Newgarden Leads Day 2; Thinks Race Will be Better

Photo of Josef Newgarden by Joe Skibinski, Indycar

On a day that I wish we could save for may, 31 cars hopeful of making the field for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 completed the second day of open testing. Josef Newgarden, two time NTT Indtcar Series champion, had the quickest time of the two days, 226.819 miles an hour.

The first hour of the morning allowed the rookies, Pietro Fittipaldi and Cody Ware, to complete their rookie tests, and the drivers who needed to complete their refresher tests to co mplete their two phase runs.

Conor Daly led the veterans session from 10-11 before all cars were turned loose on the track. The day was interrupted twice for brief rain sprinkles and the afternoon action stopped for some track inspections.

Newgarden summed up his day in a zoom call with media after the session finished.

“It was a pretty good day,” Newgarden said. “I was happy enough with the car. I think we still need some work, for sure, but to just get an initial read on where we’re at is good. Obviously, there are a lot of new parts and differences to the last couple of years, so we’re just trying to assess what we need to really work on these last couple of weeks before we get back here in May. But I’m pretty happy.”

He responded to questions about the duifference between this year’s car and last year’s car. he likes the changes and thinks the racing will be better.

“Yes, definitely. It’s easier to follow. It’s still tough. You’ll still get a big front wash in traffic. 10 cars back, it’s always going to b e difficult. But I think they’ve made the ability to follow better. That balance separation between clean air and dirty air is definitely reduced.Some of them are tricky to drive, some of these parts. I think you’re seeing some split camps here along pit lane. Not everybody is running the same stuff. That’s been interesting to watch. There’s more downforce on the car. I think the balance shift in traffic is less.Yeah, the ability that we’re going to have to race compared to last year will be better.

I think you have a better opportunity this year looking at the amount of downforce we have, the balance shift in and out of traffic. I think you have a better opportunity to fight for the win in the third or fourth car inline.I think more than that, you are a quick car during the race,you somehow find yourself in the back, I think you have abetter opportunity of making your way forward. Those two elements will automatically help the show. But you don’t want to have it so easy where we’re packed up the entire field the entire time. I think that’s something that you would want to avoid.It’s a balancing act. I think it will be a lot better than last year as far as the ability to race up front. Time will tell. But I think you’ll have a better show.”

Juan Pablo Montoya. Photo by James Black, Indycar

Juan Pablo Montoya, two time Indianapolis 500 is returning to the race after a three year absence. He gave his thoughts on the Arrow McLaren SP Chevy he drove in the test to the Indycar he last drove.

“They’re a little harder to drive, I think. I think the difference between clear air and dirty air is a little bigger. I think the changes from what INDYCAR did, from what everybody says, it’s a little harder as before, but not that bad.”

As for adjusting to the aeroscreen, Montoya felt the aeroscreen was similar to the sports cars he drove the last three years.

“It wasn’t too bad to get used to it. I thought it would be a little more intrusive. It’s definitely a pain in the butt to get in and out of the car, and it’s a lot hotter. I know like here it hasn’t been that bad in the oval. I did a test in Laguna. In a road course, you don’t get a lotof air. That was kind of shocking.Yeah, I mean, it’s kind of weird because, like, you’re really in a little bubble. It feels a little bit once you’re driving like a sports car.”

Notes

Andretti Autosport seemed to be struggling a bit as they did last year. The team did not have a driver in the top 10 today.

Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal look to be right wher they were last year with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Sato won the 2020 race and Rahal finished third.

Montoya and Helio Castroneves were quick in their first outing in cars not owned by Roger Penske. It’s still odd seeing them in non-Penske cars.

Arrow McLaren SP could be a factor in the 500 as well as during the rest of the season. Montoya’s input should help push the team up a notch this year.

Today’s results, followed by the no tow time sheet:

