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Indy 500 Entry List Released




INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are gearing up for the 104th running of The Indianapolis 500 on Sunday August 23, 2020.

The Series and Speedway released the entry list that will comprise the 33-car field and it includes eight previous 500 winners and a two-time Formula 1 Champion.

Three-time 500 winner Helio Castroneves returns for another chance to join the elite group of four-time winners of “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing”, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.  Castroneves will drive a fourth Team Penske entry.

There are seven other previous 500 winners in the field including defending race winner Simon Pagneaud of Team Penske, Will Power (2018) of Team Penske, Takuma Sato (2017) of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Alexander Rossi (2016) of Andretti Autosport, Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014) of Andretti Autosport, Tony Kanaan (2013) of A.J. Foyt Racing and Scott Dixon (2008) of PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing.

Dixon, the 5-time Series Champion and current points leader, leads the list of Series Champions in the field.  Defending Series Champion Josef Newgarden of Team Penske is seeking his first 500 win while Hunter-Reay, Kanaan, Pagenaud and Power have checked that box.

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Two-time Formula 1 Champion Fernando Alonso is back to try and add a 500 win to his spectacular racing resume.  Alonso will drive a third Arrow McLaren SP entry. Alonso will attempt to become just the second driver to complete the “Triple Crown” of global auto racing with victories in the Indianapolis 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Monaco Grand Prix.  Graham Hill is the only driver to accomplish that feat.

Five rookie drivers will compete for Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year honors. Former Indy Lights Champions Oliver Askew (2019) and Patricio O’Ward (2018) of Arrow McLaren SP will be joined by Dalton Kellett of A.J. Foyt Racing, Alex Palou of Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh and Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing.

In addition to Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing will field entries for 2019 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the year in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda and Marcus Ericsson who will pilot the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda.

Steelers minority owner Rob Citrone and his son Nick have teamed up with for former INDYCAR driver Robbie Buhl and his brother Tom to field an entry for Spencer Pigot.  Citrone/Buhl Autosport will team with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing on the No. 45 Honda.  RLL will also field the No. 15 Honda for Graham Rahal.

Practice opens Wednesday, Aug. 12 and runs through Friday, Aug. 14. Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 15 and Sunday, Aug. 16. The traditional final practice, expanded to two hours as part of Miller Lite Carb Day, will be held Friday, Aug. 21.

Indy 500 Entry List


Indy Autonomous Challenge Race Car Unveiled



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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Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Rescheduled



ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is being rescheduled from its traditional March date to April 23-25, 2021.

The move to a later spring date is being made in the hopes that a greater number of fans will be able to attend the event, which takes place on the streets of St. Petersburg and the Albert Whitted Airport.

“I want to thank our friends at INDYCAR and our partners at Green Savoree for putting the health and safety of fans first,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.  “Each of these races takes an incredible amount of work from hundreds of dedicated professionals, and I know the decision to move the date of the race is not made lightly.  I appreciate the drivers, teams, staff and most of all the fans for their patience and understanding.  I look forward to welcoming everyone to the next Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The COVID-19 Pandemic forced the 2020 event to be moved from the season opening race to the season finale, where Josef Newgarden picked up the win and Chip Ganassi Racing‘s Scott Dixon was crowned the series Champion for the 6th time.

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“It’s not surprising that an event of this magnitude, scheduled for the first week of March, is still subject to the implications of the pandemic,” said Penske Entertainment Corp President and CEO Mark Miles.  “We’re delighted we were able to work with Mayor Rick Kriseman’s administration and Green Savoree Racing Promotions to find a more suitable date, which helps consolidate the beginning of our schedule and allows us to stay on NBC Network televison.”

The April 23-25 date on the INDYCAR Schedule announced last fall was originally supposed to be the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach but that event has been moved to the season finale, which opened the date for St. Pete.

“We appreciate the officials at INDYCAR for their support in setting a new date for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and also to Mayor Kriseman and his team at the City of St. Petersburg for identifying a time when it will be conducive for more fans to attend,” said Kim Green, co-owner, Chairman and CEO fo Green-Savoree St. Petersburg, LLC. “We are grateful to keep the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the springtime window and also maintain the live national broadcast of the race on NBC.”

The shifting of race dates moves Barber Motorsports Park to the season opener on April 11th.  The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg follows April 25th with Texas Motor Speedway doubleheader May 1st and 2nd.

An updated listing of green flag times will be announced at a later date.

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Aldo Andretti Passes Away



Chris Owens

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Aldo Andretti has passed away at the age of 80.  Andretti was the twin brother of Mario Andretti and a racer himself who survived two bad crashes, the second of which in 1969 book his jaw, 14-bones and his right eye socket.

“Though Aldo’s life took a different direction than brother Mario’s, Aldo forever shared a passion for racing and was a true motor enthusiast and entrepreneur,” Andretti Autosport said in a release. “He could often still be found on the racing circuit supporting and following the careers of the family.”

Mario Andretti took to his twitter page to express his grief:

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One of those careers Aldo passionately followed was that of his son John (pictured with above) who raced in INDYCAR, NASCAR, Sports Cars and Drag Racing.  John passed away in January after a long battle with colon cancer.

“Nothing mattered more to Aldo than family, and it brought him great pride to share his life with wife and high-school sweetheart Corky and their five children Carolyn, Mark, John, Mary Jo and Adam.” the Andretti Autosport release stated.

Aldo’s nephew, 2020 Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter Marco Andretti, also shared his feelings on social media.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at noon on Jan. 5 at St. Malachy Catholic Church in Brownsburg. The family will receive friends from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4, at Stevens Mortuary in Indianapolis.

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