Ryan Briscoe returns to IndyCar cockpit

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One day after helping secure a 1-2 class finish for Level 5 Motorsports at an American Le Mans Series race in California, Ryan Briscoe quickly re-embraced the feeling of driving an IndyCar at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In a one-off effort for Chip Ganassi Racing, Briscoe is running the No. 8 NTT Data Honda this month and is expected to be at or near the front in the 97th Indianapolis 500. He took his first laps of the month this afternoon and was ranked 17th on the time charts at 217.773 miles per hour in his backup “T” car.

But with the speed not being a big priority until later in the week, today was a day for Briscoe to get time in both his primary and backup entries.

“Both cars feel great,” said Briscoe, who earned seven victories in a full-time run for Team Penske from 2008 to 2012 before shifting to sports cars this season in the ALMS.

“The boys have done a great job preparing them both. When I went out tonight, it was like I never left driving IndyCars. It just felt normal. It feels good to be back in the groove of things and looking forward to doing more tomorrow.”

As for next season, Briscoe says he is hopeful that he can come back to IndyCar full-time. Despite losing his former ride with Penske, he maintains a good relationship with the team, which goes along with his philosophy of not burning any bridges in the tight-knit world of IndyCar racing.

“You never know what’s around the next corner,” he said. “You just have to keep with it and stay positive. It’s such a small community of people and so many guys that I worked with at Penske are [now] at Ganassi, as well. And the rest of them I know from having raced at Ganassi in 2005.

“You just have to go out there and be professional and just keep doing what we do. I feel like I have a place in IndyCar, and I just have to go out and do a good job.”

Weather prompts INDYCAR to move up start time of today’s race in Alabama

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The scheduled starting time for today’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park has been moved up due to inclement weather in the Birmingham, Alabama area.

The command to start engines is now scheduled for 3:01 p.m. ET, rather than the previous scheduled start of 3:35 p.m. ET. The race, which is expected to take the green flag at 3:08 p.m. ET,  will be carried live on NBCSN.

In addition, the INDY LIGHTS race, previously scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET, saw its starting time moved up to 11:45 a.m. ET.

According to several different weather forecasts, thunderstorms are predicted for the afternoon, with some forecasts calling for up to 100 percent chance of storms.

The rain is expected to continue into the evening and on into Monday.

INDYCAR officials are monitoring the very fluid situation and further schedule adjustments could be made.

We’ll keep readers up to date on further changes here on MotorSportsTalk.