RANKCAR NO.DRIVERTEAMENGINESPEEDLAPS
12Josef NewgardenTeam PenskeChevy226.819121
230Takuma SatoRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda226.39660
386Juan Pablo MontoyaArrow McLaren SPChevy226.12368
49Scott DixonChip Ganassi RacingHonda225.906126
515Graham RahalRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda225.644157
647Conor DalyEd Carpenter RacingChevy225.639137
712Will PowerTeam PenskeChevy225.501162
860Jack HarveyMeyer Shank RacingHonda225.266140
95Pato O’WardArrow McLaren SPChevy225.118156
106Helio CastronevesMeyer Shank RacingHonda225.074128
1122Simon PagenaudTeam PenskeChevy225.001184
1228Ryan Hunter-ReayAndretti AutosportHonda224.949134
1326Colton HertaAndretti AutosportHonda224.203164
1420Ed CarpenterEd Carpenter RacingChevy224.146146
1510Alex PalouChip Ganassi RacingHonda224.134112
167Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren SPChevy223.973126
1718Ed JonesDale Coyne Racing With Vasser-SullivanHonda223.905104
183Scott McLaughlinTeam PenskeChevy223.808195
1927Alexander RossiAndretti AutosportHonda223.636136
2045Santino FerrucciRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda223.519137
2116Simona De SilvestroParetta AutosportChevy223.45892
2229James HinchcliffeAndretti Steinbrenner AutosportHonda223.458127
2348Tony KanaanChip Ganassi RacingHonda223.10199
2424Sage KaramDreyer & Reinbold RacingChevy223.09581
2598Marco AndrettiAndretti Herta-Haupert w/Marco & Curb-AgajanianHonda222.815138
2614Sebastien BourdaisAJ Foyt EnterprisesChevy222.627125
2759Max ChiltonCarlinChevy222.258114
288Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi RacingHonda222.135188
2951Pietro FittipaldiDale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware RacingHonda221.943144
304Dalton KellettAJ Foyt EnterprisesChevy220.19697
3152Cody WareDale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware RacingHonda218.43858

Indianapolis 500 test – Friday all-skate – no-tow timesheet

RANKCAR NO.DRIVERTEAMENGINESPEED
115Graham RahalRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda221.549
23Scott McLaughlinTeam PenskeChevy221.153
327Alexander RossiAndretti AutosportHonda220.889
428Ryan Hunter-ReayAndretti AutosportHonda220.490
512Will PowerTeam PenskeChevy220.405
620Ed CarpenterEd Carpenter RacingChevy220.263
726Colton HertaAndretti AutosportHonda220.242
822Simon PagenaudTeam PenskeChevy220.099
959Max ChiltonCarlinChevy219.922
1060Jack HarveyMeyer Shank RacingHonda219.881
117Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren SPChevy219.670
122Josef NewgardenTeam PenskeChevy219.668
135Pato O’WardArrow McLaren SPChevy219.621
149Scott DixonChip Ganassi RacingHonda219.558
1598Marco AndrettiAndretti Herta-Haupert w/Marco & Curb-AgajanianHonda219.518
1614Sebastien BourdaisAJ Foyt EnterprisesChevy219.293
1730Takuma SatoRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda219.175
184Dalton KellettAJ Foyt EnterprisesChevy219.174
196Helio CastronevesMeyer Shank RacingHonda219.027
2024Sage KaramDreyer & Reinbold RacingChevy218.431
2147Conor DalyEd Carpenter RacingChevy218.424
2229James HinchcliffeAndretti Steinbrenner AutosportHonda218.014
238Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi RacingHonda217.991
2416Simona De SilvestroParetta AutosportChevy217.880
2510Alex PalouChip Ganassi RacingHonda217.670
2651Pietro FittipaldiDale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware RacingHonda217.619
2786Juan Pablo MontoyaArrow McLaren SPChevy217.600
2848Tony KanaanChip Ganassi RacingHonda217.563
2945Santino FerrucciRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda217.068
3018Ed JonesDale Coyne Racing With Vasser-SullivanHonda216.992
3152Cody WareDale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware RacingHonda215.776

Daly Quickest Again in Veteran Session

Conor Daly once again had the fastest time in the veterans only session which just comcluded. The veterans took to the track at 10 am following a one hour session for the Rookies and veteran refresher tests.

Pietro Fittipaldi and Cody Ware completed their rookie tests and all refresher tests are complete as well.

A light sprinkle has the track closed at the moment but the sun has returned and cars should be running again soon.

The speed chart from the veteran’s session:

If you are watching on Peacock, please let me know what you think. I’m impressed with the picture resolution.

Back later with a wrap up of today’s action.

Testing Resumes Today; Better Forecast

Today’s schedule at IMS:

9-10 Rookie orientation and Refresher tests

10-11 Veterans

11-6 All cars

Broadcast on Peacock

Photo: Sebastien Bourdais

From Indycar, a summary of Thursday’s Open Test
Track Activity To Resume at 9 a.m. (ET) Friday
INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, April 8, 2021) – Sebastien Bourdais of AJ Foyt Racing was the fastest among 32 drivers who turned laps Thursday at the 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge Open Test, which included a rain delay of more than five hours at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Frenchman Bourdais was among a group of 11 drivers who took to the 2.5-mile oval in the final 70 minutes of track activity for veteran refresher tests and the Rookie Orientation Program, and he turned a top lap of 224.427 mph in the famous No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet fielded by legendary four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt.

