Archives for NTT IndyCar Series PR

Dixon Adds to Growing Legend with Season-Opening Victory at Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas (June 6, 2020) – Scott Dixon continued his drive into INDYCAR history, powering away from the field on a late restart to win the Genesys 300 on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway and adding to his growing list of superlatives.

CLICK HERE: Official Race Results 

Five-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Dixon drove his No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to a victory over the No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet of Simon Pagenaud. Reigning series champion and 2019 Texas winner Josef Newgarden, who earned the NTT P1 Award for winning the pole earlier in the day, placed third in the No. 1 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet. The race ended under caution due to an incident on the backstretch as Dixon approached the checkered flag.

Dixon waved goodbye to the field on a restart on Lap 197 of the 200-lap race to earn his 47th career INDYCAR victory, just five wins short of tying Mario Andretti for second on the all-time victory list. A.J. Foyt is No. 1 with 67 victories. Dixon, who started second, averaged 175.201 mph and led 157 laps for the victory.

The race on the 1.5-mile oval was the season opener for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of racing for nearly three months. This event took place without fans as a health-and-safety precaution.

“It was such a team effort,” Dixon said. “Honda, the power – it was huge. I don’t know what was with this PNC Bank car, but it was just so fast. Any situation we were in, we could just go for it. Huge thanks to everybody involved. Bummed the fans aren’t here. Wish everybody was here to celebrate.”

Zach Veach finished fourth in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda, tying his career best. Ed Carpenter rebounded from a spin during practice earlier during this one-day event to round out the top five in the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet.

The win added to the impressive list of Dixon’s accomplishments as he enters his 20th season of INDYCAR competition. Besides earning his 47th career win, he now has at least one victory for 16 consecutive seasons, a streak that started in 2005.

It appeared late in the race that Dixon and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Felix Rosenqvist would duel for the victory, as they were the class of the 23-car starting field.

Dixon led by nearly six seconds early in the race, but Rosenqvist pulled to within four-tenths of a second with 35 laps to go as Dixon struggled to find the grip to pass the lapped No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda of Alexander Rossi.

Both Dixon and Rosenqvist got past Rossi on Lap 169. Two laps later, Dixon was forced to check up behind the No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda of Marco Andretti, letting Rosenqvist stay in touch in his No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

The two cars raced in unison around the high-banked oval for the next 16 laps before Chip Ganassi Racing called Rosenqvist to the pits for his final stop on Lap 186. Dixon followed suit with his last pit stop on Lap 189 and hustled from pit lane to stay ahead of Rosenqvist when re-entering the back straight from pit lane, albeit in traffic.

Rosenqvist was flying, having turned the fastest lap of the race – 215.025 mph – on Lap 189. But he, too, got stuck behind traffic while pursuing Dixon after Dixon’s final stop.

Desperate to stay in touch with Dixon, Rosenqvist’s car wiggled on Lap 191 while passing James Hinchcliffe’s No. 29 Genesys Honda in Turn 2. Rosenqvist nearly caught his car, but it did a half-spin and hit the SAFER Barrier at the exit of Turn 2 with the left side of the car, ending his night and triggering the last of four caution periods. He was unhurt.

“I can’t blame others for whatever situation I had,” Rosenqvist said. “We came out on new tires. I don’t know if James was on really old tires. It’s my judgment. I went for the outside. Probably shouldn’t have done it. It’s one of those things where you sit there, and you’re going 40 mph slower than you want to go behind another car, it’s kind of tempting to just move up one lane. But it was just so slippery, and I just feel very sorry for my guys.

“The NTT DATA car was really unbelievable tonight. It was my breakthrough on ovals, I think. I had a really good shot there and threw it away. I’m really disappointed.”

Dixon never was threatened on the ensuing, and final, restart on Lap 197. He ripped away from Pagenaud and Newgarden and cruised to Victory Lane, turning the fastest lap by a leader of the race – 214.107 mph – on the final circuit.

Newgarden started from the pole and led the first 31 laps. Dixon passed him for the lead on Lap 32 and led 157 of the next 168 laps. He took the lead for good on Lap 91.

NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookies Rinus VeeKay and Alex Palou both were unhurt in a crash on Lap 38, and veteran Charlie Kimball also was uninjured in a crash on the frantic final lap of the race.

The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the GMR Grand Prix on Saturday, July 4 on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The wait is over; 2020 starts at Texas & Five Things to Look For…

INDIANAPOLIS (June 3, 2020) – It’s a few months delayed, but the NTT INDYCAR SERIES is ready to drop the green flag on the 2020 season.

Saturday’s Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway will be the first of 15 races scheduled from June to October, when the season will conclude where it originally planned to start – the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

CLICK HERE: Genesys 300 Entry List (PDF)

The season was suddenly halted March 13, hours before the first practice session at St. Petersburg, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly three months later, the 24 drivers who will compete in the 200-lap race Saturday night are eager to be unleashed on the high-banked, 1.5-mile oval.

“I’m anxious, but I think I’m most excited,” said Marco Andretti about the race, which will air live at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. “It was a long offseason to begin with and then obviously when COVID-19 hit, everybody was just kind of on hold. Really, really excited to get going. I think the world needs more sports, not just us, so it’s a good thing to get going.”

Six former winners – who account for the last six wins at the track – and three rookies slated to make their series debut are among the drivers who are expected to compete at Texas.

The race will also mark the official race debut of the Aeroscreen, a safety innovation for enhanced driver cockpit protection. The safety feature is a ballistic, canopy-like windscreen anchored by titanium framework encompassing the cockpit. INDYCAR has mandated its use by all teams at all track disciplines (ovals, permanent road courses and temporary street circuits).

