Briscoe, Bell gear up for weekend with ALMS, then IndyCar

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Although IndyCar isn’t racing this weekend, some of the drivers who are entered for this year’s Indianapolis 500 are. Practice for the race begins on Saturday.

Ryan Briscoe and Townsend Bell will race in the American Le Mans Series event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. on Saturday.

Briscoe already has a class win (Sebring 12 Hours) and pole (Long Beach) in two starts for Level 5 Motorsports, where he will compete in the full season and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Briscoe rejoins the Chip Ganassi Racing squad for Indianapolis for the first time since 2005, in the No. 8 NTT Data Honda.

Also Thursday, Discovery Channel announced a MythBusters IndyCar special will air Wednesday, May 22, at 9 p.m. ET, featuring Briscoe at IMS.

Bell recaps his crazy last few weeks and the two most recent IndyCar races here, but his focus this weekend is on his GT class Ferrari F458 Italia for the West/Alex Job Racing/Boardwalk Ferrari team. Bell paced his class in the ALMS official test session Thursday, at a time of 1:23.802 in the Yokohama-shod No. 23 Ferrari around the 2.238-mile road course (pictured right, ALMS Photo).

“This is our first chance to try some things that I hadn’t been able to try so far,” Bell said. “The Ferrari is just a fantastic car out of the box, and it’s the third year of the 458. Development-wise, the guys have a really nice car and it’s a matter of adapting our brake, damper and tire partners to this platform, which we know is a winning one.”

Briscoe and Bell are expected to leave immediately after the race Saturday night to catch flights to Indianapolis, where their on-track preparations for the 500 will begin in earnest.

Katherine Legge, who raced in IndyCar in 2012, is also competing in Monterey this weekend, aboard the revolutionary DeltaWing prototype.

Carb Day: Tony Kanaan is fastest in final practice for Sunday’s Indy 500

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Tony Kanaan wants to put legendary driver and team owner A.J. Foyt back into Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500.

Kanaan took a big step toward achieving that goal in Friday’s final practice for Sunday’s 102nd running of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing.

Kanaan was fastest of the 33-driver field, with a best lap around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval at 227.791 mph, more than 2 mph faster than the second-fastest driver, Kanaan’s former teammate, Scott Dixon (225.684 mph).

Foyt won a record-tying four Indy 500’s as a driver. It’s been nearly 20 years since he also won as a team owner in 1999 with Kenny Brack behind the wheel.

Marco Andretti was third-fastest (225.200 mph), followed by Sebastien Bourdais (224.815), Charlie Kimball (224.712), 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (224.083), Will Power (223.942), Danica Patrick (223.653), Spencer Pigot (223.584) and Ed Jones (223.556).

Other notable driver speeds included:

* Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th fastest (223.219 mph).

* Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden was 15th (223.186 mph).

* Helio Castroneves, hoping to earn a record-tying fourth 500 win, was 17th (222.913 mph).

* Graham Rahal was 21st (222.526).

* Former 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was 26th (221.916 mph), followed by rookie Robert Wickens (221.821 mph), carrying the mantle for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with James Hinchcliffe having failed to qualify for the race.

* The biggest surprise was 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who was 32nd fastest (221.374 mph).

We’ll have the full speed grid, as well as full driver quotes, shortly. Please check back soon.

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