Team Penske IndyCar drivers attending Super Bowl, meet NFL star J.J. Watt (PHOTO)

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The Verizon IndyCar Series will be represented tonight during Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona.

The quartet of Team Penske’s IndyCar drivers – series champion Will Power, three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, 2000 Indy winner Juan Pablo Montoya, and team newcomer Simon Pagenaud – plus their boss, Roger Penske, are all watching the Big Game in person as guests of Verizon, which is also a major sponsor of the NFL.

In an IndyCar release earlier this week, Pagenaud said: “I’ve been to a football game before, but this is certainly a great experience. With Verizon being our team partner and the series’ main partner, and a partner with the NFL, it will be a quite a spectacle. I’m looking forward to it.”

With Verizon hosting them, you’d think the Penske posse will be enjoying some serious perks tonight. Indeed, they’ve already had one in the lead-up to kickoff: Meeting Houston Texans star and NFL defensive player of the year J.J. Watt.

Fox Sports’ main NFL announcer, Joe Buck, is also in the picture too. But with all due respect to Buck, he didn’t rack up 20.5 sacks and became the first NFL player ever with multiple 20-sack seasons this year.

Pagenaud has also met up with several other NFL talents during his time in Arizona, including former standout running back LaDainian Tomlinson (pictured below with Pagenaud) and top Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman:

The four drivers may have some interesting tweets tonight from the game, so be sure to give their respective Twitter accounts a follow: @12WillPower, @h3lio, @jpmontoya, and @simonpagenaud.

Super Bowl XLIX pregame coverage continues RIGHT NOW on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra.

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.