“Well, the positive is that we spent a good amount of time, the series itself, Jay Frye leading the charge, making sure that this screen was vetted as it could be, making sure that it is fully prepared to run through a rigorous INDYCAR event,” said two-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Josef Newgarden. “Is the Aeroscreen ready for primetime? Absolutely. It’s been tested, been run through its paces at many different types of tracks, short ovals, speedways, road and street courses. It is absolutely ready to go.” 

But most importantly, the Genesys 300 is a chance for the drivers to get back on track and get their 2020 back to a sense of normalcy.

“I think it’s a testament to the effort that’s been put in by everyone at INDYCAR and Texas Motor Speedway and the state of Texas to allow us to go racing,” 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi said. “It’s really cool, really exciting. I think the world needs sports, needs entertainment, needs positivity, so, yeah, I’m excited to get there and not only put on a show for people but also get our season started and pick up where we left off at the end of last year.”


‘5 Things To Look For …’ heading into Genesys 300

INDIANAPOLIS (June 4, 2020) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES makes its season debut at Texas Motor Speedway this Saturday, June 6 at 8 p.m. (ET) on NBC, the first INDYCAR race broadcast on network television in prime time since 2013.

The season was halted March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic just before the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season was set to begin in St. Petersburg, Florida. After nearly three months, the wait is over, and open-wheel racing is getting underway in North America.

CLICK HERE: Entry List | Fast Facts | Spotter Guide 

The 24 drivers entered in Saturday night’s event will compete with a condensed schedule. The one-day show will feature a one-hour, 50-minute practice session, with 30 minutes set aside specifically for rookies. That will be followed by a qualifying session where each driver gets one lap to set their time and a race of 200 laps, trimmed from the scheduled 248 laps.

The condensed schedule will force the NTT INDYCAR SERIES stars to adapt to their race cars and the hot racetrack conditions quickly, allowing little room for error, exciting on-track action and many storylines heading into the first of a 14-race NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule in 2020.

Here are “5 Things To Look For…” heading into Saturday’s Genesys 300:

New Look, Same Car

This weekend, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will debut the much-anticipated Aeroscreen, a ballistic, canopy-like safety innovation on the cockpit of Indy cars that will enhance driver cockpit protection.

The Aeroscreen was tested extensively in the offseason by NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers at a variety of racetracks, including Barber Motorsports Park, Circuit of the Americas, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Richmond Raceway. INDYCAR has mandated its use by all teams at all track disciplines (ovals, permanent road courses and temporary street circuits).

INDYCAR partnered with Red Bull Advanced Technologies on the Aeroscreen, with the frame produced by Pankl and the ballistic screen produced by PPG. The innovation comes with several different features, including a heating element on the screen to prevent fogging and airflow inlets to cool the driver, among others.

Rookie Year, Veteran Talent

This weekend marks the NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut for two budding open-wheel stars: Oliver Askew of Arrow McLaren SP and Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing.

While Askew, 23, and VeeKay, 19, are newcomers to the top level of open-wheel racing in North America, they are certainly no strangers to success on oval tracks. Both drivers have racked up impressive statistics on various ovals while racing in the Road to Indy ladder series.

Askew has competed in five oval races in his open-wheel career and tallied three wins, one in USF2000 at Iowa Speedway and two in Indy Lights with the Freedom 100 at IMS and at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

VeeKay heads into Texas with less Road to Indy oval wins than Askew, but his consistency is just as impressive. In five oval starts, VeeKay has one win in Indy Pro 2000 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. However, he has four podium finishes in his five oval starts, and he has never finished worse than fourth on an oval in open-wheel competition.

The Streak Continues

When 2004 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Tony Kanaan announced his “TK Last Lap” farewell tour in January, which consisted of the five oval races on the circuit in 2020, it also meant Kanaan’s INDYCAR record for most consecutive series starts would stop at 317 starts, which dates back to June 2001 at Portland.

However, due to the delayed start of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Kanaan will extend his consecutive race streak to 318 starts since Texas Motor Speedway is an oval.

“Also, a great surprise was with the unfortunate situation, I’m going to get to extend my consecutive starts by one more,” Kanaan said. “Hopefully, I’m going to get to start the race first. We can’t say that before I get there. It’s a pretty cool thing. It was one other thing I was actually ready to retire once they took the green flag in St. Pete.”

Following Kanaan on the all-time INDYCAR consecutive starts list are two current NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers, Scott Dixon in second (258 consecutive starts) and Marco Andretti in third (234 consecutive starts).

A Helmet for Front-Line Heroes

This weekend, when Graham Rahal hops into his No. 15 Fleet Cost & Care Honda, he will strap on a special helmet honoring the healthcare heroes working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April, Rahal held a contest that encouraged race fans to submit helmet designs for him to use this year. Rahal chose the top eight designs, and then a fan vote was held to decide the winner. The winning design was created by Cindy Romano, a graphic designer for Fleet Cost & Care, the sponsor of his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

The message on the helmet reads “Everyday Heroes” and is a tribute to Romano’s daughter, who is an intensive care unit nurse at the Mayo Clinic. The timeliness of the tribute motivated Rahal to have the helmet designed as quickly as possible to have it at this weekend’s race.

#LiveLikeChris

When Conor Daly straps into his No. 59 Carlin Chevrolet Saturday night, he also will feature a tribute on his helmet.

#LiveLikeChris will be on Daly’s helmet this weekend honoring Daly’s friend Chris Beaty, who was killed in a shooting late Saturday night, May 30 in Indianapolis. Beaty was an Indianapolis native and a graduate of Cathedral High School. He was also an offensive lineman at Indiana University from 2000-04.

The #LiveLikeChris message on Daly’s helmet encourages race fans to “live like Chris – to love others boldly, to stand up for what’s right, to live every day to the fullest.” Additionally, the Chris Beaty Memorial Scholarship Fund was created to benefit incoming students at Indiana University and Cathedral High School and can be found here.