RESULTS: Veteran sessionRookie Orientation/Refreshers

Bourdais turned his top lap in the last few minutes of the final session, which resembled the “Happy Hour” of an Indy 500 practice day with cars running in aerodynamic packs. He was among the veterans who needed to complete the two-phase refresher test since he didn’t race in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in 2020.
“Pretty good refresher for the A.J. Foyt No. 14,” Bourdais said. “That ROKiT car was pretty good. It always feels a little different when you start at low speeds and the car’s never really settled, but we got through both phases and are ready to go tomorrow and start working properly. It’s all good.”
Rain halted the opening veterans-only session at 12:30 p.m. (ET). A second heavy shower around 3:15 p.m. delayed track activity until the track reopened at 6:03 p.m. under blue skies and sunshine.
Track activity will take place from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (ET) Friday, with live broadcast coverage on Peacock. Rookie Orientation and refresher tests will take place from 9-10 a.m., with veterans back on track from 10-11 a.m. The track will open for all drivers from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Conor Daly was the second-fastest driver overall and the fastest in the morning session of 90 minutes before heavy rain arrived in Indianapolis. Daly’s top lap was 222.714 in the No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet fielded by Ed Carpenter Racing, also with the help of an aerodynamic tow. Sage Karam was third overall at 222.408, with his best lap in the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet also coming during the final session after the rain left town. Three-time Indy 500 pole winner Ed Carpenter was fourth at 221.296 in the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves rounded out the top five at 221.097 in the No. 06 Meyer Shank Racing Honda.

2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay suffered a broken finger in a crash in Turn 1 just 11 minutes into track activity in his No. 21 Sonax/Autogeek Chevrolet fielded by ECR. He was cleared to drive. VeeKay’s car dipped low into the grass inside Turn 1 and did nearly a full clockwise spin before hitting the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1 with the right front and right side of the car. The car then spun twice and slid through the short chute before stopping at the entrance of Turn 2 with heavy damage. “I wanted to do as many laps as possible to be successful,” VeeKay said. “I’m very sorry. It was a weird moment.” The 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge is scheduled for Sunday, May 30. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opens April 17-18 with the Honda Indy Grand Prix presented by AmFirst at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

Carpenter Set for a Busy Friday

Indycar photo by Joe Skibinski

Ed Carpenter was hoping to accomplish more today, but weather and a crash of one of his team cars shortened his plans. The open test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was shortened by rain and an incident involving one of Carpenter’s team cars.

Rinus Veekay crashed just 10 minutes into the open test, spinning low in turn 1 and then hiiting the outside wall. VeeKay broke a finger, but has been cleared to drive.

Of his second year driver, Carpenter said,

“He did so well at Indy last year, but got a little bit ahead of himself today. Didn’t quite have a feel for his balance, got a little bit too aggressive in one. I know he’ll bounce back. He’s shown that he can bounce back from unfortunate circumstances in the past. I know he’ll be ready when he gets back out there.”

VeeKay may not be on track Friday. The crew woill have to rebuild the car. Carpenter said they are unlikely to use the backup car since it is the car they will run in the first four races of the season, which begins next weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.

Carpenter and Conor Daly, the third member of Ed Carpenter racing, kept to their plan.

“Essentially we each just got a baseline run in. I only did nine laps. Happy the car has had some pace, we were able to get a good draft. At the same time it doesn’t really mean anything after just a brief period of running, and not everybody out there yet.”

The weather interruption didn’t bother him. After the constant schedule changes last year, this just another hiccup. Carpenter said about the shortened day,

“Don’t worry about it too much. Weather and changing schedules is something we’ve all gotten quite adept at over the past year. Looks like it’s going to be a better weather day tomorrow. The six hours will go quick. Some of the things we wanted to do, it would have been nice to have our session, lunch break, go back out and do some longer changeover types of things that we may have to scrap till we come back. If we can be efficient, we can still get through everything we wanted to, at least the big items.”

I asked Carpenter if he was able to run in traffic enough to see whether the aerodynamic changes improved the ability to follow and pass.

