s the first time for everybody there and it looks like an awesome track. We hope to have a good time there and score a lot of points.”
Meanwhile, defending series champ Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) sits third in points (328) and aims to claim his second win of the season.
“It’s definitely an interesting circuit,” Dixon said. “Going over water on a bridge. Very long straights and very tight sections. There’s a lot of big names coming there.”
A primary pilot to watch this weekend is two-time IndyCar champ Josef Newgarden (Team Penske), who currently sits fourth in points (315) after picking up his first win of the season at the series’ last race at Mid-Ohio.
Marcus Ericsson (Chip Ganassi Racing), Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport), Rinus Veekay (Ed Carpenter Racing) and Helio Castroneves (Meyer Shank Racing) have also claimed wins this season and look for forward momentum.
For more info on the series, visit indycar.com.