The NTT IndyCar Series starts their final stretch of the 2020 campaign with a return stop at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend for a pair of road course rumbles.
The INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR runs respective 85-lap and 75-lap races this Friday and Saturday. Friday’s action on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile course has a green flag at 1:30 p.m. while Saturday’s start is slotted for 2:30 p.m. (both St. Louis times).
This marks the third appearance of the open-wheeled series at the Speedway, Indiana facility in the last fourteen weeks. Alongside the 104th running of the Indy 500 in late-August on its signature oval, the series also performed at the road course for the GMR Grand Prix on the Fourth of July.
The twin bill also dots the penultimate event of the series’ 14-race schedule that concludes with the October 25 finale in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Although the setting is familiar to the 25 drivers competing this weekend, the weather will potentially affect the racing action as cooler temperatures results in better downforce for the cars and faster speeds overall.
“When we raced the Fourth of July, it was smoking hot,” said driver Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) to indycar.com. “I would anticipate it will be a little bit grippier, a little bit faster.”
This could serve Rahal – who currently sits sixth in the series standings – well as he collected a pair of fourth place finishes at the pair of road course events held at Mid-Ohio two weekends ago.
Current points leader Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) holds a 72-point lead over defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden (Team Penske) and claimed the checkered flags at the aforementioned July event at IMS.
“The obvious goal is to go out there and try to win, but there are 24 others that have the same goal,” said Dixon, who aims to push his season victories to six with a weekend sweep. “I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be fantastic to have up to 10,000 fans on each day. Hopefully, the weather cooperates and we can have a fantastic weekend.”
Both race days have projected forecasts of around 60 degrees under partly cloudy skies. The ensuing fast speeds could help Newgarden, who seeks his third and fourth checkered flags this weekend.
“Execution will be key, especially since doubleheader weekends can be so intense and anything could happen,” he said. “With two opportunities to race this weekend, we still feel we have a good shot at the title since my entire team has been working so hard and have a really great plan put together.”
Mathematically, seven drivers are still in the running for the series championship. Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren SP) sits third in the standings and still eyes his first-ever IndyCar victory.
“It’s crazy to think that the year is almost over,” O’Ward said. “The entire team and I know that if there’s a time to push, it’s now. So we are all very motivated to build on what we have accomplished so far this season and keep racking up championship points.”
Other potentials for podium trips this weekend include Colton Herta (Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport), Will Power (Team Penske) and Felix Rosenqvist (Chip Ganassi Racing), who each have a road course win this season.
Friday’s race can be seen on USA Network while Saturday’s feature is televised on KSDK-TV (Channel 5).
For more info on the series, visit indycar.com.
Arch City Media will have recaps following each race.