IndyCar Road America start times: The NTT IndyCar Series returns to Road America with two women in the field for the first time in more than eight years.
With Tatiana Calderon (who will lead road and street racing for AJ Foyt Racing this season) and Simona de Silvestro in a Paretta Autosport entry, the Sonsio Grand Prix will be the first IndyCar race to feature multiple female drivers since the 2013 season finals ( with Pippa Mann and de Silvestro)
“I’m really happy to see another driver on the grid, to see women in motorsport,” said Calderon. “I think it’s great for the series, great for the sport. It’s another very competitive rider to join a grid that is already quite competitive. Yes, I’m looking forward to seeing Simona and competing against her this weekend and in the next few rounds.”
It’s been a long road for de Silvestro, who finished 13th in Houston in 2013, her last full-time season.
Since then, de Silvestro has competed in Formula E, sports cars and the Supercars series in Australia.
Aside from three starts in 2015 with Andretti Autosport, de Silvestro was mostly absent from IndyCar until her return to the Indy 500 with Paretta last year.
Road America will be the first of three planned starts this year for de Silvestro, who will also race in Mid-Ohio and Nashville with Paretta Autosport. After partnering with Team Penske last year, Beth Paretta’s team (which consists mostly of women in key positions) has formed a technical alliance with Ed Carpenter Racing.
“I think for the past seven years I’ve always tried to get back to IndyCar,” said de Silvestro, who drove full-time at IndyCar from 2011-2013. “To be honest it was really a struggle to get a place. I’m trying really hard to do it because I think IndyCar is something very special and something that really suits me where I really wanted to race.
“(Paretta) putting this program together, especially now that I’m racing more, I think it’s a really big step forward and hopefully we can really build on that and go full time. I’m super pumped. She is an amazing person. I wouldn’t be here without her. I think all the women involved are quite grateful to her for really fighting for this.”
Although women’s racing in IndyCar has been in decline in recent years, de Silvestro and Calderon are encouraged for the future.
“If you look at the junior series, I think you see a lot more female riders, which I think is very positive,” said de Silvestro. “But sure, we’re both in a top series, I think it can encourage more girls to drive and all that. I think it’s really important that we can compete in IndyCar.”
Growing up in Colombia, Calderon said she rooted for de Silvestro, Danica Patrick and Bia Figueiredo.
“It’s a shame we haven’t had a (woman) in the top tier of singles for a long time over the past few years,” said Calderon, 29. “I think sometimes you have to see it to believe it, so the young Generation says I want to be in IndyCar because there are women who can compete against men in a very competitive championship.
“I hope that together we can keep this momentum going and that more women will also start in singles because in the end that is what we need. It’s a circle so hopefully more will join us in the future and we can stay and represent women in the best possible way.”
Before leaving IndyCar nine years ago, de Silvestro noted that she finished ahead of Josef Newgarden, who would sign with Penske a few years later and win two championships.
“In 2013 I was really at the top of where I should be,” she said. “I was really up there with IndyCar. To be honest, there wasn’t really an option to move to a bigger team. I think that’s still something we have to fight for. I think if we are able to be really competitive things have changed a lot in the last 10 years that in a sense there are more people who are willing to maybe take a risk. I think it’s still a bit of a work in progress.
“I think we still have to prove that we can be up front every weekend and get those results. Hopefully this will create even more opportunities for women to really be at the highest level in racing.”
Calderon said: “We need more opportunities with more women on the grid. It’s a long process. I think it’s changed, but not at the speed we’d like.
“I think we still need this big chance. Look at Formula 1 too, 45 years since a woman was on the grid, right? There haven’t been that many in Formula 2. We need to get more opportunities at all levels, not just as drivers. I definitely see people wanting more and more female riders to give us more opportunities. Hopefully we’ll see them in the years to come. But it’s a long process.”
Business support is a necessity.
“Money definitely makes a big difference in racing,” said de Silvestro. “If you have sponsors that are really helping teams that you really want to see succeed as well, I think that’s going to really move things forward.