ABOUT INDYCAR:

INDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based governing body for North America’s premier open-wheel auto racing series known as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The series features an international field of the world’s most versatile drivers – including five-time series champion Scott Dixon, reigning series champion Josef Newgarden and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud – who compete on superspeedways, short ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses. The season, which runs from June to October, currently consists of 14 races in the United States and is highlighted by the historic Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, which is annually run in May, but rescheduled for August at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions are owned by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit www.indycar.com.

Statement from INDYCAR, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, June 2, 2020 – A statement from INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are deeply saddened by the tragic events and violence that have taken place in our country over recent weeks. Our hearts break for everyone that has been affected, most especially the family and friends of George Floyd.

As a country, there is much work to be done. And in our industry, there is more progress to be made in breaking down barriers and contributing toward a more inclusive and compassionate society. Now is the time to listen, learn, reflect and stand firmly but peacefully against racism and prejudice.

It is our most sincere hope that out of this difficult and sad time comes new and stronger resolve to make positive change and build lasting bridges, both in our sports world and across our nation.

Fans can win incredible INDYCAR experiences in benefit auction this weekend

INDIANAPOLIS (May 22, 2020) – The green flag has waved on the virtual INDYCAR “One Drive To Get Back On Track” auction that features rare and exciting ultimate INDYCAR fan experiences and supports non-profit organizations on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.

The auction, which can be found at INDYCAR.com/BackOnTrack , will end at 11:59 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 24. Proceeds from the auction will support the American Red Cross, All Clear Foundation and Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. Additionally, proceeds from a special edition #BackOnTrack T-shirt available on the website also will support those three organizations working tirelessly to support Indiana communities.

The final item added to the list of once-in-a-lifetime experiences up for auction is the Ultimate INDYCAR Backstage Pass. This special access for a practice day at the race weekend of the highest bidder’s choosing will offer a rare, behind-the-scenes look for two at an NTT INDYCAR SERIES race weekend. Items included in the package:

• Lunch at INDYCAR VIP Hospitality with an INDYCAR executive

• A meet and greet with the highest bidder’s favorite NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver

• A private tour of Race Control with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Director

• A tour of INDYCAR technical inspection with an NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Official

• A Media Center tour and attendance at an INDYCAR-hosted press conference

• A tour of the TV compound

• The opportunity to wave the green or checkered flag during an INDYCAR practice

• Event car rides around the racetrack for each of the two guests

• VIP hospitality for the day

• Race weekend credentials for the entire weekend

This Backstage Pass package is valid on any NTT INDYCAR SERIES race weekend in 2021 except for Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge qualification weekend and Indy 500 Race Day.

The “One Drive To Get Back On Track” auction features dozens of unique opportunities for race fans to meet their favorite driver or to spend a race weekend, including the Arrow McLaren SP VIP 2021 St. Pete Grand Prix Package. This all-access experience at the 2021 INDYCAR season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida, includes a garage tour, Arrow McLaren SP team gear, a karting session with an Arrow McLaren SP driver and more.

Also up for grabs is the “priceless” Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach VIP Experience For Two at the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. This package includes VIP suite access during the race, two Acura Grand Prix Overpasses, two Sunday pace car rides and an invitation for two to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES pre-race grid.

Additionally, race fans can enter for a chance to win the free, exclusive Indianapolis Motor Speedway “Epic Racing Capital of the World Experience” sweepstakes, which includes the opportunity to wave the green flag to start an Indy 500 practice day, take a track lap in a Speedway Chevrolet event car with IMS President J. Douglas Boles and end the day with dinner for four with the Borg-Warner Trophy and a former Indy 500 winner.

To learn more about each package up for auction, as well as to place a bid, visit INDYCAR.com/BackOnTrack.

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg set for Oct. 25 as 2020 INDYCAR season finale

INDIANAPOLIS (May 13, 2020) – The 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion will be crowned Sunday, Oct. 25 at the rescheduled Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The new date for the series finale was confirmed today by officials from INDYCAR, Green Savoree St. Petersburg, LLC (GSSP) and the City of St. Petersburg.

This will be the 16th consecutive year that an INDYCAR event will take place on the streets of beautiful St. Petersburg, as the exciting race weekend has become a fan favorite on the annual schedule and a fixture in the region. The original date for the event, Sunday, March 15, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The streets of St. Petersburg will make for a fitting and action-packed finale in a venue and city that our entire INDYCAR community holds dear,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “We extend our thanks and gratitude to Mayor Kriseman, Green Savoree and Firestone for working with us to find a new date for the event. It’s going to be a fantastic weekend of INDYCAR action, and I know our drivers will have race day in St. Pete circled on their calendars.”

This will be the first time the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will serve as the exciting series finale, as the event traditionally has started the season.

“The City of St. Petersburg stands ready to welcome back the fans of INDYCAR, drivers, teams and sponsors in October,” said City of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “I want to thank our partners at Green Savoree Racing Promotions for believing in this race and giving the residents of the Sunshine City something to look forward to. I am confident that the race will occur in a manner that puts public health at the forefront.”

Said Lisa Boggs, director of motorsports, Bridgestone Americas, parent company of event sponsor Firestone: “We greatly appreciate the efforts of Green Savoree Racing Promotions, INDYCAR, Mayor Kriseman and the City of St. Petersburg to find a new date for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Coming back to the streets of St. Pete to close the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season is a great way to thank the incredible fans in this area for their support. While we couldn’t kick off the season with them as planned, we now look forward to crowning the 2020 INDYCAR champion together in October.”

Previously purchased tickets to the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be valid on the corresponding days of the postponed event. Ticket purchasers on file will receive instructions via email. Additional event information and customer FAQs will be posted at gpstpete.com.

