Photo: NBCSN

Alonso teases Indy 500 helmet; Wednesday test set to be streamed

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Anticipation continues to build for Fernando Alonso’s debut on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, with his maiden test set for Wednesday in the jointly entered McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport car.

Alonso, who was en route to the U.S. earlier this week after failing to start the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi, has posted a couple Instagram pictures of note.

The first is his surname on an avenue in Indianapolis; near the track, drivers expected to compete in this year’s 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil all have their own street names. “Alonso Avenue” is linked below.

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👍🇺🇸

A post shared by Fernando Alonso (@fernandoalo_oficial) on

Today, the buildup saw Alonso tease most, but not all, of his Bell helmet for this year’s Indianapolis 500. He posted portions of it on his Instagram story, and then combined all of those into one picture.

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Retro is the way forward . Helmet. #indyHelmet #alonsoIndy500

A post shared by Fernando Alonso (@fernandoalo_oficial) on

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has also announced Alonso’s test, set from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, will be live streamed. In a late addition, it will be on the NBC Sports App as well as the below details.

Details from an IMS release are below:

A fully produced live show will be televised online from 9:30 a.m.-noon, with an announcing team of 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1978 Formula One World Champion Mario Andretti and NBC Sports Network’s Verizon IndyCar Series talent Kevin Lee and Robin Miller. Coverage of the test will continue from 1-5 p.m. with a live stream without commentary.

Both the live show and stream will be available at these online outlets:

Alonso’s No. 29 Honda and livery will be revealed in the morning on social media, per an Andretti Autosport team representative, before the test occurs.

And before Alonso gets in the car, Marco Andretti will shake the car down. Andretti told NBC Sports at Phoenix how he got selected for the opportunity.

“It’ll be fun,” he said. “They know I can get up to speed; I’m always sort of the one picked to do that kind of thing. Basically, I’ll make sure he has a real comfortable balance for his first run.”

Andretti will be coming from today’s one-day open test in Madison, Ill., just outside St. Louis, at Gateway Motorsports Park where he and most of the full field is testing today.

Tony Kanaan says his message of IndyCar-NASCAR unity aimed at fans

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Over a 22-year IndyCar career featuring its share of adversity, Tony Kanaan has learned to embrace trying to find the positives in a negative situation.

He believes NASCAR and IndyCar will find a tiny silver lining from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The series will race together at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course in a July 4 doubleheader, which he believes sends a message of unity he’d like to see from the world during this dark period.

“It’s time to send that message (of unity),” Kanaan told “Happy Hours” hosts Kevin Harvick and Matt Yocum in a Wednesday afternoon interview on SiriusXM’s NASCAR Channel. “If we don’t come out of this situation as better people, globally, in every way, shape or form … it’s just being kind to people. Hopefully, we’ll be sending the right messages, doing radio shows together, doing live on Instagram together, doing races together.

ON NBCSN: IndyCar at virtual Barber Motorsports Park, Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

MORE: Jimmie Johnson wants to run IndyCar-NASCAR doubleheader

“I was bugging Jimmie Johnson to say, ‘Can I be a guest in NASCAR on iRacing?’ I think the misperception, and probably a little our fault as well, is that people don’t know how (IndyCar and NASCAR drivers) respect each and how we think each other’s jobs are so cool.”

It was Kanaan’s comment last week that “it’s not us and them. It is the motorsports world’ that prompted Harvick to ask the 2004 IndyCar champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner about his views on past IndyCar and NASCAR divisions.

Harvick noted that “over the years, IndyCar and NASCAR have that separate stigma as far as the fans, but the racers in the middle, we talk with each other. We’re just racers. I think it’s absolutely great” the doubleheader will happen.

Kanaan said he felt it was the right message to send because of the fans. “For drivers, I don’t think we ever thought of it that way,” he said. “We always respected each other and thought each other’s jobs were cool. That tweet was for our fans who say, ‘Those cars are too fast. Those cars are too slow.’ It’s time for us to stop. It’s a racing family.

“For people who don’t understand about racing, any race car is cool. Doesn’t matter if it’s a go kart, a sprint car, a  Cup car, it doesn’t matter. … The situation, we’re in, we’re all equal. It doesn’t matter how much money you have. We’re all in the same boat now. We can’t do what we love. It just clicked. I said it’s time to send that message. Hopefully this will be the end for ‘you guys and us’ for the fans. For drivers, I don’t think we ever thought of it that way.”

The GMR IndyCar Grand Prix is scheduled to be run July 4 on the IMS road course ahead of the Xfinity race, which will mean that the NTT Series’ Firestone rubber will be on the asphalt before the Goodyears of NASCAR hit the track.

Recalling a NASCAR test many years ago at Nazareth Speedway when he turned laps a second faster because there’d been an IndyCar race the previous day, Harvick asked Kanaan whether the varying tire compounds might present a challenge.

“I don’t there is a solution for that,” Kanaan said. “It’s part of the job, and we need to realize that you guys run different tires. We run softer tires. It’s no different than (IndyCar) racing with the trucks at Texas. It’s probably harder on an oval than a road course.

“But I like it. It’s part of the challenge and makes the race weekend more interesting, the people who can manage that as well.”

Even though he is sidelined, Kanaan still will stay busy this weekend, racing in Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. IndyCar iRacing Challenge event at virtual Barber Motorsports Park on NBCSN. He will be tuning in Sunday at 1 p.m. on Fox and FS1 as NASCAR hits Bristol Motor Speedway.

“Last Sunday I had my alarm set for 12:40 p.m., because at 1 o’clock (NASCAR was) on,” Kanaan said with a laugh. “I told (wife) Lauren, ‘Let’s turn the TV on and watch the NASCAR race!’ I was excited, and it wasn’t even real. She’s like, ‘Man, look at you … I said, ‘That’s what we got.’ It’s been a weird year.”

Harvick also will be racing Sunday, having recently joined Kanaan in installing a new racing simulator at home.

“Let’s do this Kevin: Come do an IndyCar race on iRacing,” Kanaan said. “I’ll do NASCAR. Now that you have a sim. What do you think?”

“Well, I’ll have to go to my 7-year-old to figure out how to drive it fast,” Harvick said.

“He’s been practicing. I’m really good at crashing.”