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Peterson, AFS working towards IMSA Prototype program

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LEXINGTON, Ohio – A potential new privateer entrant into the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype class ranks might come in the form of Gary Peterson and his AFS Racing outfit.

Peterson, the longtime supporter of Sebastian Saavedra in the Verizon IndyCar Series, has been exploring the potential of moving his team into IMSA for 2018 and may have a solution in the form of one of the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) chassis.

NBC Sports understands Peterson has had discussions with one of the existing Prototype teams racing this season, and if that team’s manufacturer will make another chassis available, there is a decent chance the car could materialize for the 2018 season.

“We’ve had discussions with teams in that paddock, and we’re looking at seeing if we can put together a DPi effort for next year,” Peterson told NBC Sports.

He plans to attend IMSA’s next race next weekend at Road America for further evaluation as the series releases more of its “state of the series” plan, including its 2018 series schedule.

If the program materializes, and given the number of likely available drivers depending on the Penske and Acura and Joest and Mazda team plans, there are plenty of possibilities who could drive alongside Saavedra, who’d naturally be on board.

Peterson hailed Saavedra’s performance in a one-off fill-in role for Mikhail Aleshin at Toronto with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. The Colombian driver improved methodically during the weekend en route to an 11th place finish.

“We were pleased,” Peterson said. “Sebastian’s job was to keep it clean and bring it home in one piece all weekend, and he did that. We’re not in the points so we accomplished what we set out to do.”

Peterson and Saavedra have been on site this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, notably in the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports pits, making the rounds as they prep their 2018 program and a potential full-time return in at least one series after a couple years of sporadic appearances only. They also hope to attend at least one more of the remaining IndyCar races on site later this year.

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.