Ryan Briscoe lands Indy 500 drive with Ganassi

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Ryan Briscoe has become an instant contender to win the 2013 Indianapolis 500 this evening, as both SPEED.com’s Marshall Pruett and the Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer have confirmed that the former Team Penske pilot will drive for Target Chip Ganassi Racing at the Brickyard in May.

Briscoe won the pole position for last year’s “500,” but left Penske following the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season and was unable to land another ride in the series. However, the Australian has bounced back nicely in sports cars, earning a P2 class victory last month in the 12 Hours of Sebring.

He’s had varying degrees of success at the Brickyard in his career. He finished 10th in his first ‘500’ with Ganassi, for whom he drove for in the 2005 campaign (an abbreviated year due to injuries sustained in a horrific crash at Chicagoland Speedway). He would return to Indianapolis in 2007 and finish fifth for Luczo-Dragon Racing, but then could only muster a best finish of 15th (2009) across his next four 500s for Team Penske. However, he snapped his rough streak at Indy last year with another fifth-place finish.

During his five-year run with Roger Penske’s outfit, Briscoe notched seven victories and 26 podium finishes. Now he’ll be running alongside Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon and Charlie Kimball as part of the team that belongs to The Captain’s greatest rival — and, furthermore, in the biggest race of them all.

INDYCAR: Newgarden, Sato quickest in first of 2 Friday practices at Road America

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Josef Newgarden was quickest in the first of Friday’s two INDYCAR practice sessions at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champion covered the 4.048-mile, 14-turn course with a best lap of 1:43.0477, followed by Takuma Sato (1:43.4729), Alexander Rossi (1:43.5603), Robert Wickens (1:43.5774) and Marco Andretti (1:43.8825).

Sixth-quickest was Tony Kanaan (1:44.0429), followed by Spencer Pigot (1:44.1080), Zach Veach (1:44.1306), Scott Dixon (1:44.1643) and Matheius Leist (1:44.2963).

Alfonso Celis Jr., making his Verizon IndyCar Series debut and with Juncos Racing, was 22nd quickest in the 23-car field at 1:44.9164, while Gabby Chaves was the slowest driver on the course at 1:46.4485.

While there were no significant incidents during the 45-minute session, a number of drivers struggled in several turns, primarily due to some lingering puddles from overnight rain, as well as on rumble strips that threw their cars into adjacent grass areas.

The second practice session today takes place at 4:15 p.m. ET.

A third practice kicks off Saturday’s busy day at Noon ET, followed by qualifying at 4 p.m. ET, the second round of qualifying at 4:40 p.m. ET and the third and final round of qualifying at 5 p.m. ET.

The weekend’s main event, Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix, takes the green flag shortly after 1 p.m. ET. Make sure to tune in to NBCSN for the live telecast of the race.

We’ll have the full practice grid and driver quotes shortly. Please check back soon.

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