SPEEDWAY, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – It didn’t take long for new Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Penske Corporation to begin making changes at the iconic venue.
Roger Penske and the Speedway on Wednesday announced big changes to the Brickyard 400 weekend on July 3-5 beginning with the first-ever NASCAR Xfinity Series road course race at IMS, to be sponsored by Pennzoil.
“The Brickyard weekend has been a cornerstone of the IMS schedule since its debut in 1994 and we’re committed to the continued growth and revitalization of the event with its move from early September to Fourth of July weekend,” said Roger Penske, Chairman Penske Corporation. “Our partners at NASCAR, NBC, Big Machine and Pennzoil share our passion for this great event and we will work alongside them and others to deliver world-class racing and entertainment for our fans during a celebration of America.”
“Pennzoil has enjoyed success on and off the track during its partnership with race teams at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway over the decades, and we’re eager to open a new relationship with the ‘Racing Capital of the World’ by sponsoring the first NASCAR road course race at the track,” said Patty Lanning, Shell Lubricants, Vice President North American Marketing. “Every driver will want to make American racing history by winning this inaugural Xfinity Series road race on the Fourth of July at IMS. It’s going to be a great event.”
“As we’ve seen in recent years, road course racing the NASCAR Xfinity Series provides some of the most thrilling action of the entire season, and we are excited to bring it to an iconic venue like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR Managing Director of Racing Operations and International Development. “Roger, Doug and the entire IMS team have been tremendous partners in growing the Brickyard weekend, and we’re looking forward to what promises to be a must-see event during July 4th weekend.”
2020 marks the first time IMS will host major event weekends on two holidays that celebrate America – the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Memorial Day weekend and the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard on Independence Day weekend.
“No venue celebrates America quite like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said IMS President J. Dougles Boles. “We’re ready to welcome our loyal fans for a red, white and blue celebration with great racing, exciting music and more this Fourth of July weekend. This will be a great event.”
In addition to the on-track activity this year’s Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line (FGL) will include a full-blown FGL concert Saturday night, a fireworks show, new infield camping option and gourmet barbecue.
Last year FGL rocked the Speedway in front of 25,000 fans inside Turn 4. The remainder of the concert bill is expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Concert tickets go on sale Friday, January 24 at the IMS ticket office and on IMS.com. Early, pre-sale access is available by signing up for the IMS email list at IMS.com/FGL.
The fireworks show will be one of the State’s largest fireworks displays and promises to be an explosion of color, pageantry and patriotism over the track in a bold display of American pride. The timing of the fireworks show will not conflict with the Downtown Indianapolis fireworks, so IMS fans will be able to enjoy both displays.
Fans hoping to camp out at the Speedway will have a new infield camping option inside of Turn 3. Details about this first-ever NASCAR weekend experience will be forthcoming.
IMS is embracing the holiday tradition of grilling out with friends and family by adding a lineup of gourmet barbecue vendors to its concessions at the track.
The tentative on-track, race week schedule includes the United States Auto Club (USAC) Driven2SaveLIves BC39 Powered by NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Championship on The Dirt Track at IMS (schedule to be announced soon), The NASCAR Xfinity Series race sponsored by Pennzoil on Saturday July 4th followed by practice for the Big Machine Vodka 400 for the NASCAR Cup Series on the oval. Qualifying for the Big Machine Vodka 400 takes place on Sunday followed by the race. Both races will have live network telecasts on NBC.
For tickets and information on any of the events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, visit IMS.com.
Kevin Harvick wins NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan
BROOKLYN, MI (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Kevin Harvick’s two-year winless streak is over after ‘The Closer’ won Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Harvick beat 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace by 2.9-seconds to become playoff eligible and said the key was getting out front on the final restart.
“The last restart I had the 5 (Kyle Larson) behind me, and I knew I didn’t need to let the 23 (Wallace) up,” explained Harvick. “I knew I needed to drive it in the corner far enough, but the 5 had given me such a good push. I had a car length, and I think Bubba got about up to my door. I knew that if we could just get off of turn 2, we would have a chance.”
As the pair raced off turn 2 Harvick started to get ahead and carried that momentum as Wallace and Kyle Larson battled for position.
