2017 IndyCar Series season preview: 17 races, 21 full-time entries
The 2017 IndyCar Series, the premier American open-wheel racing competition, will start its 22nd season under the IndyCar name on the second weekend of March, at the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. The 2017 IndyCar calendar features 17 rounds, one more than in 2016, with six races at ovals, six at road courses and five at street circuits.
Season kicks off again at the streets of St.Petersburg
The city of St.Petersburg is a venue of the season-opening event since 2011. After an opening in March, three rounds will take place in April before IndyCar racers moved to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. The World Center of Racing will host Grand Prix race at a 2.4-mile road course on May 13 and the 101th running of Indianapolis 500 at the 2.5-mile oval on May 28.
The summer would be the busiest period of the season, with four rounds in June (including a double-header at Detroit Belle Isle), three rounds in July, two rounds in August and two rounds in September. Compared to 2016, the only new venue on the list is the Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois, which returns to the schedule for the first time since 2003. The 1.25-mile oval will host a race on August 26.
2017 IndyCar Series calendar
|1||March 12||Firestone Grand Prix of St.Petersburg||Streets of St.Petersburg, Florida|
|2||April 9||Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach||Streets of Long Beach, California|
|3||April 23||Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama||Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama|
|4||April 29||Phoenix Grand Prix||Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Arizona|
|5||May 13||IndyCar Grand Prix||Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course|
|6||May 28||101st Indianapolis 500||Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
|7||June 3||Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Race 1||The Raceway at Belle Isle Park, Detroit, Michigan|
|8||June 4||Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Race 2||The Raceway at Belle Isle Park, Detroit, Michigan|
|9||June 10||Rainguard Water Sealer 600||Texas Motor Speedway, Forth Worth, Texas|
|10||June 25||Kohler Grand Prix||Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin|
|11||July 9||Iowa Corn 300||Iowa Speedway, Newton, Iowa|
|12||July 16||Honda Indy Toronto||Exhibition Place, Toronto, Canada|
|13||July 30||Honda Indy 200||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio|
|14||August 20||ABC Supply 500||Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pennsylvania|
|15||August 26||Bommarito Automotive Group 500||Gateway Motorsports Park, Madison, Illinois|
|16||September 3||Grand Prix at The Glen||Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, New York|
|17||September 17||GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma||Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma, California|
Team Penske replaces Montoya with Newgarden
Twenty-one full-time entries from eight teams are confirmed for the 2017 season. Some significant changes happened on the grid between two seasons. Juan-Pablo Montoya ended his three-year stint with the Team Penske, being demoted to a part-time status and confirming Indianapolis 500 participation only.
Team Penske’s #2 Chevrolet will be driven by Josef Newgarden, who scored career-best result last year, finishing fourth in the points and taking the Oval champion award. Other three drivers of Team Penske squadron remain the same – defending champion Simon Pagenaud in the #1 car, Helio Castroneves in the #3 and Will Power in the #12.
Chip Ganassi Racing without Target and again with Honda
The other major team with four cars, Chip Ganassi Racing, underwent big changes, losing its longstanding sponsor Target and switching from Chevrolet to Honda. In a fact, CGR is returning to Honda, as they worked together from 1996 to 1999 in the CART championship and between 2006 and 2013 in the IndyCar Series. For the 2017 season, Chip Ganassi retained all four drivers – Max Chilton (#8), Scott Dixon (#9), Tony Kanaan (#10) and Charlie Kimball (#83).
Andretti Autosport again with four cars
Andretti Autosport will continue to run four cars, including one for the 2016 Rookie of the Year and Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who will drive the #98 Honda for Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian. Marco Andretti stays in the #27 Andretti Autosport entry, as well Ryan Hunter-Reay in the #28 car. New driver in the #26 Honda will be Japanese veteran Takuma Sato, who moved from AJ Foyt Enterprises.
Only one rookie on the grid
Carlos Munoz went to opposite direction, from Andretti Autosport to AJ Foyt’s team, taking the #14 car. The other AJ Foyt’s driver will be Conor Daly in the #4 Chevrolet. AJ Foyt Enterprises also changed a manufacturer, switching from Honda to Chevrolet. Dale Coyne Racing has a completely new line-up, with Sebastien Bourdais in the #18 Honda and 2016 Indy Lights champion Ed Jones in the #19 car. Ed Jones would be the only rookie on the grid during the 2017 season.
JR Hildebrand returns for the full time
Last year’s rookie Spencer Pigot signed for Ed Carpenter Racing to share the #20 Chevrolet with team owner Ed Carpenter. Pigot will drive on street circuits and road courses, Carpenter will attend six rounds at ovals. The second ECR car, the one with number 21, is reserved for J.R. Hildebrand, who returns to a full-time schedule for the first time since 2012.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports will field two cars full time (#5 James Hinchcliffe and #7 Mikhail Aleshin) and one more for Indy 500 only, with British driver Jay Howard in the #77 Honda. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will have #15 Honda at the grid for 17 races, with Graham Rahal in a car, while Oriol Servia in the #16 car is announced for three races, including Indianapolis 500. One more entry for Indy 500 only is Sage Karam in the #24 Chevrolet for Dreyer &Reinbold Racing.
2017 IndyCar Series entry list
|1||Team Penske||Chevrolet||Simon Pagenaud|
|2||Team Penske||Chevrolet||Josef Newgarden|
|3||Team Penske||Chevrolet||Helio Castroneves|
|4||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Chevrolet||Conor Daly|
|5||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Honda||James Hinchcliffe|
|7||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Honda||Mikhail Aleshin|
|8||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||Max Chilton|
|9||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||Scott Dixon|
|10||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||Tony Kanaan|
|11||KV Racing Technology||Chevrolet|
|12||Team Penske||Chevrolet||Will Power|
|14||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Chevrolet||Carlos Munoz|
|15||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Honda||Graham Rahal|
|16||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Honda||Oriol Servia*|
|18||Dale Coyne Racing||Honda||Sebastien Bourdais|
|19||Dale Coyne Racing||Honda||Ed Jones|
|20||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevrolet||Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter|
|21||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevrolet||J.R. Hildebrand|
|24||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||Chevrolet||Sage Karam*|
|26||Andretti Autosport||Honda||Takuma Sato|
|27||Andretti Autosport||Honda||Marco Andretti|
|28||Andretti Autosport||Honda||Ryan Hunter-Reay|
|77||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Honda||Jay Howard*|
|83||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||Charlie Kimball|
|98||Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian||Honda||Alexander Rossi|
|Team Penske||Chevrolet||Juan Pablo Montoya*|