Schmidt’s No. 5 car: Hinch gives command, Briscoe stars, and Daly back in Toronto

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The No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda was in the news for all the right reasons Saturday night in the Firestone 600 at the Texas Motor Speedway.

It started with a surprise, and welcome, command to start engines from James Hinchcliffe. See the video and screen cap below from @Indy44 on Twitter.

Then Ryan Briscoe, Hinchcliffe’s fill-in driver for Texas, delivered a dynamic drive. From 19th on the grid, Briscoe got as high as fourth, and eventually ended eighth. It followed off from his impressive 31st to 12th drive in the Indianapolis 500.

“It was a really good effort,” Briscoe said in a team release. “I was pleased to be able to move our way through the field and it was a lot of fun. I had a really good car and I’m really proud of the effort by the whole Arrow Electronics team, their pit stops are impressive. We were constantly talking throughout the race to make improvements on the balance and we had to work with it a lot but I was really happy.

“I’m not sure what happened at the end, I was hoping for a top five finish but I think the strategy kind of played out a little bit differently. We dropped a couple of spots right at the end but it was a great effort.”

With Briscoe then off to Le Mans immediately after the race to be back with Corvette Racing – he has a chance to partner with Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia and complete a hat trick of wins in Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans in class – Conor Daly will then be back in the team’s No. 5 car at Toronto next weekend.

Either or both of Briscoe and Daly will be in the car for the foreseeable future, starting at Fontana on June 27.

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.