Race Preview: GMR Grand Prix



Posted on 05/11/2023

Race Preview: GMR Grand Prix

Chip Ganassi Racing enters the celebrated Month of May as the current points leader and defending Indianapolis 500 winners.

They’ll look to continue their momentum at the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course on Saturday, May 13.

Marcus Ericsson and the No. 8 Honda crew sit atop the standings thanks to a win at St. Petersburg, two podium appearances and a top-10 finish across all four races.

CGR has been formidable yet again to kick off the season, with their No. 10 and No. 8 teams ranking 1-2 respectively in terms of the highest average finishing positions (Palou: 5.25; Ericsson: 5.5) across the paddock.

The team will tackle the 2.349-mile, 14-turn road course, where they have won once before (Dixon: 2020) and claimed five total podiums.

Catch coverage of Saturday's race on NBC from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. ET.

Marcus Ericsson (No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda): "I'm really excited for the GMR Grand Prix. The Month of May has officially started and to come as the defending Indianapolis 500 champions and the championship leader in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES feels amazing. This road course race is an important one. You're bringing that momentum to the speedway and we're feeling good. We had some good stuff that we tried over the winter that should make us stronger at this type of track. I'm really looking forward to it, though the weather might also play a factor from the forecast. Really excited to be back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and be racing in Indianapolis."

The points leader has earned his keep atop the leaderboard, as he is one of just three drivers to finish on the podium in half (2) of the season races thus far.

Ericsson exhibited fierce driving abilities across the two races at the IMS Road Course last season. He generated a net gain of +28 positions in those races, the most by any driver across the field. In the first race on the calendar, he led 10 laps and produced a P4 result after a starting position of P18. In the second race, he finished P11 after starting in P25.

Alex Palou (No. 10 American Legion Honda): "I'm very happy with how we started this year. Obviously, there are places you want to improve and things you can do better. But the team has been outstanding and we've always been there fighting. It's the Month of May, the best month for our INDYCAR community. We're all excited and we've been strong at both the Indy road course and the Indianapolis 500. We started second last year at the May race and didn't have the best result with it being such a crazy race, but this year we'll be ready for everything and can hopefully have a great start to our May 2023."

The 2021 champion has finished top-five in three of the four races, tied for the most among the field.

Palou has also been among the best qualifiers this season with an average starting position of 5.0, which ranks third among all drivers. He has advanced to the Firestone Fast 6 in each of the past two races.

Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Honda): "Definitely looking forward to the Indy GP. It's a great way to kick off the Month of May entering a different kind of pressure with the 500. It's a fun, family-friendly weekend and I'm looking forward to getting on track. We've had fast cars all year and hopefully we get a great qualifying, have a great race and get after it."

The six-time champion has found plenty of success at the IMS Road Course, earning one win (2020) and four podiums (3rd-most in track history). He is also one of just two drivers to complete every available lap throughout the 13 INDYCAR races at the track (1,071 laps) and has recorded a top-10 finish in 11 of those 13 races.

Dixon has demonstrated superb qualifying pace this season, advancing to the Firestone Fast 6 in three of the four races this season (1 of 3 drivers to do so). His average qualifying result of 5.25 ranks fourth across all INDYCAR drivers.

Marcus Armstrong (No. 11 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda): "Haven't driven on the Indianapolis road course yet. It's a new track for me, but it's one of those more European-style circuits. The weather is looking quite unpredictable, which will be fun. I haven't driven one of these cars in the wet before obviously, nor have I driven the Firestone wet tire. But, I feel like I have done quite a bit of wet driving before racing a lot in Italy and the U.K., which is almost always seemingly wet. It's going to be fun if it does rain, but hoping the visibility will be a bit better than last year. I think that we had a good race at Barber. If we can sort out our qualifying and start further up, we can do some good things and that's what we're targeting."

Armstrong leads all rookies with 62 points despite racing in only road and street course races. He recently became the first driver since reunification in 2008 to finish top-11 (or top-12) in each of his first three career INDYCAR SERIES starts (St. Petersburg: P11; Long Beach: P8; Barber: P11).

The Kiwi has quickly adapted to the series and boasts the 7th-best average finishing position (10.0) among all drivers.