Note: The INDYCAR Writers’ Roundtable is taking the opportunity of the two-week break in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule to analyze the first eight races of the 17-race season and offer discussion and opinions about a variety of topics in the first half of the season. This multipart series will run daily through Friday, June 24.
Today’s question: What is your most anticipated race for the rest of this season?
Curt Cavin: Easy choice for this oval guy: Iowa Speedway’s two races (July 23-24) getting a very slight nod over World Wide Technology Raceway (Aug. 20), which might be the most underrated event on the calendar. Iowa should be fantastic with all the effort Penske Entertainment and new partner Hy-Vee are putting into it. Major concerts each day will mix well with big crowds both days and fantastic racing that has been the norm there over the years. Man, the cars look fast at that track! As for Gateway, which I still prefer to call the St. Louis-area track, it’s an easy drive for most of INDYCAR’s loyal fan base, so tickets are usually in short supply, and racing under the lights is always my preference. What to expect from the drivers in these races? A lot of Josef Newgarden, who will be the defending champion at both venues and has combined to win six races at these short ovals.
Zach Horrall: I’m ready to go back to Nashville! What I love about it is even after just one year, the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix is an event, not just a race. There is so much going on in and around Nashville – driver appearances, concerts, autograph sessions and so much more that give it a festival-like atmosphere. And let’s not forget – the racing is pretty good! I thought the cautions and calamity that came with last year’s inaugural race were fun, and it definitely showed that it’s not an easy track to achieve a win. Colton Herta knows that first-hand after he missed his mark and threw away what looked like a sure win last August. Then, Marcus Ericsson, whose nose was facing the sky early in the race, scored his second career win. And the views of NTT INDYCAR SERIES cars racing across the bridge toward downtown Nashville…WOW!
Paul Kelly: The Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday, July 17, for two reasons. One, Canadian NTT INDYCAR SERIES fans suffered more than their American counterparts during the global pandemic, as the series has missed the last two years on the streets of Toronto due to health-and-safety restrictions. Those loyal fans deserve their home race back for the first time since 2019, with full-throated cheers for Canadian drivers Dalton Kellett and Devlin DeFrancesco. Second, selfishly, Toronto is my favorite city in North America. It’s so interesting, international and cosmopolitan, a true melting pot of cultures and activities. This race absolutely should be on the racing bucket list of every NTT INDYCAR SERIES fan who hasn’t attended. It’s a superb weekend of fun and action, on and off the track.