INDYCAR quartet spends non-weekend races at Watkins Glen
So much for the “except weekend”.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES is only having its second weekend without racing or track action since early May, but four series regulars aren’t spending June 26-27 on the boat or at the barbecue – they’re racing.
Sébastien Bourdais, Jimmie Johnson, Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi are each expected to compete in the Daytona Prototype International (DPi) class in the Sahlen Six Hours of the Glen on Sunday at Watkins Glen International. These will be the first Six Hours of the Glen since 2019, as last year’s race was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bourdais, quadruple INDYCAR SERIES champion, will team up with his compatriots Loïc Duval and Tristan Vautier at the wheel of the # 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac during the six-hour race. The trio took advantage of a spectacular final stint from Bourdais, overcoming a broken rear wing, to win the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Johnson and 2016 INDYCAR SERIES champion Pagenaud will join two-time Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Kamui Kobayashi in a powerful lineup for Ally Cadillac Racing entry # 48.
“There is no doubt that we have a strong squad and have shown very good speed in the previous two Endurance Cup races,” said Johnson. “Simon and Kamui continue to show why they are world class drivers, and it’s great to work again with Chad (Knaus) and the crews of Action Express and Hendrick Motorsports.”
The 2016 Indianapolis 500 presented by winner Gainbridge Rossi was a late addition to the lineup of the # 10 class-leading DPi Konica Minolta Acura, joining Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque. This trio, along with fourth driver Helio Castroneves, combined to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. Castroneves is not on the program this weekend, as the six-hour race is the shortest of the major endurance races on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar, so only two or three drivers are needed.
This will be Rossi’s first IMSA start at Watkins Glen. He won the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race in 2017 on the track.
“Glad to have the opportunity to come back and race at Watkins Glen as it is one of my favorite tracks in the world,” said Rossi. “Originally, I had no intention of joining WTR and Acura for this event, but I will do everything in my power to help them on and off the track to make sure that they continue to control this championship.
Three other drivers with recent INDYCAR starts could also get some of the spotlight this weekend at the 11-turn, 3.4-mile circuit in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.
Kevin Magnussen, who made his INDYCAR debut in the REV Grand Prix presented by AMR last Sunday at Road America, will look back on his full-time journey alongside Renger van der Zande in the No.01 Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing. Magnussen and van der Zande are approaching this race with a lot of enthusiasm, having claimed their first victory of the season on June 12 at the Chevrolet Grand Prix in Detroit.
Marco Andretti will make his LMP3 debut this weekend in the # 36 Ligier Andretti Autosport he shares with his cousin Jarett Andretti and his veteran INDYCAR SERIES colleague Oliver Askew. Marco Andretti finished 19th in the 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on May 30 in his only INDYCAR start to the season. Askew competed in Race 2 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit as a replacement for Felix Rosenqvist and was again an injury substitute last weekend at Road America, hitting for Rinus VeeKay.
Deferred race coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN.