Makes you wonder what these two are plotting next (Photo: Getty Images)

En garde: ‘Battle’ breaks out between Pagenaud, Newgarden — and now Hinchcliffe joins in

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Just like on a racetrack, Simon Pagenaud has pulled ahead of teammate Josef Newgarden in their good-natured but also increasingly bold autograph battle.

Otherwise known on Twitter as: #IndyCarAutographBattle

Late Thursday night, Pagenaud snuck up to Newgarden’s house and signed his name on the frame of his teammate’s front door.

Advantage (for now): Pagenaud.

This came three days after Newgarden, also under the cover of darkness, left his autograph on a front brick of Pagenaud’s house after the pair returned from a trip to Indianapolis.

So the battle continues to heat up, although Pagenaud has had the last laugh for now, saying “Your move” as he ran away from Newgarden’s abode last night.

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Here’s the hilarious back story of the “feud” between the Team Penske drivers:

Newgarden and Pagenaud filmed a safety promotional video for the TSA Monday at the Indianapolis International Airport.

But Newgarden forgot his costume for the shoot – his firesuit and helmet. Just before he boarded his plane to meet up with Newgarden in Indy, Pagenaud was pressed into last-minute duty to also transport “King Josef’s” stuff.

So during a break in the filming, Pagenaud went into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway gift shop at the airport and signed a few of his diecasts that were on sale. He also ribbed Newgarden for not having any signed items in the store.

Newgarden then upped the ante:

That included Newgarden signing a fan’s t-shirt:

That only added fuel to the fire, as Pagenaud then signed an official Indy car on display in the airport:

To which Newgarden retorted:

After that, they were good boys until they got back home to Charlotte.

That didn’t last long, though. Pagenaud lamented he again had to carry Newgarden’s firesuit and helmet back to Charlotte. Which set up the next element of the battle:

That only served to ratchet up the battle for the defending IndyCar champion, and it became very clear he just wasn’t going to let it drop with the guy who won the championship one year before him.

Ergo, Newgarden “signed” Pagenaud’s house.

But now, in light of Pagenaud’s retaliatory move last night, what will Newgarden’s next move be? It almost reminds us of:

Wait, there’s more.

James Hinchcliffe isn’t about to let Newgarden and Pagenaud have all the fun. He’s all-in to the autograph battle now, too:

To which Pagenaud tweeted to Hinchcliffe:

Keep up with the escalating battle by following (it’s only going to get better) on Twitter at:

#IndyCarAutographBattle

Follow @JerryBonkowski

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.