Kimball a top sleeper at Mid-Ohio after missing 2012

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I’m calling it now: Charlie Kimball is a top sleeper pick for this IZOD IndyCar Series race weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing driver will be primed for a big weekend at the track after missing the race last year, due to a fractured right hand from a testing accident.

In his rookie year in 2011, Mid-Ohio was one of a handful of tracks where the personable Californian made an impact. He started 10th, ran in the top five all day and ended an unrepresentative 11th.

Earlier this year, Kimball led the three-car Ganassi contingent on pace and performance all weekend on the only other permanent road course raced thus far in 2013: Barber Motorsports Park. Kimball made his first Firestone Fast Six, ran in the top three all day after starting fifth and finished fourth after a gutsy pass on Will Power.

His teammate Scott Dixon, in the No. 9 Target Honda, is the odds-on favorite after winning four of the last six races at Mid-Ohio.

But given Kimball’s road course prowess, the improved Honda spec engines that have come to life the last few races and the gains made by the entire CGR team after its test at Sebring this summer, this could be a weekend where Kimball repeats his Barber efforts, and perhaps scores his second podium of the season.

A solid result could propel him into the top 10 in points, as he currently sits 11th, just one point behind Power.

IndyCar race weekend doubleheader schedule at IMS road course

IndyCar weekend schedule Indianapolis
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The NTT IndyCar Series will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the third time this season but with a weekend schedule that will put the action in front of fans for the first time in 2020.

The track’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course will play host to IndyCar and sports cars series over four days. The action will begin Thursday with practice and concluding with an eight-hour race Sunday featuring the Intercontinental GT Challenge and GT World Challenge America.

The NTT IndyCar Series will hold a Friday-Saturday race doubleheader called the Harvest GP presented by GMR.

ENTRY LISTS: Who’s racing IndyCar at IMS this weekend

The name is a nod to the Harvest Classic, which was held Sept. 9, 1916 to help the track stay solvent during World War I. The event had three races of 20, 50 and 100 miles (all won by Johnny Aitken) that was the only racing held outside May at IMS from 1911-93.

A limited crowd of 10,000 will be allowed each day this weekend, and those fans will be the first to experience new video boards, concession stands, restrooms and 5G wireless connectivity.

Here’s the IndyCar weekend schedule for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Harvest GP:

(All times are Eastern)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Thursday, Oct. 1

Noon — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America test session
2:25 p.m. — IndyCar practice (NBC Sports Gold)
6:20 p.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 1 (NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Friday, Oct. 2

10:20 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
1:40 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
3:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 (USA Network, NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Saturday, Oct. 3

10:20 a.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC Sports Gold)
12:10 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America qualifying
2:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC, NBC Sports Gold)
5:30 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America pole shootout

IndyCar weekend schedule: Sunday, Oct. 4

10 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America race