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Racing Notebook

Racing Notebook – Tuesday, January 28

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PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Scott Dixon wins his 3rd Rolex watch, a recap of Kyle Busch’s Rolex 24 At Daytona as well as some NASCAR, IndyCar and Local Racing News are in today’s Racing Notebook:

SCOTT DIXON WINS THIRD ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA

Five-time NTT IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon is the 15th driver in Rolex 24 At Daytona history to win three overall victories in the twice-around-the-clock endurance event.

Dixon picked up his third Rolex watch this wekeend as one of the co-drivers in Wayne Taylor Racing’s winning No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R (pictured above).  Only six drivers have won more.

Dixon, who drives the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing in the NTT IndyCar Series, claimed overall Rolex 24 victories in 2006 and 2015 with Chip Ganassi’s team, which did not field an entry this year.

“We had times during the race with adversity, but the team was able to rebound with strategy and the driver lineup just worked through it in a calm manner, which is hard to do,” said Dixon.  “I’ve been a part of many 24-hour races in my career, but to come back from the many deficits we had in this race showed the absolute commitment from the team.  I’m really proud to be a part of the team, and I have to thank Chip (Ganassi) for letting me join Wayne (Taylor), Max (Angelelli) and everyone at Konica Minolta.  We’re Winners, that’s all that counts.”

Dixon went from Daytona to Australia to compete in the fames Bathurst 12-hour sports car race.  Dixon will co-drive the No. 76 Aston Martin of R-Motorsport with Jake Dennis and Rick Kelly.

KYLE BUSCH IMPRESSES IN ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA DEBUT

Kyle Busch participated in his first Rolex 24 At Daytona endurance race this past weekend, getting behind the wheel of AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.

Busch completed four driving stints encompassing more than 6-hours behind the wheel.  Busch was fast enough to make up last on track and had the fastest lap in the car up until the last driver change.

“There was a lot going on and a lot to learn and kind of pick-up on and figure out,” said Busch.  “Overall it was good.  We had a lot of fun, I enjoyed it.  Unfortunately we just got a little behind with a brake change, had some issues on the right-front caliper.  I guess that got us a little farther back than we wanted to be.”

Busch’s team owner, 1996 IndyCar Champion Jimmy Vasser, was glad to have the defending NASCAR Cup Series Champion behind the wheel.

“A great team effort,” said Vasser, who drove for Chip Ganassi Racing from 1995-2000.  “With the troubles we had, nobody gave up, everybody pitched in and speaking on Kyle, he impressed.  I’m not sure why he impressed.  He’s a NASCAR Champion.  He’s won more NASCAR races in the modern day than anybody but it takes a lot of confidence and guts to jump into a discipline that he’d never really done before and he did it with ease.  He was really, really impressive.”

KYLE KIRKWOOD JOINING ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT

Kyle Kirkwood, the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires Champion is joining the Andretti Autosport Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires team for the 2020 season. The rookie stand-out will drive the No. 28 car for the reigning championship team.

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“We are very excited about the addition of Kyle to our Indy Lights program,” said Michael Andretti, CEO and Chairman, Andretti Autosport. “We’ve followed Kyle’s career from when he started in 2018 with the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and have been impressed with his success in every race that led to his Indy Pro 2000 Championship last year. As a championship-caliber team, Kyle displays the desire and talent that we look for in our drivers and are excited to see him hit the track for the 2020 Indy Lights season.”

“I am ecstatic that I can now say I am competing in Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport this season,” said Kirkwood. “They have established a winning program in Indy Lights and we plan on carrying that reputation throughout 2020.”

Kirkwood will take to the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, for the Indy Lights season opener March 13 – 15.

ARROW McLAREN SP PARTNERS WITH MISSION FOODS

Arrow McLaren SP and Mission Foods are teaming up in a multi-year partnership in the NTT IndyCar Series.

Mission, the leading manufacturer of the world’s best-selling tortillas, wraps, flatbreads and other food products, will be represented on the team firesuit and crewshirts and the nose, cockpit side, in-car camera view and tire ramp of the car. The Mission brand will also be carried by team drivers Oliver Askew’s and Pato O’Ward’s firesuits and helmets.

“We are very excited and proud to partner with the Arrow McLaren SP team in the NTT IndyCar series and continue our involvement with McLaren Racing,” said Juan Gonzalez, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mission Foods.  “Both brands have a tremendous commitment to quality and the partnership gives us a great opportunity to interact with our consumers in a fun and exciting environment.”

TICKETS ON SALE FOR “FGL FEST” AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Tickets are on sale now for FGL Fest, the exciting concert headlined by global music superstars Florida Georgia Line on Saturday, July 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The concert takes place during the annual Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line race weekend, July 3-5 at IMS. Other artists in the star-studded lineup will be announced soon.

“FGL Fest” is one of the highlights of the exciting, revamped event on Fourth of July weekend.

