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.
Martin Truex Jr Victorious At Martinsville Speedway
MARTINSVILLE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Martin Truex Jr passed teammate Denny Hamlin on lap 485 and went on the win the rain-delayed NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The victory was Truex’s second of 2021 and 29th of his Cup Series Career.
“He (Hamlin) started getting tight, our car was getting better and better,” said Truex of the late race pass. “We were able to take advantage of it. Really happy. For whatever reason our car really turned on when the lights went down. Always good when a plan comes together and it works out the way you hoped it would.”
Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott finished second, his seventh top-10 finish in 13-races at Martinsville and fourth top-10 of 2021.
“Really, really hard-fought second actually for us,” said Elliott. “We were not great, but had some, I guess our strong suit was kind of early on in the run, then really faded hard, too hard there in the latter part of a run. But we never got one of those super long runs, which is probably a good thing for us because we were struggling on that end. But, yeah, proud we could fight back.”
Hamlin settled for third after leading the most laps in the race (267).
“Had a really good car on the short run all day,” said Hamlin. “Got great restarts. Was fast for 25, 30 laps. Then it seemed like guys would start catching us. Unfortunately it was just too many laps there at the end that we couldn’t hold those guys off.”
Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson finished fourth and fifth respectively, giving HMS three cars in the top 5.
The race featured 18-lead changes among 7-drivers and was slowed by 15-caution flags for 105-laps.
The next NASCAR Cup Series race is April 18, 2020 at Richmond Raceway.
Josh Berry Gets First Career Xfinity Series Win At Martinsville Speedway
MARTINSVILLE, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Josh Berry passed Ty Gibbs for the lead on lap 223 and stayed out front for the final 27-laps to get his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win in the rain-delayed Cook Out 250 at Martinsville Speedway. The victory was the first career victory for Berry in 13 Xfinity Series starts.
“Man, I wanted to win so bad for these guys,” said Berry referring to his No. 8 JR Motorsports team. “They’re such a great group. I knew this would be a good opportunity to win. (Crew chief) Taylor (Moyer) called a perfect race. The car was good, and we just kept tweaking on it. The tires were pretty worn out there at the end. I was struggling a little bit with wheel-hop. This is just unbelievable.”
Berry’s JR Motorsports teammate Noah Gragson finished second and picked up a $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus, which eased the pain of being the runner-up.
“One hundred thousand dollars richer,” said Gragson. “Great 1-2 finish for our team at JR Motorsports. I really wanted to win there, but I was having to protect the bottom to keep the guys behind me from moving me out of the way. I couldn’t open up my arc the way I needed to and make speed.”
Daniel Hemric finished in third position followed by Gibbs, who faded to a fourth place finish. Gibbs’ teammate Brandon Jones finished fifth. Jones was the leader Friday night when storms red-flagged the event after completing 91-laps.
The race featured 13-lead changes among 9-drivers. The race was slowed by 12-caution flags for 75-laps.
The next race for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is April 24, 2021 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Mother Nature Wins At Martinsville Speedway
MARTINSVILLE, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Mother Nature is throwing a wrench into this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series Schedules at Martinsville Virginia.
Friday’s Xfinity race is under a red flag following 92-laps of the scheduled 250-lap event after rain showers put an end to NASCAR’s attempt to get the event finished. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones is scored as the leader of the race.
NASCAR has rescheduled the remainder of the event for Sunday at Noon ET.
The Cup Series race was red flagged on lap 43 because of showers. JGR’s Denny Hamlin is scored as the leader. Hamlin has led 38-laps. Team Penske’s Joey Logano started on the pole position and led the other laps.
NASCAR will restart the event on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
Per NASCAR rules, an event is considered official after half of the scheduled distance has been completed.
Both races will be broadcast live on FS1, the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.