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Pitt’s Colin Kaminsky juggling Graduating and Racing

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Photo: Gavin Baker Photography/Road To Indy

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The final semester for any college student is one of the most hectic times of their lives.  Immense discipline and time management is needed to balance classes, studying, group projects, playing hockey and fast approaching finals.  Imagine adding a full-time racing career on top of all of that.

The University of Pittsburgh’s Colin Kaminsky is finishing up his undergraduate studies this week while competing for Pabst Racing in the Indy Pro 2000 Series presented by Cooper Tires, a development series that is part of The ‘Road To Indy’ ladder system.

Most students spend the weekend before finals studying their curriculum. Kaminsky is not only doing that, he’s studying data sheets and working with his engineers trying to figure out how to extract maximum performance out of his race car.

Kaminsky started his 2021 season off with a seventh place in the season opener at Barber Motorsports Park. This past weekend at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Saturday Kaminsky finished ninth in the first race.

“I was probably a little too tentative probably on the opening lap trying not crash with a couple of ballsy kids, but we finished where we started and kept the nose clean,” said Kaminsky, who returned on Sunday to post a Top 5.

“I think we had a car to get to the podium,” explained Kaminsky. “I think we were the fastest car out of the top three or four. We just got stuck behind a couple guys and almost got into fourth. Fifth at the end of the day I’m pretty happy with.”

To give you an idea on how Kaminsky is balancing the demands of finishing school along with his racing, following Saturday’s race Kaminsky was hitting the books. Sunday morning it was race two followed by starting the trip home with a stop at a hotel so he could have WiFi to attend a virtual class Monday morning. Monday afternoon it was back on the road to finish the trip home, just in time to get ready for a final on Wednesday.

Kaminsky is looking forward to graduating so he can devote all of his time to advancing his racing career.

“The University of Pittsburgh has been a great home for the last couple of years,” said Kaminsky. “Now to put those hours that you have to spend outside the classroom and spend those hours getting to know people and putting together the best proposals.”

Those proposals is where Kaminsky will be putting his marketing degree to good use as he searches for additional sponsorship to move up the ‘Road To Indy’ ladder.

“Short term I want to find the backing to either move up to Indy Lights or continue in Indy Pro 2000,” said Kaminsky, who was a goaltender for the Pitt Hockey team. “Ultimately the goal is the Indy 500.”

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To get to the Indianapolis 500 requires success on-track and off-track, especially in that search for funding.

“It’s tough,” explained Kaminsky about the search. “We’ve been a little successful in the past but nothing too substantial. You just have to chip away at it. The worst thing they (business owners) can say is ‘no’ and at the end of the day you’re in the same boat where you started.”

To help the search for sponsorship and to build his brand along with increasing his profile, Kaminsky launched his own website, www.ckaminsky.com.  In addition to his website Kaminsky, as he mentioned earlier, is putting together packages for potential partners.

“It’s a brochure, essentially, of who you are, what you do, what you can offer and what you need,” said Kaminsky, who currently sits sixth in the Championship standing following St. Petersburg.

Kaminsky is thankful for the support of Slick Locks Corporation. Slick Locks is a drill-free line of puck locks, Spinner 360’s™, Weather Shield™ covers and blade brackets for all hinged and sliding door vehicles in all makes and models available. Slick Locks cutting edge bracket designs have made them the number one choice of large fleet managers worldwide.

“They’ve been my biggest backer since we started,” said Kaminsky. “(They) Got me into racing and kept me here. They’ve been my biggest supporter.”

Pitt graduates who are business owners have a golden opportunity to support a fellow Panther who has a unique platform for companies to grow their brand. Kaminsky is encouraging Pitt alumni to reach out to him to learn how to use racing to help their business and entertain clients.

“If you ever get out to a race track you are going to be hooked,” explained Kaminsky. “I think it’s an exhilarating experience to be a part of, surely it’s nothing like what maybe Pitt graduates have seen before.”

Kaminsky also thinks that the University of Pittsburgh, in general, could take advantage of the platform that racing provides both from a marketing and educational standpoint, especially since the garage area is full of engineers.

“We could go to Mid-Ohio (Sports Car Complex), that’s the closest one,” said Kaminsky of the track located in Lexington, Ohio, just 167-miles from the Cathedral of Learning. “We could get Pitt alums, the board (of trustees), we could get everybody there. We could throw a nice big ‘PITT’ sticker and an ‘H2P’ on the car, get a Blue and Gold (drivers) suit, that would be very cool”.

Spoken like someone who is already figuring out how to put his education to work for him post-graduation.

The next three races for the Indy Pro 2000 Series presented by Cooper Tires is May 13-15 on the road course at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

IndyCar

INDYCAR and NBC sign multi-year extension

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES and NBC Network announced on Tuesday a multi-year extension to the media rights of the open wheel series.

NBC Sports will continue to be the exclusive home of the Indianapolis 500 and will provide coverage of all NTT INDYCAR SERIES races, qualifying, practices and Indy Lights races across its linear, digital and streaming platforms, including Peacock. Terms of the deal were not announced.

“NBC Sports is proud to extend its partnership with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and continue to serve as the exclusive home of the most competitive open-wheel racing series in the world and ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’” said Jon Miller, NBC Sports.