“That’s what you want, right?” asked Harvick rhetorically. “To try to get away so they don’t have a draft and can make up that time quicker. 5 launched good. 5 gave us a good push, and the key was just clearing the 23 off of two and being able to go down the back straight-away by myself and not door to door and in a firestorm.”
Wallace was disappointed to not get into victory lane with one of the fastest cars on track all weekend.
“I failed everybody,” said Wallace. “Took the top there on the restart. Thought I could hang with the 4, and just got to racing the 5 and the 22. Hate it for our team. It sucks.”
Wallace’s team owner Denny Hamlin raced home to third with Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney rounding out the top 5.
Chase Elliott continues to sit atop the point standing and playoff standings. Martin Truex sits on the outside of the 16-car playoff eligibility by 19-points. Blaney sits in the final playoff spot.
Racing Notebook: Pocono NASCAR Weekend approaching; INDYCAR in Toronto; PVGP hits the track and more
PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The Pittsburgh Racing Now Racing Notebook is jam-packed with NASCAR, INDYCAR, and Vintage racing news:
Limited Tickets Remain for Pocono NASCAR Weekend:
- Pocono Raceway’s NASCAR weekend is a little over a week away and if you want to go, get your tickets now! Pocono announced on Thursday that a limited number of grandstand seats are the only options remaining for the marquee M&M’S® Fan Appreciation 400 NASCAR Cup Series race next Sunday, July 24. The remaining grandstand seats for the Cup Series race are at three price points ($45, $80 and $95) and scattered throughout the various sections of the main grandstand. The only RV camping option currently available is general admission for $250, which includes two guest passes and free admission for up to 4 children 12 and under. To purchase tickets or learn more, please visit poconoraceway.com or call 800-722-3929.
INDYCAR Returns To Toronto:
- The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to the Streets of Toronto for this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto. All eyes will be on Defending Series Champion Alex Palou, driver of the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. CGR announced on Tuesday afternoon they were exercising their option on Palou for 2023, only to have Palou announce on Social Media later that evening that he was not returning. Moments after Palou’s announcement, McLaren Racing announced they signed Palou for 2023. CGR has won seven times at Toronto, the most recent being Scott Dixon in 2018. Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi was fastest in the first practice on Friday. A second practice session takes place Saturday morning with three rounds of knockout-style qualifying taking place Saturday afternoon. The race is Sunday at 3 p.m.
Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix at Pitt Race:
- The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix hits the Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum this weekend in a tune-up for next weekend’s race on the streets of Schenley Park. Since 2004, racers from all over the country have come to the 2.8-mile purpose-built track 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh for fierce competition. The ‘Black Tie and Tailpipes Gala’ took place last night at The Grand Concourse at Station Square. For more information visit pvgp.org.
Chase Elliott wins at Atlanta
HAMPTON, GA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chase Elliott held off a hard-charging Corey LaJoie to win Sunday’s NASCAR CUP SERIES Quaker State 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Elliott was leading taking the white flag when LaJoie got a run heading into Turn 1 forcing Elliott to move to the high side of the track and block LaJoie, who ended up hitting the wall and brining out the final caution flag, securing the win for Elliott.
“When you’re a kid and you’re racing on the quarter mile over there you look at this big track and it’s just out of reach, like not even real, just that your heroes are out there competing once or twice a year on this big track, and that’s just not real,” said Elliott of winning at his home track. “To be here and to have a day like we had is really incredible, and certainly one I’m going to embrace and enjoy a lot.”
LaJoie, who had a strong car all day said he took his shot at the win.
“I made my move and it didn’t work out, and the siren is ringing in Dawsonville unfortunately,’’ said LaJoie, referencing the Dawsonville Pool Room where a siren blares after any Elliott win.
Elliott won the races first two stages along with his third victory of the season, joining his Hall of Fame father Bill as the only Cup Drivers to win at the Atlanta oval.
“To see that many people up there and cheering and wearing the 9 hats and seeing the NAPA gear, you want to make those people proud,” said Elliott. “For me, I’m just grateful that the fans of this state have included me in part of the family of Georgia sports and kind of accepted our team as that, and I’m proud of that and glad we could do them good today.”
Ross Chastain finished second followed by Team Penske’s Austin Cindric in third, Petty GMS Racing’s Erik Jones in fourth and Penske’s Ryan Blaney in fifth.
The NASCAR Cup Series next race is at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH.