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Daryl Charlier Turns Racing Passion Into A Business

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LEETSDALE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Daryl Charlier grew up in a racing family, so it is not hard to see where his passion for the sport originates.

“I’m a third-generation driver,” Charlier told The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast. “My grandfather raced at Heidelberg when it was up and running and Clinton and places like that. My Dad has also been traveling around the country racing, primarily at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway since they opened in 1979, so I was born into it I guess.”

Charlier didn’t start racing until he was 18-years-old and his father was reluctant to let him climb behind the wheel.

“Honestly he didn’t want me to do it,” said Charlier. “I think he kind of wanted me to stay out of it and it was my grandfather who pushed him along to build me a car and finally get me into the seat.”

Charlier ran a limited schedule in 2019 and hopes to run a little bit more in 2020.

“I started a business in late 2018 and that kind of took up a lot of my time, especially since we’re open 7-days-a-week,” said Charlier. “I ended up selling a car, becoming good friends with the car owner and I got to drive the car every once in a while at some of the bigger shows, which was fun and I also raced a little bit for some old family friends that had a street stock and we got to travel around with the Pitt Ohio series and do some racing. We got another car and I hope to do some racing under our own program this year.”

The business Charlier started is fueled by his passion for racing and a trip out of Pennsylvania got Charlier thinking about how to pull it off.

“We did a trip back in 2008 down to Florida,” said Charlier. “We experienced our first indoor karting facility.  At the time there was nothing in Pittsburgh like that and we were thinking ‘why are they doing it where it’s nice, let’s do it where it’s cold’, so that’s what we went to do and we’ve been working on it for the past 10 years to try to make that dream happen.”

That dream is Three Rivers Karting on Route 65 in the Leetsdale Industrial Park. Three Rivers Karting has been open for just over a year and Charlier is hoping local racers, race fans and sports fans take a day to come out to the facility for some fun.

“Anybody off the street, as long as they are 10-years-old, 54-inches tall, they can come in Monday through Sunday and they could basically purchase a package and they get to go out and race,” said Charlier.

Three Rivers Karting

The easiest option is the “Arrive & Race” package. Anyone meeting the above criteria can purchase anywhere between 1 and 10-races. The more races you buy, the less expensive it is and you don’t have to use all of the races in one visit. Three Rivers Karting also has monthly specials and gift cards are also available.

Three Rivers Karting also is a great place for businesses looking to entertain clients or to hold a team building activity.

“We love doing corporate events,” said Charlier. “We can fit up to 500 people in our facility, so we can handle pretty sizable ones. We have different conference rooms for different sizes and we have a beautiful mezzanine that overlooks the racetrack. I think we’re probably one of the only facilities in the tri-state area that actually has a second floor that looks down onto the racetrack which is super cool.”

Charlier says their corporate events are different than just going and jumping into a go-kart and turning laps.

“We do some very creative things that I would like to think that we do better than maybe some other facilities as far as team building activities,” said Charlier. “We have some fun challenges where we put soccer balls in front of the go karts and people had to drive around and you can’t drop the soccer ball. “We’ve done triathlons where we break the groups up into teams and are competing against each other for best time and different things. One of the most interesting ones we do we have is a blindfold challenge where drivers are blindfolded and then a coworker guides them around the track and then the team who has the fastest time wins.”

In addition to corporate outings Three Rivers Karting can also hold Birthday Parties for Teens and Adults as well as Bachelor Parties or other special events.

“What’s beautiful is we customize everything to whatever the person wants,” said Charlier. “Whether they want one race or they want 10 races. If they’re coming by themselves or if it’s a group of 150-people, we work with everybody to customize an event that they can afford and more importantly they can enjoy.”

Charlier is enjoying mentoring drivers in a couple of the leagues at the facility. Experienced karters will enjoy the Three Rivers Karting Adult League and Junior Leagues. Inexperienced youngsters can learn how to race at the facilities Junior Camp.

One member of Three Rivers Karting’s adult league is going to get a chance to compete with other karters for a $10,000-grand prize later this year.

“We’re part of an organization that has 20-facilities in the country that are competing in the American Kart Championship League and the winner of our summer League not only will represent us here at Three Rivers Karting, but will represent Pittsburgh and they will go to Jacksonville to race against the other facilities for $10,000 which is a huge chunk of change for just doing some casual karting.”

Click The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast to hear the complete interview with Daryl Charlier.

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IndyCar

Indy Autonomous Challenge Race Car Unveiled

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Indy Autonomous Challenge/Indianapolis Motor Speedway

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The world’s first high-speed, head-to-head autonomous race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will feature Dallaras as the race cars.

Energy Systems Network (ESN) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) this week unveiled the official race car that will be autonomously driven by scores of university teams in the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) at the Racing Capital of the World on Oct. 23, 2021.

Dallara has been the sole racecar supplier of the Indy Lights series since 2002, and now the modified Dallara IL-15 is the official IAC racecar.

“Dallara is the best racecar engineering company in the world, yet designing the chassis for autonomous racing was really challenging,” explained Stefano dePonti, CEO and general manager of Dallara USA. “Dallara loves innovation and technological challenges, and we share the IAC’s passion for education and motorsports.”

