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Racing Notebook: It’s Bristol Baby! Plus Bryant to sponsor Tony Kanaan at Iowa and Sheppard Wins At Gondik

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PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Today’s Racing Notebook has details on the NASCAR All-Star race is this evening from Bristol Motor Speedway plus Bryant Heating and Cooling to sponsor Tony Kanaan at the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at Iowa and Brandon Sheppard wins at Gondik Law and more:

Martin Truex Jr. on NASCAR All Star Race Pole:

  • Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr will start on the pole position for tonight’s NASCAR Cup Series All-Star race at Bristol Motor Speedway.  Hendrick Motorsports Alex Bowman will start alongside Truex in the second spot.  Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney will start third followed by Spire Motorsports Justin Haley in fourth.  Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick will start fifth with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Matt Kenseth in sixth place.  Kenseth’s teammate Kurt Busch lines up next in the seventh spot alongside SHR’s Cole Custer. All Star Starting Lineup
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Bryant To Sponsor Kanaan At Iowa Speedway:

  • Bryant Heating and Cooling will be the primary sponsor of the No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet and driver Tony Kanaan in this weekend’s pair of Iowa 250s at Iowa Speedway.  Bryant Heating & Cooling has enjoyed a long relationship with Kanaan, the 2013 Indianapolis 500 Champion, signing on in 2007 when he was driving for Andretti Green Racing. Bryant has been a major associate marketing partner of AJ Foyt Racing since Kanaan was signed to drive in 2018.

Brandon Sheppard Wins At Gondik Law Speedway:

  • Brandon Sheppard started on the pole position and led wire-to-wire to win the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series feature at Gondik Law Speedway in Superior, Wisconsin.  Cade Dillard finished second and Jimmy Owens came home in third place.  The World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series will wrap up the Northern Swing this weekend with a Friday, July 17 showing at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, North Dakota and Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, North Dakota on Saturday, July 18.
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IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson And Chip Ganassi Racing Agree To Multi-Year Deal

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Chris Jones

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Marcus Ericsson will continue to drive Chip Ganassi’s No. 8 Honda in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES after agreeing to a multi-year deal.

Ericsson, 30, joined the team in 2020 after competing for Schmidt Petersen Motorsports for his inaugural INDYCAR season in 2019.

“I’m very happy to continue my relationship with Chip Ganassi Racing, Honda and HPD into 2021 and beyond,” said Ericsson. “I want to thank Chip and the whole CGR organization for their trust in me. Chip Ganassi Racing is one of the best teams in motorsports and I’m proud to be part of the team. The season we’ve just finished has been full of potential and I feel confident that with what we’ve learned together this year will help us succeed in 2021. I’m looking forward to getting back in the No. 8 Honda!”

This past season Ericsson posted nine top-10 finished in 14-races with a season-best fourth-place finish as Road America. Ericsson finished 12th in the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES standings.

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“Marcus proved that he belongs here, and this season he contributed to the success of our team greatly,” said Mike Hull, CGR’s Managing Director. “That includes being unselfish to his teammates, especially with Scott Dixon who won the INDYCAR championship. He’s a great foundational piece of our overall program and he fits well within our group. That translates into success on the track, and we’re glad to have him continue to grow and move the team toward into the future.”

Ericsson may only have two years of INDYCAR experience but he has an extensive racing resume including 97-starts in Formula 1. The Kumla, Sweden native is a two-time champion (Formula BMW UK, 2007; Japanese Formula Three, 2009), and has twice claimed the Swedish Junior Racer of the Year award (2007, 2009). Ericsson also previously competed in British Formula Three, GP2 Asia and GP2.

Partnership details will be announced in the off-season in preparation for the 2021 INDYCAR season and beyond.  Huski Chocolate partnered with the team in 2020.

The Ericsson deal combined with the addition of Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Carvana Honda and the return of Scott Dixon in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda leaves the No. 10 NTT Data Honda as the only remaining question mark for CGR heading into the 2021 season.

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Scott Dixon Wins 6th INDYCAR Championship & Chip Ganassi Racing Wins Their 13th

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Joe Skibinski

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon wasn’t even born when INDYCAR legend A.J. Foyt won his sixth Championship in 1975, but Sunday Dixon joined Foyt as the only other 6-time INDYCAR Champion.

