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MRTI: pre-season testing Day 4 notebook

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The final day of pre-season testing for the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires saw the top series in the ladder take to the 2.3-mile road course at Homestead-Miami Speedway. After running on the 1.5-mile oval on Friday, the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires had its first and only day on the road course on Monday.

Monday’s running saw the field increase to seven cars, with Belardi Auto Racing joining in with drivers Santiago Urrutia and Aaron Telitz (of note: Juncos Racing’s Alfonso Celis Jr. did not do any laps on Monday).

And it was Belardi driver Urrutia leading the way, turning the fastest lap of the day, at 1:14.502, during Session 2, bettering Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Norman by nearly half a second in doing so.

However, Urrutia pointed out that his fast lap came as the result of a little help, in the form of push-to-pass.
“Everyone used the push-to-pass at the end, including me, so I think (teammate Aaron Telitz) was quickest today,” he asserted
Urrutia added that, despite the speed, he and the team struggled to hit the setup exactly right, something he acknowledged they’ll need to do to battle for the Indy Lights title.
“We’ve been working on setup for St. Pete and we’re pretty good, though we need to fix some problems that showed up today,” he explained. “I wasn’t completely comfortable in the car today because of that so we’ll get those things fixed before St. Pete. It’s going to be tough this year, because anyone can win the championship. You see from the times today that it’s going to be really tight. To win the championship you have to always be right there – win when you have the car to win, and if you don’t, be right there in the top-five.”
The next official on-track sessions for the series in the Mazda Road to Indy will come at the season-opening weekend on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida on March 9-11.

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.