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Racing Notebook – Friday, February 7

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PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The second big race weekend of 2020 is here as the ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) cars hit the track at Daytona International Speedway for practice with all eyes on Hailie Deegan.  Arrow McLaren SP unveils their cars for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series. Max Chilton is returning to the NTT IndyCar Series.  Aaron Reutzel captures the checkered flag at Thursday’s DIRTcar Nationals.  The RUSH Late Model Series adds a track for 2020 and tons of sponsor news including Tony Stewart Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and Rudolph Motorsports.

ARCA Cars Hit Track For Two Practice Sessions:

  • The ARCA Series took to the high-banks of Daytona International Speedway on Friday in preparation for Saturday’s Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire.  Plenty of eyes in the racing world will be on 18-year-old Hailie Deegan, who is moving up to ARCA after driving Late Models.  Deegan was the fastest in the first practice, turning a fast lap of 49.027-seconds (183.572 MPH) in the DGR Crosley Ford Mustang.  In the Twitter posting below she talks about drafting at Daytona:

Arrow McLaren SP Unveils 2020 IndyCar Livery:

  • Arrow McLaren SP unveiled their cars for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series and drivers Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew and used their social media platforms to do it:

Max Chilton And Gallagher Returning To Carlin Racing:

  • Carlin Racing announced the return of driver Max Chilton and sponsor Gallagher to the Chevy-powered NTT IndyCar Series team.  Chilton will be in the cockpit of the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet for the 12 road and street course events in 2020 as well as the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.  Gallagher is a leading global insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firm.

Aaron Reutzel Grabs All Star Circuit of Champions Win Thursday Night In Florida:

  • Aaron Reutzel took home the checkered flag in Thursday nights All-Star Circuit of Champions DIRTcar Nationals win at Volusia Speedway Park.  The victory was Reutzel’s 26th of his career and first-ever at Volusia. Defending World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Brad Sweet finished second followed by Ian Madsen, Donny Schatz and James McFadden.
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Tony Stewart Racing And Advance Auto Parts Expand Partnership:

  • Tony Stewart and Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) are pleased to announce that Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider that serves both professional installers and do-it-yourself customers, will continue its role within TSR in 2020 boosting its position to a primary sponsor. Advance and its family of brands, including Advance Professional, Carquest and TechNet Professional Automotive Service, will be primary partners for TSR during the new year and will be carried by 10-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Champion Donny Schatz, and Tony Stewart Racing team-owner, Tony Stewart.

Air Force Returns To Sponsor Bubba Wallace And Richard Petty Motorsports:

  • Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) and the United States Air Force will once again join forces for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) season. For the 12th consecutive season, the U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service, charged with the mission to inspire, engage and recruit future Airmen, will continue the partnership with the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE driven by Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. in the NASCAR Cup Series. The No. 43 Chevy will again display the iconic teeth of the A-10 Warthog for the second consecutive year. The special U.S. Air Force “Warthog” scheme debuted at the Daytona International Speedway in 2019, and was an instant favorite among fans.

RUSH Late Models Adds Bradford Speedway to 2020 Schedule:

  • The RUSH Lates Model announced that Bradford Speedway is returning to the schedule for 2020:

Rudolph Motorsports Brew House Racing Continues Partnership:

  • Rudolph Motorsports Brew House Racing has announced that Around Back Restaurant is returning as a partner for the 2020 season.  Around Back Restaurant joins Pittsburgh Board and Brush and the Gibsonia Giant Eagle who are also partnering with the team.  Chris Rudolph took to his social media accounts to announce the good news:

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IndyCar

INDYCAR and NBC sign multi-year extension

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES and NBC Network announced on Tuesday a multi-year extension to the media rights of the open wheel series.

NBC Sports will continue to be the exclusive home of the Indianapolis 500 and will provide coverage of all NTT INDYCAR SERIES races, qualifying, practices and Indy Lights races across its linear, digital and streaming platforms, including Peacock. Terms of the deal were not announced.

“NBC Sports is proud to extend its partnership with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and continue to serve as the exclusive home of the most competitive open-wheel racing series in the world and ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’” said Jon Miller, NBC Sports.

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“NBC Sports has been the ideal partner for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, bringing our bold and audacious style of racing to a significantly larger domestic audience and fully leveraging the power and scale of the Indianapolis 500,” said Mark Miles, President and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp. “This new deal represents a significant expansion of our network TV exposure and sets us up for continued growth and success alongside a committed, innovative and world-class broadcast partner.”

INDYCAR and NBC are enjoying strong ratings for the 2021.  Ratings are up 30% this year.

As part of the agreement, 13 races will be broadcast on NBC. USA Network and Peacock Premium will show the remaining races. Telemundo Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage of the season-opening race, the Indianapolis 500 and the season finale.