“No, not yet,” he replied. ” I got a one-car tow, but it was about seven seconds out, so not really a good enough read to start to fully establish that.We had some of the parts on, not all of them. There are a lot of different configurations out there. Definitely need more time. There’s really no group that formed in the short amount of time we had. Still plenty to learn. But I’m sure we’ll get through that tomorrow.”

Tomorrow’s weather calls for a high of 77 degrees with a small chance of rain. The temperature is closer to what conditions on race day could be.

Rain Halts Test; Daly Posts Fastest Time

Photo: Rinus VeeKay suffered a broken finger in an accident shortly after the test session began.

Rain halted the open test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway just before the end of the two hour veterans’ practice period. 21 drivers posted times in the abbreviated session.

Conor Daly has the fastest time at the moment, a lap of 222.714 miles an hour. Ed Carpenter is second at 221.296. Scott Dixon had the third quickest time at 220.575, followed by Arrow McLaren SP teammates Felix Rosenqvist and Pato O’Ward. The top five are the only cars with laps above 220 miles an hour.

The practice got off to a slow start when Rinus VeeKay spun in turn 1 just 10 minutes into the session. VeeKay said he was caught by a gust of wind. His left front wheel got into the grass and the car spun into the outside wall. VeeKay suffered a broken finger in the accident.

The rain has stopped and crews have begun to dry the track. Rookie Orientation and Refresher tests will begin when the track is ready. Cody Ware and Pietro Fittipaldi are the only two who need to complete the three phases of the rookie test.

Notes

It is weird getting used to seeing Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya incars that aren’t owned by Team Penske.

James Hinchcliffe hinted in an interview on Peacock that Robert Wickens is planning something “very exciting.” Hinchcliffe stopped short of saying what it is, but said the fans will love it.

Conor Daly is using number 47 for the 500 as he did last year.

I really like the resolution on the Peacock app on my tablet.

The top 10:

147Conor DalyEd Carpenter RacingChevy222.71418
220Ed CarpenterEd Carpenter RacingChevy221.2969
39Scott DixonChip Ganassi RacingHonda220.5759
47Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren SPChevy220.36016
55Pato O’WardArrow McLaren SPChevy220.23323
610Alex PalouChip Ganassi RacingHonda219.96913
726Colton HertaAndretti AutosportHonda219.8468
827Alexander RossiAndretti AutosportHonda219.64010
912Will PowerTeam PenskeChevy219.63516
1060Jack HarveyMeyer Shank RacingHonda219.5196

I’ll be back with a wrap up after 6 pm.

Hildebrand to Drive Foyt 60th Anniversary Tribute Car

All photos from A.J. Foyt Racing

J. R. Hildebrand will attempt to qualify for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 in a fourth entry for A. J. Foyt Racing. 2021 is the first time in 20 years that Foyt will have four entries for the race.

ABC Supply returns as primary sponsor. The company was the full time sponsor for Foyt through the 2019 season. The car will carry the number 1 and have a tribute livery resembling the paint scheme on Foyt’s 1961 Indianapolis 500 winning car. The number 1, normally reserved for the NTT Indycar series champion, was loaned to the Foyt team by Chip Ganassi Racing. Ganassi has been reluctant to use the number 1 on his cars the year after one of his drivers has won the championship,

“Chip was very gracious about letting us use the number 1,” Larry Foyt said.

A. J. Foyt in 1961, the first of his four 500 victories.
Hildebrand’s car with similar livery.

Hildebrand will be looking to make his 11th consecutive 500. In 2011, he was leading heading into the fourth turn of lap 200 when he went wide hit the wall, Dan Wheldon passed him to win. Hildebrand slid down the track past the finish line and finished second. he had thre3e straight top 10 finishes-10th in 2014, 8th in 2015 and 6th in 2016. Hildebrand has completed all 200 laps eight times.

A. J. Foyt said he was happy to have ABC Supply returning fpor the 500. “They’re more like family than sponsorship,” he said.

I really like the look of this car. It definitely looks like the 1961 roadster. Now if they can just find a way to get a Bowes Seal Fast sticker on it somewhere.

IMS Museum Open During Test Days, But…

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum announced today that it will remain open Thursday and Friday during the Indycar test on the 21/2 mile oval. However, there is a catch. Vehicles will not be allowed entrance to the museum parking lot. Instead visitors will park in the lot across from Gate 2 on Polco Street. Free shuttles will transport people to the museum and return them to their cars when they are ready to leave. The turn 2 mounds are closed. Shuttles will run from 9 am until 5 pm or until all visitors have left. I believe the museum limits the number of guests in the building at one time.

