Conway impresses in RLL test at Barber

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Mike Conway had his first and only day of running this week at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. The Englishman is confirmed in a third car for the team at Long Beach, a place where he won his only IndyCar Series race in 2011.

Conway, who a year ago made the Firestone Fast Six at Barber with A.J. Foyt Racing, clocked in fourth quickest of 26 drivers on the day at 1:08.1584.

“Today was about getting comfortable in a car, working with the guys and seeing how they work and getting myself dialed in for Long Beach,” Conway said. “I think we got through a lot of stuff, and hopefully helped the guys out for tomorrow. James (Jakes) will be in the car and hopefully he’ll like some of the things we got through today and be quick out of the box.”

The aforementioned Jakes has been confirmed to the full season in RLL’s second car, the No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Dallara-Honda, and will test on Wednesday. Jakes’ engineer for the season is Eddie Jones, formerly of KV Racing Technology last year and Conway’s with Andretti Autosport in 2011.

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.