WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (September 18, 2020): Aaron Reutzel returned to victory lane at Williams Grove Speedway in the Jack Gunn Memorial at Williams Grove Speedway. The two-time and defending titleholder for the All Stars Circuit of Champions solidified his position atop the standings in his quest for a third consecutive crown. Reutzel explained that this race was a key to his run for the championship in 2019 and that he believes this win could do the trick for him again.
“Our car was phenomenal tonight. I could move around, I could blast around the top and I could run around the bottom.” Reutzel was forced to move around because “(Brian) Brown was using the whole track. Then, Gio (Scelzi) went up and I went down.” Reutzel was patient in making his pass of Scelzi for the lead, however, noting that he had difficulty getting past Brown for second “and I didn’t want to try to make a move too soon.”
Brown and Scelzi started on the front row for the A Main. Paul McMahan and Reutzel were in row two, with Kyle Larson and Zeb Wise in the third row. Kerry Madsen was lined up beside Dylan Cisney, with Ian Madsen and Cory Eliason next in the starting order. Brent Marks and Freddie Rahmer, Jr. had row six covered.
Brown had the early advantage, but it did not take long for Scelzi to get by the 2020 Knoxville Raceway champion. Reutzel moved into third on the opening lap, followed by McMahan and Larson.
Things were pretty much in order until lap eight. That was when Reutzel maneuvered past Brown. Larson tried to get by Brown at that time as well, but was unable to make the pass.
Reutzel began to stalk Scelzi, who was still riding the rim of the speedway. Reutzel moved to the bottom line and suddenly began to pick up speed. With thirteen laps completed, he drove deep into turn one and the car stuck. He drove right past the youngest driver ever to win at the Grove and never looked back.
Meanwhile, Brown and Larson were putting on quite a show racing for the third position. By this time, Brown was also committed to the inside line and Larson was flogging the cushion. Back and forth they went as neither driver was able to seize the spot for good.
In the second half of the race, Wise picked up his pace and he advanced to fifth. He appeared to be gaining on Brown and Larson, who were still fighting for third. The youngster’s strong performance came to an end, however, when he suffered a flat right rear tire with 28 of the 30 laps complete.
The late caution was a concern to the leader, Reutzel. “I wanted to keep it going,” he said. He was concerned that there could be a rash of flat tires, which could send the race into overtime, as series rules call for the last two laps to run under the green. Also, Reutzel was afraid that he could be the next racer to get a flat tire due to the hard and slick track conditions.
His concerns were for naught. He was able to complete the last two rounds without incident. Three others were not as fortunate, including Brown, whose flat tire ended his battle with Larson for the third position. Also getting flats on the past lap were Brock Zearfoss, who was in the top ten, and Brian Montieth.
At the checkers, it was Reutzel over Scelzi and Larson. McMahan crossed in fourth and Marks was fifth. Anthony Macri, Danny Dietrich, Kerry Madsen, Rahmer, and Cisney completed the top ten.
Scelzi was dejected about finishing second. “This sucks. I let my guys down. When I couldn’t get those lapped cars, I should have moved down sooner.” Larson knew that the bottom was starting to take rubber, “but I wasn’t going to be content running single file. I started catching those guys (referring to Reutzel and Scelzi), but they were in the rubber.”
The four heat wins went to Brown, Wise, McMahan, and Reutzel. The B Main went to Chad Trout. Dash victories were scored by Brown and Scelzi. Scelzi was also the fastest qualifier of the evening, clocking in an early lap of 16.742 seconds.
The 305 Sprint Cars presented a 20 lap feature to end the night. Jaremi Hanson went wire to wire for the win. Ken Duke climbed to second. John Walp brought his sputtering car home in third.
Williams Grove will be back in action next Friday, with the final tune-up for the National Open, which will be sanctioned by the World of Outlaws. The September 25 program will include the 410 and 358 Sprint divisions. The National Open will close out the season at Williams Grove on October 2 and 3.
A-Main (30 Laps)
1. 87-Aaron Reutzel ; 2. 18-Gio Scelzi ; 3. 57-Kyle Larson ; 4. 13-Paul McMahan ; 5. 5-Brent Marks ; 6. 39M-Anthony Macri ; 7. 48-Danny Dietrich ; 8. 2M-Kerry Madsen ; 9. 51-Freddie Rahmer ; 10. 5C-Dylan Cisney ; 11. 17-Ian Madsen ; 12. 26-Cory Eliason ; 13. 27S-Adrian Shaffer ; 14. 91-Kyle Reinhardt ; 15. 24-Rico Abreu ; 16. 14-Tony Stewart ; 17. 1X-Chad Trout ; 18. 24w-Lucas Wolfe ; 19. 21M-Brian Montieth ; 20. 99-Skylar Gee ; 21. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss ; 22. 21-Brian Brown ; 23. 11-Zeb Wise ; 24. 1W-Matt Campbell ; 25. 11T-TJ Stutts ; 26. 55K-Robbie Kendall  Lap Leaders: Gio Scelzi (1-13), Aaron Reutzel (14-30)
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.