Matthew Brabham completes first IndyCar test, eyes 2016 Indy 500

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Today, Iowa. Next year, Indianapolis, perhaps?

That’s what Matthew Brabham is hoping for, after completing his first-ever full IndyCar test with Andretti Autosport on Thursday at Iowa Speedway.

Brabham split the test in the AA Dallara-Honda with potential future teammate Marco Andretti.

“I had an absolute blast today,” Brabham told SpeedCafe.com. “I have wanted to drive an IndyCar for so long now and to finally get a chance was awesome.

“Driving an IndyCar … for the first time was definitely different to what I am used to, the speed, power and downforce were a big jump. But it did not take me too long and I was up to speed quickly and started to work through the program the team wanted to do.

“It was great working with Marco and drawing off his experience, a short oval is not the easiest place to drive for the first time in one of these cars. But with his and the teams’ help it all came together pretty quickly for me.”

Brabham hopes to secure a ride for the 100th Indianapolis 500 next May, a race that would hold a lot of personal meaning to the 21-year-old Brabham, as it would mark the 55th anniversary of his late grandfather Sir Jack Brabham’s first racing effort at Indy (finished ninth in 1961).

That would be the first of five appearances by the elder Brabham in the 500, and his best finish.

Sir Jack would win three Formula 1 championships. He passed away May 14, 2014 at the age of 88.

If the younger Brabham makes the 500 field next year, he’d become only the third third-generation driver to achieve such a feat along with the Andrettis and Vukovich families.

The son of Geoff Brabham, the younger Brabham drove full-time for Andretti Autosport on the Indy Lights Series in 2014, winning one race (Indianapolis road course) and finishing fourth for the season.

He has made just three starts in the first 10 events this season before funding ran out, with a seventh (St. Petersburg 1) and two 11th-place-finishes (St. Petersburg 2) and Long Beach.

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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.