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Josef Newgarden Completes Team Penske Sweep Of INDYCAR Races At Iowa Speedway

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Joe Skibinski

NEWTON, IA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Josef Newgarden started on the pole and led 214-of-250-laps to dominate race two of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader Saturday night at Iowa Speedway.

Newgarden, the two-time and defending series Champion, beat his Team Penske teammate Will Power by 2.7869-seconds to pick up his first win of 2020 and 15th of his career.

“It feels really good,” said Newgarden, who was leading Friday night’s race when he made a pit stop, only to have the caution flag fly trapping the No. 1 Hitachi Chevrolet a lap down. “I don’t know what we have to do to keep the bad luck off of us, but hopefully this is the start.”

“It feels good,” said Power.  “We just had a solid day. I would have loved to have the win, of course.”

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal finished third in the No. 15 Hy-Vee Honda to pick up his second podium finish of the year.

“I think we actually had the best car on track tonight,” said Rahal, who started 19th. “We passed a ton of cars. It was just hard at the end when Will (Power) was driving on the same line as me. It was difficult up high to get the grip to go by.”

Penske’s Simon Pagenaud, who picked up the victory in race one, finished fourth in the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet.

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“It was a tough, dramatic weekend, but we prevailed,” said Pagenaud. “We weren’t quite as hooked up today. Maybe we didn’t have the outright pace, but overall first and fourth is pretty good when we started last in both races. I’m pretty pleased with our results.”

PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing‘s Scott Dixon, who was the runner-up to Pagenaud on Friday night, rounded out the Top 5 in the No. 9 Honda after starting 18th in the 23-car field.

“I think we knew this weekend was going to be one of our biggest challenges in terms of race weekends,” said Dixon, a 5-time series Champion. “We haven’t been as strong at Iowa as we’ve been at other tracks. We worked on it and tried some things and learned a lot, and we were able to work our way up and get a good result for the PNC Bank car.”

One of the strongest cars late in the race was the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet of Pato O’Ward.  O’Ward was chasing down Newgarden but disaster struck on the last pit stop when the crew dropped the car before the wheel nut was tight on the left rear.  The crew had to jack the car back up and tighten the wheel costing O’Ward a lap in the process.

“The best way to sum it up is ‘what could have been’,” said O’Ward the 2018 Indy Lights Champion. “We had the pace; we were strong. I made up positions to be fighting at the front. In the end, it was not meant to be for us, but we’re going to continue pushing to finish strong at Mid-Ohio.”

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES next race is as close to Pittsburgh as the Series comes as they visit the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.  For tickets and information visit www.midohio.com.

INDYCAR Iowa Race 2 Results

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IndyCar

INDYCAR and NBC sign multi-year extension

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES and NBC Network announced on Tuesday a multi-year extension to the media rights of the open wheel series.

NBC Sports will continue to be the exclusive home of the Indianapolis 500 and will provide coverage of all NTT INDYCAR SERIES races, qualifying, practices and Indy Lights races across its linear, digital and streaming platforms, including Peacock. Terms of the deal were not announced.

“NBC Sports is proud to extend its partnership with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and continue to serve as the exclusive home of the most competitive open-wheel racing series in the world and ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’” said Jon Miller, NBC Sports.

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“NBC Sports has been the ideal partner for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, bringing our bold and audacious style of racing to a significantly larger domestic audience and fully leveraging the power and scale of the Indianapolis 500,” said Mark Miles, President and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp. “This new deal represents a significant expansion of our network TV exposure and sets us up for continued growth and success alongside a committed, innovative and world-class broadcast partner.”

INDYCAR and NBC are enjoying strong ratings for the 2021.  Ratings are up 30% this year.

As part of the agreement, 13 races will be broadcast on NBC. USA Network and Peacock Premium will show the remaining races. Telemundo Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage of the season-opening race, the Indianapolis 500 and the season finale.

Peacock will stream all races on NBC and USA Network and will continue as the streaming home of NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying and practices sessions, Indy Lights races and full-event replays. Peacock will stream two races exclusively, which will be announced at a later date.

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Dirt Racing

Chase Elliott wins SRX finale at Nashville, Stewart wins Championship

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NASHVILLE, TN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chase Elliott joined the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) for their season finale at Nashville Fairgrounds and took home the checkered flag beating Tony Stewart and his father Bill Elliott in the feature.  The win was the first series victory for the younger Elliott.