Peacock will stream all races on NBC and USA Network and will continue as the streaming home of NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying and practices sessions, Indy Lights races and full-event replays. Peacock will stream two races exclusively, which will be announced at a later date.

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Dirt Racing

Chase Elliott wins SRX finale at Nashville, Stewart wins Championship

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NASHVILLE, TN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chase Elliott joined the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) for their season finale at Nashville Fairgrounds and took home the checkered flag beating Tony Stewart and his father Bill Elliott in the feature.  The win was the first series victory for the younger Elliott.

Chase Elliott was on the inside with Stewart on the outside on a restart with 7-laps-to-go followed by Bill Elliott and Bobby Labonte in Row 2.

Chase Elliott beat Stewart into turn one and two with Bill Elliott and Bobby Labonte side-by-side for third.

Caution came out with 5-laps-to-go when Paul Tracy made contact with Marco Andretti, sending Andretti into a spin after picking up three spots following the restart.

Chase Elliott got the jump on Stewart on the restart and held on to pick up the win. Stewart finished second and took home the inaugural series Championship.

“Man it was so much fun,” said Chase Elliott.  “I had a ball.  I got to race against two of my heroes tonight and I got to race against Dad there throughout the race and those are moments that I’ll cherish forever.  Thanks to Ray (Evernham, Series co-owner) and Tony (Stewart, Series co-owner) and I appreciate NAPA being on the car.”

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NASCAR Hall-of-famer Bill Elliott, 65, finished third and picked up a win in the first heat race where he started side-by-side with his son Chase.

“I messed up in one not getting all the stuff (marbles) off my tires,” said Bill Elliott, the 1988 NASCAR Cup Series Champion.  “Man I tell you it was a lot of fun. I knew the way the tires were on these cars and the way Chase manages his stuff he was going to be tough to beat.”

“I don’t know what lit a fire under him tonight,” said Chase Elliott.  “But he was as aggressive as I have seen him in years.  It was amazing and a lot of fun.  I thought it was going to be between he and I but he got a little high going into (turn) one.”

The win was also special for the Elliott Family as they were able to park the No. 94 in Victory Lane.  Casey Elliott, the late son of legendary engine builder Ernie Elliott, raced the No. 94 in the ARCA and Busch (now Xfinity) Series before his life was cut short by cancer.

“Obviously a special number too,” said Chase Elliott.  “My late Cousin Casey Elliott ran the 94 for years and years and it’s always special to run that number and I’m glad we were able to get it in Victory Lane at Nashville.”

“How could you ask for more than to finish between two Elliott’s, that’s pretty bad-ass in itself,” said Stewart. “To win this Championship is awesome.  I really appreciate Marcus Lemonis and everyone at Camping World for stepping up and helping us get this thing off the ground.  To be the last guy to win an IROC Championship and the first one to win an SRX Championship means a lot.”

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IndyCar

Josef Newgarden ends Penske INDYCAR win drought at Mid-Ohio

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Joe Skibinski

LEXINGTON, OH (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden picked up his, and Team Penske’s, first win of 2021 holding off Marcus Ericsson to win Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Newgarden started on the pole position and led 73-of-80-laps to pick up his first win since the 2020 season finale at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

“This team has been doing the job,” said Newgarden. “Everyone has been giving me a hard time, asking what’s up with us not winning a race. But I don’t think these people at Team Penske could have done anything different. We’ve been in the game almost every race, had great performance. It’s great to seal a win here finally.”

Newgarden spoiled a tremendous afternoon for Chip Ganassi Racing, the winningest INDYCAR team at Mid-Ohio.

CGR’s Ericsson finished second, 0.8790-seconds behind Newgarden.  The second place finish was Ericsson’s seventh top-10 finish of 2021.

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“We were hunting him down there,” said Ericsson. “He (Newgarden) was really struggling with his tires the last five laps. Just catching him quickly. Another lap or two would be even better, but I’ll take second today.”

Ericsson’s CGR teammate Alex Palou and Scott Dixon finished third and fourth respectively to give Chip Ganassi three cars in the top 5.

“It’s always good to start P7 and you finish on the podium,” said Palou. “Yeah, I think today was a good result.”

“I think it was a great day, great day for the team, to have me, Alex and Scott, P2, P3 and P4,” said Ericsson. “It’s a strong result. Shows how strong we are at the moment”

Palou remains the Championship points leader, 39 points ahead of Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP. Dixon is third, 56 points behind Palou. Newgarden remained fourth, 69 points back of the leader, and Ericsson jumped three positions to take fifth in the standings, 104 points behind Palou.

INDYCAR Mid Ohio Results

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