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Thomas, Stambaugh, Rudolph and Fosnaught Winners At Lernerville

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SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – A pair of first-time feature winners highlighted Fab 4 Friday night at Lernerville Speedway.

Will Thomas survived a late restart to win his first Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Model Feature at The Action Track.  A late race caution flag with four laps to go set-up the restart with Thomas leading and Tyler Dietz, Gary Lyle and Kenny Schaltenbrand are hungry for the checkered flag.  Dietz tried a slide job in the waning laps but Thomas was able maintain point and drove to his first Super Late Model win at Lernerville.

“I’ve got a lot of laps around Lernerville, but I don’t have a lot of laps in a Super Late Model,” said Thomas.  “I’m not the best a running a technical cushion.  You’ve to run this cushion so hard and Tyler Dietz does a great job.  I saw him next to me I knew we’d have a clean restart and then I saw him a little bit more, more than what I wanted to in three and four and I missed my entry in one and two a little bit but we were able to get a good run off of four and hold him off for a couple of laps.”

Max Stambaugh took home the checkered flag in the Peoples Natural Gas Sprint Car feature.  Stambaugh started on the outside pole and was out front when Brandon Spithaler spun coming off turn two collecting Carl Bowser in the process.  Stambaugh remained out front when racing resumed and held off A.J. Flick and Jack Sodeman Jr. to take home the win.

“We were kind of good here all night,” said Stambaugh.  “We started up front and did our job.  This is a good group of people here, everybody like to have fun.”

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Erick Rudolph held off John Mollick and Brian Swartzlander to win the Diehl Automotive Big Block Modified main event.  Rudolph started sixth and worked his way up to third place behind Garrett Krummert and Mollick when the caution flag flew for Kevin Long 10-laps into the main event.  Rudolph got a great restart and was able to navigate through lap traffic while Swartzlander and Mollick gave chase but Rudolph beat them to the checkered flag for his 12th feature win of the year.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” said Rudolph.  “But as the laps clicked off the car got quicker and quicker and that’s a tribute to the fine piece we brought here today.”

Jason Fosnaught passed Rusty Martz on a late restart and prevailed on another to win the Millerstown Pic-A-Part Pro Stock feature.  Tyler Dietz rounded out the podium with a third place finish.

“I always have this theory that you should restart on the bottom if you’re the leader, even if you have a choice,” said Fosnaught.  “There was a ton of grip down here and when he gave me the bottom on the restart I knew as long as I got to that tacky patch I was going to beat him to the corner.  Once I had him cleared, just take the line from him and go.”

Next up at The Action Track is the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series Commonwealth Clash on Saturday, September 25.

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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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