Phoenix Grand Prix Race Preview

“After a strong showing at Phoenix in 2016, we are looking to bring the DHL Honda back and be even more competitive. I’m really looking forward to the first oval race of the season and the lead-up to Indy. It will be a short, compact weekend, so we’ll have to make the most of our time on track, but I am confident we can get the DHL car in excellent shape to run a solid race.”

Fast Facts

Track: Phoenix International Raceway, a 1.022-mile oval

Race distance: 250 laps / 255.5 miles

Firestone tire allotment: Nine sets primary

Twitter: @PhoenixRaceway, @IndyCar, #DesertDiamondPGP, #IndyCar

Event website:

INDYCAR website:

2016 race winner: Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet)

2016 pole winner: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 REV Group Team Penske Chevrolet), 38.2604 seconds (192.324 mph)

Qualifying lap record: Helio Castroneves (19.0997 seconds; 192.631 mph), set on April 1, 2016

NBCSN race broadcast: Saturday, April 29 (9 p.m. ET, live)

NBCSN qualifying broadcast: Saturday, April 29 (7:30 p.m. ET, taped)

Rick Allen will be the play-by-play announcer for NBCSN’s telecast of the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller are the pit reporters.

Radio broadcasts: The Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network is led by chief announcer Mark Jaynes with analyst Davey Hamilton. Turn reporter is Jake Query with Nick Yeoman, Michael Young and Zach Veach reporting from the pits. All Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209,, and on the INDYCAR Mobile app.

Video Streaming: Practice and qualifying will be available on and on the INDYCAR YouTube channel ( and Facebook page (

INDYCAR Mobile app: Verizon’s INDYCAR Mobile app is available across all carriers. Exclusive features for Verizon Wireless customers will stream live through the app and include enhanced real-time leaderboard and car telemetry; live in-car camera video streaming for select drivers during Verizon IndyCar Series races; live driver and pit crew radio transmissions during races and live Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network audio streaming during all track activities.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Friday, April 28
4 – 6 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice, Livestreamed on RaceControl.IndyCar.Com
8 p.m. – Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (single-car format, two laps each), NBCSN (7:30 p.m., April 29)

Saturday, April 29
5-5:10 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series pit stop practice
6 p.m. – NBCSN on air
6:35 p.m. – Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix (250 laps/255.50 miles), NBCSN (Live).

Race Notes:

  • Josef Newgarden claimed his first win as a member of Team Penske at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 23. Newgarden is the third different winner in 2017, joining Sebastien Bourdais (St. Petersburg) and James Hinchcliffe (Long Beach). The Verizon IndyCar Series has averaged nine winners since 2012, including a record-tying 11 in 2014.
  • The Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix will be the 63rd Indy car race at Phoenix Raceway since the track opened in 1964. Al Unser has the most wins by an Indy car driver at the track (six). Helio Castroneves (2002), Tony Kanaan (2003 and 2004) and Scott Dixon (2016) are the past Phoenix winners entered in this year’s race.
  • Phoenix Raceway will host the first of six oval races on the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. Other ovals event scheduled are: 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil (May 28), Rainguard Water Sealers 600 at Texas Motor Speedway (June 10), Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (July 9), ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway (Aug. 20) and Bommarito Auto Group 500 presented by Valvoline at Gateway Motorsports Park (Aug. 26).* Twelve drivers have won the Phoenix race from the pole: Tony Kanaan (2003), Helio Castroneves (2002), Arie Luyendyk (1996), Rick Mears (1982, 1989 and 1990), Al Unser (1969 and 1985), Tom Sneva (1984), Teo Fabi (1983), Johnny Rutherford (1977), Gordon Johncock (1973), Bobby Unser (1968, 1972), Lloyd Ruby (1967) and Mario Andretti (1966)
  • Drivers who have won at Phoenix have gone on to win the Indy car championship nine times: A.J. Foyt (1964, first race; 1975, second race), Mario Andretti (1966, second race), Bobby Unser (1968, first race), Al Unser (1970, first race; 1985), Rick Mears (1982, first race), Bobby Rahal (1992), Buddy Lazier (2000), Sam Hornish Jr. (2001) and Tony Kanaan (2004).
  • Rookie Ed Jones will make his first Indy car oval start this weekend at Phoenix. The 2016 Indy Lights champion made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut at St. Petersburg and finished second at Phoenix in Indy Lights 2016.
  • Tony Kanaan seeks to start his 269th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Teammate Scott Dixon has made 210 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the third-longest streak in Indy car racing. Dixon will tie Jimmy Vasser for second all-time should he start at Phoenix.
  • Helio Castroneves will attempt to make his 331st career Indy car start, which ranks third on the all-time list. Tony Kanaan will attempt to make his 330th Indy car start, which would break a tie with Al Unser Jr. for fourth all-time. Both are competing in their 20th season of Indy car racing in 2017.
  • The No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet crew of Helio Castroneves won the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. The crew will receive its $10,000 award during pre-race festivities at the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix.
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