“Having a rescheduled date for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is a very positive development,” said Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of GSSP, organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. “This could only happen because of our partners’ commitment and support at City of St. Petersburg, INDYCAR and Firestone. We hope this offers both Floridians and our race fans something to look forward to later this year as we navigate through these unprecedented times for us all.”

Said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of GSSP: “Thank you to our fans for their patience and understanding as we’ve worked through this process with Mayor Kriseman, City Council, the City of St. Petersburg’s event team, INDYCAR and Firestone. It’s been a terrific team effort by all, and we appreciate the opportunity to host the event again this fall in one of the most fantastic settings in downtown St. Petersburg.”

The rest of the updated INDYCAR calendar for 2020 remains on schedule for competition. The season starts Saturday night, June 6 with the Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. To view the full calendar, click here

Notes & Quotes: First Responder 175 presented by GMR

INDIANAPOLIS–The 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 has been moved to August but race fans can catch the final and sixth race of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge Series this weekend. The First Responders 175 presented by GMR at the virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway kicks off the virtual Month of May. 

This weekend’s event will be a fraction of the traditional 500 miles as it will be 70 laps around the 2.5 mile oval–or 175 miles. However, the iRace will be broadcast live on NBCSN Saturday afternoon starting at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Qualifying for the First Responder 175 presented by GMR took place today with these results for the AJ Foyt Racing drivers: Dalton Kellett will start 19th, inside of row seven, in the No. 41 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet. Tony Kanaan will start 25th, inside row nine, in the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet and Sebastien Bourdais will start 29th, the middle of row 10, in the No. 4 rIpKurrent Chevrolet. Scott McLaughlin won the pole in the best of four laps qualifying session.

Dalton Kellett will pilot the No. 41 K-Line Insulators USA A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet during the First Responders 175 presented by GMR at the virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo Courtesy of A.J. Foyt Racing)

To date, Kellett is the top performer amongst the AJ Foyt Racing drivers with two 11th place finishes in the past five races. He is currently 13th in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge Series standings. For the second week in a row, his NTT INDYCAR Series debut will be taking place on virtual tracks instead of the actual track where he was scheduled to compete. 

“I am very excited to be among the 33 drivers taking the green flag for the final race of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge,” said Kellett. “I can’t think of a better place to cap it off than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The oval races have been very exciting, and I know we can bring the fans a great show. With fixed setups, the field will be tight. It will be very important to get everything out of qualifying and make smart decisions in the pack, during the race. I will be working with these goals in mind and going for a strong finish with the #41 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet eCar!”

The No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet will be piloted by Tony Kanaan during the First Responders 175 presented by GMR at the virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo Courtesy of A.J. Foyt Racing)

 Kanaan’s best finish in the series is 16th so far, but he is excited about this weekend’s race at the track that holds some of his fondest memories and hails him as an Indy 500 champion. 

“Excited that we’re in Indianapolis this weekend,” said Kanaan. “Even more excited that it’s the last one out of this series of virtual races which means we are going back to reality races pretty soon! Really excited about that. I hope the fans enjoyed it. There’s not a better place to finish the series than Indy but I want to go to the real one.”

Sebastien Bourdais will be behind the wheel of the No. 4 ripKurrent A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet during theFirst Responders 175 presented by GMR at the virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo Courtesy of A.J. Foyt Racing)

Four-time CART IndyCar champion Sebastien Bourdais, who has been filling in for Charlie Kimball in the virtual series, will be in the No. 4 ripKurrent Chevrolet this weekend. 

“The last event will be a big challenge at IMS,” said Bourdais, who was seriously injured in his 2017 Indy 500 qualifying run at the Speedway. “It is a very unforgiving place in real life and it is similar on iRacing. I hope luck will be on our side to finish on a high!”

Charlie Kimball, who has not participated in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge Series, has been busy putting together the virtual

“Hambone’s 500 Trivia” game which will be held this Saturday night, May 2nd at 8:30 pm ET. Kimball is co-hosting the game with Matt Hammond, founder of Hambone’s Trivia. Questions were sourced through famed Indianapolis 500 historian Donald Davidson. Cost per team is $33, and teams can be unlimited in size. To sign up, visit: www.hambonestrivia.com/weeklytrivia. The proceeds will benefit the IU Health Foundation. 

News from INDYCAR: First Responder 175 presented by GMR Fast Facts

First Responder 175 presented by GMR Fast Facts

When: 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday, May 2

Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a four-turn, 2.5-mile oval. Turn banking: 9 degrees, 12 minutes. Straightaway width: 50 feet. Turn width: 60 feet.

Race distance: 70 laps/175 miles (281.6 km) (approximately 75 minutes)

Expected pit stops: One or two. Fuel window will be approximately 30-35 laps. Cars will be allowed one “Fast Repair” during the race.

Twitter: @IndyCar@iRacing@IMS, #INDYCARChallenge, #INDYCAR

TV/Online: 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN, NBCSports.com, NBC Sports App. Leigh Diffeyis the lead announcer, alongside the network’s INDYCAR analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy, and pit reporter Marty Snider. The pre-race activities will be highlighted by the Indianapolis Fire Department’s Voices of IFD singing the national anthem and New York City first responders giving the command to start engines. The podium finishers will be interviewed on the live NBCSN broadcast. Diffey also will host a post-race virtual press conference with the podium finishers for media members (call-in details will be distributed).

Spotter guide: Click here to see a detailed spotter guide for this Saturday’s race.

Starting lineup: Click here to see a starting lineup for this Saturday’s race.

Race notes:

• The First Responder 175 presented by GMR is the last of six rounds in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. It’s the third oval race in the virtual series. Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) won both previous oval rounds, the Chevrolet 275 on April 11 at Michigan International Speedway and the Firestone 175 on April 18 at Twin Ring Motegi.