“The Dallara-built IAC racecar is the most advanced, fastest autonomous vehicle ever developed,” stated Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of ESN, and co-organizer of the IAC. “Our IAC sponsors are providing radar, lidar, optical cameras and advanced computers, bringing the value of each vehicle to $1 million.”

Three Rivers Karting

One of the teams competing in the challenge is the Panther AV RAS-ing team from the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.

Panther AV RAS-ing is part of more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students, PhDs and mentors who excel in artificial intelligence software that have responded to the challenge.  The challengers represent 39 universities in 11 countries on four continents and 14 U.S. states.

The IAC is scheduled for October 23, 2021, at the IMS, with a qualifying simulation race during the Indy 500 week in May. The total IAC prize purse is $1.5 million: $1 million awarded to the winning team of the October IAC race, and an additional $500,000 for winners of the hackathons and simulation races.

“The IAC is going to bring the best minds from around the world to solve a very complex problem, right here at the Racing Capital of the World,” said IMS President J. Douglas Boles. “As the birthplace of motorsports’ innovation, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a fitting setting for this event, and we can’t wait to see the winning entry cross the Yard of Bricks into history.”

Two companies headquartered in Western Pennsylvania are sponsors of the event.  Ansys, a global leader in engineering simulation that is headquartered in Canonsburg, and Aptiv, an autonomous vehicle company who is relocating from O’Hara Township to Hazelwood Green.

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IndyCar

Racing Notebook: Kellett Returning to A.J. Foyt For ’21; U.S. Motorsports Association Forms Leadership Council Plus Extreme E

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A.J. Foyt Racing

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – A.J. Foyt Racing brings back Dalton Kellett plus The U.S. Motorsports Association forms Leadership Council and Extreme E names Race Director and Sporting Director.

Dalton Kellett Returning To A.J. Foyt Racing:

  • Canadian Dalton Kellett will drive A.J. Foyt’s No. 4 Chevrolet full-time in the 2021 NTT INDYCAR Series. K-Line Insulators USA returns as the primary sponsor, moving from the No. 14 to the No. 4 for the upcoming season.  The 27-year-old rookie drove for Foyt in eight races this year, sharing the driving duties of the No. 14 Chevrolet with Tony Kanaan and Sebastien Bourdais. Bourdais returns to drive the No. 14 Chevrolet full-time as announced earlier this year.
Three Rivers Karting

U.S. Motorsports Association Forms Leadership Council:

  • The U.S. Motorsports Association announced the official formation of the first-ever national Circle Track Leadership Council (CTLC), a group of circle track owners and industry leaders, who are committed to working on current and future issues related to the sport.  Members of the council include Lucas Oil Speedway’s Dan Robinson, Anderson Speedway’s Rick Dawson, Five Flags Speedway’s Tim Bryant, Knoxville Raceway’s John McCoy, Jackson Motorplex & Huset’s Speedway’s Doug Johnson, Track Enterprises’ Bob Sargent, Madison International & Midwest Tour’s Gregg Mckarns and Wilmot Raceway/IRA Sprint Cars, Steve Sinclair.

Extreme E Names Race and Sporting Directors:

  • Extreme E, the new electric off-road racing series, has strengthened its sporting team with the appointments of Scot Elkins as Race Director and Guy Nicholls as Sporting Manager for its inaugural 2021 season. Elkins has served as Race Director for the FIA Formula E Championship the past three years. Elkins started out as an engineer for Robert Yates Racing in NASCAR. Elkins has also held technical sporting roles with the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and Champ Car World Series and has served as Deputy Race Director for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, FIA Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3.

Extreme E names Race and Sporting Directors as their inaugural 2021 season approaches.

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Local Racing

RUSH Late Model Series Enhancing ‘Track Pack’ Program For 2021

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PULSAKI, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The RUSH Late Model Series is bringing back and enhancing their ‘Track Pack’ program for 2021.

The ‘Track Pack’ program debuted in 2016 and continued through the 2019 season before the COVID-19 pandemic suspended the program in 2020. Each of those four years, $800 was split amongst the top five RUSH members with $300 to the champion at each RUSH weekly-sanctioned track.

In 2021 RUSH Late Model weekly-sanctioned tracks top-six will share in $2,500!  RUSH weekly member racers will accumulate points at each event and at the end of the year the top six in member points will split $2,500 with $1000 going to the champion followed by $500, $400, $300, $200, $100 for positions 2-through-6. These monies will be awarded over and above any other championship monies drivers will receive.

Three Rivers Karting

“We’ve always known the strength of RUSH lays within our weekly tracks and the racers who support them,” said RUSH Director Vicki Emig. “During the pandemic, the average car counts at our weekly tracks were very impressive as most all tracks increased. In the past the ‘Summer Chase’ gave just 10 racers additional monies, but we feel by taking that money and adding another approximate $14,000 to the ‘Track Pack’ we can allow substantially more racers the ability to take home additional weekly monies at the end of the year.”

Prior to COVID-19 RUSH had announced the Touring Series Championship point fund would double to $35,500 with a record $12,000 going to the champion! This will now take place in 2021. The Touring Series schedule continues to come together and is expected to be similar to 2020’s before the pandemic.

The 2021 season is expected to be the richest in RUSH Racing Series history, which includes the RUSH Late Models, Sprint Cars, Sportsman Modifieds and Pro Mods, with additional programs and events planned throughout.

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