IndyCar: Entry list, schedule for Sunday’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval test

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This weekend marks the official start to the Month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s the final countdown to the Verizon IndyCar’s Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis and ultimately, the Indianapolis 500.

It starts Sunday not with a race, but with practice. In addition to a veteran’s practice session to start things off, the day includes the Rookie Orientation Program and then a test of the new Indianapolis aero package.

The entry list for the test session has been released and there are things to note.

  • Only 30 cars are on the entry list, with several drivers anticipated to be in the 33 that start the Indy 500 not participating in this test.
  • Davey Hamilton will test the No. 24 Chevrolet that will be driven Townsend Bell.
  • Ed Carpenter, Justin Wilson, Oriol Servia, Pippa Mann and Bryan Clauson will be making their first laps of the season in an IndyCar.
  • JR Hildebrand and Sebastian Saavedra will not be present at the test.
Here’s Sunday’s schedule:
  • 09:30am – Gates Open
  • 09:30am – 10:45am – Verizon IndyCar Series Veterans Practice
  • 10:45am – 12:00pm – Rookie Orientation Program
  • 12:05pm – 12:55pm – Fan Pit Lane Walk
  • 01:00pm – 05:00pm – Verizon IndyCar Series Oval Test Session
  • 05:00pm – Gates Close

Here is the entry list.

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.