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Fans Should Gear Up for Action-Packed Season of Variety at IMS

Friday, January 6, 2023 Curt Cavin

An image of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's famed Gate 1 at sunrise

There are still more than 100 days before the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, but the countdown is on with the calendar having flipped to 2023. The Racing Capital of the World is prepping for one of its biggest years yet, so here is a primer to warm your racing heart.

There are still more than 100 days before the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, but the countdown is on with the calendar having flipped to 2023. Sooner than we realize, 33 engines will roar to life on Sunday, May 28, and the green flag will drop for another memorable afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Home of the 500.

The Racing Capital of the World is prepping for one of its biggest years yet, with the IMSA sports car race added to a sensational lineup that includes the NTT INDYCAR SERIES staging three races, NASCAR returning with its Cup and Xfinity Series, SVRA showcasing historical action, USAC back with the Driven2SaveLives BC39 midget race and a sports car race to end the year.

The following is a primer to warm your racing heart:

First, the Oval Test: It’s become something of a rite of spring to have the NTT INDYCAR SERIES take to the famed 2.5-mile oval for a pre-May test. This year, that session is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, April 20-21, and all the “500” participants are expected to participate, led by 2022 winner Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing.

GMR Grand Prix Leads Off: The open test has a way of focusing attention on the “500,” but the first NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at IMS is the GMR Grand Prix road race, first held in 2014. Last year’s race was one of the more interesting events of the season as the competitors slogged through ever-changing conditions due to sporadic rain. Colton Herta had that remarkable save of a slide and went on to score his seventh career series victory after starting 14th. He called it “the hardest race I’ve ever done.” Simon Pagenaud, a three-time winner of the event, finished second, with Ericsson charging from the 18th starting position to grab the third spot on the podium.

Ah, the Indy 500: There’s nothing like “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” is there? Another huge crowd will gather on Race Day as the Month of May again features nearly a week of practice, two days of PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying on Saturday and Sunday, May 20-21, Miller Lite Carb Day on Friday, May 26, Legends Day presented by Firestone on Saturday, May 27 and concerts through the weekend to set the stage for the 500-mile race that dates to 1911. Remember the driver switches to watch for: Alexander Rossi and Tony Kanaan to Arrow McLaren Racing, Kyle Kirkwood to Andretti Autosport, Santino Ferrucci and rookie Benjamin Pedersen to AJ Foyt Racing, and Stefan Wilson at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, among others.

SVRA Returns in June: Father’s Day weekend can be spent at IMS as more than 300 of the world’s most exceptional vintage race cars compete in 12 different classes. Sanctioned by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational is June 17-18.

August Looks Different: NASCAR returns to IMS in the eighth month of the year for just the second time since 2006 as the Cup and Xfinity Series reunite with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for an action-packed weekend Aug. 11-13. This will be the third year for the event to be staged exclusively on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. As a refresher, AJ Allmendinger won last year’s Xfiniity Series race, the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard, to become the first driver to win on the IMS road course in NASCAR’s top two divisions. Tyler Reddick won last year’s thrilling Verizon 200 at the Brickyard for the Cup Series while Alexander Rossi broke his three-year INDYCAR SERIES drought by winning the Gallagher Grand Prix.

IMSA Back to Indy: A full weekend of sports car racing takes place on the road course Sept. 15-17 as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship stages the Battle on the Bricks. The two-hour, 40-minute feature event will take place that Sunday, with live NBC network television coverage. Eighteen different manufacturers compete in IMSA, making it a festival showcasing the pinnacle of sports car racing. In addition to Sunday’s WeatherTech Championship race, the Michelin Pilot Challenge will headline Saturday’s action with a four-hour, bumper-to-bumper traffic jam of production-based race cars.

Standalone USAC Race at IMS: A chance to kiss the bricks at the Speedway is what USAC National Midget champion Buddy Kofoid experienced last year by winning the Driven2SaveLives BC39 presented by WeatherTech on The Dirt Track at IMS. Kofoid is again expected to ride the cushion along with his fellow short-track stars and ringers from other motorsports series. Different this year: The event honoring the late Bryan Clauson for the fifth time will expand to four nights and be spotlighted as a standalone event Sept. 27-30.

Sports Cars Return: IMS will cap its season by hosting the Indianapolis 8 Hour event, an Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli sports car championship race Oct. 6-8 in conjunction with its North American series, GT World Challenge America.

Ticket Time: Tickets for all of these great events are available at