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IndyCar Completes First Test Of Aeroscreen Cockpit Protection

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Chris Owens/Indycar Series

SPEEDWAY, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The NTT Indycar Series is planning three more tests of the Aeroscreen after completing a day of testing Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Team Penske’s Will Power turned over 600-miles at the Brickyard and both had nothing but good things to say about the latest safety innovation.

“I think it’s been an intense project and one that I think a lot of people have done their due diligence on to get it to this point, and today has been pretty much seamless,” said Dixon, the five-time Series Champion.  “We went through a bunch of configurations for cooling and where we can kind of push the air to control the helmet and how it feels and how much pressure you have there. Ultimately it’s just very quiet. I can hear my radio for a change. Normally I can’t hear that. So that’s kind of nice.”

“I’m so happy that we have it. It’s really a huge step in safety, and I think it’s the best of both worlds,” said Power, the 2014 Series Champion.  “You’ve got the halo and you’ve got a screen, so I think that you’ll see other open-wheel categories follow suit because there’s just — you think about it, when you’ve driven it for a day, you’re going to feel naked without it. If you took it off, you’d feel pretty naked because there’s not much protection there. So very happy that we’re moving ahead with it.

IndyCar and Red Bull Advanced Technologies along with partners like chassis manufacturer Dallara and PPG, who manufactured the jet fighter-like screen that attaches to the halo, have been developing the Aeroscreen for quite some time and were thrilled to get some on-track testing completed.

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The No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet of Will Power sits on pit road at Indianapolis with the Aeroscreen cockpit safety innovation. (Photo: Chris Owens/Indycar Series)

“We’ve run almost 600 miles to this point, and we’ve still got a couple more runs to go, so I think it’s done everything we thought it would do and then some,” said Jay Frye, IndyCar President. Obviously we’ve learned a lot. Scott and Will have been phenomenal to work with. The teams have been phenomenal to work with. We’ve got a little work to do, but I think the foundation is really there and really set. So we’re quite excited about what we’ve seen today.”

Dixon, Power and Frye don’t envision any major changes and both drivers said they would feel comfortable going racing with it.

“You could race this weekend no problem,” said Power.  “That wouldn’t be an issue. So you know, that shows how well they’ve — what good of a job they’ve done just bolting it straight on. So that’s what you get when you work with the best people in the game like Red Bull Technologies and obviously INDYCAR, as well, and all the partners involved.”

“I think as we’ve been working on it today, there’s some configurations that you could adjust, and those might be personal things, as well, but I think it’s spot on,” said Dixon.  “It’s good to go.”

The next planned test is October 7 at Barber Motorsports Park followed by October 15 at Richmond Raceway and November 5 at Sebring.

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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IndyCar

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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