“In the end you have to get the right shot, you have to get people behind you who really want to support you. I think as a female driver we get the opportunities, but I also think that sometimes when we’re having a bit of a bad season it goes very quickly to (to) be dropped.”
Here are the details and IndyCar start times for the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America (all times are ET):
SONSIO GRAND PRIX AT ROAD AMERICA INDYCAR START TIMES
TV: Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and streaming on Peacock, the NBC Sports app and NBCSports.com. Leigh Diffey is the announcer with analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Marty Snider, Kevin Lee and Dave Burns are the pit reporters. Click here for NBC Sports’ full schedule for IndyCar in 2022.
Peacock will also be the streaming coverage for both practice and qualifying.
ORDER TO START ENGINES: 12:48 p.m. ET
GREEN FLAG: 12:55 p.m. ET
POSTRACE SHOW ON PEACOCK: After the race is over, an exclusive post-race show will be broadcast on Peacock featuring driver interviews, post-race analysis and the podium presentation. To watch the extended post-race show, click on the special stream on Peacock after Sunday’s race ends.
Peacock will also be the streaming broadcast for practice and qualifying. The race will also be streamed on Peacock (in addition to the NBC Sports App/NBCSports.com and NBC Show streams).
WORK OUT: Friday, 4:25 p.m. (Peacock Premium); Saturday, 10:45 am (Peacock Premium); 5:20 p.m. (Peacock Premium)
QUALIFICATION: Saturday, 1:45 p.m. (Peacock Premium)
RACETRACK: The race is 55 laps (222.64 miles) on a 14-turn, 4.048-mile street course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
TIRE BREAKDOWN: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate for use during race weekend. An additional set of primary tires may be used by teams using a rookie driver. Teams must use one set of primary tires and one set of new spare tires (stickers) for at least two laps in the race.
PRESS TO PASS: Two hundred seconds total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation. The push-to-pass is not available on the first start or restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a time trial. The function increases the power of the engine by about 60 hp. Indy Lights: 150 seconds total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation.
FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 69 degrees with a 22% chance of rain at the green flag.
INCOMING LIST: Click here to see the 27 riders lined up at Road America on Sunday. Callum Ilott returns in the #77 Dallara-Chevrolet run by Juncos-Hollinger Racing after missing a race with an injured hand.
INDY LIGHTS RACE: Sunday, 9:40 am, 20 laps/80.96 miles or 55 minutes (Peacock Premium)
INDY LIGHTS ENTRY LIST: Click here for the 14 registered drivers.
SONSIO GRAND PRIX AT ROAD AMERICA WEEKEND START TIMES
(All times are Easter)
Friday June 10th
9 am: USF2000 practice
9:45 o clock: Indy Pro 2000 practice
10 am: Opening of the IndyCar workshop
10:30 am: Radical cup training
11:30 a.m: USF2000 qualification
12:15 p.m: Indy Pro 2000 Qualifier
1:45 p.m.: Radical Cup qualification
2.30: USF2000 qualification
3:30 p.m: Indy Lights exercise
4:25 p.m: IndyCar practice
5:55 p.m.: Radical Cup race, race 1
Saturday June 11th
8 o’clock: Opening of the IndyCar workshop
9 am: Indy Pro 2000 qualification
9:45 o clock: Practice Indy Lights
10:45 am: IndyCar practice
Midday: USF2000, Race 1
13 o’clock: Indy Lights Qualification
1:45 p.m.: IndyCar Qualification
3:15 p.m.: Indy Pro, Race 1
4:20 p.m.: USF2000, race 2
5:20 p.m.: IndyCar practice
18:05: Radical Cup, race 2
Sunday June 12th
8 o’clock: Opening of the IndyCar workshop
9:30 am: Indy Pro 2000, Race 2
10:40 am: Indy Lights Race
12:10 p.m.: IndyCar Driver Shows
12:30 pm: NBC coverage begins for Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America (55 laps, 222.64 miles)
3:15 p.m.: Radical Cup, race 3
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