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Ganassi still targeting four full-time IndyCar cars; Kimball’s new engineer named

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Although the status of Sage Karam – or whether the 20-year-old Nazareth, Pa. native found a shirt – is to be determined, Chip Ganassi Racing is still working on maintaining a four-car, full-time lineup in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

It’s status quo as usual for Ganassi, which is also preparing for the strong likelihood of four cars at the season-opening IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, split two apiece between the new Multimatic-built Ford GTs in the GT Le Mans class and again, likely, two Daytona Prototypes with drivers to be revealed likely later this month.

“If you study the history of Chip Ganassi Racing and how we make announcements for our prototype division, I think that will follow suit,” managing director Mike Hull told MotorSportsTalk during Chevrolet’s championship celebration in Sterling Heights.

Hull also noted the desire to maintain the four-car full-time fleet for what would be a fifth time in six seasons, dating to 2011. The only exception came in 2013, when Ryan Briscoe was added as a fourth car for the Indianapolis 500.

“It’s the same as always (for this time of year),” Hull said. “We’re pushing really hard to have four full-time cars on the grid at St. Petersburg, and we hope to have four for the first official preseason test at Phoenix.”

At least one Indy Lights driver from the 2015 season is rumored to be in consideration for that fourth car, alongside the three returning drivers, champion Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball.

Kimball, meanwhile, will have a new engineer for 2016 in the form of Eric Cowdin, Hull confirmed. Brad Goldberg will serve as race engineer for Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 67 Ford GT in IMSA.

Cowdin has spent years working with Kanaan and has recently been on the No. 8 car, driven by Karam. It’s a natural transition to the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, confirming him before the fourth car program is finalized.

IndyCar race weekend doubleheader schedule at IMS road course

IndyCar weekend schedule Indianapolis
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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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