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“NBC Sports has been the ideal partner for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, bringing our bold and audacious style of racing to a significantly larger domestic audience and fully leveraging the power and scale of the Indianapolis 500,” said Mark Miles, President and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp. “This new deal represents a significant expansion of our network TV exposure and sets us up for continued growth and success alongside a committed, innovative and world-class broadcast partner.”

INDYCAR and NBC are enjoying strong ratings for the 2021.  Ratings are up 30% this year.

As part of the agreement, 13 races will be broadcast on NBC. USA Network and Peacock Premium will show the remaining races. Telemundo Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage of the season-opening race, the Indianapolis 500 and the season finale.

Peacock will stream all races on NBC and USA Network and will continue as the streaming home of NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying and practices sessions, Indy Lights races and full-event replays. Peacock will stream two races exclusively, which will be announced at a later date.

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Dirt Racing

Chase Elliott wins SRX finale at Nashville, Stewart wins Championship

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NASHVILLE, TN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chase Elliott joined the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) for their season finale at Nashville Fairgrounds and took home the checkered flag beating Tony Stewart and his father Bill Elliott in the feature.  The win was the first series victory for the younger Elliott.

Chase Elliott was on the inside with Stewart on the outside on a restart with 7-laps-to-go followed by Bill Elliott and Bobby Labonte in Row 2.

Chase Elliott beat Stewart into turn one and two with Bill Elliott and Bobby Labonte side-by-side for third.

Caution came out with 5-laps-to-go when Paul Tracy made contact with Marco Andretti, sending Andretti into a spin after picking up three spots following the restart.

Chase Elliott got the jump on Stewart on the restart and held on to pick up the win. Stewart finished second and took home the inaugural series Championship.

“Man it was so much fun,” said Chase Elliott.  “I had a ball.  I got to race against two of my heroes tonight and I got to race against Dad there throughout the race and those are moments that I’ll cherish forever.  Thanks to Ray (Evernham, Series co-owner) and Tony (Stewart, Series co-owner) and I appreciate NAPA being on the car.”

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NASCAR Hall-of-famer Bill Elliott, 65, finished third and picked up a win in the first heat race where he started side-by-side with his son Chase.

“I messed up in one not getting all the stuff (marbles) off my tires,” said Bill Elliott, the 1988 NASCAR Cup Series Champion.  “Man I tell you it was a lot of fun. I knew the way the tires were on these cars and the way Chase manages his stuff he was going to be tough to beat.”

“I don’t know what lit a fire under him tonight,” said Chase Elliott.  “But he was as aggressive as I have seen him in years.  It was amazing and a lot of fun.  I thought it was going to be between he and I but he got a little high going into (turn) one.”

The win was also special for the Elliott Family as they were able to park the No. 94 in Victory Lane.  Casey Elliott, the late son of legendary engine builder Ernie Elliott, raced the No. 94 in the ARCA and Busch (now Xfinity) Series before his life was cut short by cancer.

“Obviously a special number too,” said Chase Elliott.  “My late Cousin Casey Elliott ran the 94 for years and years and it’s always special to run that number and I’m glad we were able to get it in Victory Lane at Nashville.”

“How could you ask for more than to finish between two Elliott’s, that’s pretty bad-ass in itself,” said Stewart. “To win this Championship is awesome.  I really appreciate Marcus Lemonis and everyone at Camping World for stepping up and helping us get this thing off the ground.  To be the last guy to win an IROC Championship and the first one to win an SRX Championship means a lot.”

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IndyCar

Josef Newgarden ends Penske INDYCAR win drought at Mid-Ohio

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Joe Skibinski

LEXINGTON, OH (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden picked up his, and Team Penske’s, first win of 2021 holding off Marcus Ericsson to win Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Newgarden started on the pole position and led 73-of-80-laps to pick up his first win since the 2020 season finale at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

“This team has been doing the job,” said Newgarden. “Everyone has been giving me a hard time, asking what’s up with us not winning a race. But I don’t think these people at Team Penske could have done anything different. We’ve been in the game almost every race, had great performance. It’s great to seal a win here finally.”

Newgarden spoiled a tremendous afternoon for Chip Ganassi Racing, the winningest INDYCAR team at Mid-Ohio.

CGR’s Ericsson finished second, 0.8790-seconds behind Newgarden.  The second place finish was Ericsson’s seventh top-10 finish of 2021.

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“We were hunting him down there,” said Ericsson. “He (Newgarden) was really struggling with his tires the last five laps. Just catching him quickly. Another lap or two would be even better, but I’ll take second today.”

Ericsson’s CGR teammate Alex Palou and Scott Dixon finished third and fourth respectively to give Chip Ganassi three cars in the top 5.

“It’s always good to start P7 and you finish on the podium,” said Palou. “Yeah, I think today was a good result.”

“I think it was a great day, great day for the team, to have me, Alex and Scott, P2, P3 and P4,” said Ericsson. “It’s a strong result. Shows how strong we are at the moment”

Palou remains the Championship points leader, 39 points ahead of Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP. Dixon is third, 56 points behind Palou. Newgarden remained fourth, 69 points back of the leader, and Ericsson jumped three positions to take fifth in the standings, 104 points behind Palou.

INDYCAR Mid Ohio Results

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