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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: 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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Racing Notebook

Racing Notebook: Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr on Atlanta Front Row; Autotrader extends with Team Penske

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Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – NASCAR has set the starting positions in the NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series for this weekend’s races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Autotrader is extending their partnership with Team Penske.  The Stadium Super Truck Series is coming back to the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Hamlin And Truex Jr On Atlanta Cup Front Row:

  • Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr are on the front row for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Folds Of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  NASCAR sets the starting field using their Metric data formula.  Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski make up row 2.  Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson make up row 3.  There have been five different winners so far in five NASCAR Cup Series races in 2021. Atlanta Cup Starting Lineup
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Cindric And Burton On Xfinity Series Front Row:

  • Team Penske’s Austin Cindric and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Jeb Burton are on the front row for Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series EchoPark 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  AJ Allmendinger and Brandon Brown make up row two followed by Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier. Atlanta Xfinity Starting Lineup

Nemechek And Busch On Camping World Truck Series Front Row:

  • John Hunter Nemechek and his boss/team owner Kyle Busch will start on the front row for Saturday afternoon’s Fr8Auctions 200 NASCAR Camping World trucks series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Nemechek beat his boss last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Level Green PA’s Norm Benning will start 37th. Atlanta Truck Starting Lineup

Autotrader Extends Partership With Team Penske:

  • Autotrader is extending their partnership with Team Penske. The partnership renewal includes an increase in races where the Autotrader brand will serve as primary sponsor for the Ford Mustangs driven by both 2012 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski and 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Joey Logano. Keselowski and Logano will compete in the Autotrader orange and blue colors for a total of six races during the 2021 season, starting this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where Keselowski will race the No. 2 Autotrader Ford.
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