Two more days of IndyCar running to occur at Sebring to close 2014

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The end of on-track running for the Verizon IndyCar Series occurs at Sebring International Raceway’s short course this week on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Here’s what to look for:

SCHMIDT PETERSON’S NEW ERA

With Simon Pagenaud departed to Team Penske, James Hinchcliffe will have his first running as lead driver for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the No. 77 car. Meanwhile GP2 veterans Davide Valsecchi, Stefano Coletti and Rodolfo Gonzalez will have a crack in the second car as the team seeks to replace Russian Mikhail Aleshin, who at the moment is not expected back for 2015.

While Valsecchi and Coletti are making their IndyCar test debuts, Gonzalez is already making his third test outing. The Venezuelan has a test apiece for Dale Coyne Racing (Barber Motorsports Park) and SPM (Homestead-Miami road course).

Hinchcliffe’s engineer has not yet been named as Pagenaud’s longtime engineer Ben Bretzman is moving with him to Penske. However expect SPM veteran Allen McDonald to provide the guiding tutelage for this test for all drivers.

SAGE’S CHANCE TO BLOOM

Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball were all confirmed for 2015 last week with Chip Ganassi Racing, which leaves the fourth car the only not-yet-confirmed entry for the CGR powerhouse.

However, it could (and probably should) be imminent immediately after this week’s test, when 2013 Indy Lights champion and CGR development driver Sage Karam has his first couple days back in an IndyCar since his starring debut at the Indianapolis 500.

With young American talent not too widely available within the championship at the moment, a Karam confirmation would go a long way towards building for IndyCar’s future.

BHA’s PAIR OF ROOKIE TESTERS

As written last week, this is a more crucial test for 2014 Indy Lights champion Gabby Chaves than it is for BHA’s second tester, Dutch GP2 driver Daniel De Jong. Chaves, in his second test and with other cars on track as a comparative point, will look to demonstrate his value to the wider IndyCar community at large.

Meanwhile De Jong will be looking to gain experience and get his feet wet in his IndyCar testing debut. Per Dutch media, he’s not particularly interested in racing in IndyCar next season and instead will explore another season of GP2 instead.

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.