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Newgarden leads, Hildebrand spins in Iowa first practice

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Both Josef Newgarden and Ed Carpenter Racing will look to follow up Newgarden’s dominant performance at the Iowa Corn 300 (Sunday, 5 p.m. ET, NBCSN) at this year’s stop on the calendar.

For most of the first Verizon IndyCar Series practice Saturday at the 0.894-mile Iowa Speedway, it was Carpenter on top – until the final five minutes when Newgarden supplanted his old boss and old teammate.

Newgarden took his No. 2 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Team Penske Chevrolet to a best speed of 185.609 mph (17.3397 seconds) near the end of the session, leading a Team Penske top-three sweep in the session.

Teammate Will Power and Simon Pagenaud were next at 185.260 and 184.401 mph, respectively, in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet.

Carpenter took the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet to a best speed of 184.137 mph. Carpenter makes his fourth start of the season, all on ovals, with Spencer Pigot back in his usual spectator role for the oval races.

The session was initially only meant to be 75 minutes, but was extended five minutes following Carpenter’s teammate JR Hildebrand crashing in Turn 2 in his No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet with just under 15 minutes remaining. Hildebrand got his left side wheels below the white line and spun backwards into the Turn 2 wall.

While Hildebrand got his hands off the steering wheel, it was fortunate he did so. The steering wheel popped off the car on impact and flew into the air, which also happened last year when Charlie Kimball had an accident in practice at Pocono Raceway and it popped off.

Marco Andretti was fifth and top Honda. Andretti’s most recent IndyCar win came in 2011 at Iowa Speedway, part of Andretti Autosport’s run of six consecutive victories at the track from 2010 through 2015.

Scott Dixon had a shortened session with penalties assessed following the Road America weekend, forced to sit out the final 20 minutes for three violations: entering the course after a checkered flag in the warmup, entering the pit lane from the paddock under power and failing to observe INDYCAR direction.

Speeds are below. Qualifying comes up at 2 p.m. CT, 3 p.m. ET, live on NBCSN.

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.