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Larson Boosts Winning Percentage to 50% with Port Royal WoO Triumph

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Photo: Trent Gower

PORT ROYAL, PA (October 9, 2020): Kyle Larson romped to the win on night one of the Nittany Showdown at Port Royal Speedway, The World of Outlaws victory was Larson’s 40th in 80 starts on dirt surfaces in Sprint Cars, Midgets and Late Models.

“I felt good in the dash, really, really, good,” Larson noted. “The balance in the car was a little different in the feature, but I was able to slide the slower cars.” Larson attributed his success to the frequency that he has been able to race with his crew chief, Paul Silva. “This is the most that I’ve ever gotten to race with Paul. We got to race a lot of days in a row and we got into a good rhythm.”

Second place finisher, Danny Dietrich, quipped, “hopefully, this guy goes back to NASCAR and we can be the winner.” Dietrich had one shot at Larson, a restart with ten laps to go, but it turned out to be a blank. “I had to go to the bottom and try to drive across (the middle) but couldn’t get enough speed.” Larson was able to keep his momentum up on the outside line and pulled away to the easy win.

Larson felt that his luck in the draw process was finally starting to improve. He pulled the number one pill for the dash, which meant that he would start first, and he drove effortlessly to victory over Dietrich to set the front row for the A Main. Sheldon Haudenschild lined up third, with Brock Zearfoss next to him. Donny Schatz and Gio Scelzi were in row three, with David Gravel and Anthony Macri in row four. Tony Stewart and James McFadden were in row five, with Kerry Madsen and Lance Dewease in the sixth row.

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Larson powered into turn one with the lead on the opening lap, with Dietrich following him. Zearfoss nestled into third. Haudenschild, Scelzi, and Schatz followed. Over the next fourteen laps, the field strung out and there was no movement within the top ten.

The big shake-up came with fifteen laps in the books. There was a five-car skirmish in turn four, seemingly started by Brent Marks. Also involved were Brad Sweet, McFadden, Carson Macedo, and Dewease. All of these racers were between tenth and sixteenth in the running order at the time. Nobody was injured, but Dewease and Macedo were eliminated from the race.

Although Larson’s commanding lead was wiped out by the incident, he was all alone out front for the single-file restart. He was able to get away cleanly, and reeled off the remaining laps without any difficulty.

At the checkers, it was Larson over Dietrich and Haudenschild. Scelzi, zearfoss and Macri were next. Positions seven through ten went to Schatz, Gravel, Freddie Rahmer, Jr., and Madsen.

The four heats went to Schatz, Scelzi, Larson, and Dietrich. Dylan Cisney debuted his new machine and earned the win in the C Main. Logan Schuchart prevailed in the B Main. Larson was the dash victor. The fastest qualifier was Schatz, who topped Group A with a lap of 15.190. Tops in Group B was Haudenschild with a time of 15.349.

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Local Racing

Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek Is Coming Back

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SHIPPENVILLE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Five local dirt tracks are teaming up to bring back Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek for the 2021 season.

Michael’s Mercer Raceway (Mercer, PA), Thunder Mountain Speedway (Brookville, PA), Lernerville Speedway (Sarver, PA), Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH) and Tri City Raceway Park (Franklin, PA) are the five tracks where the owners and promoters have aligned to bring back the event for the 410 Sprint Cars.

“The ‘410 Sprint Car’ division in the local area has been through many ups-and-downs over the last two decades, but there’s no doubt it’s as strong now as it ever was”, said Dave Willoughby, Sharon Speedway’s General Manager. “You see our guys competing for spots up front everywhere they go, and that even includes out at some of the tougher Central PA tracks.”

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Additional details will be released in the near future regarding the established point fund and other race night details.

Here’s the full schedule:

  • Wednesday, June 2nd – Michael’s Mercer Raceway
  • Thursday, June 3rd – Thunder Mountain Speedway
  • Friday, June 4th – Lernerville Speedway
  • Saturday, June 5th – Sharon Speedway
  • Sunday, June 6th – Tri City Raceway Park

Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek was previously run from 1993-2000 by the All-Star Circuit of Champions.

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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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IndyCar

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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