There may have been no cars scheduled on track Friday ahead of this weekend's PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway, but there were plenty of things to talk about.
Legge, Lundqvist Set with RLL Test at Texas
Linus Lundqvist, the reigning INDY NXT by Firestone champion, is returning to the cockpit this Monday, April 3 in an NTT INDYCAR SERIES test with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at Texas Motor Speedway. Katherine Legge, who will contest the team’s fourth entry at the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, also will test.
The event will come one day after the PPG 375 at the ultra-fast, 1.5-mile superspeedway. The test will mark Lundqvist’s first run on an oval but second outing in INDYCAR SERIES machinery. He tested for Andretti Autosport in 2021 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
“I cannot explain how excited I am about this test,” Lundqvist said. “It’s been a long time coming, and we’ve worked so hard over the winter to pursue an opportunity like this. I am grateful to Bobby Rahal and his team for giving me a day in the car to show what I can do. I’m also keen to finally try out an Indy car on an oval, and one of the fastest on the schedule at that. It will be a great day, and let’s just say I’ve been waiting for it!”
Lundqvist became the first Swedish driver to win INDYCAR’s developmental championship series.
“We are pleased to have Linus run with us at Texas next week,” RLL co-owner Bobby Rahal said. “His resume speaks for itself, and he certainly earned the opportunity after winning the championship in 2022. We will monitor his progress closely and work with him to ensure it is a successful test for all concerned.”
Legge has two previous starts in the Indianapolis 500, with a career-best finish of 22nd in 2012. She last competed in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in 2013, finishing 26th.
Penske, PPG Extend Partnership
Team Penske and PPG will continue their longstanding partnership beyond 40 years after announcing a multiyear extension across programs in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and NASCAR Cup Series.
Two-time INDYCAR SERIES champion Josef Newgarden will continue to carry the distinct and popular blue-and-white PPG paint scheme on his No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet. Additionally, PPG will serve as an associate partner of the team’s No. 3 and No. 12 entries, driven by Scott McLaughlin and reigning series champion Will Power, respectively.
PPG also will return as a Team Penske partner in the NASCAR Cup Series, serving as an associate sponsor of the No. 2 Ford Mustang driven by Austin Cindric, the No. 12 Ford Mustang driven by Ryan Blaney, and the No. 22 Ford Mustang driven by defending Cup Series champion Joey Logano.
“Team Penske and PPG have been the model of business-to-business partnerships for over 30 years,” Team Penske President Tim Cindric said. “We are entering our fourth decade together, and we take great pride in the successes we have had together with PPG on and off the race track. Our vision for the future remains aligned across all of our businesses, while we continue to strive to add more iconic paint schemes to our storied on-track legacy.”
The partnership between Team Penske and PPG began during the 1984 INDYCAR SERIES season, and they have visited victory lane on 12 occasions across INDYCAR and NASCAR competition.
“I love getting behind the wheel of the No. 2 PPG Chevrolet,” said Newgarden, defending winner of this weekend’s PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway. “The beautiful paint scheme is a fan favorite and we always deliver strong results when PPG is on the car. We appreciate the outstanding support of PPG at the track and seeing their employees and guests root us on always helps us take it to another level on race weekends.”
PPG has also leveraged its partnership with Team Penske to grow its community engagement initiatives, including the COLORFUL COMMUNITIES program. Most recently, Team Penske’s INDYCAR and NASCAR drivers helped support PPG’s enhancement of the Hawthorne Community Center in Indianapolis to make a positive and lasting impact in the local community.
“PPG has provided paint for Team Penske cars since 1984, and our relationship has flourished ever since,” said Bill Shaw, PPG director, strategic sales, Automotive Refinish. “We are so excited to be renewing our sponsorship and to have Josef driving the No. 2 PPG Chevy at the PPG 375 is just a great way to start the season.”
Harvey Visits FC Dallas for Penalty Kicks, Jersey Swap
Jack Harvey began his Texas weekend with FC Dallas, the local club of Major League Soccer.
Harvey, the 29-year-old Briton and driver of the No. 30 PeopleReady Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan, attended practice that was complete with a jersey swap with Paxton Pomykal, who was an international call-up to the United States Men’s National Team for camp back in January. Additionally, Harvey went one-on-one in a penalty kick shootout against Antonio Carrera, one of the club’s goalkeepers.
SEE: Photos, Video
Andretti Strategy Swap
Per TrackSide Online, Andretti Autosport drivers Colton Herta and Kyle Kirkwood are swapping strategists for this weekend’s PPG 375 at the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
Bryan Herta, Colton’s father, will move to the No. 27 AutoNation Honda and call the race for Kirkwood, while Scott Harner will be on the timing stand for Herta’s No. 26 Gainbridge Honda.
Canapino Gets ‘SportsCenter’ Treatment
Juncos Hollinger Racing driver and NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Agustín Canapino went back home to Argentina and spent some time with the country’s ESPN Network for a “SportsCenter” segment, sharing details of putting down his first oval laps in testing at Texas Motor Speedway, among other things.
McLaren Racing Engage Adds Path to the Pits as Partner
McLaren Racing Engage launched its first North American partnership with Path to the Pits for the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.
Path to the Pits is a charitable organization aimed to create a more diverse and inclusive talent pipeline in motorsport. The organization first teamed up with Arrow McLaren in 2022 as part of an effort of exposing young adults to racing careers through networking and trackside access. Path to the Pits joined the other McLaren Racing Engage programs geared toward creating more female representation, diversity and inclusivity, which include the Women’s Engineering Society, EqualEngineers, Smallpiece Trust and Creative Access.
Working with local colleges and technical education programs to host young adults with a primary focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers, Path to the Pits will activate at multiple races this year, starting at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 14-16. There will be 25-30 participants on-hand to tour the paddock, network and learn from professionals within the industry. The organization also will activate at the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge qualifying weekend May 20-21 and the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear on June 2-4. Additional race weekend events will be announced throughout the season.
In addition to the at-track events, Path to the Pits participants will have exclusive invitations to virtual panels and discussions with industry insiders and professionals, as well as ongoing career guidance through resume reviews, interview preparation tips and networking opportunities.
On-track activities for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES begin at 9 a.m. ET Saturday at TMS with a practice session.
NTT P1 Award qualifying starts at 12:15 p.m., followed by practice sessions at 1:45 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Live coverage of all sessions will be provided on Peacock, INDYCAR LIVE! and the INDYCAR Radio Network.