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Racing Notebook: Bowman To Hendrick’s 48; Hamlin On Pole For ROVAL and more

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PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The latest edition of The Pittsburgh Racing Now Notebook has details on Hendrick Motorsports choosing Alex Bowman to replace Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet; NASCAR sets the lineup for this weekend’s Cup Series race on The Roval; Rahal Letterman Lanigan to build new headquarters; Jarett Andretti headed to IMSA in 2021; Indy Lights to return in 2021; Suarez lands new Cup Series Ride and Deegan to make Truck Series debut at Kansas.

Hendrick Putting Bowman In The No. 48:

  • Hendrick Motorsports is putting Alex Bowman in the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet for the 2021 season.  Bowman’s crew chief will remain Greg Ives.  Bowman takes over the seat that is being vacated by 7-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson.  Johnson is retiring from NASCAR competition but not racing as Johnson is planning to run the Road and Street courses in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Denny Hamlin To Start On Roval Pole At Charlotte:

  • Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin will start on the pole position for the NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America Roval 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course.  Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott, the defending winner at the Roval, will start second.  The second row consists of Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski and Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick.  The green flag drops on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on NBC. Roval Starting Lineup

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing To Build New Headquarters:

  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is going to build a new headquarters in Zionsville, Indiana.  The new state-of-the-art, 100,000-square foot facility will consolidate RLL’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES operation (currently in Brownsburg, IN) and IMSA operations (currently in Hilliard, OH) under one roof.  RLL expects to break ground on its headquarters in late 2020 and be fully operational by Spring 2021.
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Jarett Andretti and Andretti Autosport Headed To IMSA In 2021:

  • Andretti Autosport announced today that Jarett Andretti will enter the 2021 IMSA Prototype Challenge in the LMP3 class. Following a successful two years behind the wheel of his GT4 machine, the third-generation driver is ready to tackle the new experience in the Ligier JS P320.  The IMSA Prototype Challenge highlights six races on the 2021 schedule with each race one hour, 45 minutes in length. As a champion is crowned for the IMSA Prototype Challenge, the championship-winning driver will receive a $100,000 IMSA credit applicable for the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.

Indy Lights To Return in 2021:

  • The Indy Lights Series, the final stepping stone on the ‘Road To Indy’ ladder system, will be back on the grid in 2021.  The rejuvenated Indy Lights Series will benefit from additional initiatives being formulated in conjunction with INDYCAR, including an increased value of the champion’s scholarship award to $1,250,000. A guaranteed entry for the champion into at least three 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES events, including the Indianapolis 500, will remain. Also new in 2021, the top-three finishers in the Indy Lights championship will each receive a NTT INDYCAR SERIES test at the conclusion of the season. Twenty-three of the 33 starters in this year’s Indianapolis 500 were Indy Lights graduates including eight Indy Lights champions.

Daniel Suarez To Drive For New Cup Team:

  • Trackhouse Entertainment Group announced today the formation of a new NASCAR Cup Series team that will make its on-track debut at the 2021 DAYTONA 500.  Piloting the No. 99 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE will be 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion and NASCAR Cup Series veteran, Daniel Suárez.  Trackhouse Entertainment Group, an investor in and operator of motorsports business, was founded and is owned by Justin Marks.

Hailie Deegan To Make NASCAR Truck Series Debut:

  • ARCA Series driver Hailie Deegan is going to make her NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series debut next weekend at Kansas Speedway with DGR Crosley.  Deegan made the announcement today on her Twitter feed.
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IndyCar

Racing Notebook: Pocono Camping Sold Out; Firecracker 100 weekend starts Thursday and more!

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Photo: Pocono Raceway

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The latest edition of the Pittsburgh Racing Now Notebook is getting you ready for a busy weekend of racing in the Keystone State with NASCAR out East and the World of Outlaws Late Models at Lernerville.  Plus the NTT INDYCAR SERIES makes a schedule adjustment.

Pocono Camping Sold Out:

  • Pocono Raceway has sold out all available camping for this weekend’s NASCAR Doubleheader at ‘The Tricky Triangle’.  Pocono started the week on Monday with only 71-sites available but those quickly sold out.  The action gets started Friday with the ARCA Menards Series General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200.  On Saturday it’s the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series CRC Brakleen 150 and the NASCAR Cup Series Pocono Organics CBD 325.  Sunday features the NASCAR Xfinity Series Pocono Green 225 presented by J.P. Mascaro & Sons and the NASCAR Cup Series Explore the Pocono Mountains 350.  Tickets are available at www.poconoraceway.com.

