Joey Logano hits 204.5 mph to lead first Sprint Cup practice at Michigan

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Team Penske’s Joey Logano rang up a lap of 204.545 miles per hour in the final minutes to take top honors in first Sprint Cup practice at Michigan International Speedway.

With qualifying coming up later this afternoon, speed was the emphasis in this session as 26 drivers broke the 200 mph mark. Leading the way were Ford drivers Logano and Carl Edwards, whose lap of 204.111 mph was good enough for second.

Overall, Ford drivers had five of the Top 10 fastest speeds in first practice. In addition to Logano and Edwards, the Blue Oval was represented in that bracket by Edwards’ teammates at Roush Fenway Racing, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (fifth, 203.229) and Greg Biffle (eighth, 202.817), as well as Logano’s Penske teammate, Brad Keselowski (10th, 202.617).

Brian Vickers was able to get his Toyota to third on the speed charts with a lap of 203.920 mph. Following him was top Chevrolet pilot Kurt Busch in fourth (203.897). Three more Chevy drivers also made the Top 10: Dale Earnhardt Jr. in sixth, Paul Menard in seventh, and Jeff Gordon in ninth.

The pace from the Roush camp has to be a promising sign for them after their dismal performance at Michigan in June. But late last month, Edwards, Biffle and Stenhouse all tested at the two-mile oval and if these initial speeds are any indication, it would appear that they found some things in that test.

In his first session with the beleaguered No. 14 Stewart Haas Racing team, Jeff Burton was 25th-fastest (200.339). He had to spend some time in the garage due to an early parts failure on the rear end gear of the car.

Jimmie Johnson, who won at MIS in June, also had to spend time in the garage thanks to a severe vibration on his car. He only turned seven laps in the session and was 39th on the charts.

Other notables include Ryan Blaney, who was 27th in first practice as he begins his Friday subbing for Trevor Bayne in the No. 21 Wood Brothers car; and Camping World Truck Series champ Matt Crafton, who was 37th in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing car of Martin Truex Jr.

Truex is currently with girlfriend Sherry Pollex as she undergoes surgery for ovarian cancer.

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES AT MICHIGAN – First Practice Times

Indianapolis Motor Speedway can have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.