Chase Elliott was on the inside with Stewart on the outside on a restart with 7-laps-to-go followed by Bill Elliott and Bobby Labonte in Row 2.

Chase Elliott beat Stewart into turn one and two with Bill Elliott and Bobby Labonte side-by-side for third.

Caution came out with 5-laps-to-go when Paul Tracy made contact with Marco Andretti, sending Andretti into a spin after picking up three spots following the restart.

Chase Elliott got the jump on Stewart on the restart and held on to pick up the win. Stewart finished second and took home the inaugural series Championship.

“Man it was so much fun,” said Chase Elliott.  “I had a ball.  I got to race against two of my heroes tonight and I got to race against Dad there throughout the race and those are moments that I’ll cherish forever.  Thanks to Ray (Evernham, Series co-owner) and Tony (Stewart, Series co-owner) and I appreciate NAPA being on the car.”

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NASCAR Hall-of-famer Bill Elliott, 65, finished third and picked up a win in the first heat race where he started side-by-side with his son Chase.

“I messed up in one not getting all the stuff (marbles) off my tires,” said Bill Elliott, the 1988 NASCAR Cup Series Champion.  “Man I tell you it was a lot of fun. I knew the way the tires were on these cars and the way Chase manages his stuff he was going to be tough to beat.”

“I don’t know what lit a fire under him tonight,” said Chase Elliott.  “But he was as aggressive as I have seen him in years.  It was amazing and a lot of fun.  I thought it was going to be between he and I but he got a little high going into (turn) one.”

The win was also special for the Elliott Family as they were able to park the No. 94 in Victory Lane.  Casey Elliott, the late son of legendary engine builder Ernie Elliott, raced the No. 94 in the ARCA and Busch (now Xfinity) Series before his life was cut short by cancer.

“Obviously a special number too,” said Chase Elliott.  “My late Cousin Casey Elliott ran the 94 for years and years and it’s always special to run that number and I’m glad we were able to get it in Victory Lane at Nashville.”

“How could you ask for more than to finish between two Elliott’s, that’s pretty bad-ass in itself,” said Stewart. “To win this Championship is awesome.  I really appreciate Marcus Lemonis and everyone at Camping World for stepping up and helping us get this thing off the ground.  To be the last guy to win an IROC Championship and the first one to win an SRX Championship means a lot.”

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IndyCar

Josef Newgarden ends Penske INDYCAR win drought at Mid-Ohio

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Joe Skibinski

LEXINGTON, OH (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden picked up his, and Team Penske’s, first win of 2021 holding off Marcus Ericsson to win Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Newgarden started on the pole position and led 73-of-80-laps to pick up his first win since the 2020 season finale at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

“This team has been doing the job,” said Newgarden. “Everyone has been giving me a hard time, asking what’s up with us not winning a race. But I don’t think these people at Team Penske could have done anything different. We’ve been in the game almost every race, had great performance. It’s great to seal a win here finally.”

Newgarden spoiled a tremendous afternoon for Chip Ganassi Racing, the winningest INDYCAR team at Mid-Ohio.

CGR’s Ericsson finished second, 0.8790-seconds behind Newgarden.  The second place finish was Ericsson’s seventh top-10 finish of 2021.

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“We were hunting him down there,” said Ericsson. “He (Newgarden) was really struggling with his tires the last five laps. Just catching him quickly. Another lap or two would be even better, but I’ll take second today.”

Ericsson’s CGR teammate Alex Palou and Scott Dixon finished third and fourth respectively to give Chip Ganassi three cars in the top 5.

“It’s always good to start P7 and you finish on the podium,” said Palou. “Yeah, I think today was a good result.”

“I think it was a great day, great day for the team, to have me, Alex and Scott, P2, P3 and P4,” said Ericsson. “It’s a strong result. Shows how strong we are at the moment”

Palou remains the Championship points leader, 39 points ahead of Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP. Dixon is third, 56 points behind Palou. Newgarden remained fourth, 69 points back of the leader, and Ericsson jumped three positions to take fifth in the standings, 104 points behind Palou.

INDYCAR Mid Ohio Results

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