The release from the museum:

Track action available via NBC’s Peacock streaming service

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum will remain open to the public during the Thursday, April 8 and Friday, April 9 Indy 500 testing at the legendary 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

IMS announced April 5 that the test will be closed to the public as it prioritizes planning and preparations for the Month of May. Fans will have access to both days of NTT INDYCAR SERIES track action via NBC’s new Peacock streaming service.

All visitors to the IMS Museum on April 8-9 will be directed to park in the IMS-owned gravel parking lot located on the east side of Polco Street and south of 16th Street. (See accompanying map for illustration.)

IMS Museum parking for all April 8-9 guests is in the red area. Free shuttles to/from the Museum will run continuously! (Click HERE for larger file.)

Museum guests should plan to use the lot entrance located on Polco just a few feet south of 16th Street, and IMS Museum owned tour busses will serve as free shuttles to and from the Museum main entrance. Shuttles will run continuously during regular Museum hours, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET), and until the last visitor is delivered to the designated parking area. The Turn 2 viewing mounds will not be open on Thursday or Friday while the test is taking place.

“The IMS team is laser-focused on preparations for the Month of May, and we know everyone is excited about the prospect of coming ‘Back Home Again,’” said IMS Museum President Joe Hale. “In the meantime, we’re glad we’ve been able to work together with IMS to keep the museum open and available to visitors later this week, and we can’t wait to see people coming through our doors.”

IMS and INDYCAR officials are working closely with NBC Sports to provide live, in-depth coverage of  testing on NBC’s Peacock streaming platform, featuring NBC’s regular NTT INDYCAR SERIES broadcast team. Fans can take advantage of Peacock’s seven-day free trial to watch the test – and then sign up for Peacock Premium for just $4.99/month to access coverage of the entire 17-race INDYCAR schedule, including practices, qualifying and races.

To learn more about Peacock, click here.

Public access to the IMS Museum parking inside the oval via Gate 2 (the four-lane tunnel on 16th Street) is scheduled resume Saturday, April 10.

***

About the IMS Museum: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is home to one of the world’s premier motorsports and automobile collections, with interpretive emphasis on the Indianapolis 500 and its role as an American icon of sporting tradition and innovation.

Located inside the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, the IMS Museum is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization which relies on the support of visitors, members, donors and corporate partners, who make possible our daily operations, exhibits, educational programming, and restoration and preservation initiatives.

For more information on the IMS Museum, please visit www.indyracingmuseum.org, contact the Museum at 317-492-6784, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Testing Schedule

Thursday’s session has three segments:

11-1 Veterans

1-3 Rookie Orientation and refreshers

4-6 All cars.

Friday’s session runs from 10-4.

Ferrucci Joins RLL; 32 Cars Set for IMS Test

Santino Ferrucci will return to the Indianapolis 500 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He will drive the number 45 car with sponsorship from HyVee. In the 2020 500, Spencer Pigot drove the 45 HyVee car. The company will also be the primary sponsor for Graham Rahal at Road America and World Wide Technology Raceway.

This will be Ferrucci’s third Indianapolis 500. He drove for Dale Coyne Racing in 2019 and 2020, finishing seventh and fourth respectively. Ferrucci is not in the series full time this season. he is driving select XFinity races for Sam Hunt Racing.

No Fans at IMS Test

Yesterday afternoon IMS announced that there will be no public access to the grounds mThursday or Friday for the open test. A statement released by the track through Nathan brown of IndyStar:

If this action means there is a better chance of having fans at the race, I’m fine with it. Frim what I have seen on social media many fans were planning to come for the test, and IMS could probably not monitor the COVID protocols.

The test features 17 Hondas and 15 Chevys. Cody Ware will be taking his rookie test in the number 52 Dale Coyne/Rick Ware car. Simona De Silvestro makes her speedway return with Paretta Autosport. The action will be streaming on Peacock, which is offering a one week free trial.