Dixon finished third in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, winning the title by 16-points over Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden.

“Well, six is good,” said Dixon. “Seven is better. That’s going to be the goal.”

Dixon started the race in 11th position and had to finish eighth or ninth depending on where Newgarden finished. Newgarden didn’t make it easy, winning the race for the second year in-a-row.

“Credit to Josef (Newgarden) and Team Penske,” said Dixon. “He drove a hell of a race there and put us under a lot of pressure. They drove the last part of the season flawlessly and gained a lot of points.”

The No. 9 team started the 2020 season with three-straight wins and built up a lead of 117-points but saw it dwindle to 32-points following races at Mid-Ohio in September and the Harvest Grand Prix on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this month.

Dixon and his “Wolfpack” crew however managed to lead the Championship throughout the entire season.

“It’s all the team,” credited Dixon. “I can’t thank everybody on this team enough. Obviously, Chip (Ganassi), Mike (Hull) and Barry (Wanser) and everybody involved.”

A big part of Dixon’s team is wife Emma, daughters Poppy and Tilly and son Kit.

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“Big thanks to my wife Emma and my family,” said Dixon.  “I’m glad my girls are here, unfortunately (toddler son) Kit isn’t here.

Scott Dixon celebrates with his wife Emma and Daughters Poppy and Tilly after winning his sixth NTT IndyCar Series Championship.

It’s a big shame that he couldn’t be here. I can’t thank them enough. We’ll have to win another one so he can be in the pictures.”

The Championship is the 13th for Chip Ganassi and his team, which is celebrating their 30th Anniversary in 2020.

“It’s never just one thing or one person. For me, it’s about the team effort. We had a lot of changes in the offseason but huge thanks again to everyone on the team.”

The Championship is also Dixon’s second in three-years for Pittsburgh-headquartered PNC Bank.

“PNC Bank, two out of three years (as champion) – that’s pretty good going,” said Dixon. “I can’t thank all of our partners enough: PNC Bank, Honda, NTT Data, Huski Chocolate.”

Honda took home the Manufacturers Championship for the third year in-a-row.

“I’m proud to be powered by Honda and what they’ve been able to pull out this year given the deficit we’ve had going into Indy previous years,” said Dixon. “They nailed it. Big thanks to everybody.”

“Human beings are the thing that make the world go around and Scott is a very special human being,” said Ted Klaus, President of Honda Performance Development (HPD). “We call them the ‘driver’ for a reason, because they drive the whole team. Scott drives everything about, not just Chip Ganassi Racing, but HPD and he drives us. And we need those kinds of strong drivers to get the achievements that we seek. I don’t think he’s done. I think he’s still hungry and I think it humbles all of us. Good for Scott!”

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Josef Newgarden Wins Firestone Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg But Falls Short In Championship

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Chris Jones

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden is the 2020 winner of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Newgarden’s victory was his fourth of the year and 18th of his INDYCAR career.  Newgarden’s win also continued a trend of back-to-back winners on the streets of St. Petersburg. Juan Pablo Montoya won the race in 2015-16, Sebastien Bourdais won in 2017-18 and Newgarden the past two years 2019-20.

The victory was bittersweet for the defending series champion as he came up 16-points short in the battle with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon.

“First off, congratulations to Scott (Dixon) and all his guys, his crew,” said Newgarden. “It’s big time to win six championships. I’m sure they’re thrilled. They’re a great competitor.”

Newgarden and his Team Penske crew did everything in their power to win the title but also needed Dixon to finish tenth or worse in the race.

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“On one hand, I don’t really know what I could do different this year,” reflected Newgarden. “I don’t know what I could ask my guys to do different. We knew coming into this that fate wasn’t in our own hands. We weren’t going to be able to decide things. So, we just did what we could and hoped for the best.”

Their best was just not quite enough to beat a Dixon, who is now a six-time Champion, and the Ganassi team, who now has 13-Championships.

“Credit to Josef,” said Dixon. “He drove a hell of a race there and put us under a lot of pressure. They drove the last part of the season flawlessly. And we know next year is going to be the same.”

“We weren’t good enough, said Newgarden, a two-time Champion himself. “We’ll reset. We’ll hit them harder next year. I promise you we’ll be in the fight; this crew will be in the fight every year. So, I have confidence we’ll come back.”

IndyCar St. Pete Results

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