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Racing Notebook – Friday, April 17: NASCAR postpones Martinsville; Spengler Takes Laguna Seca IMSA Win and more

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Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – NASCAR postpones Martinsville due to COVID-19 plus Bruno Spengler stays undefeated in IMSA iRacing Pro Series Competition and INDYCAR drivers get ready to return to Twin Ring Motegi via iRacing.

NASCAR Postpones Martinsville:

  • The Coronavirus has forced NASCAR to postpone events at Martinsville Speedway.  The sanctioning body released a statement saying “NASCAR is postponing the scheduled events on May 8-9 at Martinsville Speedway.  Our intention remains to run all 36 races, with a potential return to racing without fans in attendance in May at a date and location to be determined.  The health and safety of our competitors, employees, fans and the communities in which we run continues to be our top priority.  We will continue to consult with health experts and local, state and federal officials as we assess future scheduling options.”  Including Martinsville, NASCAR has postponed eight events.
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Bruno Spengler Undefeated In IMSA iRacing Competition:

  • Bruno Spengler picked up the win in Thursday night’s IMSA iRacing Pro Series Challenge at virtual WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.  Spengler’s BMW M8 GTE crossed the finish line 1.772-seconds ahead of New Zealand’s Shane Van Gisbergen.  Nicky Catsburg grabbed the third spot on the podium.  The next round of the IMSA iRacing Pro Series is set for Thursday, April 30 at the virtual Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  Round 4 will be held at virtual Road America on Thursday, May 14 and the fifth round will be at virtual VIRginia International Raceway on Thursday, May 28.

INDYCAR Drivers Ready For Return To Twin Ring Motegi:

  • The NTT INDYCAR SERIES has not raced at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan since 2011 and the last time they raced on the oval was in 2010 so many veteran drivers are looking forward to a return to the egg-shaped track albeit virtually. Ten drivers in the field for the Firestone 175 on Saturday also competed in the last INDYCAR event at Twin Ring Motegi on Sept. 18, 2011: Scott Dixon (winner), Will Power (second), Marco Andretti (third), Sebastien Bourdais (sixth), Takuma Sato (10th), Graham Rahal (12th), James Hinchcliffe (15th), Tony Kanaan (17th), Helio Castroneves (22nd) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (24th).  The races starts at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App.

NASCAR Back On (Virtual) Track This Sunday At Richmond Raceway:

  • The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series is back in action this weekend at virtual Richmond Raceway for the Toyota Owners 150. The unique 150-lap eNASCAR iRacing event will feature a 30-car field (26 invited entries and four transferring from a Sunday morning qualifying race). The starting lineup will be set by a qualifying session, and each driver gets one reset during the main event.  Sunday morning’s Richmond Qualifier will consist of 13 drivers, ranging from fan-favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. and NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Labonte to current NASCAR Cup Series drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Daniel Suarez. The top two finishers from the 25-lap event will advance to the main race, as well as two additional provisionals chosen by FOX. The race will be televised by FOX, FS1 and the FOX Sports App on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
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Racing Notebook

Racing Notebook: INDYCAR Moving Season Opener; Roar Before The 24 Begins For IMSA Teams and more

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Chris Owens/INDYCAR

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – A schedule change for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES; IMSA teams hit the track at Daytona International Speedway plus Landon Cassil lands a ride for 2021 and Hagerty partners with Shift Up Now to help female racers.

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Opener Pushed Back A Week:

  • The NTT INDYCAR SERIES is pushing their season-opener back one week.  The Honda Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst was originally scheduled for Sunday, April 11 at Barber Motorsports Park but will now be held on Sunday, April 18.  The move will allow the race to be featured on NBC network television.  “Zoom Motorsports and Barber Motorsports Park jumped at the opportunity to have our event showcased on NBC network television”, said Gene Hallman, CEO of Zoom Motorsports.  The change means there will be four races in 15-days to start the 2021 season.

