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.
Ben Rhodes takes NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Win in Charlotte
CONCORD, NC (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Ben Rhodes picked up the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, grabbing the lead on a late restart and beating Corey Heim to the checkered flag by 2.398-seconds.
“I didn’t qualify the best, and here it came to life at night,” said Rhodes. “This is so much fun. Charlotte is a track that we come to—ThorSport Racing, we’re based in Sandusky, Ohio—we come to the North Carolina guys’ house, and we like to win.”
The victory was the first of the year for Rhodes and seventh of his career and first at Charlotte. The victory also locks Rhodes into the Playoffs.
“A championship being locked in, I’ll take that,” said Rhodes. “The last three races have been so unbelievably hard on my team. We’ve been wrecked in the last three and haven’t had very good showings because of it so I’ll take the points—thank you.”
Heim, who won the the race’s first stage, couldn’t get to Rhodes because he was busy battling Carson Hocevar and Dean Thompson.
“Me and the 42 (Hocevar) and the 5 (Thompson) were probably the best trucks,” said Heim, who led a race-high 49 laps. “But the 99 (Rhodes) just came along really strong, and once we got to second on the restart where the 42 got put in the middle there, I really thought we had a shot at it. But it just proves that clean air is king here.”
Thompson finished a career-best third with Hocevar, who won the races second stage, finishing fourth. Grant Enfinger rounded out the Top 5.
Wexford native Kris Wright finished 32nd in the No. 02 FNB Corporation Chevy after suffering contact with Tyler Antrum on the backstretch on lap 105.
Racing Notebook: Rosenqvist earns INDYCAR Pole; Dixon starts 2nd; Hocevar, Smith earn NASCAR victories
FORT WORTH, TX – (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES gets back on track Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway with Arrow McLaren and Chip Ganassi Racing leading the field to green. In NASCAR, Carson Hocevar and Chandler Smith each earned victories on Saturday and Alex Bowman will lead the Cup field to green on Sunday.
Felix Rosenqvist wins INDYCAR Texas Pole:
- Arrow McLaren Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist is on the pole position for Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES PPG 375. Rosenqvist’s 2-lap average of 220.264 mph was slower than the 221.110 mph he posted in 2021. The pole is the second consecutive for Rosenqvist at the 1.5-mile oval. “I think we just built on last year,” said Rosenqvist. “Maybe it was a good thing to start early. The track kind of warmed up. We’ll take it. We’ve always been good here, but this is a whole different confidence level compared to last year. Let’s try to wrap it up tomorrow.” The 250-lap race starts at Noon (ET) Sunday with live coverage on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.
Dixon Puts PNC Bank Honda on front row:
- PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon will start on the outside of the front row for Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway. Dixon’s 2-lap average around the 1.5-mile oval of 219.972-mph was 0.292-mph behind pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist. Dixon, a 6-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion has five career victories at Texas, including wins in four of the last nine races. Dixon’s CGR teammates Takuma Sato and Alex Palou will start 6th and 7th respectively. CGR’s Marcus Ericsson will roll off 16th in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda.
Carson Hocevar Wins NASCAR Truck Race at Texas:
- Carson Hocevar avoided a crash on the white flag lap to power to the win in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. Hocevar made contact with the back of the truck of Nick Sanchez, as Sanchez was recovering from door-to-door contact with Zane Smith. Sanchez spun and collected Smith as Hocevar avoided the mayhem to take the double-overtime victory. The win was Hocevar’s first career win. “I didn’t mean to get into him, I just meant to give him a push and he got sideways the second I hit him, I apologize to them, I’ll take the fall for it.”
Chandler Smith takes NASCAR Xfinity win at Richmond:
- Rookie Chandler Smith earned his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory Saturday afternoon at Richmond (Va.) Raceway holding off John Hunter Nemechek on a final race restart to win the ToyotaCare 250. Smith’s margin of victory was .298-seconds. Smith’s No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet led a race best 83 of the 250 laps.
Alex Bowman on NASCAR Cup Series Pole at Richmond:
- Current NASCAR Cup Series championship leader Alex Bowman will start Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) from pole position in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with Kyle Busch completing the front row in the No. 8 Richard Childress Chevy after NASCAR’s Cup Series practice and qualifying sessions were cancelled Saturday morning at Richmond (Va.) Raceway because of poor weather.
Kyle Busch takes NASCAR Cup Series win in California
FONTANA, CA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The pairing of Kyle Busch and Richard Childress Racing is paying dividends as two races into their partnership, they were celebrating victory at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Busch beat Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott by ?.?-seconds to pick up his ??-career Cup Series victory and the ?? of his NASCAR career.
“I felt like there was going to be a little bit of a learning experience, a little bit of a growth pattern, but also on the flipside of that, I always just kind of looked back and watched some of their results and success that they had last year with Austin,” explained Busch. “He ran second here last year, and Reddick was super, super fast. They were fast at the Clash before they broke, the 8 car was.”
Busch said the transition to a new team has been good.
“It’s just been really, really cool, and it’s been a great piece of — we’re making history, right, but a great piece of opportunity to go out there and continue to win races at a new team with RCR, so I can’t say enough about Austin giving me a call, first and foremost, but then Richard and Judy giving me this opportunity to go out here and race for wins.”
Elliott was happy for his manufacturer teammate and former Champ and to get a finish after getting crashed out of the Daytona 500.
“Congratulations to Kyle,” said Elliott. “For him to leave and then to go get the job done like that is pretty cool. He’s always been really good to me, so happy for them. Obviously I think we still have some work to do, but it was really nice to just see a lot of that hard work pay off and have the car driving like we were wanting it to do. So that’s always a good thing. Appreciate everybody on our NAPA team, Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet for just sticking with it and sticking with each other. Looking forward to getting to Vegas and hopefully competing for some more wins.”
Ross Chastain, who led a race high 92-laps, finished third in the No. 1 Kubota Chevrolet for Trackhouse Racing.
“Our balance was building loose most of the day, so I thought we did everything right,” said Chatain. “We kept up with it. It would just feel pretty loose late in the runs, and at times it was enough, and at times they got way better.”
The NASCAR Cup Series moves on to Las Vegas for the Pennzoil 400 March 5th.