MCGP

(Photo via Twitter @MusicCityGP)

Just 25 days from the inaugural Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, the race is already on track to have quite the star-studded debut.

With 27 drivers already confirmed, and event officials stating they expect 28 or more drivers for the race, the Grand Prix will host the largest field of a non-Indianapolis 500 race since the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2013. (The flagship Indy 500 has a 33-driver field.)

Rick Ware Racing’s Cody Ware plans to enter the race, according to the Indianapolis Star, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing plans to enter one more driver as well.

The driver group is headlined by two-time IndyCar Series champion and Hendersonville native Josef Newgarden, who won last week’s Honda Indy 200 — the final race before the Grand Prix — and sits in fourth place in the IndyCar point standings as well as six-time Series champion Scott Dixon and reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. It will be Castroneves’ first open-wheel race since winning his fourth Indy 500 earlier this year.

Newgarden will also serve as a spokesperson and brand ambassador for the three-day event, working as a liaison between the drivers and Grand Prix group, and participating in community events with fans.

Construction of the 2.17-mile track began on Sunday with a repaving of what will be pit lane in the Nissan Stadium parking lots and the installation of 1,200 feet of 18-feet wide concrete pit boxes. Grand Prix officials stated crews will work 18 straight days to complete the track.

The construction work will include lining Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge along the Cumberland River and the assembling of more than 2,000 barriers and 12-foot fence panels along the course. Streets aren’t expected to close until Aug. 5 beginning at 10 a.m.

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_

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