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Rudolph Caps perfect Weekend with 358 Mod Tour Win at Tri-City Raceway Park; Flick, Bish and Lawrence also Victors

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Motorsports Aspects

FRANKLIN, PA (July 25, 2020 – Pittsburgh Racing Now): Erick Rudolph completed a Western Pennsylvania hat trick Sunday at Tri-City Raceway Park. His victory came in the first race of the year for the Outlaw Small Block Modified Tour. Also taking wins were A.J. Flick in the 410 Sprint Cars, Curtis J. Bish in the Pro Stocks, and Mark Lawrence in the Mini Stocks.

Gary Kriess, Jr. and Dan Kuriger paced the field for the start of the 25 lap Sprint Car feature event. Jeremy Kornbau and Leyton Wagner were in row two, George Hobaugh and Brandon Spithaler in row three, and Flick and Carl Bowser in row four.

Kriess jumped out to the early lead, followed by Kuriger, Kornbau, Wagner, and Flick. Flick worked his way into second by lap seven. He took aim on Kriess and the two popular drivers traded the lead several times over the next several laps. Flick set a pick in turn four and pinned Kriess behind a slower car. That enabled Flick to pull away from the veteran. Kriess got another shot at the lead on a lap 17 restart, but Flick was up to the task.

Several drivers made advances in the final laps. Sye Lynch raced into second. Bowser took third on lap 20 and Brandon Spithaer moved to fifth on the same lap.

At the checkers, it was Flick, Lynch, Bowser, Kriess, and Spithaler. Kornbau was sixth, followed by Jack Sodeman, Jr. Sodeman was the hard charger, passing ten cars during the race. Kuriger, Darin Gallagher, and Michael Bauer completed the top ten.

Spithaler, Wagner, and Kornbau were the heat winners. There was no B Main.

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Kyle Fink and Jeremiah Shingledecker brought the 358 Modifieds to the green flag. Kevin Hoffman and Tom Holden were in the second row, with Dave Schrader, Jr. and Lonnie Riggs in the third stanza. Rudolph and Max Smoker held row four.

Fink and Shingledecker battled for the early lead, while Rudolph steadily moved forward. Rudolph took command in turn one with seven laps complete. Hoffman climbed into second following the second caution in the 20 lapper, but he could not mount a challenge on the fleet New Yorker.

At the finish, it was Rudolph, Hoffman, Shingledecker, Fink, and Riggs. Jimmy Holden, Rick Regalski, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Andy Jankowiak, and Tom Holden completed the top ten.
Riggs and Rudolph took heat wins. There was no B Main.

In the Pro Stocks, Curtis J. Bish fought off challenges from his borther, Curt Bish for most of the race. However, it was Jackson Humanic who charged into second and chased him home. Curt Bish held on for third. Rod Laskey was fourth, but he was close enough to the front that he could have capitalized on the slightest mistake of any of the leaders. Blaze Myers was fifth. Then came Randy Wyant, Tyler Wyant, Pat Fielding, Brett McDonald, and Wesley McCray. Laskey and Curtis J. Bish took the preliminaries. There was no B Main.

In the Mini Stock nightcap, Mark Lawrence held off Chad Greeley. Dalton Speer and Jim Buchanan were third and fourth. It was an eventful night for Dillon Speer, who won the three previous races. He lost his primary car in heat racing, went home for his spare, and started at the tail of the field. While moving forward in the feature, his car caught fire, but it was safe to resume racing, and he brought it home in fifth. Heat winners were Lawrence and Patrick Hanlon.

Tri-City Raceway Park will be back in action next Sunday with the Penn-Ohio Pro Stocks presenting “Ray’s Race,” held in memory of R.K. Virgile. Mr. Virgile was a long-time supporter of the class and the speedway. Also in action will be the 410 Sprints, 358 Modifieds and the Mini Stocks.

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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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