What to watch for: IndyCar, Indy Lights Carb Day (11 a.m. ET, NBCSN and Live Extra)

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INDIANAPOLIS – It may not be a race day, but today marks one of the most important days of the month for the Verizon IndyCar Series: it’s the final day of on-track preparation for the 99th Indianapolis 500.

We’ll have it covered wall-to-wall LIVE on NBCSN from 11 a.m. ET through to 3:30 p.m. ET.

That will lead straight into a special two-hour NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special that will run the gamut from Monaco to Indianapolis and Charlotte.

Here’s the coverage breakdown for the day:

Fri., May 22 Indy 500 Carb Day 11 a.m. NBCSN
Indy Lights – Freedom 100 Noon NBCSN
Indy 500 Carb Day 1 p.m. NBCSN
NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special 3:30 p.m. NBCSN

NBCSN, the cable home of IndyCar, will provide six hours of Indianapolis 500 Carb Day coverage, beginning Friday at 11 a.m. ET. In addition, NBCSN will air a live presentation of the Indy Lights Freedom 100 race at noon ET on Friday. Indy 500 coverage concludes on Saturday with the Indy 500 Festival Parade at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Live streaming is available via NBC Sports Live Extra, at http://indystream.nbcsports.com, for participating cable providers.

Kevin Lee will lead NBCSN’s Carb Day coverage, filling in for Diffey who will be in Monaco, alongside analysts Townsend Bell, who is driving in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, and Paul Tracy.

Jon Beekhuis, Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast and Robin Miller will handle the pits.

Here’s what to watch for today in all of today’s coverage:

INDYCAR PRACTICE: PIT ENTRIES/EXITS, LONG RUNS

Today’s one-hour practice is not so much about outright top speed, but more race-type pit stop practice and full fuel runs. Pay attention to in and out laps as drivers enter off Turn 4 before rolling back out.

Fuel mileage always is a big factor in the Indianapolis 500 too, and it will be interesting to see whether either Chevrolet or Honda shows enough on a long run to make a determination as to who runs longer.

NEW PAINT SCHEMES?

At least one or two cars could be sporting a revised livery for today’s Carb Day. Potential cars that may be changed are Justin Wilson’s No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda, James Davison’s No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda and perhaps one more.

INDY LIGHTS FREEDOM 100: WHO NAILS THE DRAFT, AND WHO HITS 200 FIRST

Both Sean Rayhall and Felix Serralles ran laps north of 199 mph in practice in the new Dallara IL-15 Mazda for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Top speeds entering the corners are pushing 210 mph before drivers lift. It seems a matter of when, not if, a driver or drivers will hit the 200-mph mark over a lap.

Also, with this car’s draft presence more prominent than the previous car, it will be interesting to see who drafts best. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has four of the top five starting positions, with Ethan Ringel on pole and Jack Harvey alongside him.

PIT STOP COMPETITION

A chance for the crews to show off their skills. Traditionally the domain of Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing, but Dreyer & Reinbold-Kingdom Racing has recently put on a good effort in the $50,000 TAG Heuer Pit Stop Challenge.

Our NBCSN IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell is in full driver mode today, with practice in the No. 24 Robert Graham Special Chevrolet from 11 to 12 and then a spot in the Pit Stop Competition. His No. 24 car will go up against James Jakes’ car in the first round.

Here are the matchups:

ROUND 1

  • 48-Alex Tagliani, J. Foyt Enterprises vs. 41-Jack Hawksworth, A.J. Foyt Enterprises
  • 83-Charlie Kimball, Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing vs. 14-Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Enterprises
  • 15-Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing vs. 3-Helio Castroneves, Team Penske
  • 7-James Jakes, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports vs. 24-Townsend Bell, Dreyer & Reinbold-Kingdom Racing

ROUND 2

  • 27-Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport vs. Tagliani/Hawksworth winner
  • 9-Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing vs. Kimball/Sato winner
  • 5-Ryan Briscoe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports vs. Rahal/Castroneves winner
  • 1-Will Power, Verizon Team Penske vs. Jakes/Bell winner

SEMIFINALS, FINALS

TBD based on Round 2 winners