Watkins Glen chosen as track for IndyCar’s iRacing series opener

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Watkins Glen International has been voted by fans as the opening track for the IndyCar iRacing Challenge.

The six-race series will begin Saturday and run through May 2 as IndyCar’s real-world competition remains sidelined by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Thursday that the Indianapolis 500 would be postponed to Aug. 23, and the 2020 season is scheduled to begin May 30-31 in Detroit.

In fan voting on IndyCar.com to choose the first iRacing track, Watkins Glen International and Michigan International Speedway had emerged from an eight-track bracket that featured separate halves for road courses and ovals.

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Watkins Glen reached the final by defeating Sonoma and Montreal (which had eliminated Sebring).

Michigan eliminated the Milwaukee Mile in the first round and then knocked out Auto Club Speedway (which beat Twin Ring Motegi).

The NTT IndyCar Series raced at Watkins Glen from 2005-10 and 2016-17. Alexander Rossi, who will be competing Saturday in the online race, is the most recent winner.

The IndyCar iRacing Challenge will begin at 4 p.m. ET and will be streamed on IndyCar.com, the YouTube channels of IndyCar and iRacing, Twitch for iRacing and IndyCar’s Facebook Live.

Each race will last about 90 minutes to two hours.

Simon Pagenaud’s engineer relives 2019 Indy 500 victory on Twitter

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The Team Penske engineer for last year’s Indianapolis 500 winner is reliving Simon Pagenaud’s day by tweeting about what he was doing each moment a year later.

Starting with an observation that he awoke in his Indianapolis hotel room at 4:30 a.m., Ben Bretzman (@benbretzman) sent nearly two dozen tweets by 11 a.m. ET about how the morning before the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 unfolded.

Bretzman was through the infield tunnel and in Gasoline Alley by 6 a.m. By 7:30 a.m., he was wondering if his driver was awake yet, but he had heard for the first time from Pagenaud 45 minutes later.

‘BACK HOME AGAIN’Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, NBC

FIERCE FRIENDSHIPPagenaud, Rossi recall epic battle of 2019 Indy 500

Among other highlights: The team’s last strategy meeting was at 8:30 a.m.; final check of the weather was at 9:30 a.m. and Bretzman gave the No. 22 Dallara-Chevrolet a once-over at 10:35 a.m. before it was pushed to the grid.

Follow @BenBretzman to watch the day unfold from the pit box and tune into “Back Home Again at 2 p.m. ET on NBC as Pageanud and Alexander Rossi, who are good friends off the track, recap their epic duel with host Mike Tirico.

Simon Pagenaud and engineer Ben Bretzman debrief at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IndyCar photo by Joe Skibinski).