Will Power

This. Is. May.

On the calendar. With the festivities. On the racetrack.

SEE: Race Details

Indianapolis Motor Speedway roars into action Friday with a full slate of speed from the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, INDY NXT by Firestone and the support series completing the Sonsio Grand Prix.

The first cars roll onto the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course at 7:55 a.m. ET, and about 12 hours of horsepower will follow. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will stage two practice sessions (9:30 a.m. and 1:10 p.m.) in advance of qualifying for the NTT P1 Award at 4:20 p.m. All times Eastern.

All NTT INDYCAR SERIES action will be carried live by Peacock, INDYCAR LIVE and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Saturday’s 85-lap race is at 3 p.m. (NBC, Peacock, INDYCAR Live, INDYCAR Radio Network).

The fourth official race of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season again features 27 car-and-driver combinations, led by defending race winner Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing. Other past series winners on this circuit are Team Penske’s Will Power and Josef Newgarden, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay, Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi and Andretti Global w/Curb-Agajanian’s Colton Herta.

A look at more of what’s to come:

Power the IMS Road Course Master

No NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver has been better over the 15 races on the IMS road course than Power, who has won on the circuit five times with six poles.

But Power faces a new challenge this weekend as two members of his team have been suspended by Team Penske for the two IMS races in May: Out are Ron Ruzewski, his usual strategist, and Robbie Atkinson, his data engineer. Team president Tim Cindric and Newgarden’s engineer, Luke Mason, also were suspended after Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin illegally used Push to Pass in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding.

This weekend, Dave Faustino, who for years was Power’s engineer, will move into a strategist’s role. While Power said Faustino has never called one of his races, they have considerable experience working together. Therefore, Power doesn’t expect it to be an issue.

“He’s run a lot of tests and been on the radio,” Power said of Faustino. “It will be different, yeah. He’s not used to counting me down to the (pit) box and (releasing) me, so there will be a few things that we have to, I guess, practice.

“But we’ve raced so long together, and I’ve raced so long that I can do strategy from the car. It’s not a massive change. It will (stink) not having Ron – I’ve really gotten used to him. He’s calm and good on the radio. That’s a pity, and that’s the way it is. We’ll have to do our best.”

Team Penske has not announced who will lead Power’s program for the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Jon Bouslog was Power’s strategist when they won the 2018 race.

Newgarden has lost Cindric – his strategist – for the month. Bouslog will take that role this weekend.

Power Seeks an Indy Sweep

Friday marks the 10-year anniversary of the first NTT INDYCAR SERIES road race at IMS, and surprisingly it’s one of the few circuits that hasn’t had a lot race winners start from the pole.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Power is the exception. He has started and finished from the top position four times (in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020). The other driver to effectively go flag to flag was Simon Pagenaud, also with Team Penske, in 2016.

No driver has completed the clean sweep of May: Winning both poles and both races. Power has come close, taking three out of the four in ’18. Ed Carpenter won the pole for the “500.”

The other drivers to have won on both IMS circuits are Dixon (twice on the road course, once on the oval), Newgarden (once on each) and Rossi (once on each). Pagenaud has three road course victories at IMS, plus the 2019 “500” victory.

One IMS Race for Pourchaire

Arrow McLaren completed the car-and-driver lineup for this weekend’s race by announcing Thursday that Theo Pourchaire will drive the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.

Pourchaire will not be in the car for the “500,” although the team has not confirmed who will drive it. Pourchaire completed an oval test earlier this week at World Wide Technology Raceway and will finish the season with Arrow McLaren once the series moves to the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear on June 2.

The 20-year-old Frenchman said he can’t believe the turn his career has taken in recent weeks. Not that long ago he was a Formula 2 champion relegated to watching Formula One races as a Sauber test driver. Then he ran a single race in Japan’s Super Formula series and later got a call for an attempt with Arrow McLaren in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Now he’s soon to be a full-time driver in this series.

“Crazy,” he said Thursday.

The Sonsio Grand Prix will be Pourchaire’s third NTT INDYCAR SERIES race. He finished 11th in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach and 22nd in the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix at Barber Motorsports Park. He said he will no longer compete in Super Formula.

This will be the second series race for Italian driver Luca Ghiotto, who drove the No. 51 Dale Coyne Racing Honda. He finished 21st at Barber Motorsports Park.