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Rahal believes his Indianapolis 500 car is ‘money’

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INDIANAPOLIS – One of the happiest drivers after the final practice session for Sunday’s 103rdIndianapolis 500 was Graham Rahal. Although he was 17thon the speed list at 223.664 miles per hour in the No. 15 Honda, Rahal was happy with the way the car performed in traffic.

As fellow-driver Ryan Hunter-Reay pulled up in a golf-cart, Rahal told the Andretti Autosports driver that he had a race car that was “Money.”

THE 103RD INDIANAPOLIS 500: Click here for how to watch

“It was good there at the end,” Rahal said. “I’m always the cautiously optimistic person, but if I tell you it’s good; it’s good. I was able to pass a lot of guys and was up there with the Penske Boys at the end.

“If it stays like that and we get ourselves in position, we have a good chance at this thing. We have a few things to overcome, but it felt good. It felt really good.”

This came after Rahal had a slight brush with the Turn 2 wall when his right-front tire “kissed” the outside wall.

“The car was OK, then it took off with understeer and brushed the wall,” Rahal said. “With the winds like this, it gets gusty. I was behind two or three cars. If you get a crosswind and hit the wake, it’s going to go.

“It was one close call, but after that, the car was really good.

“Maybe we bent something, and it helped the setup. The car felt fine and it drove straight.”

There are plenty of tire marks on the white walls at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Rahal has left a few of those with his car in the past, including Friday.

“I felt really good,” Rahal said. “My car was strong. If the car can stay like that, we’re good. The temperatures should be similar. We have the downforce package right. We tried some things we haven’t tried yet.

“I don’t know what happened, but she sure turned on all of a sudden.”

INDYCARRahal is also optimistic at his ability to pass in the 500-Mile Race.

“I was able to pass, and I’ll be honest, earlier in the week, I thought no,” Rahal said. “But I was genuinely able to pass. I think we’ll be fine.

“There is no doubt we are in a good spot. There is a lot that can go right or wrong, but we are in a pretty good spot.”

Rahal starts 17thin Sunday’s 103rdIndianapolis 500. He is flanked by 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan to the inside and 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon to the outside.

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.