The Indianapolis 500 is not a one-weekend event. The drivers are already in Indianapolis with work to do before the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The GMR Grand Prix will take place on Saturday with the green flag waving at 2:30 p.m. ET.
The GMR Grand Prix is a road course inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that kicks off the buildup to the big race on the Sunday before Memorial Day. There were three Grand Prix events at Indianapolis in 2020 because of schedule changes due to COVID-19.
Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden and Will Power all won in 2020 and will be back to defend their crown on Saturday.
Details of the Track
There are ovals and road course in IndyCar. Most of the races occur on road courses. Therefore, the drivers should feel at ease racing the GMR Grand Prix.
The drivers get out on segments of turns one and two of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for one part of the race, but most of the driving occurs on the infield of the main track. There are 85 laps on the 2.439-mile track, totaling 207.32 miles of driving.
There are 14 total turns in the GMR Grand Prix, creating some problematic driving situations for the racers. The starting grid will be finalized on Friday when qualifying occurs from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. ET.
Some names you should look for at the top of the list after qualifying are Scott Dixon, Graham Rahal and Simon Pagenaud.
Herta Seeking Back-to-Back Grand Prix Wins
The last two races in the NTT IndyCar Series took place at Texas Motor Speedway on an oval track. The previous road course was the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and Colton Herta claimed that victory.
Herta, one of the best young drivers in the sport, dominated the Firestone Grand Prix by leading 97 of 100 laps. He beat Newgarden by two seconds. Herta displayed fantastic driving all afternoon in St. Petersburg, holding off a surging Newgarden throughout the race.
In the three road course races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2020, Herta was exceptional. He never claimed a victory, but he finished fourth twice and sixth once.
Nobody Better than Dixon
Winning races in IndyCar is the goal for all drivers. Nevertheless, a driver cannot win every race they compete in during the year. Dixon, a former GMR Grand Prix winner, has defined consistency this season.
After four races, he has jumped out to a substantial lead in the NTT IndyCar Series standings with a 22-point lead over Pato O’Ward, who is in second place. Dixon has one win at the Genesys 300 and has not finished outside of the top five in any event.
His Genesys 300 victory came at the Texas Motor Speedway on an oval. He is still looking for his first road win in 2021 and he is the favorite to win this Saturday. Dixon finished third in the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama and fifth in the Firestone Grand Prix.
He has not led a lap on a road course in 2021, but I expect this to change on a track that he feels very comfortable inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It’s hard to bet against the best driver in the sport. The race does not matter because the defending series champion always performs.