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Steel City Stampede Weekend At Lernerville

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Stivason Photos/Lernerville Speedway

SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The 2019 racing season for the RUSH Dirt Late Model, Sportsman Modified Touring Series and RUSH Sprint Cars will come to a close this weekend at Lernerville Speedway for the 11th annual “Steel City Stampede”.  The “Steel City Stampede” includes most of the region’s racing divisions all showcased in one big event weekend.

This weekend the RUSH Late Models will compete in a Sweeney Marquee Tour event, while the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will battle in a Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Touring Series event and the RUSH Sprint Cars in a Bonnell’s Rod Shop Weekly Series special.

“This is always a great way to end our season,” said RUSH Director Vicki Emig. “Our Late Model racers are always excited to get the chance to compete at Lernerville. The car counts have always been strong and the racing at Lernerville is always some of the best of the season. Our championship annually comes down to this event.”

There has yet to be a repeat winner in the Crate Late Models; past winners include Colton Flinner (2018), John Waters (2017), John Mollick (2016), Jacob Hawkins (2015), Chad Ruhlman (2014), Dennis Lunger Jr (2013), Max Blair (2012), Butch Lambert (2011), Bryan Force (2010) and Josh Holtgraver (2009).

The RUSH Late Models are coming off a very successful record-setting “Bill Hendren Memorial” event as part of the “Pittsburgher 100” at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway two weeks ago where Kyle Lukon won $5,200. Saturday’s event will pay $2,000 to-win. There will also be a $200 to-win, $150 to-start non-qualifier.

Lukon sits atop the points standings for the first time in his career.  Lukon sits three-points ahead of defending champion Jeremy Wonderling.  Michael Duritsky Jr. is third in points and is followed by Braeden Dillinger, Ryan Frazee, and Logan Zarin, who fourth through sixth in points respectively in their first year on the Tour.

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The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds are taking part in their 6th “Steel City Stampede”.  Blaze Myers is your defending race winner.  Steve Slater took home the checkered flag in 2017.  Rocky Kugel was victorious in 2016 and the year before Nick Ritchey took the win.  Greg Martin won the inaugural race in 2014.  The Sportsman Mods will complete their fifth season of Bicknell Touring Series competition and will be featured in an $800 to-win event.

“The Sportsman Modifieds have been given the opportunity to race numerous times over the past six seasons at Lernerville,” said Emig.  “It’s been a great way to continue to grow this division, and we expect a large turnout this weekend.”

Garrett Krummert sits atop the tour standings by 26 over Jim Rasey, who is in his first year of RUSH racing.  Krummert can clinch his second straight title by finishing 22nd or better on Saturday night.  The Hovis Weekly Series Championship is a different story as Krummert, Chas Wolbert, and Rob Kristyak are in a three-way tie for the lead. A win by any of the three drivers will earn them the $3,000 title. If none of the three wins and one finishes second, that driver will earn the title. If none of the three finish in the two top, then Krummert wins the tiebreaker.  The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds have only raced once thus far this season at Lernerville with Kristyak taking the victory back on July 26th.

The RUSH Sprints wrap up their second season by racing in an $800 to-win, $160 to-start feature.  Chad Ruhlman has already clinched up his second $5,000 Bonnell’s Rod Shop Championship.  Ruhlman has won 10 times in 2019, including one of the two Lernerville races.  Gibsonia’s Zach Morrow won the other on August 31 for the “Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance, which had an all-time high 21 cars in action.  Morrow, who finished third in last year’s points, sits second over Brian Woodhall, who led the points for much of the season. Jeremy Weaver and Brandon Blackshear are fourth and fifth in points in their first season of Sprint Car racing.

“Lernerville was a very important part of getting our RUSH Sprint division off the ground in 2018, and their races this year at the track have been tremendous,” said Emig.  “We’ll also reward the Lernerville RUSH Pro Stock racers on Saturday with their Manufacturers Night.”

Test and Tun for all divisions took place on Thursday.  Heat Races for all divisions takes place Friday night.  Saturday night’s action features Last Chance Showdowns and Main events for all divisions.

Schedule and ticket information is available on Lernerville’s website, www.lernerville.com.

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IndyCar

Indy Autonomous Challenge Race Car Unveiled

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Indy Autonomous Challenge/Indianapolis Motor Speedway

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The world’s first high-speed, head-to-head autonomous race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will feature Dallaras as the race cars.

Energy Systems Network (ESN) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) this week unveiled the official race car that will be autonomously driven by scores of university teams in the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) at the Racing Capital of the World on Oct. 23, 2021.

Dallara has been the sole racecar supplier of the Indy Lights series since 2002, and now the modified Dallara IL-15 is the official IAC racecar.

“Dallara is the best racecar engineering company in the world, yet designing the chassis for autonomous racing was really challenging,” explained Stefano dePonti, CEO and general manager of Dallara USA. “Dallara loves innovation and technological challenges, and we share the IAC’s passion for education and motorsports.”

“The Dallara-built IAC racecar is the most advanced, fastest autonomous vehicle ever developed,” stated Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of ESN, and co-organizer of the IAC. “Our IAC sponsors are providing radar, lidar, optical cameras and advanced computers, bringing the value of each vehicle to $1 million.”

