Houston’s Reliant Park set to welcome back IndyCar (VIDEO)

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The relatively short 1.7-mile MD Anderson Cancer Center Speedway at Reliant Park should provide for plenty of action during this weekend’s Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader (Sat., 3 p.m. ET and Sun., 1 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports Live Extra).

As far as passing zones and hot spots go on this circuit, two immediately stand out. After drivers barrel through the dogleg main straightaway, they’ll have to hit the brakes hard to navigate a left-right chicane.

The chicane could wind up being a pretty hectic scene all weekend on starts and restarts, but especially at the beginning of Race 1 of the doubleheader, which will feature a standing start.

The other key point of the circuit is Turn 6, a 90-degree lefty that comes along after drivers have made their way around the historic Astrodome and down toward the ultra-modern Reliant Stadium (home of the NFL’s Houston Texans).

Those that get a proper exit off Turn 4 into the Astrodome-Stadium section can get into position to catch and pass going into Turn 6.

For a quick spin around this unique layout, watch the virtual lap video above.

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

Photo: IndyCar
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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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