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Mike Tirico hitches a ride to IMS with Mario Andretti in IndyCar two-seater

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Mike Tirico will be host of NBC’s inaugural Indianapolis 500 coverage this Sunday, and the INDYCAR community has given him quite the warm welcome.

But Mario Andretti didn’t just give Tirico any normal welcome to Indianapolis. Instead, he gave him the ride of his life, seated behind the legendary driver in the IndyCar two-seater, riding from the tarmac of the Indianapolis International Airport to the yard of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

THE 103RD INDIANAPOLIS 500: Click here for how to watch, full daily schedules

Tirico’s adventure even saw the street-legal race car pacing down Interstate 465 on its way to the famed racetrack.

“Mario is amazing,” Tirico said. “He wanted to go faster the whole time. Don’t be mistaken, he just wants a seat and a good engine and he just wants to open it up. He’s the best.”

Upon arrival at the yard of bricks, Andretti and Tirico both kissed the bricks, just as multiple Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 winners have done many times prior.

Coverage of the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 begins Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN, then moves over to NBC at 11:00 a.m. ET.

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Indy Lights: Askew clinches 2019 title while VeeKay wins Laguna Seca race 1

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MONTEREY, Calif – Rinus VeeKay may have won the first race of the weekend’s Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Saturday afternoon, but all all eyes post-race were all on the driver who finished the race in the fourth position.

That driver was Oliver Askew, who by simply starting the 30-lap event at the famed road course won the 2019 series title, along with the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series scholarship that guarantees a minimum of three races next season.

“It’s all sinking in,” Askew told NBC Sports following the race. “I’m really happy to be part of this team. They’re back to back champions now in Indy Lights, and I feel very fortunate to be driving in this car this year.

“This is what we worked for all year. I’m very happy to be in this position and I can’t wait to celebrate with my team.”

With the championship in Askew’s possession from the get-go, the best VeeKay could do for in race 1 was to win in dominant fashion. He went on to do just so.

After starting the race from the pole position, VeeKay led every lap from start to finish en route to his fifth victory of the season.

“We managed the car well and kept the car consistent throughout the whole race,” VeeKay said. “I got a great car from the team so I want to give a big shout out to them for giving me a winning car.”

Behind VeeKay, Portland race 2 winner Toby Sowery finished the race in the second position, while Robert Megennis finished third.

Live streaming coverage of race two of the Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca begins tomorrow afternoon at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.

Click here for full race results

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