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IndyCar puts the final pieces together in preparation of the 2021 schedule

IndyCar 2021 preparation

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - JUNE 06: Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, crosses the finish line to win the NTT IndyCar Series - Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 06, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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The NTT IndyCar Series is busy putting the final pieces together in preparation for the 2021 schedule. With their debut coming in less than three weeks, there has been a flurry of activity, including a two-day test at Texas Motor Speedway, which will host the third and fourth races on the calendar.

First, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama kicks the season off on April, 18. And work has already begun on building the street course of St. Petersburg for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and the IndyCar 2021 preparation continues, but in a few blinks of the eye May will be upon the series as it heads to Texas for a pair of twin 300-mile races May 1-2.

On Tuesday, seven drivers from seven teams hit the track while others tested in Sebring, Calif. On Wednesday, almost the entire series planned to be on course as 17 cars took trips around the course.

Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward welcomed the virtual fans to the track on Tuesday.

“What’s up everyone,” he said via Twitter. “We’re at Texas Motor Speedway today. We are testing for IndyCar, basically to see what we are going to expect on race weekend here in the beginning of May. ... It’s cool to be back here. You forget how ‘ginormous’ this place is. Second time for me at Texas Motor Speedway, but I’m looking forward to it.

“I’m ready to go fast.”

Last June, O’Ward finished 12th at Texas in the 2020 season-opener.

The heavy testing schedule and imminent start to the season was not lost on Scott McLaughlin, who steps into a Team Penske IndyCar for the first time this year. McLaughlin underscored his excitement in a tweet replete with a fleet of exclamation points.

Simon Pagenaud was one of the first drivers to hit the track Wednesday morning.

A light drizzle slowed the morning activities, but it didn’t take long to dry the track and get Graham Rahal out of the pits in preparation for IndyCar’s first oval race of 2021.

As the cars sped up around the track, Texas Motor Speedway slowed them down so fans could get a better look.

No times were released for either practice since it was a private test, but it was nevertheless great to see cars on track as the 2021 season prepares to kick off the 2021 IndyCar schedule.