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Scott Dixon Fighting For 6th IndyCar Championship As The Series Heads To Pocono

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LONG POND, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon’s win in the last NTT IndyCar Series race at Mid-Ohio is helping Dixon stay in the hunt for his sixth Championship.

“Those are the kinds of weekends that you need,” said Dixon reflecting on Mid-Ohio.  “You’ve got to take it.”

Dixon trails points-leader Josef Newgarden of Team Penske by 62-points heading into this weekend’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.

“I think he’s going to be the person to beat,” said Dixon.  “That team is super strong right now and we’re going to have our work cut out.”

Two other drivers stand between Dixon and Newgarden.  Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi is in second place, 16-points behind Newgarden and Penske’s Simon Pagenaud is in third place, 42-points out of the lead.

The lead for any of the top four driver’s trailing Newgarden is not insurmountable because double-points are available at the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca.

Dixon is laser-focused on one thing, wins.

“Anything is possible,” said Dixon.  “We’ve just got to keep our head down; we can’t start thinking about that (points racing) right now.  If you win races that will take care of itself.”

IndyCar series teams should take notice that if Dixon gets on a roll, and the No.9 PNC Bank CGR team is certainly capable, the “Iceman” should not be counted out.

Dixon trailed Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya by 47-points going into the season finale in 2015.  Dixon and his “Wolfpack” crew went out, won the race and finished tied with Montoya atop the standings, winning the Championship by tie-breaker, 3-wins to 2.

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The Ganassi team has been involved in eight of the closest IndyCar Series Championship finishes since 1999.

In 1999 Montoya, who was driving for CGR tied Dario Franchitti, who was driving for Team Green, with Montoya taking the title based on the tie-breaker of most wins with seven in his rookie campaign.

The 2006 Championship came down to a tie-breaker as well.  Dan Wheldon tied Sam Hornish Jr., who was driving for Penske, but lost the championship based Hornish’s four wins to Wheldon’s two.

Dixon rallied from 39-points behind in 2013 to beat Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves.  One of the wins on Dixon’s 2013 run to the Championship, came at Pocono.

In 2011 Franchitti, driving for CGR, edged his teammate Dixon by 11-points to win Franchitti’s fourth Championship.

Franchitti grabbed his third championship in 2010 by rallying from 59-points to beat Penske’s Will Power.

Franchitti’s first Championship in 2007 came with Andretti Green Racing.  Dixon was the runner-up finishing 13-points behind Franchitti.

Dixon picked up his first Championship in 2003 where he beat Penske’s Gil deFerran by 18-points. Dixon and de Ferran both won three races, but Dixon had 4-second place finishes versus one for de Ferran.

The ABC Supply 500 takes place Sunday August 18, 2019 with a one hour practice session Saturday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  Qualifying takes place on Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.  Final practice is on Saturday from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

There will be an autograph session on Sunday in the Firestone Fan Village from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. with the green flag waving at 2:45 p.m.  Tickets and information is available at www.poconoraceway.com.

The race will be televised by NBCSN and can be heard on the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network.

IndyCar

Team Penske’s Will Power Wins GMR Grand Prix Pole Position

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SPEEDWAY, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Will Power is on the Pole Position for Saturday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES GMR Grand Prix on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Power’s fast lap of 110.1779-seconds (125.116 mph) was good enough to earn the former series Champion the 58th pole position of his career.

“We left nothing on the table in that lap in the Verizon Chevrolet,” said Power. “I knew that (Jack) Harvey had a pretty good time up there, so we put our best set on for the last run, and I just gave it my all. Fortunately, it was enough.”

Power’s pole win spoiled a terrific lap by Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey (1:10.3653/124.783), who will start second in the SiriusXM/AutoNation Honda.

“I thought we were pretty good in practice one,” said Harvey.  “Everybody at Meyer Shank Racing has been working their butt’s off to give us a really good car.  The car clearly was really good to be on the front row, which we haven’t done before.  We’re just really happy and hopefully will have a great race.”

Colton Herta will start in the third position after a fast-lap of 110.5197-seconds.

Graham Rahal will line up fourth in the No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda, his best qualifying effort in the GMR Grand Prix.

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“The Fifth Third Bank car feels strong,” said Rahal.  “We know we race better than we qualify so it’s a good start for us.  We certainly didn’t have Will’s (Power) speed.  We’ll take fourth and go race from there.”

Arrow McLaren SP rookie Oliver Askew will start fifth after a fast lap of 110.8404-seconds (123.946).

