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James Hinchcliffe to drive Indianapolis 500 for Andretti

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One of the most popular drivers in the IndyCar paddock has found a part-time home for the 2020 season.

James Hinchcliffe will make a return to Andretti Autosport starting this May. The 33-year-old Canadian will drive the No. 29 Honda for the team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500, and the June night race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Sponsorship for Hinchcliffe’s partial schedule will be provided by Genesys, a company Hinchcliffe first announced as a personal sponsor on Jan. 16. The partnership marks the first venture into IndyCar racing for the customer service technology company.

“Honestly, it’s so nice being able to announce some more good news,” Hinchcliffe said in a release. “It’s no secret that the 2020 season isn’t going to be exactly what we were expecting, but being able to start the new year with the announcement that Genesys was stepping in to save our season and partner with us was awesome, and now adding the next big piece in my reunion with Andretti Autosport just really makes it feel like the momentum is going our way.

“I can’t wait to work with this group again and to get back behind the wheel of an IndyCar!”

Hinchcliffe previously drove for Andretti from 2012-14, winning three races. 

Following his first stint with the team, Hinchcliffe raced for Arrow McLaren SP (then Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) from 2015-19. However, the team released Hinchcliffe in November, and he had been searching for a new ride since then.

But when plans for Fernando Alonso to race for Andretti fell through, the opportunity for Hinchcliffe to return to the team presented itself.

“We’re really pleased to be able to welcome James back into the Andretti team,” Andretti Autosport chairman and CEO Michael Andretti said. “He has, for sure, been knocked down a few times by this sport and to be able to help him meet the challenge is really special. We had a lot of fun, and some great successes with James when he was part of the team before, and we’re really looking forward to picking up where we left off.

“I’d also like to welcome Genesys to the Andretti family for their first experience in IndyCar racing. We now have three, major Indiana-based companies in our portfolio, along with several other brands that call Indianapolis home. It’s special to see these companies supporting Indiana’s home sport of IndyCar racing, and we’re proud to carry them each with us. We are looking forward to working with James and the Genesys team to deliver both on and off-track success.”

Hinchcliffe’s first race of 2020, the GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, will take place on May 9 and air live on NBC.

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Champion Marc Marquez leads MotoGP into virtual world Sunday

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During its layoff because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, MotoGP will become the latest racing series to enter the virtual world.

The MotoGP Virtual Race will be held at 9 a.m. ET Sunday, March 29 with 10 riders. It will be streamed on several platforms, including the Motorsports on NBC YouTube channel. Reigning series champion Marc Marquez is among the riders in the field.

The premier class of MotoGP has yet to hit the track this season as its opener was canceled and the next three races were postponed, including the Grand Prix of the Americas being moved from April 5 to Nov. 15.

Several other racing series have tried online racing in recent weeks.

IMSA held a “SuperSaturday at Sebring” March 21 in place of the postponed Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. NASCAR started its Pro Invitational Series last Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway and will continue Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. IndyCar kicked off its six-race IndyCar iRacing Challenge with a Saturday race at Watkins Glen International that was won by Sage Karam.