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Larson Doubles at Port Royal

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Trent Gower

PORT ROYAL, PA (October 10, 2020): Kyle Larson did it again at Port Royal Speedway, beating the best of the World of Outlaws and the Pennsylvania Posse in the Nittany Showdown. After scoring the his 41st dirt win of the COVID affected season, Larson admitted that his goal is get to 50 by the end of the year. To reach that number, he will probably need to go on another rampage in the Midgets like he did in the run up to his first Chili Bowl title.

Larson had a little luck on his side this night. Brent Marks blew by him on the rim in turn two with three laps remaining. The pass was nullified, however, when Kerry Madsen brought his car to a stop in the middle of the back stretch. Because the new leader did not get back to the scoring loop before that happened, Larson regained the lead for the restart. “I definitely got really luck there,” Larson said with a sigh of relief. “I got trapped behind Spencer (Bayston). He was running the top and I went down and so did he and Brent went ripping around us and then the yellow came out.”

Once installed again as the leader, Larson started looking for his crew to give him some signals as to how he should approach the remaining three laps. Larson got help form his car owner and crew chief, Paul Silva. “Paul just told me get on top and let it rip,” Larson said. Continuing, he added, “Marks came down early (off turn four) and showed me his nose. I pinched him down and maybe messed up his line so he couldn’t slide me. I never saw him after that.”

It was an all-Pennsylvania front row for the start of the thirty lapper. Lance Dewease and Brent Macri had the Posse faithful in a frenzy. It was a California second row, with Gio Scelzi joined by Larson. The Outlaws held down row three, with Sheldon Haudenschild and Brad Sweet carrying their colors. Carson Macedo and Marks were in row four, with Kyle Reinhart and Brock Zearfoss in row five. Dylan Cisney and Logan Schuchart started in row six.

Dewease pulled away from Macri at the exit of turn four to lead the way into the first corner. However, Larson slipped to the inside of Macri and took second coming off turn two. Haudenschild tucked in behind Macri, with Scelzi and Marks fighting for fifth.

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Dewease opened up a comfortable margin over his friend, Larson, and the fans were loving every minute of it. Several alps into the contest, though, Dewease made a rare mistake. He got his right rear over the narrow ledge in turns one and two and struck the wall. He was able to keep the car moving and did not lose a position, but something was amiss. Larson reeled him in. The two put on a remarkable battle for the lead for several laps, but Larson claimed the lead by lap ten.

“I really didn’t know who was second,” Dewease said. “I clobbered the wall and the car wasn’t very good after that. I thought about pulling off.” But, Dewease soldiered on. He held second until lap 18, when Marks went by on the high side of turn one. Haudenschild did likewise several laps later after an intense duel with Dewease. However, Dewease showed that his superior knowledge of the track could make up for some deficiencies in the performance of his car. He was able to slide Haudenschild on the restart to regain third and Dewease ran an inspired three laps to close out the race, almost catching Marks for second at the finish.

Larson’s win ensured that the Pennsylvania drivers were shut out on their home turf for the first time in over a decade. Marks had mixed emotions following his second place finish. “I’m a little disappointed. For once we had a better car than he did. We’re proud to be standing up here after the mistake I made last night.” Marks was confessing error for the five car melee in turn four that knocked several cars out of contention for top ten positions.

Following Larson, Marks, and Dewease were Schuchart and Haudenschild. Scelzi, Zearfoss, Sweet, Macedo, and Logan Wagner completed the top ten.

Scelzi, Sweet, Macedo, and Marks were the heat winners. Michael Bauer was best in the Non Qualifiers race. The C Main victory went to T.J. Stutts. Danny Dietrich topped the B Main. Dewease won the dash. The evening’s fastest qualifier was Scelzi, with a lap of 16.095 seconds in Group A. Macedo was quickest in Group B with a time of 16.233.

Port Royal Speedway will be back in action next weekend with a three-day program for the STSS Modifieds and Sportsmen. Thursday will be a 40 lapper for the Modifieds. Friday will be qualifying night with semi-features for both Modifieds and Sportsmen. Saturday will be a 200 lap feature for the Modifieds paying $53,000 to the winner. Sportsmen will race 50 laps for $2,500. The season will conclude at the Speed Palace on October 24, when the Ninth Annual Keystone RaceSaver Challenge will be held for the 305 Sprint Cars. Limited Late Models and Mini Stocks will also be on that card.

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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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