Roger Diez: Tanner Thorson second at Chili Bowl

Roger Diez

Roger Diez

The 2023 Chili Bowl Classic is in the record books, and local racer Tanner Thorson came up one position short on Saturday night. Thorson finished a close second to Logan Seavey, breaking the string of back-to-back winners of the event.

Former winners and NASCAR stars Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell were absent, choosing instead to run the Wild West Shootout for dirt late models in New Mexico. Larson had previously criticized the Chili Bowl for its meager $10,000 payout to the winner and took home the same amount for second place in the late model show.

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This weekend some of the most exotic racing machines on the planet take to the track in Daytona for the warm-up to the Rolex 24 Hours which will run next weekend. The Roar Before the 24, as it’s called, features practice, qualifying, and a couple of races. Coverage will be on Peacock and IMSA TV. Beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday and 9:15 on Sunday. I’ll have full information on the field for the Rolex 24 next week.

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We’ve previewed the NASCAR and Formula 1 teams and drivers the past couple of weeks, and today we’ll cover the 2023 NTT IndyCar field. It’s still a strong mix of seasoned veterans and young guns, with the addition of four rookies running full-time this year.

• Team Penske returns unchanged, with 2022 champion Will Power, Josef Newgarden, and Scott McLaughlin driving.

• Chip Ganassi Racing will field 2022 Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, six-time series champion Scott Dixon, 2021 series champion Alex Palou, 2020 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato, and rookie Marcus Armstrong.

• Andretti Autosport drivers are Colton Herta, Romain Grosjean, Kyle Kirkwood, and Devlin DeFrancesco.

• Arrow McLaren is expanding to a three-car operation, adding former Andretti driver and 2016 Indy 500 winner Alex Rossi to continuing drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist.

• Meyer-Shank Racing will field three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves and 2017 Indy 500 victor Simon Pagenaud, both former Penske stars.

• Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s three drivers for 2023 are Graham Rahal, Jack Harvey, and Christian Lundgaard, same as last year.

• A.J. Foyt Enterprises will field Santino Ferrucci and rookie Benjamin Pederson.

• Dale Coyne Racing has two partner organizations, HMD Motorsports and Rick Ware Racing. The driver for the former is David Malukas, continuing from 2022, and for the latter it’s rookie Sting Ray Robb.

• Drivers for Ed Carpenter Racing for 2023 are Conor Daly and Rinus Veekay.

• Calum Ilott is back for Juncos Hollinger Racing, joined this year by rookie Agustin Canapino.

Part-time and Indy 500 only drivers include Ed Carpenter for Ed Carpenter Racing, Marco Andretti for Andretti Autosport, Tony Kanaan for Arrow McLaren, Stefan Wilson for Dryer & Reinbold, and an unnamed fourth entry for Rahal Letterman Lanigan. That’s a total of 28 full-time drivers for the series, the largest field since the CART/IRL split in 1996.

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This will be the last year of the current 2.2 liter turbo engine for the series. The original plan had been to replace it with a 2.4 liter hybrid, but that changed in December. Now hybrid technology will be implemented on the current 2.2 liter unit. No word on the expected power output.

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There will be 17 races in the 2023 season, beginning at St. Petersburg in March and ending in September at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca. The latter will be a whole new ball game, as the track is being completely repaved in the off-season.

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