PPG 375: Weekend Preview

By: Spencer Neff
March 31, 2023

After four weeks away, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES continues their 2023 season this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

The 1.5-mile oval will host its 36th race as the series continues its partnership with the series. TMS is the only track aside from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to host a race in each year since then.

With Texas as the first of five oval events on four tracks in 2023, here’s a look at some pre-race news items.

Headlines

Following an eventful race, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson opened 2023 with a victory, taking the lead when Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward suffered a mechanical issue, dropping him to second.

This weekend, the 2022 Indianapolis 500 winner returns to where he earned his first career oval podium in last year’s race.

The entry list for the PPG 375 offers two notable changes from the season opener in St. Petersburg.

Takuma Sato will pilot the No. 11 Chip Ganassi Racing entry, as he is scheduled to run the oval events while Marcus Armstrong competes on the road and street courses.

In 15 previous appearances (did not start in 2020) at Texas, Sato earned a best finish of fifth in Race 1 of the 2011 doubleheader with KV Racing (7th in 2018 with Rahal in the full event). In 2019, Sato earned the pole at Texas with RLLR.

Ericsson notched his fourth career victory on March 5 (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

As a team, Ganassi has won seven times at Texas but only twice with drivers other than Scott Dixon (Jeff Ward in 2002 and Dario Franchitti in 2011-Race 1).

In addition to Sato, Owner/Driver Ed Carpenter will make his 2023 debut in the No.33 car as he looks to repeat his 2014 win at Texas, alongside Ed Carpenter Racing drivers Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay.

This year’s race will feature an extra two laps from the 248 that was run from 2014-2022 (except for 2020 and 2021-Race 1).

Following last year’s race, in which Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden made a Turn 4 pass on the final lap around teammate Scott McLaughlin to win for the second time at TMS, the added distance could be pivotal in the outcome on Sunday.

McLaughlin is still in search of his first oval victory.

Pit Assignments

Spotter Guide

PPG 375 Fast Facts 

Newgarden repeated his 2019 effort at TMS, winning from seventh on the grid in 2022 (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Race weekend: Saturday, April 1-Sunday, April 2

Track: Texas Motor Speedway, a 1.5-mile oval

Race distance: 250 laps/375 miles

Firestone tire allotment: Eleven sets primary to be used during practice, qualifying and therace. An extra set will be available to cars participating in the high-line practice session.

Twitter: @TXMotorSpeedway @INDYCAR, #PPG375, #INDYCAR

Instagram: @TXMotorSpeedway, @INDYCAR, #PPG375, #INDYCAR

Facebook: @TexasMotorSpeedway, @INDYCAR, #INDYCAR

TikTok: @txmotorspeedway, @INDYCAR, #INDYCAR

YouTube: @INDYCAR

Event website: http://www.TexasMotorSpeedway.com

INDYCAR website: http://www.indycar.com

2022 race winner: Josef Newgarden (No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet)

2022 NTT P1 Award winner: Felix Rosenqvist (No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet), 46.8906seconds, 221.110 mph

Qualifying record (based on track distance of 1.44 miles)

One lap: Charlie Kimball, 23.2730, 222.747 mph, June 9, 2017

Two laps: Charlie Kimball, 46.5861, 222.556 mph, June 9, 2017

NBC Sports race telecast: Noon (ET) Sunday, April 2, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, alongside analystsTownsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Marty Snider and Dave Burns are the pit reporters.

Peacock Live Streaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions, qualifying and raceswill stream live on Peacock, NBC’s direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the anchor alongside driver analyst Davey Hamilton. Nick Yeoman is the turn announcer. Jake Query, Michael Young and GeorgiaHenneberry are the pit reporters.

The PPG 375 race and all NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying sessions air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM INDYCAR Nation 160 andSiriusXM NBC Sports Audio 85 (Race only), racecontrol.indycar.com and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.

At-track schedule (All times local/Central Time):

Saturday, April 1

8-8:10 a.m. NTT INDYCAR SERIES two-stage pit speed limiter practice

8:10-9 a.m. NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, Peacock

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (Single car, Two laps), Peacock

12:45-1:15 p.m. NTT INDYCAR SERIES high-line session (two groups/15 minutes), Peacock

1:30-2:30 p.m. NTT INDYCAR SERIES final practice (all cars), Peacock

Sunday, April 2

11 a.m. NBC on air

11:10 a.m. “Drivers, start your engines”

11:15 a.m. PPG 375 (250 laps / 375 miles), NBC (Live)

Header Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR and Fast Facts By INDYCAR

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