• Experienced sim racers Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske) and Lando Norris (Arrow McLaren SP) will comprise the front row of the starting grid for the First Responder 175 presented by GMR. Two-time and reigning Virgin Australia Supercars champion McLaughlin won the pole Friday with a top lap of 39.432 seconds, 228.241 mph, with Formula One standout Norris second at 39.439, 228.201.

• Front-row starters Scott McLaughlin and Lando Norris are two of only three drivers in the 33-driver field with no career starts on the IMS oval in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, Freedom 100 or Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard. The other is NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Alex Palou (Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh), who qualified eighth with a best lap of 39.454 seconds, just .022 of a second off McLaughlin’s pole lap.

• Twenty-four of the 33 starters in the First Responder 175 presented by GMR have made at least one Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge start. And five of those without “500” starts competed in the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race on the IMS oval – Oliver Askew (Arrow McLaren SP), RC Enerson (Top Gun Racing), Dalton Kellett (A.J. Foyt Enterprises), Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren SP) and Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing). Scott Speed (Andretti Autosport) has started in the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard NASCAR Cup Series race. 

• Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) recorded the closest victory of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge at the last oval race, the Firestone 175 at Twin Ring Motegi. He edged fellow NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) by .3429 of a second.

• All four previous race winners in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will compete in the finale at IMS: Sage Karam (Watkins Glen winner), Scott McLaughlin (Barber Motorsports Park winner), Simon Pagenaud (Michigan and Motegi winner) and Lando Norris (Circuit of The Americas winner).

• James Davison (Byrd/Petry/Hayward/Belardi), RC Enerson (Top Gun Racing), Scott Speed(Andretti Autosport) and Stefan Wilson (Juncos Racing) each earned a spot in the 33-car starting field by turning the four fastest laps during a special qualifying session Wednesday. Enerson and Wilson each will make their first starts in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge.

• There are eight Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winners in the starting lineup for the First Responder 175 presented by GMR: Helio Castroneves (Team Penske), Scott Dixon(Chip Ganassi Racing), Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport), Tony Kanaan (A.J. Foyt Enterprises), Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske), Will Power (Team Penske), Alexander Rossi(Andretti Autosport) and Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing). The top qualifier for Saturday’s race among that group is Power, who will start seventh.

• An impressive streak ended at Round 5 of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge on April 25 at Circuit of the Americas, as a Team Penske driver failed to score a podium finish for the first time in the virtual racing series. Scott McLaughlin was the team’s top finisher, in fourth.

• Will Power (Team Penske) has finished sixth or better in all five rounds of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, with a best finish of second April 4 on the road course at Barber Motorsports Park. Power also has led 74 of 198 laps contested in the two oval races so far in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, more than any other driver. Sage Karam (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) is second on that list with 54 laps led on ovals.

FIRST RESPONDER 175 presented by GMR PRE-EVENT QUOTES:

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 4 ripKurrent Chevrolet): “The last event will be a big challenge at IMS. It is a very unforgiving place in real life, and it is similar on iRacing. I hope luck will be on our side to finish on a high.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Riley Children’s Foundation Chevrolet): “It’s always great to drive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I am pumped that they chose this for our final iRacing INDYCAR Challenge event, and it just makes me wish that it were August. Plus, I will have a special Riley Children’s Foundation car raising awareness for the Riley Relief Fund. I can’t wait for Saturday.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 911 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s time to go back to Indy, baby – at least on the computer for now. It’s been so great to be involved with a couple of races, and it’s been so much fun racing against my INDYCAR competitors in the virtual world until we can race in the real one. The cherry on top is that all of the drivers selected Indianapolis for the final race. Everyone knows I love that place. There’s just something about it that has jelled so well with the way I race, and I’ve had some truly incredible success there. I don’t know if that translates on the computer, but I can tell you I will give it the same effort. It will also be a little weird to see the Yellow Submarine without the No. 3, but thanks to our friends at GMR/AMR, we are going to run the 911 this week to help honor all of our first responders. I know I can speak for everyone in the INDYCAR community when I say I am so thankful for all the first responders and everyone who is doing everything they can to keep all of us around the world safe. That’s why I’m so honored to have a special number for this race for my Pennzoil Chevy. It’s our way of saying thank you to all of those folks for everything they are doing during this crisis. I am going to do my best to give this race my all and hopefully come away with a win.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “I think ending the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a great way to round out the NTT INDYCAR SERIES adventure into the world of iRacing. We haven’t had the best results during the last few rounds, but it’s been a lot of fun learning the game and keeping fans engaged during these strange times. Hopefully we can come away from this INDYCAR iRacing Challenge with a solid result for the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet this weekend.”

CONOR DALY (No. 31 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet): “I definitely want to thank Carlin for giving me the opportunity to have a locked-in spot in this weekend’s virtual Indy 500. It’s a cool little piece of teamwork between the two teams to make sure we’re locked in and ready for the race on Saturday, which is awesome. I’ll still be in the U.S. Air Force Chevrolet; it’ll just have a 31 on it. I’m starting the real NTT INDYCAR SERIES season in Texas with Carlin, so it’ll be good to get a head start on working the Carlin guys and have some fun this weekend together. We’ll see what happens in the virtual racing world this weekend at IMS in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge finale.”

MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “Last race of the iRacing Challenge – I’m looking forward to it. I think we have been on a good run lately. The last couple of events have been pretty good, pretty solid. I’m getting more and more comfortable, so I want a top result to end this INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. I think we can run the No. 8 Huski Honda car right up the front and actually fight for the win this weekend, so that’s what we’re targeting. We’ve got the tools to do it, and I’m eager to try to get to Victory Lane. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s nice to finish off at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; I think it’s a perfect way to finish off this iRacing Challenge. Let’s see what we can do.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet): “Excited that we’re in Indianapolis this weekend. Even more excited that it’s the last one out of this series of virtual races, which means we are going back to reality races pretty soon. Really excited about that. I hope the fans enjoyed it. There’s not a better place to finish the series than Indy, but I want to go to the real one.”

