IndyCar: Huertas full season, Dracone first four races for Dale Coyne Racing

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Following up on yesterday’s post that they’d be testing at Barber Motorsports Park this week, now both Carlos Huertas and Francesco Dracone have been confirmed for Dale Coyne Racing in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Huertas, the 2014 Houston race one winner, will return for a full season in the No. 18 Honda with Dracone, a two-time IndyCar race starter in 2010, confirmed for the opening four rounds, through Barber on April 26 in the sister No. 19 Honda. These two signings complete the expected 24-car field for the season.

Both drivers tested today, although Huertas’ car had the new Honda aero kit while Dracone’s did not, and was running in the base Dallara package.

Coyne expanded on both signings in releases out today from the team.

“Carlos surprised everyone last year with his performance. The effort the team has made over the winter, as shown by our Sebring test with Carlos, gives us confidence for the upcoming season,” Coyne said of Huertas.

As for Dracone, Coyne offered, “Francesco shows great enthusiasm for our sport. We look forward to working with the rookie in preseason testing and early races as he looks to IndyCar for his future.”

Huertas showed flashes of impressive moments during the 2014 season and will look to improve on it this year. He’s the third full-time Colombian in the field, joining Juan Pablo Montoya and Carlos Munoz.

“I am very happy to be back with the team this year. I expect to have a better year than last year because I obviously have the experience of a full season and winning a race last year,” Huertas said. “That helped a lot for my confidence for this year. The guys did such a great job last year with the car and race strategy that I’m sure we will have a successful year.”

Dracone, the Italian, was less successful in his two starts with Conquest Racing in 2010. Still, he thanked Coyne for the opportunity.

“It is good to be back in America and great to be back in IndyCar,” he said. “I feel that it is the best single seater series for a driver to be in. Working with Dale Coyne is an honor and a privilege because he is one of the most experienced team owners and he runs a great team.”

IndyCar’s season opens March 29 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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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.