Pocono Organics CBD To Sponsor Cup Race:

  • Pocono Organics, one of the largest Regenerative Organic Farms in North America, will sponsor the NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway on Saturday, June 26. Pocono Organics will highlight their line of USDA Certified Organic, Full-Spectrum Hemp CBD products with the Pocono Organics CBD 325. The Pocono Organics CBD 325 is part of the 2021 NASCAR Doubleheader at ‘The Tricky Triangle’ featuring five NASCAR & ARCA Races in three days, including two NASCAR Cup Series races taking place on back-to-back days, from June 25-27.
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Tickets On Sale For Grand Prix of Portland:

  • Ticket sales are open for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Grand Prix of Portland. After missing their visit last year due to the global pandemic, the stars and cars of the Indianapolis 500 are coming back to Portland International Raceway for the first of three stops on its west coast swing to end the 2021 season September 10-12, 2021. Pricing starts at $85 for Bronze-level 3-Day Grandstand seating, $105 for Silver, and $165 for Gold which includes a Paddock Pass. General Admission for the entire three-day weekend is $65. Single-Day tickets will be released for sale in July.  Tickets are available at portlandgp.com.

INDYCAR Will Not Replace Toronto:

  • The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will not replace this year’s race on the street of Toronto with another race on the schedule.  Toronto had to be cancelled for the second year in-a-row due to the global pandemic.  Options to replace the race with one at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or maybe turning the Mid-Ohio weekend into a doubleheader were considered but the timing of the cancellation failed to give promoters enough time to secure sponsorship to host an additional race.

Firecracker 100 Weekend Begins Thursday:

  • The World of Outlaws Late Model Series rolls into Lernerville Speedway this weekend for the legendary ‘Firecracker 100’.  The Racing starts Thursday night with the $6,000-to-win Firecracker 100 qualifier along with the RUSH Late Model Series preliminaries for the Bill Emig Memorial and continues on Friday with another WoO qualifier and more prelims for RUSH LMS.  Saturday is the 15th Annual Firecracker 100 for the WoO and the Bill Emig Memorial for the RUSH LMS.  Tickets and information is available at www.lernerville.com.

Points Battles Continue Sunday At Tri-City:

  • As the racing season nears the halfway mark, four familiar names appear at the top of the point standings at Tri-City Raceway Park. In the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprint division, defending champion Jack Sodeman, Jr. leads the standings on the strength of multiple feature wins. Jeremiah Shingledecker, the leading winner in the Krill Recycling 358 Modifieds, leads the way with 406 points. The closest battle for supremacy is in the Hovis Truck & Auto Supply Pro Stock class. William Hurrelbrink’s consistency has him in control, with 296 points, even though he has yet to take a checkered flag. Dalton Speer, with multiple wins in the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks, leads with 408 points, the highest tally of any driver in any division. The action will start at 6 p.m. on Sunday evening. Gates will open at 4 for the fans and 2 for the racers. Tickets are available at Tri-CityRacewayPark.com.
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Racing Notebook

Racing Notebook: Carb Day delayed by rain; NASCAR At Charlotte; Extreme E At Ocean Prix and more

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Photo: Doug Mathews

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The latest edition of The Pittsburgh Racing Now Notebook is waiting out the rain at the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Carb Day; NASCAR gets to actually qualify for two weeks in-a-row; Chase Elliott will be without his spotter this weekend after NASCAR announces a suspension; Extreme E readies for race No. 2 and Tri-City Raceway Park gears up for sprint cars this Sunday.

Carb Day Delayed By Rain:

  • The final practice for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge has been delayed by rain.  The two-hour ‘Carb Day’ session was supposed to run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. but lingering precipitation is preventing the cars from getting out on the track.  Officials from INDYCAR are hoping to get a window to allow teams to run this afternoon, even if it is an abbreviated session.

NASCAR To Use Qualifications At Charlotte:

  • NASCAR teams will get to actually qualify this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  NASCAR has been using a ‘performance matrix’ to determine starting lineups during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Last weekend at Circuit of the Americas teams were allowed to qualify since it was the sanctioning bodies first visit to the facility.  The Camping World Truck Series will qualify Friday night while the Xfinity Series and Cup Series will qualify on Saturday.
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Elliott Spotter D’Hondt Suspended:

  • NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports has indefinitely suspended Eddie D’Hondt, the spotter for the No. 9 Chevrolet of Chase Elliott, for two violations: Member Conduct Guidelines and Required Notice. D’Hondt was charged May 12 with two misdemeanor charges of assaulting a woman and battery of an unborn child.  The charges are related to a September 2020 incident at a retail store.  D’Hondt failed to notify NASCAR of the arrest.  D’Hondt’s attorney denied the charges to Fox Sports.

