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McManus, Policz, Wolbert Among Feature Winners Saturday Night At Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway

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Photo: Ashley Moyer

IMPERIAL, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) Late race caution flags were a bit of a theme Saturday night at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway.

Dave McManus beat Ryan Moyer on a late race restart to win the PPMS Pro Stocks Feature. McManus was trailing Moyer when the caution flag flew setting up a green-white-checkered. Moyer chose the low side for the restart and who could blame him as he found grip on the low side to get to the lead. McManus was left to the high side, which he was running all race to work his way up to the second spot. McManus go the jump on the restart, drove hard into turn one and used the momentum off turn two and down the back stretch to take the lead, beating Moyer to the checkered flag by 0.886-seconds.

“I feel really bad for Ryan that was his race, he deserves it,” said a humble McManus in victory lane.  “I knew I had a chance once that caution came out.  I figured he’d pick the low line and I figured I would just let it sail and see if it sticks.  I wish could be half as good as him on the low line.  The high side is where I live and die at.  The car was just fantastic.  Fortunate caution for us.”

The caution was just as fortunate for Chas Wolbert in the RUSH Sportsman Modified feature and unfortunate for Garrett Krummert.  Krummert had built up a 7-second lead and was en route to a dominating win the caution flag flew setting up a shootout for the win.  Wolbert dove low in turns one and two and as he was sliding up toward the outside wall on the backstretch, Krummert was blasting off turn two with the momentum.  Wolbert made slight contact with Krummert, which scrubbed just enough speed off the 10S to give Wolbert the advantage going into the last two turns.  Wolbert carried enough momentum to claim a 0.276 victory.

“I got into Garrett a bit coming off two and I apologize for that,” said Wolbert.  “I knew I had to get beside him to have a chance.  I can’t thank everybody enough who helps out, what a win.”

The late race caution flags continued in the RUSH Late Model feature.  Ben Policz was out front headed for the white flag when the caution flag came out instead.  Policz held off a John Mollick and a hard-charging Tommy Schirnhofer on a green-white-checkered to earn a 2.068-win.

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“They were telling me I had a good lead and we’ve been screwed before on those last-lap cautions and I saw that come out and I was like ‘man not again’,” said Policz.  “I knew Mollick lined up on the outside, I looked up at the screen and I saw the 60 and he’s the fastest guy here it seems like and I knew it was going to be a drag race.  I just had to hit my marks.”

Tyler Fox ended Steven Shelpman’s dominance in the Keystone Coach Works Hobby Stocks make-up feature, which ended due to curfew the previous weekend.  Fox beat Shelpman to the checkered flag by 0.642-seconds.

Shelpman couldn’t be denied in this week’s feature beating Fox by 2.999-seconds for his third win in four tries in 2020 at PPMS.

“I had bad spark plug wire in the first race,” said Shelpman, a three-time track Champion. “I was running on 7-cylinders towards the end there.  We got it fixed in time for this race and the car was great.”

The Open 4-Cylinders also had a make-up feature where Phillip Bubeck took the victory over Bill Tennant and John Gill.  The positions were reversed in this week’s feature as Tennant beat Bubeck and April Tennant to the checkered flag.

In the Young Guns feature, Noah Bubeck split Cameron Hollister and Cameron Lamber going into turn one to take the lead and eventually with victory.

“I didn’t want to waste any time getting the front,” said Bubeck of the three-wide move going into turn one.  “I saw a gap and I went for it.”

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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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