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Weekend Racing Recap: Lutz Wins At Jennerstown; PPMS Gets Rain And More!

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Jennerstown Speedway

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Tuesday’s Racing Recap looks back at a busy weekend of racing and gets you up to speed both locally and nationally.

Joy, Weaver, Speer Victorious at Tri-City:

  • Nick Joy earned his first Tri-City victory in the Modified division feature during “Sunday Thunder” at Tri-City Raceway Park.  Jeremy Weaver won for the first time at Tri-City in the RUSH Sprint Car division feature. Dillon Speer continued to dominate the Mini Stock division by picking up his sixth win of 2020. The evening’s events were held in memory of Brandon Hawkins, the young Sprint Car ace who passed away recently. Sunday, August 30th, the BRP Modified Tour makes a first visit of 2020 to Tri-City, for the “Rick Hall Memorial Race”, the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, the Junior Sprint Cars and Vintage Modifieds with racing action set to launch at 6pm. For more information visit, www.TriCityRacewayPark.com

Craig Lutz Takes NASCAR Whelen Modified Win At Jennerstown:

  • Craig Lutz captured the victory in the inaugural running of the “Laurel Highlands 150” for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Saturday night at the Jennerstown Speedway Complex. Joe Maruca, of Slickville, PA parked in Stoney’s Beer Victory Lane for the first time in his Martella’s Pharmacies Late Model career, becoming the fifth different winner of the year. Five divisions of racing return Saturday night, August 29, at 6 p.m.  After the races, the final round of the Ron’s Collision Center Enduro Series will be contested.  For more information visit www.jennerstown.org.

Greg Dobrowsky Captures The “Mav Classic” At Mercer:

  • Greg Dobrosky beat Jim Morris, Jeremy Kornbau and John Partner to win the “Mav Classic” Saturday night at Michael’s Mercer Raceway.  Jake Gomola appeared to be cruising to a victory when he made contact with a lap car coming out of turn 4 and couldn’t continue the race.  The race was a tribute to the late 305 Sprints racer Brandon Hawkins. Over $4,000 was raised to benefit Hawkins’ son Maverick.  Rex King Sr. won the Big Block Modified over Rex King Jr and Dave Murdick. Brian Schaffer won the FASTRAK modifieds feature.
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Mother Nature Red Flags PPMS:

  • Mother Nature spoiled a good start to a night of racing Saturday at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway.  The track was able to get the 410 Sprint, RUSH Sprint Cars, RUSH Late Model Series and Pro Stock heat races in before the skies opened up to ruin the night at “Dirt’s Monster Half Mile”. Carl Bowser and Jack Sodeman Jr. picked up 410 Sprint heat wins.  Zach Morrow and Alan Dellinger picked up RUSH Sprint Car Series heat wins.  Zach Gunn, Justin Lamb, and Ben Policz took wins in RUSH Late Model Series heats and Nick Kocuba took the heat win in the Pro-Stocks.

Fab 4 Friday At Lernerville:

  • Friday night at Lernerville Speedway saw some familiar names visit Terry Bowser Victory Lane.  “The Crusher Kid” Mike Norris picked up his second Late Model feature win of the season and Joey Zambotti managed his third “Action Track” victory of 2020.  John Mollick picked up his second Big Block Modified win of the year. Dan Shetler picked up a popular victory in 410 Sprint Car action returning to Lernerville victory lane for the first time since 2017.

Takuma Sato Wins His 2nd Indy 500:

Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick wins NASCAR Cup Races At Dover:

 

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Three-time Indianapolis 500 Winner Bobby Unser Dies At 87

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Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

(Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser died Sunday, May 2 of natural causes at his home in New Mexico.  He was 87.

Unser won “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing” in 1968, 1975 and 1981 and is one of just 10-drivers with 3-wins in the event.

“There simply was no one quite like Bobby Unser,” said Roger Penske, Chairman of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Team Penske. “Bobby was a ferocious competitor on the track, and his larger-than-life personality made him one of the most beloved and unique racers we have ever seen. Bobby brought so much to Team Penske during his time with our team, including a memorable victory in the 1981 Indianapolis 500.”

Unser’s last ‘500’ win in ’81 put him in elite company as he joined Rick Mears as the only two drivers to post ‘500’ wins in three different decades. Unser produced 10 top-10 finishes in 19 career “500” starts and led 440-laps in 10 races, still 10th on the all-time list.

“When you mention icons in racing, and particularly the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Bobby Unser was a legend,” said J. Douglas Boles, President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “He could drive, and win, in any type of car and on any type of track. Over the last several years, I have seen the true Bobby Unser – the man who loved our sport, loved the Indianapolis 500 and loved to be with the fans. He would go out of his way to do whatever he could to be here in May to help us keep motorsports growing.”

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Prior to his success at Indianapolis, Unser dominated the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, claiming a record 13-victories.  Unser also won in USAC Sprint Car, Midget and Stock Car competition, earning seven career USAC Sprint Car feature victories and placing third in the standings in 1965 and 1966. He also won six USAC Stock Car races and three USAC Midget features.

Unser climbed out of the cockpit and into the broadcast booth where his uncompromising style and matter-of-fact delivery provided some of the most entertaining commentary in open wheel racing history simply because he knew what he was talking about.

