BROWNSBURG, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The new NTT INDYCAR SERIES team formed by Steelers minority owner Robert Citrone, his son Nick, former INDYCAR driver Robbie Buhl and Buhl’s brother Tom (Citrone/Buhl Autosport) are teaming up with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) to hit the track in 2020.
RLL announced today that Spencer Pigot is returning to the team in 2020 to compete in the GMR Grand Prix on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 9 and the Indianapolis 500 on May 24th. Pigot made three starts for RLL in 2016 and won Championships on the “Road to Indy” Ladder series in 2014 (Pro Mazda) and 2015 (Indy Lights).
“I’m very excited to join Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with Citrone/Buhl Autosport for this year’s GMR Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500,” said Pigot. “I ran my first INDYCAR SERIES race and Indy 500 with RLL in 2016 so it will be nice to return to a team with some familiar faces. I can’t thank everyone at RLL and Citrone/Buhl Autosport enough for their efforts in putting this deal together and the opportunity to compete in another Indy 500. I can’t wait for May!”
“I’m very pleased to have Spencer back with us again for the month of May,” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. “There is no question in my mind that he can contribute to the overall performance of the team based upon his strong performance last May and at other events throughout the season. Spencer is a team player and has a bright future in my opinion.”
“Nick, myself and our whole family are excited to be part of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team and to have Spencer as the driver is incredible,” said Robert Citrone, co-owner of Citrone/Buhl Autosport. “We have been lifelong INDYCAR fans and we have wanted to get involved with the sport for many years. We thought this was the best way to learn and gain experience at the highest level and have been incredibly impressed with all of the people we have met at RLL.”
“Rob, Nick and I love INDYCAR racing,” said Robbie Buhl, co-owner of Citrone/Buhl Autosport. “We all want to win and the set-up allows us to learn in an accelerated way. Getting to see more of how the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team operates and getting to see the depth of both the engineering and commercial side is exciting. We feel great about out partnership.”
“We are looking forward to working with Citrone/Buhl Autosport on this entry,” said Rahal. “It’s an exciting time for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and having a new team enter the sport is proof of that.”
“Bobby and my family share a Pittsburgh connection with his dealership group based there and with my family’s involvement in the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said Citrone, founder of Discovery Capital Management. “Being involved in sports and knowing how enjoyable, challenging and tough that is and how the quality of the organization is really the key. I think the Steelers have that with the quality of the organization with the Rooney family and we have that same feeling with the Rahal family and RLL.”
Josef Newgarden Leads Day 2 Of Indy 500 Testing
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Sunny skies and better weather conditions contributed to higher speeds in Day 2 of open testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for next month’s 105th running of The Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden topped the speed chart with a fast lap of 226.819 mph in the No. 2 Chevrolet. That easily eclipsed the 224.427 top speed from the rain-hampered first day on Thursday that was set by Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet.
“It was a pretty good day,” said Newgarden. “I was happy enough with the car. I think we still need some work, for sure, but to just get an initial read on where we’re at is good. Obviously, there are a lot of new parts and differences to the last couple of years, so we’re just trying to assess what we need to really work on these last couple of weeks before we get back here in May. But I’m pretty happy.”
Two-time and reigning Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato was second on the speed chart at 226.369 in the No. 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda.
Two-time 500 winner and 1999 CART Champion Juan Pablo Montoya was third quickest at 226.123 in the No. 86 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
“Today was good,” said Montoya. “We worked through a lot of things. We found a lot of good things and a lot of bad things like you always do. It was nice to get back a little bit in the draft. A lot to catch up again and learn and understand again what you need to do and the timing. Everybody at Arrow McLaren SP has done a great job and this test has been very, very, useful.”
6-time and defending NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion and 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon was fourth fastest in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda with a fast lap of 225.906.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal rounded out the top five with a fast lap of 225.644 in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda.
The 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge is scheduled for Sunday, May 30 at IMS.
The green flag drops on the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES with the season opening, Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst on Sunday, April 18 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network will provide live coverage starting at 3 p.m. (ET).
Sebastien Bourdais Quickest In Day 1 Of Indy 500 Testing
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – A.J. Foyt Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais was the fastest of 32-drivers who took part in the first of two days of testing for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Bourdais turned a fast lap of 224.427 mph late in the day during the Veteran Refresher and Rookie Orientation Programs. Bourdais was required to complete the refresher because he did not compete in ‘The Greatest Spectacle In Racing’ in 2020.
“Pretty good refresher for the A.J. Foyt No. 14,” said Bourdais, a four-time open wheel Champion. “That ROKiT car was pretty good. It always feels a little different when you start at low speeds and the car’s never really settled, but we got through both phases and are ready to go tomorrow and start working properly. It’s all good.”
Conor Daly was the second-fastest driver overall and the fastest in the 90-minute morning session before heavy rain arrived in Indianapolis. Daly’s top lap was 222.714 in the No. 47 U.S. Air Force Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet.
Sage Karam was third overall at 222.408 in the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet.
6-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Scott Dixon was third fastest in the morning session in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Dixon’s fast lap was 220.575 mph.
2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay suffered a broken finger in a crash in Turn 1 just 11 minutes into track activity in his No. 21 Sonax/Autogeek Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet.
Rain halted the opening veterans-only session at 12:30 p.m. (ET). A second heavy shower around 3:15 p.m. delayed track activity until the track reopened at 6:03 p.m. under blue skies and sunshine.
Track activity will take place from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (ET) Friday, with live broadcast coverage on Peacock. Rookie Orientation and refresher tests will take place from 9-10 a.m., with veterans back on track from 10-11 a.m. The track will open for all drivers from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
The 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge is scheduled for Sunday, May 30.
Indy 500 Testing Thursday And Friday At The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Thirty-two drivers are scheduled to participate in two days of NTT INDYCAR SERIES testing Thursday and Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Testing will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET) Thursday with veterans hitting the 2.5-mile famed oval first from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. followed by rookie orientation and veteran refresher programs are scheduled from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Two rookies are scheduled for orientation: Cody Ware (Dale Coyne Racing) and Pietro Fittipaldi (Dale Coyne Racing with RWR).
Even Indianapolis 500 winners are not exempt from the veteran refresher program. Three-time 500 winner Helio Castroneves and two-time 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya are two of the veterans schedule to participate along with Sebastien Bourdais, James Hinchcliffe, Max Chilton, Ed Jones, Sage Karam and Simona De Silvestro.
6-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES Scott Dixon leads the Chip Ganassi Racing squad at the test. Dixon returns for his quest to tie the legendary A.J. Foyt for a series record seventh Championship in 2021. Dixon will be behind the wheel of the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
Dixon’s teammates will also be participating in the test. Newcomer Alex Palou will be in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda. Marcus Ericsson returns in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda and Tony Kanaan is back with CGR in the cockpit of the No. 48 Honda that Jimmie Johnson will drive on the road and street courses.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal will be behind the wheel of the No. 15 Honda. Rahal will be joined by defending and two-time 500 winner Takuma Sato and Santino Ferrucci will be in a third RLL entry.
The test is closed to the public but will be streamed live to race fans exclusively via NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, Peacock.