IndyCar prepares for long haul to Brazil

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The IZOD IndyCar Series’ annual trip to Brazil is always an adventure, and it all starts with the packing.

About 400,000 total pounds of cargo will be carried by two 747-400F planes to Sao Paulo, Brazil, where the series will stage the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle next weekend. In addition, Firestone Firehawk tires, fuel and Dallara parts and equipment are being shipped over via ocean cargo vessel. When everything arrives in Sao Paulo, it’ll all be transported to the Anhembi Park complex that houses the 2.5-mile, 11-turn street circuit.

Each entrant is limited to 9,000 total pounds, and today at Indianapolis International Airport, the loading for the 5,000+ mile trip to South America began (the flight itself is slated for Sunday). After numerous trips overseas in recent years, the IndyCar teams are pros when it comes to having everything together.

“It’s a major undertaking to get everything packed,” Andretti Autosport team manager Ziggy Harcus told IndyCar.com. “And the paperwork side is another undertaking. Then you have the consumables — you have to make sure you take enough that you need but not waste it. We’re organized; we’ve done it quite a few times with Brazil and Japan.”

Amongst the cargo that’s shipped over via plane are the cars themselves, which are stacked up in twos on specially-made racks.

You can catch the Sao Paulo Indy 300 on Sunday, May 5 at 11 a.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network, or online and on your mobile device with NBC Sports Live Extra.

Gabby Chaves to sub for Joao Barbosa at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen

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Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.

The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.

Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.

“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”

Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”

Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.

The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.

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