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Dietrich Wins Again at Selinsgrove

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SELINSGROVE, PA (June 28, 2020 – Pittsburgh Racing Now): Danny Dietrich was the first driver to double-up during the 30th Annual Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek, grabbing the checkers at Selinsgrove Speedway in the 17th running of the Jan Opperman and Dick Bogar Memorial. The victory was worth $5,099 for the driver from Gettysburg and it boosted him to the unofficial lead in Speedweek points. The race was also notable in that Kyle Larson’s streak of seventeen consecutive races finishing first or second came to a halt. He was third on this night.

Dietrich credited his crew for making a last minute change to the car before rolling it onto the track for the A Main. “We changed the right rear, we put a harder tire on. Man, I could rip the top or go to the bottom. In the clean air I was sliding the track to get some heat in the tire.” Not only was the tire a harder compound, but it was a left-over from Dietrich’s trip to Florida in February. The tire choice proved to be correct, as the race went non-stop, and his car really came alive over the last ten to fifteen laps.

Dietrich was paired with Rico Abreu on the front row for the 30 lap affair. Brock Zearfoss, the night’s fastest qualifier, lined up third, while Freddie Rahmer, Jr. was on his flank. Anthony Macri and Ryan Smith occupied row three, Larson and Sammy Swindell row four, and Logan Wagner and Brent Marks row five.

Dietrich got the jump at the green flag, with Abreu close behind him. Zearfoss and Rahmer raced ahead of Macri and Larson. Abreu remained within striking distance over the first half of the contest. Indeed, he executed a bold slider in turn three to take the lead with twelve laps in the books. However, Dietrich rallied four laps later to regain the lead and he was never headed.

Meanwhile, Rahmer and Zearfoss were trading third place back and forth. Soon, Macri and Larson joined the mix. This group of cars caught up with Abreu and now the battle was for the second spot.

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Larson worked his way into third and started to close in on his diminutive friend. The pair put on quite a battle over the last ten laps, with Macri joining for the final few rounds. Macri’s bid for a podium finish ended though when he jumped the cushion in turn two and brushed the outside wall. He kept the car going and did not lose any positions..

Dietrich took the checkers over five seconds ahead of Abreu. Then came Larson and Macri. Zearfoss rounded out the top five. Rahmer, Marks, Smith, Blaine Heimbach, and Logan Wagner completed the top ten.

Heat victories were scored by Smith, Larson, Dietrich, and Rahmer. The B Main went to Justiin Whittal. Zearfoss’s time was 17.179 for the big half mile. Chad Layton flipped out of the park between turns three and four in his heat race. He was not hurt, but he was done for the night.

Nitro Nick Swigart won the non-stop 305 Sprint nightcap. Kassidy Kreitz was second, followed by Ken Duke, Landon Price, and Ron Aurand. Derek Hauck, Erin Statler, and Duke took their preliminaries. Kyle Keen won the B Main.

Selinsgrove Speedway will be dark this Saturday in support of the Speedweek finale to be held at Port Royal Speedway. The next event at Selinsgrove will be July 11 when the track hosts the 20th Annual 360 National Open. Also on the card will be the 305 Sprints and Limited Late Models. Rain checks from the Speedweek program will be good for a $5 discount at the gate for the 360 National Open. Speedweek will return to Lincoln Speedway for round four on Monday night in a Sprints only program.

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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.”

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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.
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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.

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“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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