Marco Andretti paces final practice for Pocono IndyCar 400

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A few hours after claiming pole for tomorrow’s Pocono IndyCar 400, Marco Andretti (pictured, right) was quickest in final practice at the “Tricky Triangle” with a lap at 219.120 miles per hour.

The third-generation racer has had the strongest pace all weekend long, but also noted on Saturday that he had led all the sessions last month at the Milwaukee Mile as well – and that ended with a 20th place finish on Race Day due to electrical issues on his No. 25 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet.

“I really want to get this monkey off my back,” said Andretti, who joined father Michael and grandfather Mario as pole winners at Pocono today. “I want to get the wins coming. We need to close the gap, first and foremost, on the points lead.

“…If you look at my worst finish [this season], I swept that weekend until that point, too. We’re up to the task. We just need to execute.”

Takuma Sato, who will start on Row 3 tomorrow, was second-fastest in “Happy Hour” with a lap at 218.814 mph in the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Honda. James Hinchcliffe (pictured, left) continued to be stout, posting the third-quickest lap (218.759 mph) ahead of Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon in P4 (218.545) and Dario Franchitti in P5 (218.296).

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.