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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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IndyCar

Racing Notebook: Rosenqvist earns INDYCAR Pole; Dixon starts 2nd; Hocevar, Smith earn NASCAR victories

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FORT WORTH, TX – (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES gets back on track Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway with Arrow McLaren and Chip Ganassi Racing leading the field to green.  In NASCAR, Carson Hocevar and Chandler Smith each earned victories on Saturday and Alex Bowman will lead the Cup field to green on Sunday.

Felix Rosenqvist wins INDYCAR Texas Pole:

  • Arrow McLaren Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist is on the pole position for Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES PPG 375. Rosenqvist’s 2-lap average of 220.264 mph was slower than the 221.110 mph he posted in 2021.  The pole is the second consecutive for Rosenqvist at the 1.5-mile oval. “I think we just built on last year,” said Rosenqvist. “Maybe it was a good thing to start early. The track kind of warmed up. We’ll take it. We’ve always been good here, but this is a whole different confidence level compared to last year. Let’s try to wrap it up tomorrow.” The 250-lap race starts at Noon (ET) Sunday with live coverage on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Dixon Puts PNC Bank Honda on front row:

  • PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon will start on the outside of the front row for Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway.  Dixon’s 2-lap average around the 1.5-mile oval of 219.972-mph was 0.292-mph behind pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist. Dixon, a 6-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion has five career victories at Texas, including wins in four of the last nine races.  Dixon’s CGR teammates Takuma Sato and Alex Palou will start 6th and 7th respectively.  CGR’s Marcus Ericsson will roll off 16th in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda.
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Carson Hocevar Wins NASCAR Truck Race at Texas:

  • Carson Hocevar avoided a crash on the white flag lap to power to the win in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.  Hocevar made contact with the back of the truck of Nick Sanchez, as Sanchez was recovering from door-to-door contact with Zane Smith.  Sanchez spun and collected Smith as Hocevar avoided the mayhem to take the double-overtime victory.  The win was Hocevar’s first career win. “I didn’t mean to get into him, I just meant to give him a push and he got sideways the second I hit him, I apologize to them, I’ll take the fall for it.”

Chandler Smith takes NASCAR Xfinity win at Richmond:

  • Rookie Chandler Smith earned his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory Saturday afternoon at Richmond (Va.) Raceway holding off John Hunter Nemechek on a final race restart to win the ToyotaCare 250.  Smith’s margin of victory was .298-seconds.  Smith’s No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet led a race best 83 of the 250 laps.

Alex Bowman on NASCAR Cup Series Pole at Richmond:

  • Current NASCAR Cup Series championship leader Alex Bowman will start Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) from pole position in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with Kyle Busch completing the front row in the No. 8 Richard Childress Chevy after NASCAR’s Cup Series practice and qualifying sessions were cancelled Saturday morning at Richmond (Va.) Raceway because of poor weather.
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Racing Notebook

Racing Notebook: MSR Penalized; Taylor to sub for Elliott and more

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IMSA

(Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The latest edition of the Racing Notebook details Meyer Shank Racing’s post-Rolex 24 penalty plus Jordan Taylor to take the wheel of a Hendrick Chevy; two F1 veteran in Cup race at COTA and more:

Meyer Shank Penalized by IMSA:

  • Meyer Shank Racing is $50,000 lighter in the pocketbook after being penalized by IMSA for infractions discovered after the team won the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.  IMSA became aware of the manipulation of tire pressure data from the No. 60 car to IMSA as the monitoring point for the minimum tire pressure regulation.  In addition to the $50k fine the team and drivers lost lost 200-Championship points, lost all Michelin Endurance Cup points, lost race prize money, and team owner Mike Shank placed on probation through June 30, 2023 and team engineer Ryan McCarthy was placed on indefinite suspension.
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Jordan Taylor to sub for Chase Elliott at COTA:

  • Jordan Taylor will be behind the wheel of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend as the NASCAR Cup Series hits the road course at Circuit of the Americas.  Taylor, a three-time Champion in IMSA’s DPi and GT classes, has been working with Hendrick’s Garage 56 program for the 24-Hours of Le Mans.  Elliott, the 2020 Cup Series Champion, is expected to miss approximately six-weeks after suffering a broken leg snowboarding before this past weekend’s event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Jensen Button to make Cup debut at COTA:

  • 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jensen Button will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut this weekend at Circuit of the Americas driving the No. 15 Mobil 1 Ford for Rick Ware Racing.  This marks the first of three Cup Series starts in 2023 for Button, who will also compete at inaugural Chicago street race and the road course race at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Button has been testing Hendrick’s Garage 56 Camaro at Sebring, Daytona and COTA.  Kimi Raikonnen will also be in the field as he returns to Trackhouse Racing for the COTA event.

54 entries for 12-Hours of Sebring:

  • 54-cars are on the preliminary entry list for the 12-Hours of Sebring.  Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 2 Cadillac is not in the 12-Hour field as that car begins its World Endurance Championship (WEC) with the 1000-miles of Sebring the day before the 12-Hour. IMSA has also adjusted the Balance of Performance for GTD following the Rolex 24. All the cars have gained weight from the 1030kg minimum used at Daytona, with the Acura ARX-06 gaining the most at 1054kg, and Cadillac the least at 1038kg. BMW is at 1040, while Porsche is at 1048.  Qualifying for the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship takes place Friday, March 17 at 9 a.m. with the green flag dropping Saturday at 10 a.m.
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IndyCar

Racing Notebook: Pocono NASCAR Weekend approaching; INDYCAR in Toronto; PVGP hits the track and more

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Pocono Raceway

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The Pittsburgh Racing Now Racing Notebook is jam-packed with NASCAR, INDYCAR,  and Vintage racing news:

Limited Tickets Remain for Pocono NASCAR Weekend:

  • Pocono Raceway’s NASCAR weekend is a little over a week away and if you want to go, get your tickets now!  Pocono announced on Thursday that a limited number of grandstand seats are the only options remaining for the marquee M&M’S® Fan Appreciation 400 NASCAR Cup Series race next Sunday, July 24. The remaining grandstand seats for the Cup Series race are at three price points ($45, $80 and $95) and scattered throughout the various sections of the main grandstand. The only RV camping option currently available is general admission for $250, which includes two guest passes and free admission for up to 4 children 12 and under. To purchase tickets or learn more, please visit poconoraceway.com or call 800-722-3929.
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INDYCAR Returns To Toronto:

  • The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to the Streets of Toronto for this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto.  All eyes will be on Defending Series Champion Alex Palou, driver of the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.  CGR announced on Tuesday afternoon they were exercising their option on Palou for 2023, only to have Palou announce on Social Media later that evening that he was not returning.  Moments after Palou’s announcement, McLaren Racing announced they signed Palou for 2023.  CGR has won seven times at Toronto, the most recent being Scott Dixon in 2018. Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi was fastest in the first practice on Friday.  A second practice session takes place Saturday morning with three rounds of knockout-style qualifying taking place Saturday afternoon.  The race is Sunday at 3 p.m.

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix at Pitt Race:

  • The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix hits the Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum this weekend in a tune-up for next weekend’s race on the streets of Schenley Park. Since 2004, racers from all over the country have come to the 2.8-mile purpose-built track 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh for fierce competition.  The ‘Black Tie and Tailpipes Gala’ took place last night at The Grand Concourse at Station Square.  For more information visit pvgp.org.
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