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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: Kanaan Back With Ganassi For 500; Calderon Joins Foyt and more

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(Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The racing world is gearing up for the 2022 season and there is plenty happening in the new year as deals continue to come together for the 2022 season.  Here are the latest headlines from our Racing Notebook:

Kanaan Back With Ganassi For 2022 Indy 500:

  • Chip Ganassi Racing is fielding a fifth entry in the 2022 Indianapolis 500 mile race for 2013 winner Tony Kanaan.  The American Legion, who sponsored Kanaan in four races in 2021, returns for 2022.  Kanaan was scheduled to drive the oval events in 2022 in the No. 48 Honda until Jimmie Johnson decided to run the full schedule.  Kanaan says the Ganassi team plans to use crew members from the team’s IMSA squad for Indy.

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Calderon Joins A.J. Foyt Racing:

  • A.J. Foyt Racing is expanding to three-cars for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.  ROKiT Group is expanding their partnership to field a second ROKiT Chevrolet for driver Tatiana Calderon, who will drive participate in the road and street course events.  Calderon joins Kyle Kirkwood, who will drive the No. 14 Chevy, and Dalton Kellett, who will pilot the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevy.

Tanner Thorsen Wins Chili Bowl:

  • Tanner Thorsen held off Christopher Bell to win the 36th annual Chili Bowl Nationals inside the Tulsa Expo Center.  Bell led 36-of-55-laps but Thorsen was able to pull off the pass between turns 1 and 2 on lap 37.  Bell held on for second place with teammate Rico Abreu coming home in third.

Robert Wickens Returns To Racing:

  • Robert Wickens is returning to the drivers seat in 2022 driving for Bryan Herta Autosport and Hyundai in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. Wickens, who suffered a spinal cord injury at a devastating crash at the INDYCAR event at Pocono Raceway in 2018, told reporters his recovery has plateaued so he will race with hand controls on the No. 33 Elantra N TCR he will share with countryman and IMPC champion Mark Wilkins.
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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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