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One of the teams competing in the challenge is the Panther AV RAS-ing team from the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.

Panther AV RAS-ing is part of more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students, PhDs and mentors who excel in artificial intelligence software that have responded to the challenge.  The challengers represent 39 universities in 11 countries on four continents and 14 U.S. states.

The IAC is scheduled for October 23, 2021, at the IMS, with a qualifying simulation race during the Indy 500 week in May. The total IAC prize purse is $1.5 million: $1 million awarded to the winning team of the October IAC race, and an additional $500,000 for winners of the hackathons and simulation races.

“The IAC is going to bring the best minds from around the world to solve a very complex problem, right here at the Racing Capital of the World,” said IMS President J. Douglas Boles. “As the birthplace of motorsports’ innovation, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a fitting setting for this event, and we can’t wait to see the winning entry cross the Yard of Bricks into history.”

Two companies headquartered in Western Pennsylvania are sponsors of the event.  Ansys, a global leader in engineering simulation that is headquartered in Canonsburg, and Aptiv, an autonomous vehicle company who is relocating from O’Hara Township to Hazelwood Green.

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IndyCar

Racing Notebook: Kellett Returning to A.J. Foyt For ’21; U.S. Motorsports Association Forms Leadership Council Plus Extreme E

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A.J. Foyt Racing

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – A.J. Foyt Racing brings back Dalton Kellett plus The U.S. Motorsports Association forms Leadership Council and Extreme E names Race Director and Sporting Director.

Dalton Kellett Returning To A.J. Foyt Racing:

  • Canadian Dalton Kellett will drive A.J. Foyt’s No. 4 Chevrolet full-time in the 2021 NTT INDYCAR Series. K-Line Insulators USA returns as the primary sponsor, moving from the No. 14 to the No. 4 for the upcoming season.  The 27-year-old rookie drove for Foyt in eight races this year, sharing the driving duties of the No. 14 Chevrolet with Tony Kanaan and Sebastien Bourdais. Bourdais returns to drive the No. 14 Chevrolet full-time as announced earlier this year.
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U.S. Motorsports Association Forms Leadership Council:

  • The U.S. Motorsports Association announced the official formation of the first-ever national Circle Track Leadership Council (CTLC), a group of circle track owners and industry leaders, who are committed to working on current and future issues related to the sport.  Members of the council include Lucas Oil Speedway’s Dan Robinson, Anderson Speedway’s Rick Dawson, Five Flags Speedway’s Tim Bryant, Knoxville Raceway’s John McCoy, Jackson Motorplex & Huset’s Speedway’s Doug Johnson, Track Enterprises’ Bob Sargent, Madison International & Midwest Tour’s Gregg Mckarns and Wilmot Raceway/IRA Sprint Cars, Steve Sinclair.

Extreme E Names Race and Sporting Directors:

  • Extreme E, the new electric off-road racing series, has strengthened its sporting team with the appointments of Scot Elkins as Race Director and Guy Nicholls as Sporting Manager for its inaugural 2021 season. Elkins has served as Race Director for the FIA Formula E Championship the past three years. Elkins started out as an engineer for Robert Yates Racing in NASCAR. Elkins has also held technical sporting roles with the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and Champ Car World Series and has served as Deputy Race Director for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, FIA Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3.

Extreme E names Race and Sporting Directors as their inaugural 2021 season approaches.

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Local Racing

RUSH Late Model Series Enhancing ‘Track Pack’ Program For 2021

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PULSAKI, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The RUSH Late Model Series is bringing back and enhancing their ‘Track Pack’ program for 2021.

The ‘Track Pack’ program debuted in 2016 and continued through the 2019 season before the COVID-19 pandemic suspended the program in 2020. Each of those four years, $800 was split amongst the top five RUSH members with $300 to the champion at each RUSH weekly-sanctioned track.

In 2021 RUSH Late Model weekly-sanctioned tracks top-six will share in $2,500!  RUSH weekly member racers will accumulate points at each event and at the end of the year the top six in member points will split $2,500 with $1000 going to the champion followed by $500, $400, $300, $200, $100 for positions 2-through-6. These monies will be awarded over and above any other championship monies drivers will receive.

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“We’ve always known the strength of RUSH lays within our weekly tracks and the racers who support them,” said RUSH Director Vicki Emig. “During the pandemic, the average car counts at our weekly tracks were very impressive as most all tracks increased. In the past the ‘Summer Chase’ gave just 10 racers additional monies, but we feel by taking that money and adding another approximate $14,000 to the ‘Track Pack’ we can allow substantially more racers the ability to take home additional weekly monies at the end of the year.”

Prior to COVID-19 RUSH had announced the Touring Series Championship point fund would double to $35,500 with a record $12,000 going to the champion! This will now take place in 2021. The Touring Series schedule continues to come together and is expected to be similar to 2020’s before the pandemic.

The 2021 season is expected to be the richest in RUSH Racing Series history, which includes the RUSH Late Models, Sprint Cars, Sportsman Modifieds and Pro Mods, with additional programs and events planned throughout.

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