The entry list:

Honda

Andretti Autosport (5): Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi, James Hinchcliffe;

Chip Ganassi Racing (4): Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Alex Palou, Marcus Ericsson;

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (3): Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato, Santino Ferrucci;

Dale Coyne Racing (3): Pietro Fittipaldi, Ed Jones, Cody Ware;

Meyer Shank Racing (2): Jack Harvey, Helio Castroneves

Chevy

Team Penske (4): Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Scott McLaughlin;

Arrow McLaren SP (3): Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Juan Pablo Montoya;

Ed Carpenter Racing (3): Rinus VeeKay, Conor Daly, Ed Carpenter;

A.J. Foyt Racing (2): Sebastien Bourdais, Dalton Kellett;

Carlin (1): Max Chilton;

Paretta Autosport (1): Simona de Silvestro;

Dreyer and Reinbold Racing (1): Sage Karam

Notes

James Davison said that he will not return to the 500 this year as he is focusing on his NASCAR program.

Dennis Reinbold said he is close to finalizing a deal to run Indianapolis. His team will test.

Entry possibilities left- a sixth car at Andretti and a fourth car at Foyt.

Peacock Debuts at Indy Open Test

Photo from Indycar Twitter

Indycar sent the following release regarding the open test at IMS Thursday and Friday. No fans allowed on the grounds. Peacock will have its first live streaming of Indycar. Peacocok costs $.99 per month. If you get it just for the Indycar season, it is less expensive than NBC Gold was. I believe Peacock is free if Xfinity is your cable provider.

The news release:

Nearly a full field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES participants will begin preparations for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge during an open test Thursday, April 8 and Friday, April 9 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Thirty-two car-and-driver combinations are scheduled to participate in the two-day session, which will stream live to race fans exclusively via NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, Peacock.

The open test at IMS creates a marquee launch for INDYCAR action on Peacock, featuring NBC Sports talent, exclusive content and interviews previewing the 17-race NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. Fans can sign up here for one week to view both days of testing at IMS, and enjoy live coverage of NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying and practice sessions, as well as coverage surrounding the 105th Indianapolis 500, Indy Lights races, race day warmups and full-event replays of the 2021 season on Peacock Premium for $4.99 per month.

“IMS and INDYCAR are working closely with NBC Sports to deliver what should be an exceptional show on Peacock during these two very important days of testing,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Having the NBC Sports broadcasters, production quality and exclusive content will deliver an engaging viewing experience that builds even more anticipation for finally coming ‘Back Home Again’ to IMS in May.”

Said INDYCAR President Jay Frye: “The NTT INDYCAR SERIES offers the most competitive and daring racing on the planet. Peacock gives our most loyal fans access to key practice and qualification sessions while also showcasing our series alongside a compelling roster of major global sports leagues and competitions.”

A full stream of the test also will be available to international fans via the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA. Details on further global coverage of NTT INDYCAR SERIES race weekends, beginning with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst on Sunday, April 18, will be provided soon by INDYCAR.

The IMS test will be held from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (ET) Thursday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday. There will be no on-site public access. IMS remains focused on planning and preparing to host spectators during the Month of May. An advisory regarding media access will be forthcoming.

Star-Studded Field Set To Turn Laps at IMS

Reigning “500” champion Takuma Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing headline the list of participants testing. Sato and Dixon were the top two finishers in last year’s race, held Aug. 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they have combined to win Indy three times (Sato in 2017 and 2020, Dixon in 2008).

Nine former “500” winners have plans to test, including three-time champion Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002, 2009) in a car fielded by Meyer Shank Racing. Juan Pablo Montoya eyes his third “500” victory with as many teams. Montoya’s prior victories came with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2000 and Team Penske in 2015; this effort is with Arrow McLaren SP.

Other past “500” winners participating will be Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan (2013), Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014) and Alexander Rossi (2016), and Team Penske’s Will Power (2018) and Simon Pagenaud (2019). The record for former winners in a single “500” is 10, set in 1992.

Marco Andretti, who won the NTT P1 Award for pole at last year’s event, will be part of Andretti Autosport’s five participants. Andretti became the first member of his family to win the pole at Indy since his grandfather Mario in 1987. Mario won three “500” poles in his illustrious career.

Simona De Silvestro will make her return to IMS in the No. 16 Chevrolet of Paretta Autosport, a new NTT INDYCAR SERIES team. The Swiss driver last competed in the race in 2015. Pietro Fittipaldi, whose grandfather Emerson twice won the “500,” also will participate in the test in a bid to earn his first starting position in the famed event.

Honda will have 17 entries testing, Chevrolet 15.

Official practice for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” begins Tuesday, May 18, with more than 33 entries competing for a starting position. NTT P1 Award qualifying will be held Saturday, May 22 and Sunday, May 23. The “500” is Sunday, May 30.