Extreme E Readies For Ocean Prix:

  • Extreme E, the electric off-road racing series, is racing this weekend on the West African Senegalese coast for its Ocean X Prix at Lac Rose, Dakar, Senegal, May 29-30.  The shores of Lac Rose hosted the finish of the world’s most famous cross-country rally – the Paris-Dakar – on numerous occasions between 1979 and 2007.  Drivers will once again face a mostly sandy terrain as the race will take to the existing tracks surrounding the lake, named after, and renowned for its striking pink colour, caused by algae that thrives within its highly-saline waters. Rosberg X Racing (RXR) took victory in the inaugural X Prix last month in the Saudi Arabian deserts.

Tri-City Raceway Park Hosting Sprints On Sunday:

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Racing Notebook: Sato Receives ‘Baby Borg’; Andretti Signs Wheldon Brothers; Road To Indy Recaps and much more

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Plenty of news throughout the paddock at this past weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg including Takuma Sato being awarded a miniature version of the Borg Warner Trophy for his Indianapolis 500 win in 2020 plus Andretti Autosport signs Sebastian and Oliver Wheldon to development deals and the entire ‘Road To Indy’ results from this past weekend.

Takuma Sato Receives ‘Baby Borg’ For Indy 500 Win:

  • 2020 Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing owners Bobby Rahal, David Letterman and Mike Lanigan received miniature versions of the Borg Warner Trophy on Friday in commemoration of Sato’s 2nd Indianapolis 500 victory last year.

Will Power Signs Contract Extension:

  • Will Power is staying at Team Penske for the foreseeable future.  Power signed a contract extension with the team but the length and terms were not announced.  Power is the longest-tenured driver with Penske, winning the Championship in 2014 and the Indianapolis 500 in 2018.  Power is second among active INDYCAR drivers in wins with 39, trailing only 6-time and reigning Champion Scott Dixon’s 50.

Andretti Autosports Signs Sebastian And Oliver Wheldon:

  • Andretti Autosport is looking towards the future after signing Sebastian and Oliver Wheldon, sons of the late 2-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon, as junior drivers.  The Andretti team will mentor the Wheldon brothers as they compete with JC Karting in three different series: Rok Cup USA, Super Karts USA and United States Pro Kart Series.

Sebastian and Oliver Wheldon with Michael Andretti

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Kyle Kirkwood Wins Saturday’s Indy Lights Race:

  • Kyle Kirkwood beat his Andretti Autosport teammate Danial Frost by 1.3-seconds to win the first of two Indy Lights races on the Streets of St. Petersburg. Frost crossed the finish line 1-second ahead of third place David Malukas. Andretti Autosport just missed out on a podium sweep as Robert Meginnis finished fourth. Indy Light Race 1 Results

David Malukas Wins Sunday’s Indy Lights Race:

  • David Malukas beat Kyle Kirkwood by 0.6829 of a second to win Sunday’s Indy Lights Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Andersen Interior Contracting. The second win of the season for Malukas was enough to move the rising star from HMD Motorsports into a slender three-point championship lead ahead of Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports stablemate Linus Lundqvist, from Sweden, who finished third. Indy Lights Sunday Results

Braden Eves Wins Saturday’s Indy Pro 2000 Race:

  • Braden Eves led from flag-to-flag to win Saturday’s opening leg of the Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Cooper Tires. The 21-year-old from New Albany, Ohio, held off s stiff challenge Denmark’s Christian Rasmussen.  Pabst Racing’s Hunter McElrea, from New Zealand, finished third.  University of Pittsburgh student Colin Kaminsky started ninth and finished ninth. Indy Pro 2000 Race 1 Results

Christian Rasmussen Sunday’s Indy Pro 2000 Race:

  • Christian Rasmussen picked up his first Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires victory Sunday morning on the streets of St. Petersburg. The Jay Howard Driver Development wheelman has been knocking on the door of Victory Lane in each of the opening three races of the season. The Juncos Racing duo of Manuel Sulaiman and Reece Gold finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.  Pabst Racing’s Hunter McElrea and Colin Kaminsky rounded out the top 5. Indy Pro 2000 Race 2 Results

Christian Brooks Wins Both USF 2000 Races:

  • Exclusive Autosports Christian Brooks enjoyed a near perfect weekend on the streets of St. Petersburg. The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship sophomore claimed a pair of victories today on the unforgiving 1.8-mile street circuit, elevating himself from fifth in the points.
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