SAGE KARAM (No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet): “I think a lot of the drivers are excited to race the IMS oval. I know that it will be very high intensity. That’s because it’s Indy and it’s the final INDYCAR Challenge event. With only 70 laps rather than 200, the drivers will want to qualify well and get to the front pretty quickly. We had a good oval car at MIS and Motegi, but things didn’t go our way. Hopefully, we’ll have another strong car this Saturday. It should be a great race.”

DALTON KELLETT (No. 41 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet): “I am very excited to be among the 33 drivers taking the green flag for the final race of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, and I can’t think of a better place to cap it off than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The oval races have been very exciting, and I know we can bring the fans a great show. With fixed setups, the field will be tight. It will be very important to get everything out of qualifying and make smart decisions in the pack during the race. I will be working with these goals in mind and going for a strong finish with the No. 41 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet eCar.”

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN (No. 40 PIRTEK Team Penske Dallara): “It’s always been a dream of mine to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and I hope to get the chance to do it one time. But I’m stoked to take a shot at the virtual IMS this weekend. I’ve been lucky enough to be at the track during the Month of May to root for my Team Penske teammates and its cool, so I’m ready to rip around there on the sim. I hope some of my oval experience from the series so far helps, but this will be a challenge and I am really looking forward to it. I’m also excited to have PIRTEK on my Dallara, which is also a big team sponsor for us in Australia. We’ve also changed our number this weekend to be No. 40, which honors their 40th anniversary. So pretty cool to say I’ll be in the No. 40 PIRTEK car for Indianapolis.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet): “I’m excited for the final race of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge to be at Indianapolis. All of us INDYCAR drivers love that place for so many reasons – the history, the pageantry, the chance to win at one of the hallowed places in all of sports. It’s just such a special place. I’m thankful to INDYCAR, iRacing and NBCSN to give us one more way to race that beautiful track now in the virtual world. The whole iRacing series of races has been such a great learning experience. I’ve been able to spend time with my team in a new way to prepare for whenever we can go back to racing in real life. I’ve been training a lot for this one and can’t wait to race.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “It really all comes down to this, and I just can’t wait. Indianapolis has always been special to me, but after the success the team had there in 2019 during the Month of May, it’s even more so. It all feels so full circle to be racing there again, at least virtually, back in my Menards Chevy that brought us so much luck last year. It was so great to bring home another couple of wins for Roger (Penske) and also really great to bring John Menard his first Indy 500 win. We won’t be able to have another go at winning the Indy 500 until August, and this is an excellent way to prepare for that. I know all the INDYCAR fans out there just can’t wait for us to go back to racing – especially at Indianapolis – as much as the rest of us drivers can’t wait. I’m really thankful to NBCSN for showing a number of our iRacing events to all the fans out there. I’ve been training extra hard for this weekend because I know myself and the rest of our team would love another win at Indy – especially a virtual one.”

ALEX PALOU (No. 55 Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda): “It’s been two tough weekends for us, so I’m looking forward to this weekend’s race and hoping for a good result to end the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. Last week, I was running well up until I spun. On the sim, it’s very easy to go a little bit over the limit without knowing. In the real car, you feel more what the car is doing. You can drive at 95 percent without spinning, and on the sim you think you’re 90 percent but you’re actually at 110 percent, which is why I spun. I was running in the top three, so it was a shame. This weekend we head to virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I didn’t think that the first time I’d race at Indianapolis would be on iRacing, but it should be an interesting race. I’ve been practicing this week with some of the other drivers, and it’s going to be close and exciting. It will probably come down to the last corner. I have a new computer and new pedals for this weekend, so hopefully that will help me be a little bit faster.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “I guess I have one more shot to win one of these, man. We’ve been so, so close all year long. I don’t know if anyone else has run up front as much as the Verizon Chevrolet. I’m pumped that we’re going to end it at the virtual Indianapolis for the last race of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. I just love that place and am proud of our success there. We work our tails off every year to be our best, and a race at the virtual IMS is no exception. My team and I have been preparing for this one in a different way because it’s one we all want to win. We’re really planning on throwing we can at it and taking everything we have learned in the real world to apply to this race in the virtual one. I can’t wait to get back on track and be a part of this awesome iRacing event with all of the other INDYCAR guys one more time.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 United Rentals Honda): “The iRace at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be a blast. I expect there to be plenty of carnage, fun, laughs and good racing. There will be big drafts, and the leader will always be a sitting duck — good times! I think the fans will like this one the best. I feel the oval races have been great. Humorous, which we all needed, but also much better racing than the road courses. I think everyone has had fun with this and will continue to do it well past the end of the INDYCAR Challenge in a more fun and less-focused manner. Overall, it has been a great experience. Difficult for some – those who aren’t regulars at this stuff – but overall it has been a huge hit for all of us and more importantly our fans and partners. We want to keep this growing and help build into the start of our real INDYCAR calendar, which we all hope is coming soon. We have certainly enjoyed the laughter and communication between teammates and our engineering core during this time on iRacing. It has allowed us to get some of our usual on-track communication back to normal and give us a little leg up as we go into the season. The best part has been to raise some money for Turns for Troops thanks to United Rentals. I am just ready to go racing. Being in my home gym constantly, watching old race tapes, it’s time to go racing, and I hope it really is close for all of us.”

FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It’s the final race of this new generation of racing for us this year. There will probably be a lot more races after this I bet, but it feels good to get a closure to iRacing Challenge with ending at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s been quite a lot of hours for a lot of us on this, and it’s been great fun. But I think everyone is now ready to start focusing on the real deal. Hopefully we can get going here soon in a couple of weeks. Indy is always going to be the big one, even in iRacing. So, we better get prepared for it. We’re hoping to get the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda car up to the front for this last one.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Panasonic/Mi-Jack Honda): “Each race is a new experience for me, and I am enjoying both the oval and road course. The close racing never stops on the oval way, which is great fun. The road course is much more challenging in terms of driving at the moment for me, but I guess once you are totally comfortable, it’s going to be a lot of fun just like real racing. You just need to have a really good amount of practice and experience for this. A lot of the feelings are missing, just some force feedback though the steering wheel and visual from the display. You miss the sensation of G-forces and pitching, rolling and particularly the yaw moment – all the senses you use for driving. But I am starting to understand more and more, and it feels like I’m actually driving, so that is a very interesting phase now. Having great drivers from all over the world over different series is just fantastic. It’s great for us to be able to race against them, and it’s fantastic entertainment for fans. Certainly the relationship with the engineers and keeping us sharp for non-racing time by the sim world is beneficial since it’s very competitive here, too. And, of course, connecting with fans for the sport and entertainment is a great thing, especially in times like today. We hope we will get over this challenging time together, and we will be all very happy to go back a real racing. It’s going to be very unpredictable in an exciting way. It will be close racing through all the way to the finish, and that gives fun and great entertainment.”

RINUS VEEKAY (No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet): “I’ve always looked forward to the first time driving an Indy car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Even though it’s going to be virtual, I’m very excited to get going and I’m looking forward to all great battles coming during Saturday’s race.”

News from INDYCAR: Month of May opens with INDYCAR iRacing Challenge finale on IMS oval

Month of May opens with INDYCAR iRacing Challenge finale on IMS oval

INDIANAPOLIS (April 30, 2020) – The Month of May will begin and the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will end on the most famous start-finish line in global motorsports – the Yard of Bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The last of six rounds of the virtual racing series, the First Responder 175 presented by GMR, will start at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, May 2 and be televised live on NBCSN. The 70-lap, 175-mile race will take place on the world-renowned 2.5-mile oval at IMS, home of the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. That race was scheduled for Sunday, May 24 but postponed to Sunday, Aug. 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A 33-driver field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers and competitors from other global racing series – just as in the Indianapolis 500 – will take the green flag in the virtual race using the iRacing platform.

Click here: Entry List

In an example of the virtual world mirroring the real world, Simon Pagenaud may be the driver to beat this Saturday at the Racing Capital of the World.

Pagenaud won the biggest race in the world in 2019 – the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge – and also has won the two previous oval races in the virtual series that started March 28 after the start of the actual NTT INDYCAR SERIES was delayed by the global health crisis.

2016 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Pagenaud proved in his two INDYCAR iRacing Challenge victories that he can win in almost any scenario.

Pagenaud triumphed with strategy and fuel mileage in the Chevrolet 275 on April 11 at Michigan International Speedway, winning by 13.4059 seconds in the No. 22 DXC Team Penske Chevrolet. One week later, he held off five-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon by .3429 of a second after a spellbinding duel to win the Firestone 175 at Twin Ring Motegi.

2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Will Power also should be a main contender to finally enter Victory Lane in the final round of the series. Power has finished in the top six in all five rounds so far in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, including a best of second April 4 on the road course at Barber Motorsports Park.

2018 Indianapolis 500 winner Power led 74 of 198 laps contested on ovals so far in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, more than any other driver. Power’s best oval finish was third April 18 at Twin Ring Motegi, an event in which he appeared to be headed for his first victory until the nearly lapped car driven by Oliver Askew collided with him with nine laps remaining. Power led a race-high 61 laps at Motegi.

Another Team Penske driver, Scott McLaughlin, is a fellow hard-luck case on ovals. Two-time reigning Virgin Australia Supercars champion McLaughlin dueled with Power for the lead at Motegi when he was collected and eliminated in the incident between Power and Askew.

McLaughlin’s best finish so far on an oval was second, behind Pagenaud, at Michigan in the No. 2 Snap-on Team Penske entry.

Sage Karam is another driver who should contend for victory Saturday in the First Responder 175 presented by GMR despite tough luck on ovals. NTT INDYCAR SERIES veteran Karam led a race-high 49 laps at Michigan but finished 14th in the No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet. Experienced sim racer Karam led five laps at Motegi and finished seventh.

It also will be interesting to how the differing learning curves of Dixon and rising Formula One star Lando Norris convert to results Saturday at IMS.

2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Dixon has vast experience at the real IMS, with 17 career starts in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” But he had almost no sim racing experience before the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge yet nearly beat experienced sim racer Pagenaud for victory on the last oval event, at Motegi, in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Dixon still led 13 laps at Motegi despite his inexperience in virtual racing. So, he must be considered a contender for victory at Indy, where he has led 452 laps, tops among active competitors and ninth all-time.

Norris, 20, has been sim racing for more than a decade and competes regularly in the virtual world as a member of the elite Team Redline when he’s not racing around the world in F1 for McLaren.

He showed that skill and speed by blitzing the field in his INDYCAR iRacing Challenge debut April 25 on the road course at COTA, winning by 1.445 seconds over Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward despite a spin early in the race. But Norris lacks the real and virtual oval racing experience of most of his rivals, so can he carry the speed he showed on the right and left turns of COTA to left turns only at Indy?

Indianapolis 500 winners Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves haven’t enjoyed much success so far in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, but they will be among the favorites to enter Victory Circle at IMS if real-world results translate to the virtual world.

2013 Indy winner Kanaan has a best finish of 18th at Michigan in the two oval races in the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet, while three-time Indy winner Castroneves finished 29th in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet at Motegi in his only start so far in the series. But Kanaan has led 346 laps on the IMS oval in his 18 Indy 500 starts, while Castroneves has been out front for 305 laps in his 19 “500” starts.

