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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: Castroneves Joins Meyer Shank Racing; INDYCAR tests at Laguna Seca and more.

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PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The latest edition of the Pittsburgh Racing Now Notebook has details on Helio Castroneves joining Meyer Shank Racing plus Jimmie Johnson tests the Carvana Honda at Laguna Seca and Belardi Auto Racing closes its doors.

Helio Castroneves Joins Meyer Shank Racing:

  • 3-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves is joining Meyer Shank Racing for six NTT INDYCAR SERIES events in 2021.  Castroneves is slated to compete at Barber Motorsports Park, The Streets of Long Beach, Indianapolis 500, Indy Road Course, Portland International Raceway and Weather Tech Raceway at Laguna Seca. “We’re really excited to have Helio come onboard with us next year,” said team co-owner Mike Shank. “The idea to start off with six races for the second IndyCar was another strategic plan. As I’ve always said in the past, we will never bite off more than we can chew.” The ultimate goal is to run two, full-time entries.

Jimmie Johnson and Alex Palou Test At Laguna Seca:

  • The two newest members of Chip Ganassi’s INDYCAR squad, Jimmie Johnson and Alex Palou, spent Monday testing at Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca.  The outing is the second test for both drivers with CGR after the joined the team following the conclusion of the 2020 NASCAR and INDYCAR seasons.  Johnson and Palou tested with teammates Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson last month at Barber Motorsports Park. Speeds and times were not released but Johnson and Palou had some cool social media posts.
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Belardi Auto Racing Closes:

  • Belardi Auto Racing, a fixture on the Road To Indy the past decade, is closing its doors.  Team Owner Brian Belardi cited personal health concerns as well as the economic effects from the COVID-19 pandemic as the primary reasons behind the decision.
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Racing Notebook

Racing Notebook: Formula E Invests In Extreme E; NASCAR Gearing Up For Championship

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Extreme E

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The latest edition of the Pittsburgh Racing Now Notebook includes an update on Extreme E as well as how NASCAR teams are gearing up for the Championship Weekend and NTT IndyCar Series teams get a jump on 2021 with testing at Barber Motorsports Park.

Formula E Invests In Extreme E:

  • Formula E has today announced that it has become a minority shareholder in Extreme E – the radical new off-road motorsport which will see electric SUVs competing in remote ecosystems around the world.  United in their founding purpose to counteract climate change by accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles, Formula E and Extreme E have a natural strategic alliance which has been formalized by Formula E’s investment.
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NASCAR Teams Gearing Up For Championship At Phoenix:

  • The NASCAR Championship teams of drivers Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin are gearing up this weekend’s Championship at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale Arizona.  Logano won the last race at Phoenix in the Spring.  Elliott won the pole for that race and led 93-laps.  Elliott has also won the last two elimination races (Martinsville, Charlotte).

NTT IndyCar Series Teams Test At Barber:

  • 21 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Teams spent Monday testing at Barber Motorsports Park, a little over a week after their season ending race at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  7-time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson and Alex Palou got acclimated with their Chip Ganassi Racing team while Felix Rosenqvist was in his new ride at Arrow McLaren SP while Felix Antonio da Costa was in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda for Graham Rahal.

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Racing Notebook

Racing Notebook: Larson To Hendrick Finally Official; Extreme E Unveils Ganassi Livery And More

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Chip Ganassi Racing Extreme E

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Kyle Larson to Hendrick Motorsports is finally official plus Marcus Ericsson and Chip Ganassi Racing agree to multi-year deal and a Pittsburgh “look” for one of CGR’s new machines.

Hendrick Motorsports Signs Kyle Larson:

  • Hendrick Motorsports made it official by announcing the signing of Kyle Larson to a multi-year deal to drive the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR Cup Series beginning in 2021.  Larson was reinstated by NASCAR earlier this month after being suspended for using a racial slur during a iRacing event this Spring.  Chip Ganassi Racing fired Larson and several sponsors dropped him as a result of that incident.

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Extreme E Debuts Chip Ganassi Racing Livery:

  • Chip Ganassi Racing’s entry in the Extreme E Series will carry some familiar colors when it makes its debut in 2021.  Extreme E is the electric, off-road rally series that will compete in the remote areas of the world affected by climate change.  Sara Price will be CGR’s female driver and Kyle LeDuc will be the male driver.  The Odyssey 21 SUV will carry a Black & Gold livery. To watch the Extreme E Global Launch click here.

Marcus Ericsson And Chip Ganassi Racing Agree To New Deal:

  • Marcus Ericsson will continue behind the wheel of Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 8 Honda.  The team announced on Wednesday a multi-year deal with the 30-year-old Swede.  Ericsson finished 12th in the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES final standings, which was his first year with the 13-time Championship organization.

 

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