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Buckwalter Best at Williams Grove

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Steve Buckwalter Twitter

WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now – July 10, 2020): The “Royersford Rocket,” Steve Buckwalter, blasted away from the pole position in the Sprint Car feature at Williams Grove Speedway. Although he led the entire distance, he had to fend off several challenges from Kyle Reinhardt in the early going and the fast-closing Matt Campbell in the final laps.

Although Buckwalter had a good starting spot for the companion feature for the United Racing Club’s 360 Sprint Cars, he was unable to duplicate the feat. He finished a distant second to another moonlighting driver, Anthony Macri, from nearby Dillsburg, PA. Surprisingly, it was Macri’s first career feature win of any sort at the famed half mile.

Buckwalter lapped cars early and often. “The traffic, we got into it pretty quickly, and being first sucks becasue you don’t know where to go sometimes,” Buckwalter said. He admitted to being “too cautious” becasue he didn’t want to get into a lapped car. Although he got hung up once or twice, it never put his lead in jeopardy. “I heard somebody back there, but I didn’t know if it was a lapped car or second place.” As it turned out, it was Campbell, the second place driver who came on strong in the last five laps to cut the lead to .223 seconds at the checkers.

Buckwalter and Reinhardt had the front row for the 25 lap affair. Adrian Shaffer and Campbell had the second row, and Brent Micahlski and Ryan Smith were in row three. Brian Montieth and Landon Myers were in the fourth row. Danny Dietrich and Anthony Macri were in the fifth row. Freddie Rahmer, Jr. was in the eleventh spot for the start and track points leader, Lance Dewease, was mired in nineteenth, both having trouble moving forward in the heat races as this was a track-handicapped show that inverts divers based on their average earnings. To get a prime starting spot, a racer must finish in the top three of a heat, and neither Rahmer or Dewease could make the grade.

Buckwalter’s initial lead over Reinhardt, Shaffer, Campbell, and Montieth was wiped out by a stalled car on the third lap. That turned out to be the only stoppage of the race as the remaining 22 laps were completed without a hitch.

Buckwalter again assumed command on the restart, but Reinhardt stayed close enough to challenge a couple of times in the early going. But, by the time that Buckwalter reached the slower cars–and it did not take very long to do so–he was able to stretch things out as he put the slower cars down a lap.

Midway through the race, Campbell and Reinhardt began to mix things up. They traded second several times. With seven or eight laps to go, Campbell seized the position for good and he set his sights on Buckwalter. Campbell chopped away at the lead and came up a few car lengths short at the conclusion.

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Following Buckwalter, Campbell, and Reinhardt were Smith and Brent Marks. Montieth crossed in sixth after racing as high as fourth in the early going. Dietrich was seventh. Then came Rahmer, Macri, and Dewease.

Heat wins were scored by Buckwalter, Reinhardt, and Shaffer. There was no B Main.

In the URC nightcap, Justin Barger and Macri paced the field. Series points leader, Josh Weller, and Buckwalter had row two. Jonathan Preston and Tyler Ross were in row three. Weller charged from third to first in the first two corners of the race and he set the pace through the first six laps. However, Macri overhauled him on the restart. Weller fought back once or twice thereafter, but Macri pulled away from him as the race went on.

Buckwalter and Ross had a tug of war going for the third position, but by the midpoint of the race, Buckwalter took over third. By lap 20, he was second, but Macri was too far out front for Buckwalter to be a factor.

At the finish, it was Macri over Buckwalter, Weller, Ross, and Jason Schultz. Derek Locke was sixth. Lucas Wolfe made up for his disappointing run in the 410s by taking seventh. Paulie Colagiovanni, Adam Carberry, and Justin Barger completed the top ten.

“It feels good to win someplace other than Port Royal,” Macri said. He had reeled off four straight in the 410 division at that track and added a URC feature for good measure. It was his third outing in Sean Michael’s machine and he has scored two wins. Macri also has a URC triumph with his family-owned machine.

Williams Grove Speedway will host the Tommy Classic next week featuring the All Stars Circuit of Champions. The race honors the Hall of Fame driver, Tommy Hinnershitz, who won the very first race held at the speedway some 81 years ago. Also on the card will be the 358 Sprint Cars.

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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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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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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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