IMSA Teams At Daytona For Roar Before The Rolex 24:

  • IMSA Teams are at Daytona International Speedway for the annual ‘Roar Before The Rolex 24’.  Practice and qualifying as well as the first Prototype Challenge Race (Saturday) are on the schedule this weekend.  Chip Ganassi Racing makes a return the sports cars in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class fielding a Cadillac for drivers Renger Van Der Zande and Kevin Magnussen.  CGR did not participate in 2020 following the  end of the Ford GT program.  2020 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Chase Elliott gets his first taste of sports car competition this weekend driving for Action Express Racing.
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Landon Cassill To Run Full Xfinity Series Schedule:

  • Landon Cassill is going to run the full NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) schedule in 2021.  Cassill is returning to the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller stables and will drive the No. 4 Chevrolet.  Cassill has driven for team owner Johnny Davis on a number of occasions over the years including full-time campaigns from 2013 to 2015.  Cassill has one Top 5 and fourteen Top 10 finishes in NXS competition and has made over 300 starts in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Hagerty Partners With ‘Shift Up Now’:

  • Automotive lifestyle brand Hagerty is partnering with ‘Shift Up Now’.  Shift Up Now is an advocacy organization who’s mission is help female athletes in motorsports.  Hagerty will provide associate sponsorships for Athletes Michele Abbate, Hannah Grisham and Emily Linscott in the 2021 racing season.  Abbate will carry the Hagerty logo on her Trans Am TA2 Grr Racing entry in the SVRA-sanctioned series on the West coast. Grisham will race for Hixon Motor Sports at Daytona and Road Atlanta in Mx5 Cup. Linscott is aiming to race a partial season in the United States F4 Championship powered by Honda, and will also be sanctioned by SVRA on the East coast in 2021.

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Racing Notebook

Racing Notebook: Cindric To Attempt Daytona 500; Chase Elliott Gets A New Paint Job; Huset Added To DIRTVision and more

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Chris Graythen/Getty Images

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – This edition of The Pittsburgh Racing Now Notebook has details about Austin Cindric’s Daytona 500 attempt plus the defending NASCAR Cup Series Champion’s ride gets a new paint job. DIRTVision adds another track to their FAST PASS subscription; Tony Stewart Racing unveils some new colors; The Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania needs your help and Alexander Rossi leads day two of NTT INDYCAR SERIES testing at Sebring.

Austin Cindric To Make Daytona 500 Attempt:

  • Defending NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion Austin Cindric will attempt to make the Daytona 500 field next month.  Cindric will make the attempt in the No. 33 Ford Mustang for Team Penske. Miles Stanley, who has worked as race engineer for Team Penske’s No. 12 and No. 22 Cup Series teams, will serve as crew chief for Cindric and the No. 33 Ford team in 2021.  Cindric will compete in select Cup Series races in the No. 33 Ford Mustang before he joins the series full-time in 2022, driving for Wood Brothers Racing.

New Look For Chase Elliott’s No. 9 NAPA Chevy:

  • Defending NASCAR Cup Series Champion Chase Elliott will be sporting a new look on the No. 9 NAPA Camaro in 2021.  NAPA used their social media accounts to show fans the subtle change:

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DIRTVision Adds Huset Speedway To FAST PASS:

  • DIRTVision FAST PASS – Subscribers will see another iconic track join the impressive schedule of live weekly racing when the 2021 season kicks off at Huset’s Speedway. Huset’s Speedway joins the growing list of historic tracks like Attica Raceway Park, Knoxville Raceway and Williams Grove Speedway which will see their weekly racing broadcast LIVE on DIRTVision with the annual Platinum FAST PASS subscription for $299/year -OR- the monthly FAST PASS subscription for $39/month.

