ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The global pandemic known as the coronavirus is affecting the racing community around the world.
The Clearview Mall Car Show scheduled for March 19-21 has been cancelled according to Lernerville Speedway. In a Tweet sent out by the track, the “Test & Tune” set for April 10th is still a go at this point.
The Clearview Mall Car Show, scheduled for March 19-21 has been canceled as a precaution due to the current Covid-19 outbreak. NO other events on our 2020 schedule have been affected. We want to see everyone on opening night healthy as possible! Test and Tune up next April 10!
— Lernerville Speedway (@Lernerville) March 12, 2020
In St. Petersburg at the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Season Opener Mayor Rick Kriseman has closed general admission to the race and is holding an afternoon press conference to discuss the fate of the race itself.
this a global pandemic. My most important job is public safety and health. It is for that reason that we are cancelling general attendance at the @GPSTPETE. We are working w/ the promoters and @IndyCar and will have more announcements later as to whether the race itself will run.
— Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) March 12, 2020
NASCAR will hold a 1 p-m press conference to discuss their plans going forward. This comes after Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez put Miami-Dade County under a state of emergency. While Miami-Dade county does not have any COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreaks at this time Gimenez made the decision as a pre-emptive measure. Gimenez also suspended operations at various events, including Homestead-Miami Speedway. Gimenez said NASCAR officials will decide whether to hold the race without fans. All three national series (Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series, Xfinity Series & Cup Series) were scheduled to run at Homestead.
McLaren F1 has withdrawn from the Australian Grand Prix after one of its team members tested positive for coronavirus. The team’s employee was tested at the circuit in Melbourne on Wednesday and then self-isolated at the team hotel while awaiting results. Four team members from Haas were also tested and cleared of having the virus.
McLaren Racing withdraws from the 2020 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. pic.twitter.com/BZvHVKQoev
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) March 12, 2020
IMSA has postponed next week’s 12-Hours of Sebring until November.
IMSA Postponement of the Twelve Hours of Sebring to November 11-14, 2020 pic.twitter.com/Ze2dyuREkg
— IMSA (@IMSA) March 12, 2020
1:15 p.m. UPDATE: Add the NHRA to the list of motorsports sanctioning bodies cancelling events.
NHRA postpones portion of Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals pic.twitter.com/HHnZbzAXx9
— #NHRA (@NHRA) March 12, 2020
The World of Outlaws however is moving forward, albeit with caution.
🚨 All events are going forward as scheduled as we closely monitor growing COVID-19 health concerns. Should the need arise to alter plans based on local conditions, we will act in the best interest of our fans and competitors. 🚨 https://t.co/evm4k70YLN
— World of Outlaws (@WorldofOutlaws) March 12, 2020
NASCAR has decided to race this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway and next weekend at Homestead Miami Speedway but without fans in the grandstands.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) March 12, 2020
3:30 p.m. UPDATE:
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the City of St. Petersburg and Firestone Grand Prix officials have announced that the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will take place on Sunday but not in front of any race fans. In addition the event will run under a condensed schedule. Rescheduling the race was not an option because of the specific dates between when the promoter can build the race track and when the city streets used for the track have to be returned to the City. Green Savoree Racing Promotions expects to have a information for ticket holders in the week following the race or fans can check the website, gpstpete.com
INDYCAR and NBC sign multi-year extension
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.
“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.
Chase Elliott wins SRX finale at Nashville, Stewart wins Championship
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.”
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.”
Josef Newgarden ends Penske INDYCAR win drought at Mid-Ohio
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.
“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.