Tickets are available at IMS.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at 317-492-6700. General admission starts at $45, with Front Stage Concert Pit tickets $85 and VIP Concert tickets $195. All tickets include admission to all NASCAR action that day, including the historic inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series sponsored by Pennzoil on the IMS road course and NASCAR Cup Series practice. Buy tickets now, as prices will increase closer to the show.

GEORGE AND FEREE HONORED AT LERNERVILLE SPEEDWAY BANQUET

Rod George and Ed Ferree are the newest members of the Lernerville Speedway Hall of Fame.  Both were inducted into the HOF this past weekend at Lernerville’s award banquet.

George’s career featured 45-Sprint Car Feature wins along with 2-track Championships.  Ferree scored over 20-Late Model wins and back-to-back Championships in 1985 and 1986.

IndyCar

Racing Notebook: DHL partners with Ganassi; Hunt Bros partners with Penske and more

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(Pittsburgh, PA) – 2024 partnership programs a coming together as two of the biggest names in racing, Ganassi and Penske, each announce new deals plus PPMS announces their plans for the new year and Henessey Performance packs some punch for GM fans in today’s Racing Notebook.

DHL Partners with Ganassi and Palou

  • DHL and Chip Ganassi Racing are teaming up for a new partnership.  DHL becomes the primary sponsor of the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda and two-time NTT IndyCar Champion Alex Palou.  DHL express also becomes the Official Logistics Partner of the 15-time Championship team. “I am extremely proud to welcome DHL to the Chip Ganassi Racing family,” said Chip Ganassi. “It is an honor to partner with an organization that shares our fundamental values of teamwork, growth, responsibility, and the pursuit of excellence.”
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Hunt Brothers Pizza Partners with Penske, Logano, Blaney

  • Team Penske and Hunt Brothers Pizza are teaming up in multi-year deal that will feature the convenience store pizza brand on the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang driven by two-time NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Champion Joey Logano for select races beginning in 2024. Hunt Brothers Pizza will also be an associate sponsor on defending NASCAR Cup Series Champion Ryan Blaney’s No. 12 Ford Mustang for the 2024 season.

PPMS Announces 2024 Schedule

  • Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway is planning a 29-race schedule for 2024 with an opening day St. Patrick’s Day Weekend.  The highlight of the schedule is the expansion of the Pittsburgher weekend to a 2-day event for the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series battling for almost $200,000!
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IndyCar

Racing Notebook: Rosenqvist earns INDYCAR Pole; Dixon starts 2nd; Hocevar, Smith earn NASCAR victories

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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.
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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.
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Racing Notebook

Racing Notebook: MSR Penalized; Taylor to sub for Elliott and more

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(Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The latest edition of the Racing Notebook details Meyer Shank Racing’s post-Rolex 24 penalty plus Jordan Taylor to take the wheel of a Hendrick Chevy; two F1 veteran in Cup race at COTA and more:

Meyer Shank Penalized by IMSA:

  • Meyer Shank Racing is $50,000 lighter in the pocketbook after being penalized by IMSA for infractions discovered after the team won the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.  IMSA became aware of the manipulation of tire pressure data from the No. 60 car to IMSA as the monitoring point for the minimum tire pressure regulation.  In addition to the $50k fine the team and drivers lost lost 200-Championship points, lost all Michelin Endurance Cup points, lost race prize money, and team owner Mike Shank placed on probation through June 30, 2023 and team engineer Ryan McCarthy was placed on indefinite suspension.
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Jordan Taylor to sub for Chase Elliott at COTA:

  • Jordan Taylor will be behind the wheel of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend as the NASCAR Cup Series hits the road course at Circuit of the Americas.  Taylor, a three-time Champion in IMSA’s DPi and GT classes, has been working with Hendrick’s Garage 56 program for the 24-Hours of Le Mans.  Elliott, the 2020 Cup Series Champion, is expected to miss approximately six-weeks after suffering a broken leg snowboarding before this past weekend’s event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Jensen Button to make Cup debut at COTA:

  • 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jensen Button will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut this weekend at Circuit of the Americas driving the No. 15 Mobil 1 Ford for Rick Ware Racing.  This marks the first of three Cup Series starts in 2023 for Button, who will also compete at inaugural Chicago street race and the road course race at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Button has been testing Hendrick’s Garage 56 Camaro at Sebring, Daytona and COTA.  Kimi Raikonnen will also be in the field as he returns to Trackhouse Racing for the COTA event.

54 entries for 12-Hours of Sebring:

  • 54-cars are on the preliminary entry list for the 12-Hours of Sebring.  Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 2 Cadillac is not in the 12-Hour field as that car begins its World Endurance Championship (WEC) with the 1000-miles of Sebring the day before the 12-Hour. IMSA has also adjusted the Balance of Performance for GTD following the Rolex 24. All the cars have gained weight from the 1030kg minimum used at Daytona, with the Acura ARX-06 gaining the most at 1054kg, and Cadillac the least at 1038kg. BMW is at 1040, while Porsche is at 1048.  Qualifying for the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship takes place Friday, March 17 at 9 a.m. with the green flag dropping Saturday at 10 a.m.
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