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Dietrich Does It at Williams Grove

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Williams Grove Speedway

MECHANICSBURG, PA (Williams Grove Speedway July 31, 2020): Danny Dietrich capitalized upon a late race restart to earn his fist victory of the season at Williams Grove Speedway. The win marked the tenth consecutive season that the Gettysburg driver has taken the laurels at the historic venue.

“We haven’t been very good since we got back from Texas,” Dietrich said. “We have had some speed, but there were nights that things broke or I wasn’t very good.” But, Dietrich was both lucky and good this night. He explained, “I hit the bottom very good coming off two and Anthony (Macri) rolled into three on the high side. I guess he thought that he had enough of a lead, but I hit the inside really hard and I slid him. I have a lot of respect for Anthony, and it’s mutual. I was in a situation myself where Brock (Zearfoss) could have fenced me but he showed me some respect. It’s mutual. We’re all friends.”

Tyler Ross and Macri occupied the front row by virtue of their heat race wins. Behind them were Dietrich and points leader Justin Marks. Row three had Lucas Wolfe paired with Zearfoss. Freddie Rahmer, Jr. and Adrian Schaffer were in row four, followed by Ryan Smith and Jason Solwold.

Ross jumped out to the early lead, but Macri was not to be denied. He blew by Ross in turns three and four to lead the field to the scoring loop for lap two. From there, Macri built up a substantial lead. Over the next 16 laps or so, the battle was for second between Ross and Dietrich, while Marks, Rahmer, and Wolfe fought for positions in the top five.

Dietrich took over second with 18 laps in the books. Soon thereafter, Ross came to a stop in turn four wiping out Macri’s huge lead.

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While the field was pacing under the caution, Dietrich drove up beside Macri. We will never know if the tactic rattled the younger driver, but this much we do know. Dietrich hung tough on the restart and, as he said, he got a good run at the leader coming off turn two. Dietrich completed the maneuver by sliding by Macri entering turn three.

Macri lost another position to Marks a lap later. Things could have been worse for Macri, as he made contact with Marks’ car coming off turn four after the pass. Fortunately, both drivers were able to gather it up and keep their cars moving forward without further incidents.

At the checkers, it was Dietrich over Marks by 2.616 seconds. Macri held on for third. Zearfoss and Wolfe completed the top five. Smith passed a faltering Rahmer for sixth. After Rahmer came Solwold, Chase Dietz, and Matt Campbell.

There was no B Main due to the short field.

Derek Locke scored his first career win in the 358 Sprints, leading the entire distance. Brett Wanner had a couple of shots at him on restarts, but Wanner could not get the nose ahead of the leader on either occasion. Dylan Norris, Jordan Strickler, and Scott Fisher completed the top five. Kevin Nouse was going for his third consecutive win of the season at the Grove, but he crashed between turns three and four on the opening lap. Nouse was fighting for second at the moment of impact.

Williams Grove will have 410 Sprints and Super Late Models next Friday, August 7. August 14 will be a Sprint Car triple header as the 410s and 358s will be joined by the USAC East Coast 360 Sprints. They race sans wings, so there will be a little something for everybody that night. That show was added to the schedule after the Knoxville Nationals were postponed due to the COVID-19 limitations.

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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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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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