Kahne leads final Cup practice for Chicagoland

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While Brian France, Mike Helton and Robin Pemberton talked about the closed-door meeting that took place this afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway, the Sprint Cup contingent was getting in final practice for tomorrow’s GEICO 400 on the 1.5-mile oval in Joliet, Illinois.

Chase contender Kasey Kahne was fastest in the session, turning in a lap at 181.068 miles per hour in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Kahne also had the fastest 10-lap average in “Happy Hour,” with a speed of 178.5 mph across his first 10 circuits.

Juan Pablo Montoya, who will start Sunday’s race in the second row alongside Kahne, was second-fastest in his No. 42 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet with a lap at 181.056 mph.

Three more Chasers – Joey Logano (181.050), Jimmie Johnson (180.741), and Greg Biffle (180.475) – rounded out the Top 5 in the session.

In terms of 10-lap average, Clint Bowyer was second-quickest behind Kahne, followed by Brian Vickers in third, Johnson in fourth, and Brad Keselowski. All five had their best averages in their first 10 laps.

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.