By AMANDA VINCENT
The NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity series head to the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400 race weekend. Actually, the Sprint Cup Series race that will close out the Indy race weekend on Sunday officially carries the moniker of The Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard. Still, most fans and competitors, alike refer to the race by its traditional name of The Brickyard 400.
This year’s Brickyard race is destined to be a memorable one, as it’ll mark the comeback, however temporary, of four-time NASCAR champion and five-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon, as he makes his first start as a fill-in driver behind the wheel of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet normally driven by Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The 2016 Brickyard 400 also will mark the final start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Indiana native and three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart. Stewart also has a couple of Brickyard 400 wins.
For the Xfinity Series, Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 will be the final of four Xfinity Dash 4 Cash races in 2016. One series championship-eligible driver and his team will win an extra bonus of $100,000. With the Indianapolis race being a Dash 4 Cash race for the Xfinity race, the event distance of 250 miles will be split into two 20-lap heat races, followed by a 60-lap main.
The Camping World Truck Series has already seen its action for the week, running its lone dirt-track race of the year, the Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby, at Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, on Wednesday night.
Here’s a look at the schedule of on-track activity for Indianapolis Motor Speedway (courtesy of NASCAR.com):
All times ET.
Noon-1:25 p.m. — Xfinity Series practice (NBCSN)
1:30-2:55 p.m. — Sprint Cup practice (NBCSN)
3-3:55 p.m. — Xfinity Series final practice (NBCSN)
4-5:25 p.m. — Sprint Cup final practice (NBCSN)
11:45 a.m. — Xfinity Series qualifying (NBCSN)
1:45 p.m. — Sprint Cup qualifying (NBCSN)
3:30 p.m. — Xfinity Series heat 1 (NBCSN)
4:25 p.m. — Xfinity Series heat 2 (NBCSN)
5:05 p.m. — Xfinity Series main (NBCSN)
3 p.m. — Sprint Cup race (NBCSN)
WEATHER (courtesy of Accueweather.com)
The weather forecast for Speedway, Ind., calls for rain, specifically thunderstorms, and hot weather throughout the Indianapolis NASCAR race weekend.
On Friday, practice day for both the Sprint Cup and Xfinity series, temperatures are expected to reach the low 90s with a heat index around 105. The chance of thunderstorms during the day is at 90 percent.
On Saturday, temperatures are, again, expected to reach the low 90s but bring an even higher heat index — 109. The chance of thunderstorms is slighter, though, at 60 percent.
Sunday’s predicted temperature and expected heat index mirror those of Friday. The chance of precipitation, though, drops further to 40 percent. There’s also a chance on Sunday of a stray thunderstorm.
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