The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season ended on September 11, but a handful of drivers are staying busy over the next two weekends racing on road courses in a variety of disciplines and series.
2022 season regulars Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Kirkwood, Marcus Ericsson, Felix Rosenqvist and Conor Daly will all tie themselves to sports cars or stock cars in Georgia, Sweden or North Carolina over the next two weekends.
Indianapolis 500 winners Castroneves and Dixon and Johnson and Kirkwood will all race this Saturday, October 1 in the Petit Le Mans race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The 10-hour endurance race is the season finale of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the “IMSA Battle on the Bricks” race weekend September 15-17, 2023.
Castroneves, Dixon and Johnson will each race as part of seven three-driver teams competing in the premier Daytona Prototype International (DPi) class.
Castroneves, a four-time Indy winner, will join Oliver Jarvis and Tom Blomqvist driving the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura. Castroneves’ side trail championship leaders Ricky Taylor and Felipe Albuquerque by 19 points entering the final as Castroneves attempt to add another DPi title to their 2020 championship.
Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Dixon will race with Renger van der Zande and former INDYCAR SERIES driver Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac. Johnson, a seven-time Cup Series champion, who just announced he won’t be racing full-time in 2023 in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, will drive the No. 48 Cadillac Ally with Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Rockenfeller.
It will be the end of an era for the DPi class, which will be replaced next season by the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class. Another interesting angle for all Road Atlanta drivers – not just those in the DPi class – will be the possibility of heavy rain brought to the Northeast Georgia circuit by the remnants of Hurricane Ian.
2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Kirkwood will race in the GTD PRO class at Road Atlanta, sharing the #14 VasserSullivan Lexus RC F GT3 with former INDYCAR SERIES driver Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat. The Kirkwood team is in a tight battle for second place in the class, just 16 points behind the #3 Corvette Racing. Pfaff Motorsports’ #9 Porsche only needs to start the race to win the championship.
Peacock Premium is streaming Petit Le Mans in full, from noon to 10:30 p.m. ET Saturday. Broadcast coverage will be provided by NBC from noon to 3 p.m. and by the USA network from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Also this weekend, the 2022 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Marcus Ericsson will join fellow Swede and NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver Felix Rosenqvist in the season finale of the Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia on Saturday at Mantorp Park in Sweden.
Both Ericsson and Rosenqvist will be guest drivers in the sports car series which includes all drivers competing in identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cups.
It will also be a special weekend for Ericsson, as he will be competing in his homeland for the first time since racing karts as a youth. Ericsson will also be racing for the first time against his younger brother, Hampus, a series regular and title contender.
“I hope to have a lot of pace, especially since I have the chance to race against my little brother Hampus,” said Ericsson. “I follow the championship, so I know how competitive racing is – it’s going to be tough. It’s my first race in a GT car, so there’s a lot to learn. The car has less downforce than an Indy car, it’s heavier and has the engine in the back, so it’s quite different. It will definitely be exciting.
Next weekend, NTT INDYCAR SERIES veteran Conor Daly will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut on Sunday, October 9 in the road race at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s “roval”. Daly will drive the No. 50 Chevrolet fielded by The Money Team – co-owned by legendary boxer Floyd Mayweather – and with sponsorship from BitNile, his main sponsor along with Ed Carpenter Racing.
The “roval” incorporates part of the Charlotte Motor Speedway oval with a road course section, much like the road course at IMS. NBC will telecast the Bank of America ROVAL 400 at 2 p.m. ET on October 9.
While this is Daly’s first Cup start, it’s not his first foray into NASCAR. He made one start in the Xfinity Series and two in the Truck Series, with his final NASCAR start scheduled for 2021.
Sampling new series is nothing new for Daly. In recent years, he has also competed in a USAC Midget at the prestigious Chili Bowl Nationals in January and the Driven2SaveLives BC39 at The Dirt Track at IMS.