“We made some really good changes after the morning practice,” said Askew, the 2019 IndyLight’s Champion.  “It was just flawless.  I felt at one with the car and those are some really good feelings.”

Starting positions six through ten include two series Champions and a surprise or two.

Defending and two-time series Champion Josef Newgarden will start sixth after a tough start to his fast lap on the Firestone Red (Alternate) tires.

“I came out of the pits and just had a huge lock-up to start the lap going into the first corner,” said Newgarden.  “It just kind of snuck up on me.  It hadn’t done that all day.”

GMR Grand Prix Qualifying

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Fifth Third Bank Extends Partnership with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

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BROWNSBURG, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Fifth Third Bank is extending their partnership with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing through the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.

Fifth Third Bank will be the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s No. 15 Honda at the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Race 2 of the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America and the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  Fifth Third will also have an enhanced associate sponsor presence in key markets where the INDYCAR SERIES races including Indianapolis, Monterey California and St. Petersburg Florida.

“When this relationship began, I already had the utmost respect for Fifth Third Bank as a company,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal.  “As each year progresses, we continue to be inspired not only by how they conduct their business but also how they support the communities in which they service.  Fifth Third Bank is able to uniquely leverage the partnership with RLL to enhance their commercial banking position with clients across the INDYCAR paddock.”

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Fifth Third Bank first joined RLL in 2016 as an associate sponsor and the partnership has grown as the two organizations have continued to build up and pursue new collaborative business-to-business opportunities.

“Motorsports is such a vital part of the Indianapolis culture and as a corporate citizen Fifth Third Bank believes greatly in supporting the sport at the very heart of our state,” said Kevin Hipskind, Fifth Third Bank Regional President.  “Our partnership with the elite Rahal Letterman Lanigan team continues to create even more opportunity for long-term community impact and meaningful business relationships for the Bank.  We look forward to three more heart-racing years of collaboration and an exciting NTT INDYCAR SERIES ahead.”

The 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES resumes on Saturday July 4th with the GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.  The event is part of a historic INDYCAR/NASCAR tripleheader at the Brickyard.

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Citrone/Buhl Autosport with RLL Getting Ready For Debut At GMR Grand Prix At Indy

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BROWNSBURG, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Citrone/Buhl Autosport with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) is getting ready for their debut at the GMR Grand Prix, July 4th on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back in an INDYCAR at the GMR Grand Prix,” said Spencer Pigot, driver of the No. 45 Citrone/Buhl Autosport with RLL Honda.  “It’s obviously been a very different season this year so it’s exciting that we’re finally getting back to racing at IMS.”

The team announced on Tuesday that Shield Cleansers will server as the co-primary sponsor along with Mi-Jack.  Shield Cleansers is a new product line for RLL team partner Digital Ally, a company that develops, manufactures and markets advanced video recording and other critical safety products for law enforcement, emergency management, fleet safety and security.

“We’re thrilled to not only continue, but expand our relationship with RLL,” said Stan Ross, CEO of Digital Ally.  “We can think of no better opportunity to spread the word about our highly effective, less harsh, cleanser line.”

Shield Cleansers, which launched earlier this month, includes a disinfectant/sanitizer that is less harsh than many of the traditional products now widely distributed.

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Hypochlorous Acid (HOCI) is the active ingredient of Shield Cleansers.  HOCI falls under EPA category IV, which is the safest of the EPA’s toxicity categories.  While highly effective as a disinfectant and sanitizer, cleaning crews are not required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when applying and reapplying HOCI.

Also featured on the No. 45 car is EMBRACE Pittsburgh, which you may remember seeing on the virtual No. 45 Honda during the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. EMBRACE Pittsburgh is a powerful movement conceived and driven by Citrone 33 with the goal of championing mental strength throughout the Pittsburgh region.  Program resources include many “skills and drills” focused on learning to reduce daily stress, and to be mindful, empathetic, and accepting of yourself and others.

This will be the second race of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season but it will be the first road course race.  Pigot’s best finish on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course was fifth with Ed Carpenter Racing in 2019.

“Originally the first race for us was going to be about half-way through the season but with the schedule changes it’s going to be the first road course race of the year,” said Pigot.  “I think that will be an advantage for us as everyone will be on more of a level playing field.  We have a great group so the plan is to hit the ground running and be competitive right away.”

The GMR Grand Prix takes place Saturday, July 4 and will be televised live by NBC with race coverage beginning at 12 p.m. ET.  The event is part of the historic INDYCAR/NASCAR Doubleheader.

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