The fuel window for this 70-lap race is approximately 30 to 35 laps, so strategy could play a big role. Brave drivers and strategists could gamble on enough fuel savings and extended caution laps to reach the checkered flag in one stop, while others may play it safe and benefit from the fresher tires gained from a second stop.

A 15-minute qualifying session Friday will set the starting lineup for the First Responder 175 presented by GMR.

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will not crown an overall champion but will add a special element where INDYCAR will make a donation to one of its partner charities.

Spin and Win: Norris overcomes early mishap to win AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge at COTA

INDIANAPOLIS (April 25, 2020) – Lando Norris won the AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge on Saturday, April 25 at Circuit of The Americas from the pole with crushing pace, but the victory was anything but a joy ride to the checkered flag. McLaren Formula One driver Norris drove to a 1.445-second victory over Arrow McLaren SP teammate Pato…

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News from INDYCAR: INDYCAR iRacing Challenge hits the road for Round 5 at COTA

INDYCAR iRacing Challenge hits the road for Round 5

Virtual racing series heads to COTA Saturday on NBCSN; F1 standout Norris joins field

INDIANAPOLIS (April 23, 2020) – With just two rounds remaining, it’s time to find out who is the true king of the virtual INDYCAR road.

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge returns to a natural road course after two consecutive oval races with the AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday, April 25 at virtual Circuit of the Americas (COTA). The 32-lap race on the 20-turn, 3.427-mile circuit at COTA, located in Austin, Texas, will be televised live on NBCSN.

A 33-driver field will take the green flag in Round 5 of the six-round series featuring NTT INDYCAR SERIES stars and special guest drivers. COTA was scheduled to host an NTT INDYCAR SERIES round Sunday, April 26, an event canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here: Entry List

Two new faces from outside the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will be among the bumper crop of talented drivers in the field Saturday.

Englishman Lando Norris will drive the No. 04 Arrow McLaren SP Dallara. Norris finished 11th in the Formula One World Championship standings last season for McLaren and is returning for a second season with the iconic F1 team. Rising star Norris, 20, is an avid sim racer and one of the most popular and engaging F1 drivers on social media.

Australian Chaz Mostert will drive the No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Dallara for Andretti Herta with Marco Andretti & Curb-Agajanian, racing from his home in Australia in darkness during the early hours of morning. 2014 Bathurst 1000 winner Mostert, 28, has 13 career victories in Virgin Australia Supercars and drives in that series for Walkinshaw Andretti United.

Norris and Mostert will try to solve the same puzzle as nearly every other driver in the series: How to stop Simon Pagenaud?

2016 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Pagenaud won the last two rounds, on ovals at Michigan International Speedway on April 11 and at Twin Ring Motegi on April 18. He isn’t too shabby on road courses, either, finishing sixth in the series opener March 28 at Watkins Glen and fifth April 4 at Barber Motorsports Park.

Reigning Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Pagenaud again will be one of the favorites to win Saturday in the No. 22 Snap-on Team Penske Chevrolet.

Mostert also could become the latest native of Australia or New Zealand to make headlines in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge.

2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Will Power has been a steady presence on or near the podium for all four rounds. Australian Power has finished third, second, fourth and third, respectively, in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

2018 Indianapolis 500 winner and veteran sim racer Power appeared to be headed for his first victory in the series last Saturday at Motegi before he was entangled in a late-race collision. Could this be the week he finally stands atop the podium? He won the pole for the inaugural NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at COTA in March 2019, and his sim racing speed has proven to be just as quick as in the real world.

Two-time reigning Virgin Australia Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin has been the revelation of this series. New Zealand native McLaughlin was impressive during actual preseason testing for Team Penske and was scheduled to make his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut May 9 in the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before that event was postponed to July 4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

McLaughlin has been an ace on road courses in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, finishing fourth at Watkins Glen and winning at Barber. Like Mostert, McLaughlin once again will race in the middle of the night from his home in Australia in the No. 2 Shell V-Power Team Penske Dallara.

Five-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon is another driver emerging as a standout in this series. New Zealander Dixon finished a strong second to Pagenaud last Saturday on the Motegi oval after finishing 16th and 30th in his first two starts in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Unlike many of his rivals, 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Dixon had little to no sim racing experience before joining the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge for Round 2 at Barber. But he has shown the same quick adaptation skills and speed in the virtual world that he has for nearly 20 years in INDYCAR competition.

Among drivers from other parts of the world, American Sage Karam also should be a contender for victory. Veteran sim racer Karam won the opening round of the series at Watkins Glen in the No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet and has led 67 of the 90 laps so far on road courses.

A glance at the past also could pinpoint two contenders for victory Saturday.

Colton Herta made global motorsports headlines in March 2019 by winning the inaugural INDYCAR race at COTA, becoming the youngest winner in series history, at age 18. Herta, now 20, will drive the No. 88 Capstone Honda on Saturday.

Oliver Askew swept both Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires rounds last February at COTA en route to the series title. Askew will race his rookie season this year in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for Arrow McLaren SP and will line up on the virtual grid at COTA in the team’s No. 7 Chevrolet.

Another Indy Lights champion, 2015 title winner Spencer Pigot, will make his series debut in the No. 45 Mi-Jack/EMBRACE Pittsburgh RLL with Citrone/Buhl Autosport Honda.

The fuel window for this 32-lap race is approximately 15 to 16 laps. But it should be a one-stop race due to a competition caution period on Lap 12, a feature carried over from Round 2 on the road course at Barber that bunched the field and increased and intensified the wheel-to-wheel action.

A 10-minute qualifying session will set the starting lineup prior to the event.

One race remains in the six-round series after Saturday, a non-INDYCAR “Dream” track May 2. The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will not crown an overall champion but will add a special element where INDYCAR will make a donation to one of its partner charities.

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