The IndyCar Series is back in Nashville for the second Music City Grand Prix. Marcus Ericsson won last year’s inaugural race and this time around, hometown boy Josef Newgarden is favored to win. The Music City Grand Prix IndyCar odds also have Patricio “Pato” O’Ward with Will Power not too far behind. The Big Machine awaits this Sunday.
2022 Music City Grand Prix Information
- Race: Music City Grand Prix
- Location: Nashville Street Circuit, Nashville, Tennessee
- Day/Time: Sunday, August 7, 3:00 p.m.
- Television: NBC/Peacock
Newgarden Favored to Win at Home
The pressure will be on Josef Newgarden to win in front of his hometown fans. The Nashville-born driver hasn’t been fully healthy since crashing in the second race of the Iowa double-header. He managed to salvage a fifth-placed finish in the Gallagher Grand Prix to stay in the top three of the driver standings. If he’s in a much better place, he’s the likeliest winner by the Music City Grand Prix IndyCar odds.
“I wasn’t 100% but I felt good, I felt normal in a lot of respects, but I’m trying to get myself even better,” Newgarden said. “We needed to be in the race, and I was happy to be there.”
Newgarden finished 10th last year. A similar result will likely drop him further down the standings as the likes of Scott Dixon, O’Ward, and Alex Palou are breathing down his neck. Dixon won in Toronto and has finished in the top 10 in all but one race. O’Ward finished 12th in the Gallagher Grand Prix but won the second leg of Iowa.
“I was fatigued from the intense week,” Newgarden continued. “It wasn’t so much that I was dealing with symptoms, I just (didn’t have)100% energy. I feel like this week, I’ve had more time to rest, and I’ll be more myself this weekend.”
Ericsson Goes for An Encore
Marcus Ericsson, last year’s winner, enters the race at 12-1 IndyCar betting odds to repeat as champion. The Swede won the Indianapolis 500, which stands as his lone win this year, but he is just nine points behind Power for the top spot in the standings. His 11th-placed finish in the Gallagher Grand Prix is the first time he’s finished outside the top 10 since Birmingham back in May.
The Chip Ganassi Racing representative had trouble at the beginning but turned in one of the best performances of his career to win. Dixon, his teammate, finished just behind him.
“It feels amazing,” said Ericsson following the race. “I think it backs up what I said, that that was probably the best performance of my career to keep him (Dixon) behind for that long.”
Along with Ericsson, Scott McLaughlin is at similar Music City Grand Prix IndyCar odds. The New Zealander has two wins this season and currently sits at seventh in the standings. Dixon and Alexander Rossi, who won the Gallagher Grand Prix, are both at 10-1 odds just ahead of Ericsson. McLaughlin finished 22nd last year and Rossi, 17th.
Tinkering With the Big Machine
The inaugural race is almost like a rough draft of anything. Last year produced some messy results: Nine cautions that led to 33 of the 80 laps being run under yellow. Even the winner, Ericsson, had to endure an airborne crash to come away with a win. This year, the latest IndyCar news reports changes to the track.
Among the changes include a change to the restart zone, which will start at the long straightaway exiting the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge and into Turn 9. This was the starting point last year. And speaking of Turn 9, its entrance has been narrowed by 25 feet to 60 feet to provide more room. This will make the corner easier to pass.
Other changes include a widening of Turn 11 by four feet, a reduction in the pit lane speed from 45 miles per hour to 40, and the bump in Turn 5 being modified to make the hill climb smoother.
All-in-all, the changes should make for a more fluid track in Nashville. This could also mean a more intense race between drivers as more of the race will be run at full speed.Follow us on Twitter