Anticipation, importance obvious for today’s IndyCar test at Sonoma

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In-season testing is so infrequent in the Verizon IndyCar Series as it is anyway, which makes every day you can get on track an important one.

But today’s one-day test at Sonoma Raceway carries an even greater magnitude, as teams testing today will all have two goals: prepare their cars as best as possible for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, and see which of the Indy Lights drivers is a standout in terms of feedback, insights, pace and performance on the day.

The list of those testing is linked below:

• Andretti Autosport – Marco Andretti (Matthew Brabham)
• Chip Ganassi Racing Teams – Scott Dixon (Sean Rayhall)
• KVSH Racing – Sebastien Bourdais (Ryan Phinny)
• Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – Graham Rahal (Ed Jones)
• Schmidt Peterson Motorsports – Ryan Briscoe (Jack Harvey)
• Team Penske – Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power (Spencer Pigot, Nelson Piquet Jr.)

In Andretti’s case, he’s coming off more than 500 miles of testing on Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, doing Firestone tire testing as part of a six-car test at the hallowed grounds.

The drivers are excited – and amped up – for today’s test. Here’s a pre-test roundup of social reaction posts:

As you see, Pigot already has a one-day head start, albeit in a slightly different open-wheeler.

The only one of the regular season IndyCar drivers to post on Twitter thus far is, as you might expect, Graham Rahal. The Mid-Ohio winner, who now spends much more time in California than he used to with fiancee Courtney Force, is primed to ensure his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team delivers a good test day.

The other drivers either haven’t posted or have simply re-tweeted their team tweets.

We’ll have more to follow from Sonoma later today.

IndyCar race weekend doubleheader schedule at IMS road course

IndyCar weekend schedule Indianapolis
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The NTT IndyCar Series will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the third time this season but with a weekend schedule that will put the action in front of fans for the first time in 2020.

The track’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course will play host to IndyCar and sports cars series over four days. The action will begin Thursday with practice and concluding with an eight-hour race Sunday featuring the Intercontinental GT Challenge and GT World Challenge America.

The NTT IndyCar Series will hold a Friday-Saturday race doubleheader called the Harvest GP presented by GMR.

ENTRY LISTS: Who’s racing IndyCar at IMS this weekend

The name is a nod to the Harvest Classic, which was held Sept. 9, 1916 to help the track stay solvent during World War I. The event had three races of 20, 50 and 100 miles (all won by Johnny Aitken) that was the only racing held outside May at IMS from 1911-93.

A limited crowd of 10,000 will be allowed each day this weekend, and those fans will be the first to experience new video boards, concession stands, restrooms and 5G wireless connectivity.

Here’s the IndyCar weekend schedule for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Harvest GP:

(All times are Eastern)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Thursday, Oct. 1

Noon — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America test session
2:25 p.m. — IndyCar practice (NBC Sports Gold)
6:20 p.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 1 (NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Friday, Oct. 2

10:20 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
1:40 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
3:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 (USA Network, NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Saturday, Oct. 3

10:20 a.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC Sports Gold)
12:10 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America qualifying
2:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC, NBC Sports Gold)
5:30 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America pole shootout

IndyCar weekend schedule: Sunday, Oct. 4

10 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America race