PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Aaron Reutzel’s 2020 racing season is continuing down the same path of the past two seasons and that should have the entire Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 field worried.
Reutzel is the two-time and defending series Champion and he’s continuing the roll he and the No. 87 Baughman-Reutzel Motorsports team started back in 2018.
“Yeah, it’s been a good ride so far,” Reutzel told The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast. “Really fortunate and blessed to have good people between our owners the Baughman’s, they do everything that it takes for us to be competitive.”
Reutzel has been doing his job behind the wheel winning 9-races in 2018, 16-races in 2019 and 7-races so far in 2020. That’s 32-wins and two Championships in two-plus years! Not bad for a guy who only got behind the wheel of a 410-Sprint Car in 2018.
“We have a lot of great partners that allow us to go out and be competitive and make my job a little bit easier,” said Reutzel. “They’re a really big part of our team between Folken Brothers Trucking and Fischer Body Shop and all of our partners.”
If it wasn’t for a driver by the name of Kyle Larson there would be a lot more attention on the Baughman-Reutzel Motorsports team.
“I think I finished second to him four times now so yeah I think he is really sorry for what he said and NASCAR-land needs to let him come back,” joked Reutzel.
Reutzel and Company are one of the few teams who have been able to keep pace with and even beat Larson.
“There was one stretch where, between running PA Speedweek and then going over to Ohio Speedweek, we did 14-races in 16-days so that was probably the most racing I’ve ever done but it was it was pretty cool to do,” said Reutzel. “We only got one win, we would’ve liked to have got more than that. We were in contention for a few of other ones but everything just didn’t play out, but we were consistent. We were almost on the podium every night and came away with the (Ohio) Speedweeks championship so that was pretty cool.”
One place that Reutzel really enjoys running is Port Royal Speedway in Port Royal, PA.
“Port Royal is one of a kind,” said Reutzel. “Honestly that’s the No. 1 on my favorites list. Everything about it. The little town that it’s in is pretty neat. The racing that it puts on. With what they put back into it, it’s just an amazing place. It’s definitely one that once you go there, you’ll definitely want to go back.”
Port Royal is one of his favorite tracks to run but there is one event that Reutzel wants to add to his resume.
“Knoxville is No. 1 on my list for something I want to win,” said Reutzel. “I don’t feel like there’s anything bigger than winning the Knoxville Nationals.”
Reutzel started on the pole at the Knoxville Nationals in 2019 but he wasn’t able to bring home the victory.
“I think we had to be a little be better, me as a driver and the team in general,” said Reutzel reflecting on the race. “I think we all just kind of let the race get to us and didn’t treat it like another race. We probably over-focused on everything a little bit and just kind of let that get to us a little bit.”
Reutzel and the team will have to wait until 2021 to check that off their list, in the meantime they will keep running the All Stars Circuit like they have since choosing to run the series in 2018.
It just made sense for us with the Baughman’s and myself the first time being full-time with the 410’s and it was still a really, good paying series,” said Reutzel. “It’s been a good choice so far.”
Reutzel also appreciates all of the fan support that he has seen in a year where teams, tracks and fans have been put to the test in large part due to COVID-19.
“I feel like I’ve seen more fans this year than I have ever seen just getting out and supporting local racing,” said Reutzel. “I’m sure most of them were just ready to get out of the house in general but there’s just been a ton of fans everywhere we’ve gone out supporting racing.”
The Ollies Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 takes on 34 Speedway on Friday night and Knoxville Raceway on Saturday night.
Indy Autonomous Challenge Race Car Unveiled
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.”
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.
Racing Notebook: Kellett Returning to A.J. Foyt For ’21; U.S. Motorsports Association Forms Leadership Council Plus Extreme E
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.
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.
RUSH Late Model Series Enhancing ‘Track Pack’ Program For 2021
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.
“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.