New Looks For Tony Stewart Racing:

  • The Sprint Cars of Donny Schatz and Tony Stewart will be sporting different looks in 2021.  Carquest and Ford Performance will return to sponsor Schatz, who’s No. 15 will feature Ford’s Iconic Silver as the primary color to commemorate Schatz’ 25-years in racing.  Stewart’s No. 14 will be primarily Black & Red with sponsors Rush Truck Centers and Advance Auto Parts returning as sponsor.  Curb records returns on both cars. Schatz and Stewart’s 2021 seasons will start at Arizona Speedway’s Wild Wing Shootout on January 21-24.

Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania Begins Survey Process:

  • The Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania (MCP) is sending out economic impact surveys to Pennsylvania race tracks, teams and racing related entities.  The data collected from the surveys will be compiled by Washington & Jefferson College professors Rob & Leslie Dunn, who along with the MCP, will produce a study on the range and economic impact of the racing industry in the Keystone State.  For complete details and survey links click here.

Alexander Rossi Fastest In Day 2 Of INDYCAR Testing At Sebring:

  • Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi posted the fastest lap in Tuesday’s INDYCAR team testing at Sebring International Raceway.  Times were unofficial as a handful of teams including Andretti Autosport, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Meyer Shank Racing, A.J. Foyt Racing and Carlin Racing took to the circuit.  The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opening race is April 11, 2021 at Barber Motorsports Park.
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Racing Notebook

Racing Notebook: IndyCar And IMSA Testing At Sebring; Jamie McMurray To Run Daytona; A Female-Led Ownership Group Starts IndyCar Team and more!

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Chip Ganassi Racing

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – IMSA and NTT INDYCAR SERIES teams take to Sebring for pre-season testing plus Jamie McMurray to run Daytona 500 with help from Chip Ganassi Racing and Spire Motorsports. A female-led ownership group launches a new NTT INDYCAR SERIES team and Jarett Andretti continues building his sports car team, all in the latest edition of the Pittsburgh Racing Now Notebook.  This edition is brought to you by our new partner DIRTVision!

NTT INDYCAR SERIES AND IMSA TEAMS TEST AT SEBRING:

  • Five of Chip Ganassi Racing‘s cars took part in testing the past two days at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.  Defending and six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Scott Dixon put the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda through the paces and had the unofficial fast time of Monday’s session.  Dixon was joined at the test by Marcus Ericsson in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda, Alex Palou in the No. 10 NTT Data Services Honda and Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Carvana Honda (pictured above).  Ganassi’s Daytona Prototype IMSA entry, the No. 01 Cadillac hit the track on Tuesday for it’s inaugural run with Renger Van Der Zande and Kevin Magnusson sharing the driving duties.  They’ll be joined by Dixon at the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

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Jamie McMurray To Compete In The Daytona 500:

  • Longtime Chip Ganassi Racing driver and current Fox Sports broadcaster Jamie McMurray is going to race in this year’s Daytona 500.  McMurray will drive the Spire Motorsports No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro with sponsorship from Chip Ganassi Racing partner Advent Health.  McMurray won the Daytona 500 in 2010, which took place on February 14th.  This year’s race coincidentally takes place on February 14th.

Paretta Autosport To Compete In Indy 500 With De Silvestro:

  • Paretta Autosport is entering the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 with driver Simona De Silvestro.  Paretta Autosport is led by automotive and motorsport executive Beth Paretta, who plans on integrating women into the team’s competition, operations, logistics, marketing and public relations departments.  The team is an extension of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway‘s “Racer for Equality & Change” announced last July.  Team Penske will provide technical support to the team in preparation for the race, which takes place Sunday, May 30.

Tristan Herbert Joins Andretti Autosport LMP3 IMSA Program:

  • Tristan Herbert will co-drive the No. 18 Gallant Ligier JS P320 along with Jarett Andretti in the IMSA Prototype category. Herbert currently competes on and off the track while managing Audi Sport customer racing U.S. for the last seven years.  Andretti is also adding another partner to their sports car program. Unite Health Share Ministries (UHSM) will be an associate sponsor on the Andretti Autosport No.18.
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