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Racing Notebook

Racing Notebook: McLaughlin To INDYCAR for Penske in ’21; Sato Back With Rahal For ’21 and more!

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Chris Graythen/Getty Images

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – A busy start to the weekend in the racing world as Team Penske confirms Scott McLaughlin’s switch to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES plus Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato will return to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in 2021; Firestone renews sponsorship of St. Pete and Cup Series starting lineup.

Scott McLaughlin Leaving Supercars For INDYCAR:

  • Team Penske is leaving Australian Supercars but is brining Scott McLaughlin over to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.  The team announced late Friday that McLaughlin will transition from Supercars to complete the team’s four-car, full-season lineup in the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The 27-year-old McLaughlin will make his INDYCAR SERIES debut this weekend at the 2020 season finale at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
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Takuma Sato To Return To Rahal Letterman Lanigan In 2021:

  • Takuma Sato is returning to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.  Four of Sato’s six INDYCAR wins have come with RLL.  Sato, a two-time Indy 500 winner (2017 & 2020), joined RLL for the 2012 season and then returned in 2018.  2021 will mark his fourth consecutive season with the team and fifth overall. “Clearly it has been a successful partnership over the last several years, culminating in this year’s Indy 500 victory and I look forward to further success with Takuma throughout 2021.” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with David Letterman and Mike Lanigan.

Firestone Renews Sponsorship of Grand Prix of St. Petersburg:

  • Bridgestone Americas, Inc. is extending their Firestone brand’s title sponsorship of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for an additional three-years. “While the road to St. Petersburg has certainly been different this year, we are thrilled to return to the streets of St. Pete and help crown an NTT IndyCar Series champion,” said Lisa Boggs, director of Bridgestone Americas Motorsports. “Firestone tires have taken the checkers with the winner at all 15 IndyCar Series races here, and we’re proud to continue growing our partnership with Green Savoree Racing Promotions to support this marquee event in a community that shares our passion for the sport.”

Kevin Harvick On Cup Series Pole Position:

  • Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick will start Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Autotrader Echo Park Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway from the pole position.  Team Penske’s Joey Logano will start on the outside of the front row.  Penske’s Brad Keselowski and Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott will makeup row 2.  The race is Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on NBCSN.  The starting lineup was determined by NASCAR’s ‘performance matrix’. Texas Cup Series Starting Lineup
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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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IndyCar

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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Racing Notebook

Racing Notebook: 40% Capacity For Indy 500; Hamlin on Talladega Pole and more!

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Photo: Chris Owens/INDYCAR

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The latest edition of The Pittsburgh Racing Now notebook has details on plans for fans attendance at the Indianapolis 500.  NASCAR releases qualifying lineup for Talladega Superspeedway; ripKurrent returns to Kimball and Foyt for Indy.

40% Capacity For Indianapolis 500

  • The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been approved by the Marion County Public Health Department to host up to 135,000 fans, 40 percent of normal Race Day attendance, for this year’s Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 30. As part of the plan the Marion County Public Health Department approved, IMS will not be able to host some of the activities that are annually part of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” including concerts, public driver autograph sessions and fan access to infield mounds.
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Denny Hamlin Awarded Talladega Pole Position

  • Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin will start from the pole and Team Penske’s Joey Logano will join Hamlin on the front row for this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Due to the pandemic the starting lineups were determined by Metric Qualifying. Hamlin is the most recent winner at Talladega taking the checkered flag from the first starting position last October.

Red Farmer To Be Honored At Talladega

  • Live Fast Motorsports will honor NASCAR Hall of Famer Red Farmer, adorning the No. 78 in Farmer’s Long-Lewis Ford paint scheme. Long-Lewis started sponsoring Farmer in 1962, and the iconic gold and white paint scheme will hit the high banks at the superspeedway once again for Sunday’s race in the Geico 500.

ripKurrent Returns To Foyt/Kimball At Indy

  • AJ Foyt Racing is teaming up again with ripKurrent, an energy solutions integrations firm, as an associate marketing partner of Charlie Kimball’s No. 11 Tresiba Chevrolet for the month of May in Indianapolis.  The ripKurrent branding will be on the engine cover of the No. 11 car for both the Indy Grand Prix and the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. The ripKurrent logo will also appear on the nose cone of two other Foyt Racing entries for the 500: the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet driven by Sebastien Bourdais and the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet driven by rookie Dalton Kellett.
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