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Detroit canceled; Texas to open; new races at Iowa, Laguna Seca and Indy

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The NTT IndyCar series has adjusted its 2020 schedule again, canceling the May 30-31 doubleheader grand prix at Detroit and adding doubleheader events later in the season at Iowa Speedway and Weather Tech Laguna Seca Raceway.

There also will be a third weekend added at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The season now would begin June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway and feature 15 races, up from the 14 announced in the previous schedule revision March 26.

Iowa Speedway would hold races July 17-18, and Laguna Seca will play host to races Sept. 19-20.

The additional race will be held Saturday, Oct. 3 at the IMS road course.

Because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdown, the 104th Indianapolis 500 already was postponed two weeks ago to Aug. 23.

The GMR IndyCar Grand Prix also had been moved May to July as a doubleheader with the Xfinity Series on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course as the first IndyCar-NASCAR doubleheader in history (that could feature Jimmie Johnson in multiple series).

IndyCar also had announced the season finale would be at St. Petersburg on a date to be determined for the rescheduled season opener (likely in mid-October).

The revised schedule released Monday by IndyCar still shows the race as TBD.

Per IndyCar, here’s the revised 2020 schedule:

June 6: Texas Motor Speedway

June 21: Road America

June 27: Richmond Raceway

July 4: Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course

July 12: Streets of Toronto

July 17-18: Iowa Speedway

Aug. 9: Mid-Ohio

Aug. 23: Indianapolis 500

Aug. 30: Gateway

Sept. 13: Portland International Raceway

Sept. 19: Laguna Seca

Sept. 20: Laguna Seca

Oct. 3: IMS road course

TBA: Streets of St. Petersburg

The cancellation of the Detroit GP also means the IMSA and Trans Am series races slated for the same weekend have been canceled.

“We’re under lockdown, we can’t do anything,” IndyCar owner Roger Penske told the Associated Press about the situation in Detroit, where construction had yet to begin on the Belle Isle street course because of the pandemic.

Here’s the release from IndyCar:

Doubleheaders at Iowa, Laguna Seca,
Third Event at IMS Highlight Updated INDYCAR Calendar

INDIANAPOLIS (April 6, 2020) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES announced several calendar updates today following the cancellation of the Detroit Grand Prix due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two previously scheduled events will become doubleheaders along with the addition of a third weekend of racing at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

With these additions, there are 15 races on the 2020 INDYCAR calendar, an increase of one event from the 14 races announced on March 26.

“We’re committed to bringing fans as much on-track action as possible,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “Our updated schedule features additional racing at fan-favorite venues and adds to the total number of events on our calendar. The COVID-19 situation continues to be dynamic and challenging for everyone, so we have developed contingency plans which will allow us to respond to changing conditions. Our goal is to preserve as much racing competition as possible while prioritizing the health and safety of our participants and spectators.”

INDYCAR’s established events at Iowa Speedway and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca will become doubleheaders. The Iowa 300 event weekend will add a race on Friday, July 17 along with the previously scheduled race on Saturday, July 18. The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey event weekend will now feature a race on Saturday, Sept. 19 in addition to the previously scheduled race on Sunday, Sept. 20.

Race fans also will be treated to a third INDYCAR event at the Racing Capital of the World, with the INDYCAR Harvest GP on the IMS road course taking place Saturday, Oct. 3. This event is in addition to the GMR Grand Prix, already scheduled for Saturday, July 4, and the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, Aug. 23.

“Like our fans, we’re disappointed we won’t be racing in Detroit this year,” Miles said. “However, we’re excited to return to Belle Isle in 2021 and know we’ll put on a great show for everyone when we do. We also appreciate the flexibility and support of our event promoters at Iowa Speedway and Laguna Seca, who have enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to host double-headers.”

An updated listing of green flag times and an NBC Sports broadcast schedule will be announced in the near future.

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).