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Spithaler, Tom Holden, Seippel, and Dillon Speer Prevail at Tri-City

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FRANKLIN, PA (July 5, 2020 – Pittsburgh Racing Now): Brandon Spithaler cruised to his second 410 Sprint Car win of the season at Tri-City Raceway Park. Spithaler benefited form a front-row starting spot, but he had to chase down Darin Gallagher and wrestle the lead away from him in traffic. Once that was accomplished, Spithaler ran away from the field to earn $2,000.

Joining him in victory celebrations were Tom Holden in the 358 Modifieds, Josh Seipple in the Pro Stocks, and Dillon Speer in the Mini Stocks.

Gallagher and Spithaler had the prime starting positions in the 25 lap 410 Sprint Car feature. Jeremy Kornbaugh and Brandon Matus were in the second row, with Jack Sodeman, Jr. flanked by last week’s winner, Carl Bowser. Dan Kuriger started in row four, his best starting spot of the season so far. He was joined by Michael Bauer. Then came Gary Kriess, Jr. and Cody Bova.

Gallagher jumped out to an early lead and, for a while, it appeared as though the Butler driver would snare his first career 410 victory. But Spithaler stayed close while Sodeman, Brandon Matus, and Bowser fought for position.

Gallagher and Spithaler distanced themselves from the rest of the field. When the leaders reached lapped traffic, Spithaler found another groove and picked up speed. He passed Gallagher and opened up a considerable margin while continuing to put slower cars behind him. Spithaler was consistently a half a second faster than his rivals, despite the fact that he was experiencing brake failure.

As the race progressed, Kuriger began to move ahead and soon he was challenging Sodeman for second. Bauer also moved forward while Gallagher began to fade.

Sodeman had several shots at Spithaler in the closing laps due to late race cautions. But Spithaler was up to the task each time.

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At the finish, it was Spithaler, Sodeman, Kuriger, Bowser, and Bauer. Gallagher held on for sixth. He was followed by Brandon Matus, Bova, Brent Matus, and Davey Jones. Jones passed nine cars to reach the top ten.

Tom Holden had the pole position for the 358 Modified feature event, but he had to battle with Lonnie Riggs and Kyle Fink to earn the win, his second of the season. Riggs and Fink each had multiple shots at the leader, but neither of them could deliver a knock-out blow. Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Jimmy Holden, and Kevin Hoffman were also in the mix, but Jimmy Holden and Hoffman got tangled up and had to go to the rear and, then, Holden had another single-car mishap that sent him to the rear. Holden and Hoffman both overcame their difficulties and managed to salvage decent results.

Tom Holden was followed by Riggs, Fink, and Jimmy Holden, last week’s winner. Schaffer was fifth. Then came Hoffman, consistent Kevin Green, Dave Schrader, Jr., Don Cornelius, and Todd Gabriel.

Two was the hot number this night, as Josh Seippel also scored his second win of the season in the Pro Stock division. He had to fend off Curtis J. Bish, Rod Laskey, Leigh Wheeler, and Blaze Myers.

Dillon Speer was also a repeat winner, but this time it was his fourth triumph. Pat Hanlon, Dave Greeley, Terry Feeley, and David Lowe completed the top five.

Garrett Davenport, age nine, drove his Jerry Schaffer Racing entry to victory ahead of Grady Reinhart, Randy White-Majors, Bella Begenwald, and Jacob Begenwald to score his first win in the Junior Sprints.

Tri-City Raceway Park will be back in action this Sunday with a four division show. The 410 Sprints will have the night off in defernce to Sharon Speedway, which will close out Ohio Sprint Speedweek. Taking the place of the winged warriors will be the Super Late Models. The 358 Modifieds, Pro Stocks, and Mini Stocks will also be competing.

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Local Racing

Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek Is Coming Back

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SHIPPENVILLE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Five local dirt tracks are teaming up to bring back Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek for the 2021 season.

Michael’s Mercer Raceway (Mercer, PA), Thunder Mountain Speedway (Brookville, PA), Lernerville Speedway (Sarver, PA), Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH) and Tri City Raceway Park (Franklin, PA) are the five tracks where the owners and promoters have aligned to bring back the event for the 410 Sprint Cars.

“The ‘410 Sprint Car’ division in the local area has been through many ups-and-downs over the last two decades, but there’s no doubt it’s as strong now as it ever was”, said Dave Willoughby, Sharon Speedway’s General Manager. “You see our guys competing for spots up front everywhere they go, and that even includes out at some of the tougher Central PA tracks.”

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Additional details will be released in the near future regarding the established point fund and other race night details.

Here’s the full schedule:

  • Wednesday, June 2nd – Michael’s Mercer Raceway
  • Thursday, June 3rd – Thunder Mountain Speedway
  • Friday, June 4th – Lernerville Speedway
  • Saturday, June 5th – Sharon Speedway
  • Sunday, June 6th – Tri City Raceway Park

Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek was previously run from 1993-2000 by the All-Star Circuit of Champions.

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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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