What to watch for: IndyCar at NOLA (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN and Live Extra)

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AVONDALE, La. – The second round of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ season, the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, will go green not long after the NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra broadcast window begins at 2:30 p.m. ET, 1:30 p.m. CT local time, this afternoon.

Here’s a handful of items to look out for:


CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” is one option if it’s dry or drying, or its alternative offering “Who’ll Stop the Rain” will be another option if the rain hits harder. Thus far this morning though, it’s been Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” that’s been the story of the day. The weather forecast ranges from 55 to 75 percent chance of storms from the estimated green flag time of 1:45 p.m. local time. Firestone has allotted six sets of rain tires per car this weekend, and some drivers have noted how much water they push out will be a big factor.


There was limited rain running in practice on Friday, and limited rain running during qualifying on Saturday before the session was canceled and the field lined up on owner points. There’s a handful of top-10 starters who haven’t looked the part on pace all weekend, and a handful of drivers in the second half of the field of 24 who should be poised to improve – and quickly – when the green flag drops. It’s produced a jumbled grid here. Each of the top seven finishers in St. Petersburg started in the top 10.


With this being a first-time race, will there be a first-time winner? Jack Hawksworth and Luca Filippi start eighth and ninth, and have the best opportunities on the grid to add their name to the list of first-time winners. Others of note… Josef Newgarden starts 12th, Carlos Munoz 14th and rookie Gabby Chaves 17th. The latter three have done well in practice this week.


Team Penske has four of the top five starting positions on Sunday, but Chip Ganassi Racing Teams’ four cars have been stars of practice this weekend. Scott Dixon has been quick, Tony Kanaan has been reborn lately as he enters the race with six podiums in the last eight races, and youngsters Sage Karam and Charlie Kimball have also been on form this weekend. Penske may have the starting edge, but expect the Ganassi Chevrolet quartet to move forward from their respective starting positions.


Sebastien Bourdais has one of the quickest cars here this weekend and had the fastest time in Saturday’s eliminated qualifying session. It went for naught with the washout. Still, expect the No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet to be a contender today.

Alex Zanardi showing signs of interaction three months after crash

Alex Zanardi recovery
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
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MILAN — Italian racing driver turned Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi has started responding to treatment with signs of interaction, more than three months after he was seriously injured in a handbike crash.

Zanardi has spent most of that time in intensive care after crashing into an oncoming truck during a relay event near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19.

“For several days now. Alex Zanardi has undergone cognitive and motor rehabilitation sessions, with the administration of visual and acoustic stimuli, to which the patient responds with momentary and initial signs of interaction,” the San Raffaele hospital in Milan said in a statement Thursday.

The hospital said that is “significant progress” but added that his condition remains serious, and that it would be “absolutely premature” to make a long-term prognosis.

Zanardi, 53, suffered serious facial and cranial trauma in the crash and was put in a medically induced coma. Doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

He was operated on several times to stabilize him and reconstruct his severely damaged face and the Milan hospital added that he recently had undergone another surgery to reconstruct his skull and would have another one in the coming weeks.

Zanardi lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago. He won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.