Race Preview: Barber Motorsports Park
Posted on 04/27/2023
Chip Ganassi Racing will set out to maintain its championship lead and secure another victory on the year at INDYCAR’s maiden road course race this weekend at Baber Motorsports Park.
Marcus Ericsson kicked off the season on a high note by holding the championship points lead (15-points advantage) through the first three races in the No. 8 Honda.
CGR has been a model of consistency, as its drivers rank top-3 in most top-10's since the beginning of last season. Over the span of those last 20 races, Scott Dixon has posted 17 top-10's, while Alex Palou has 16 and Ericsson has 15.
While the team lays claim to 13 total podiums at Barber, they possess a single, but memorable, victory at the track. Palou captured the victory in his debut with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2021, signaling a momentous starting point for the team’s 14th INDYCAR championship.
Chip Ganassi Racing will compete on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course for 90 laps on Sunday, April 30. Coverage is available all weekend, with NBC airing Sunday’s race starting at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Marcus Ericsson (No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda): "Obviously, we've had a really strong start to the season leading in points going into Barber. It's the first road course of the year, which will be interesting. The Huski Chocolate Honda will be strong and I'm looking forward to it."
The points leader has been knocking on the door in search of his first career win on a road course. He has averaged the best finishing position (7.4) of any driver in the field over the past two seasons on such tracks.
Ericsson has displayed considerable improvement in his qualifying efforts, advancing to the Fast 6 in two of the three races on the year thus far.
Alex Palou (No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda): "Barber this weekend, a super special place for me. We won there my first INDYCAR race with the team and we've run really well there in the past. I'm looking forward to the first road course race of the year. We started the year really good and we will head into the month of May soon. The Ridgeline Lubricants car will look very good on track and we will see you there."
Palou has thrived at Barber, winning his CGR debut in his first race at the track in 2021, and then finishing P2 in 2022 – just 0.980 seconds behind the race winner.
He has been an extremely strong qualifier on road course races since joining Chip Ganassi Racing in 2021, posting the best average starting position (4.8) of any driver in that time. Palou has claimed nine podiums in 14 road course races with the team, also the most in the series across that span.
Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Honda): "It's been a great race for us in the past. Lots of podiums, but still haven't won at this place. I'll keep knocking at that door. We had a great test there and looking forward to getting back to the track. I think the race is going to be one of those great ones that we have and we will be going for the win."
The six-time champion returns to Barber Motorsports Park in search of his first career victory at the track, despite earning nine podiums in 12 starts. Dixon’s nine podiums are the most by any INDYCAR driver in track history, which is in fact more than two times the total of anyone else.
Dixon has demonstrated superb qualifying pace in 2023, pushing through to the top-12 in all three races and the Fast 6 in each of the past two.
Marcus Armstrong (No. 11 American Legion Honda): "Barber is a very cool track and quite similar to some European circuits that I have raced at in the past; fast and flowing, cambered corners. We tested there last month and it went quite well. I think the conditions will be different, but everything is in order to do a good job this weekend. We're still building momentum; it's still only my third INDYCAR race. There's still a lot to learn but I feel that this is the perfect track to go to next."
Marcus Armstrong is set to make his first career start at an INDYCAR road course, where he has advanced familiarity given his experience racing across similar circuits in Europe.
The Christchurch, New Zealand, native leads all rookies with 43 points despite competing exclusively in road and street course events. He produced a remarkable P8 finish in just his second career INDYCAR start after moving up into the top-10 on lap 27, where he maintained his position among the leading group for the remainder of the race.