Armstrong to drive American Legion livery this weekend in Detroit

Armstrong to drive American Legion livery this weekend in Detroit

Fresh off a month that saw Chip Ganassi Racing’s (CGR) Alex Palou drive the No. 10 American Legion Honda to a GMR Grand Prix win, and the pole and a fourth-place finish in the Indianapolis 500 – and saw teammate Marcus Ericsson narrowly miss out on repeating as 500 champ – the NTT INDYCAR SERIES now shifts to Michigan, with The American Legion “Be the One” livery moving over to CGR rookie Marcus Armstrong.

Armstrong will drive the No. 11 American Legion Honda in this weekend’s unveiling of the new Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix street course, while both Palou and Ericsson also will display American Legion branding.

Despite starting in only the four road- and street-course races this season, Armstrong remains in first place in the INDYCAR SERIES rookie standings, leading second-place Agustin Canapino 77-61. He’s 19th in the overall series standings and has three top-11 finishes so far. He’s had a net gain of +17 positions during that span, fourth-best in the four races.

"It’s going to be a hot weekend, which I actually like because I feel I deal with the heat inside the car quite well,” Armstrong said via CGR media. “Obviously with the track, it’s a bit of an unknown. I’ve seen the track just a bit walking around, and it looks to be challenging and quite bumpy in some areas. It’s going to provide some challenges and a lot of options on race lines.

“In general, I like the layout of the circuit and think the racing will be quite good with a big, long straight into a tight left hand. It’s going to be fun.”

Coming off his impressive month, Palou enters this weekend in first place in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES points standings, leading the second-place Ericsson 219-199. He’s been the most consistent performer this season, with at least a top-10 finish in every race and three top-fives.

“I’m very excited for Detroit after a really positive month for the whole team, but especially the 10 car,” Palou said. “We just had really good results, and we’ve been really competitive. I can’t wait to try and get the best result of the season on a street course. Looking forward to the new track and it will be challenging for all the drivers and teams. Nobody has any information other than what we’ve learned from the simulator. It’s looking challenging, but we love challenges, and we’re looking forward to that.”

Ericsson took the lead on the 196th lap of the 500, but after a three-car accident produced a red flag on lap 199, Ericsson was passed on the back straightaway by Josef Newgarden, who held on for the win. Ericsson also has finished in the top ten in every race, including three top-fives.

“I’m very excited to get to Detroit with the new track, which will be super cool. Street courses have been good to us so far this year, winning in St. Petersburg and then the podium in Long Beach,” Ericsson said. “I know we’re going to have a good package for this street course. I think INDYCAR has done a great job building up the hype around Detroit. Obviously, we’re coming off a strong month of May, so we have a lot of motivation to go and try to win this race. It’s going to be a good weekend.”

The 100-lap, 170-mile Detroit Grand Prix returns to its original home on the streets of downtown Detroit, with a new 1.7-mile, 10-turn street circuit.

In the INDY NXT SERIES, CGR developmental driver Kyffin Simpson also will carry American Legion branding in both of the INDY NXT by Firestone Detroit Grand Prix races. Simpson currently sits in 10th place in the INDY NXT point standings and is coming off his first podium finish of the season, when he took third in the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix in Indianapolis.

The INDY NXT races this weekend are 76.5 miles over 45 laps on a 1.7-mile, 9-turn course.

The complete weekend broadcast schedule:

·       Friday – 3-4:30 p.m,, NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 1, Peacock.

·       Saturday – 9:05-10:05 a.m., NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 2, Peacock; 11:55 a.m.-1:05 p.m., INDY NXT Race 1, Peacock; 1:20-2:50 p.m., NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifications, Peacock.

·       Sunday – 10-10:30 a.m., NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, Peacock; 12:40-1:55 p.m., INDY NXT Race 2, Peacock; 3-6 p.m., NTT INDYCAR SERIES Detroit Grand Prix, NBC.

Detroit Grand Prix notes (via INDYCAR)

·       There have been five different winners in six NTT INDYCAR SERIES races to start the 2023 season. Marcus Ericsson (Streets of St. Petersburg), Josef Newgarden (Texas Motor Speedway and Indianapolis 500), Kyle Kirkwood (Streets of Long Beach), Scott McLaughlin (Barber Motorsports Park), and Alex Palou (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-1) have all won in 2023. The record for the most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.

·       The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear will be the first INDYCAR SERIES race held on the new nine-turn, 1.7-mile downtown Detroit street circuit and the 33rd INDYCAR SERIES race held in the Motor City. A 2.5-mile street circuit in downtown Detroit hosted CART events from 1989-1991 before the event moved to Belle Isle Park in 1992.

·       Will Power, Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves each won three times at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park and are tied for most wins by an INDYCAR SERIES driver in the Detroit Grand Prix. In addition to Power, Castroneves and Dixon, other previous Detroit Grand Prix race winners entered include Pato O’Ward (2021 Race #2), Marcus Ericsson (2021 Race #1) Josef Newgarden (2019 Race #1), Simon Pagenaud (2013 Race #2) and Graham Rahal (2017 Race #1 and Race #2).