Unser was highly regarded for his technical prowess and keen engineering mind.  Unser was also widely sought as a test driver because he would always push the car to the limit.

Unser is survived by his wife, Lisa; sons Bobby Jr. and Robby; and daughters Cindy and Jeri.

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Pato O’Ward gets first INDYCAR win in race 2 at Texas Motor Speedway

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Photo: Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR

FORT WORTH, TX (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Patricio O’Ward has been knocking on the door of winning in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and he finally knocked that door down by winning race two of the doubleheader on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

O’Ward passed Josef Newgarden with 24-laps remaining  and pulled away to a 1.2443-second victory.  The win was his first in the INDYCAR series and the first for a Chevrolet, that is not a Team Penske entry, since 2016.

“Finally!” exclaimed O’Ward in victory lane. ” I feel like we truly earned our win today. The pit stops were fantastic. The car was very well-balanced. I was able to attack. I didn’t feel like I was in defensive mode. I felt like if I was let loose, I could attack and I could get the job done.”

“It was a decent day for us,” said Newgarden. “Can’t be too disappointed with the second place. Obviously we were in the catbird seat there at the end. The only thing I was worried about, just seemed like we were lacking some speed for whatever reason. Pato’s Chevy seemed to be performing a little bit better than my Chevy.”

Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal came home third after trading the lead with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon in the midpoint of the race.

“Solid day,” said Rahal. “I think last two stints I got just way too loose. But before that, I thought we did an excellent job. The guys, one heck of a pit stop there on the second-to-last stop, which really got us into, what, from fifth to third. From there I thought we could attack pretty hard. Great work by them.”

Dixon, winner of the Genesys 300 on Saturday night, finished fourth after starting from the pole in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

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“Huge congrats to Pato,” said Dixon, who extended his lead in the Championship standings to 22-points over O’Ward. “I was watching from back a few spots there, and what he did there at the end was a tremendous drive, especially against one of the best guys in the field.”

Several cars failed to make it to the first turn of the race after Pietro Fittipaldi’s No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda hit the rear of Sebastien Bourdais’ No. 14 ROKiT/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet when the back of the pack approached the green flag, triggering a melee that involved seven cars and eliminated six.

“When someone checks up in front of you, you should still be in control of your car,” said Bourdais after leaving the infield care center following a mandatory checkup. “It’s still no excuse.”

Conor Daly took the wildest ride in the crash turning over after contact and sliding down the track on the roll hoop and Aeroscreen before turning right-side-up when it touched the infield grass. Daly climbed from the car without assistance.

“On our Bingo card of terrible things to have happened to us this year, I don’t know what’s going to be next,” lamented Daly. “I really hope we can just start turning things around. It’s been a rough start. But I’m good. I’m all right.”

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES is off next weekend and the following week the Month of May activities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway begins with the GMR Grand Prix on the IMS road course on Saturday, May 15.

INDYCAR Texas Race 2 Results

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Scott Dixon Dominates In Race 1 Win At Texas Motor Speedway

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Photo: Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR

FORT WORTH, TX (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – There is not much that Scott Dixon has not accomplished in his NTT INDYCAR SERIES career except for winning back-to-back Championships. The 6-time and reigning series Champion is back atop the points standings after a dominating win Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

Dixon led a race-record 206-of-212-laps in the Genesys 300 to claim his first victory of 2021 and 51st of his career, which is one shy of 2nd place Mario Andretti on the all-time INDYCAR wins list.  A.J. Foyt is first with 67-wins.

“Fifth win at Texas, baby! That was awesome,” exclaimed Dixon in victory lane. “It feels amazing to be in this position. You just never want it to end. We want to go back-to-back and try to tie Mario tomorrow. I’m sure that’s not exactly what he wants to see.”

Dixon started second in the field as the starting lineup was set by Championship points after qualifying was cancelled because of rain that forced INDYCAR to adjust Saturday’s schedule.

The biggest challenge for Dixon was fellow New Zealander Scott McLaughlin, who was making his first oval start.  McLaughlin, a three-time Australian Supercars Champion, whittled away at Dixon’s lead in the closing laps as the No. 9 Grow Up Great Honda encountered lap traffic and turbulent air.

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“Definitely very tense there at the end,” said Dixon, who has won a race in 19-consecutive seasons. “I have this thing on the dash that tells me the gaps to cars. I probably need to take it off because it was stressing me out more than anything. It was kind of cool to be racing a countryman for the last few laps. I kept looking down, looking in the mirror. He was fast.”

“I’ve never been this bloody happy to finish second in my life,” said McLaughlin. “I’m really stoked. I just couldn’t get Scotty (Dixon) there at the end. But I’ll tell you what: It was bloody cool battling with my all-time favorite hero, Scotty Dixon. Two Kiwis, one and two.”

The race was slowed by two caution flags. The first was on lap 56 when Four-time INDYCAR Champion Sebastian Bourdais hit the SAFER Barrier hard in Turn 2 after he contact from two-time series Champion Josef Newgarden. Newgarden was penalized and sent to the back the lead lap on the restart.

Andretti Autosports James Hinchcliffe made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2 after spinning on Lap 160 in the No. 29 Genesys Honda.

Race 2 of the Texas doubleheader, the XPEL 375, is Sunday. The race distance is a little longer, 248-laps. Live coverage starts at 5 p.m. (ET) on NBCSN and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

INDYCAR Saturday Results

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