Photo: IU Healthy/Mike Dickbernd

Andretti brightens day, bringing gifts, at Riley Children’s Hospital (PHOTOS)

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Marco Andretti took a day off the grid today in Indianapolis to make a visit to the Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, and make wishes come true for sick young children who were in need of a smile.

Andretti, along with new title sponsor hhgregg, helped hand out mini helmets to the children at the hospital. Since Andretti’s now in a red firesuit after being in a primarily yellow or blue one in recent years, it fit better for Christmas.

“I’m thankful to hhgregg who set this up for me. I plan on doing more of this,” Andretti told NBC Sports afterwards.

“Any chance you get to give back, you take it, to the city that’s given me so much. This means a lot to me.

“It’s a tough thing to see. But these kids are pretty admirable what they go through. The pleasure was all mine.”

More on the event is linked here, via the IU Health website.

We’ll have more direct from Andretti tomorrow. In the interim, here’s a few pics from the day (all photos: IU Health/Mike Dickbernd).

Marco Andretti's visit to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health on Dec. 13, 2016. (Photos by IU Health/Mike Dickbernd)
Marco Andretti’s visit to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health on Dec. 13, 2016. (Photos by IU Health/Mike Dickbernd)
Marco Andretti's visit to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health on Dec. 13, 2016. (Photos by IU Health/Mike Dickbernd)
Marco Andretti’s visit to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health on Dec. 13, 2016. (Photos by IU Health/Mike Dickbernd)
Marco Andretti's visit to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health on Dec. 13, 2016. (Photos by IU Health/Mike Dickbernd)
Marco Andretti’s visit to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health on Dec. 13, 2016. (Photos by IU Health/Mike Dickbernd)

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.