Jul 5, 2023 - Things to Do

Josef Newgarden to make Music City Grand Prix homecoming

Josef Newgarden after winning the Indianapolis 500 in May.

Josef Newgarden after winning the Indianapolis 500 in May. Photo: David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The third annual Big Machine Music City Grand Prix will bring an IndyCar race course to downtown Nashville in about a month.

Newgarden tells Axios that finally winning the Indy 500 on his 12th attempt brought him to the top of "this mythical mountain that everybody is trying to climb."

  • But there's no place like home.

Driving the news: The 2.17-mile Music City Grand Prix track passes by Nissan Stadium, taking racers over the Cumberland River on the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge into downtown.

Flashback: Newgarden, who grew up in the Hendersonville area, said "no one really understood" his career aspirations when he was growing up. ("It's a unique career path for Nashville, Tennessee," he says.)

  • He hopes the Music City Grand Prix becoming an annual tradition will generate more opportunities for young people who want to learn about open-wheel racing in Middle Tennessee.

"Part of the difficulty is that there's not a lot of access to foundational ways to get involved in the sport," Newgarden says.

  • "I would love to be a part of, you know, providing that for families or young kids."

State of play: After spending time in Europe and living in Charlotte, North Carolina, and other parts of the U.S., Newgarden moved back home with his wife a few years ago.

  • "We really wanted to move to Nashville because I liked growing up there. I thought it was a great city to live in."
  • "It's obviously very popular right now and growing fast for a reason."

The intrigue: If you want to party like an Indy 500 winner in Nashville, Newgarden says he prefers "low-key spots. ... Broadway is for the brave nowadays."

  • He singles out the city's growing culinary scene, including restaurants Henrietta Red, Locust and Catbird Seat.

What to know: The Music City Grand Prix events run Aug. 4-6, with the main race on the final day.

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