IndyCar: Graham Rahal turns laps at Bristol – in a Mustang (VIDEO)

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Picture this: Twentysomething open-wheel IndyCars attacking the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway, the track that represents NASCAR’s bumpin’ and bangin’ nature more than any other.

It’s a bizarre thought. To some, perhaps a diabolical one. But after taking a few laps around Bristol in a Ford Mustang last weekend (see the track-issued video above), Graham Rahal believes that an IndyCar race in “Thunder Valley” would be a hoot.

“It’d be fun to get an IndyCar out here and give it a shot,” he said. “I mean we’d be dizzier than can be, but it’d be kinda fun. With the downforce levels and horsepower, they can adjust with turbos and everything else.

“They could make this really entertaining and quite an interesting race.”

It sure would be memorable – perhaps for both good and bad reasons.

As for last weekend’s experience, Rahal came away impressed with NASCAR’s most infamous half mile.

“What makes racing around this place so cool is the atmosphere,” he said. “[Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO] Bruton [Smith] always does a great job with his facilities. I’ve been to a bunch of drag races now, and this is the nicest place I’ve seen.

“Then to come here and see this – there’s no wonder it’s one of everybody’s favorites. It’s simply the atmosphere. I can’t imagine what this place would be like for a Cup race, let alone the football game coming up. It’d be incredible. There’s not a bad seat in the house.”

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Rahal and the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series returns June 28 and 29 with the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston. NBCSN will air both races LIVE at 3 p.m. ET.

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