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Sunday Morning Racing Notebook: Kirkwood, Preece grab first career pole positions and more

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Penske Entertainment

Sunday’s Racing Notebook details the first career pole positions for two drivers as well as one of racing’s most popular driver is back behind the wheel and much more:

KIRKWOOD GRAB LONG BEACH INDYCAR POLE

  • Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood grabbed his first career NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole position beating Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson for the top starting spot for Sunday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.  Kirkwood’s fast lap was 0.060-seconds quicker than No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda.  Kirkwood’s teammate Romain Grosjean will start third with Ericsson’s teammates Alex Palou and Scott Dixon rounding out the Top 5. Long Beach Starting Lineup
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PREECE ON CUP SERIES MARTINSVILLE POLE

  • Ryan Preece is on the NASCAR Cup Series Pole Position for the first time in 124-career starts.  Preece’s fast lap of 94.780mph edged Daniel Suarez’ quick lap of 94.289mph.  Preece’s teammate Aric Almirola ran the same time as Suarez and will start third as points standings determines the tie-breaker. Chase Briscoe qualified fourth at 94.153mph and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the Top 5 at 94.120mph.

CHASE ELLIOTT QUALIFIES 24TH AT MARTINSVILLE

  • Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott will start 24th in his return to NASCAR Cup Series competition.  Elliott has missed the last several races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident.  JR Motorsports Josh Berry, who filled-in for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Champion, is on stand-by in case Elliott cannot go the full race distance.

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Alex Palou wins at Mid-Ohio to lead Chip Ganassi Racing 1-2 finish

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Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens

LEXINGTON, OH (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Alex Palou won his third straight NTT INDYCAR SERIES race taking the victory in the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sport Car Complex.  Palou beat teammate Scott Dixon by ?.????-seconds to pick up his fourth win in five races.

“We knew that we had the pace, but we needed clean air,” said Palou, who started fourth.  “That’s why we went for the primaries at the beginning, which we thought it was probably a bit risky, but if we were able to cross the first lap on position, we were going to be good for our strategy.”

The strategy involved staying out longer on the Primary Firestone Tires and leapfrogging front row starters Colton Herta and Graham Rahal when it came time for Palou and the No. 10 American Legion ‘Be The One’ Honda to come to the pits for their first service.

“We saved a little bit of fuel,” explained Palou. “Waited until the 27 struggled a little bit on tires. We were able to pass and then just run a bit longer than Colton and Rahal to get the lead.”

Palou led 48-of-80-laps en route to Chip Ganassi Racing’s record-tying 12th win at Mid-Ohio, tying Team Penske.

Dixon started sixth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda and his second place finish was his best of the 2023 season, which moved him up to second place in the Championship standings.

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“It was definitely a good day,” said Dixon, who trails Palou by 110-points in the title fight. “The pace of the PNC Bank No. 9 was really good. Fuel mileage was super easy, so Honda definitely stepped it up here this weekend. But huge credit to the 10 car and obviously Alex. He is on a hell of a run.”

Team Penske’s Will Power finished third in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet.

“Solid day. No mistakes,” said Power. “Yeah, not much more we could have got out of the day. That was kind of what we had. Obviously Palou is very quick.”

Power, the defending Series Champion, and Dixon, a six-time Series Champion, marveled at how Palou and his team has been able to outpace everyone in the most-competitive open wheel series in the world.

“He is so on point in every respect, in every respect,” said Power of Palou. “He is not missing a thing, which is very difficult in this series to be extremely fast, which there are a lot of guys that are, but then being able to do all the disciplines as well plus the intricacies of fuel save, tire conservation, in-and-out laps, the qualifying. It’s bloody hard to have that all nailed, and he is doing it.”

“It’s not just Alex, but Julian (Robertson), the whole 10 car group are just doing a phenomenal job. Even with Barry (Wanser) as well,” said Dixon.  “It’s never a single person. The effort is big I think on all the cars in Chip Ganassi right now, but they’re firing on all cylinders.”

Next up for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES is the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday, July 16, where Chip Ganassi Racing will look to go back-to-back following Dixon’s win in 2022.

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Labor Day Finale Sunday at Tri-City Raceway Park

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Tri-City Raceway Park

FRANKLIN, PA (September 2, 2022): Tri-City Raceway Park will present its final race of the 2022 season on Sunday, September 4. Instead of the planned two-day special holiday event, the speedway will present a Sunday Thunder card. The standard purse structure will be used for all divisions and Sunday Thunder ticket pricing will apply. Pit gates will open at 2 p.m. and spectator admission will begin at 4 p.m. Racing will commence at 6 p.m., as usual.

The Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprint Cars, the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group 358 Modifieds, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, and the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks will not be racing for points, as track champions were named following the racing on August 28, Congratulations to A.J. Flick, Kevin Hoffman, Tyler Wyant, and Levi Maskal for their success and thanks to all sponsors, competitors, and fans for their support.

The speedway grounds will be available all weekend for free camping even though racing activity will only be held on Sunday of the holiday weekend. The bonfire will be moved to Saturday night, with the time to be determined. All attending the bonfire will be responsible for their own refreshments.

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“We regret any inconvenience for our racers and fans who were anticipating a two-day program to close out the season,” said track owner Merle Black. “Everybody is welcome to come to the speedway to enjoy camping and to gather with friends before we have our last show of the season on Sunday. The racers will be able to go all-out with no fear of how the outcome will affect the season championships,” he added.

Adult admission on Sunday will be $15 for those aged 16 to 62. Seniors, aged 62 and up, will be admitted for $13, Students aged ten through 16 will be admitted for $10. The children below age of ten will be admitted for free, as usual. The Family Passes will be $45, and that will apply for two adults of any age and two students. Pit Passes will be $30.

Further information about Tri-City Raceway Park can be obtained by calling the track office at 724-967-4601, or by e-mailing the office at tricityracewaypark2020@gmail.com. Or, you can check the web at Tri-CityRacewayPark.com, or the Facebook page at Tri City Raceway Park. Tri-City Raceway Park is located just a few miles north of Franklin, PA, at 3430 State Route 417 in Oakland Township.

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Hobby Stocks joining Sprints, Late Models and Modifieds Friday at Lernerville

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SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The Hobby Stocks will be making their first appearance at Lernerville Speedway on Friday night, joining the People’s Gas Sprint Cars, the Precise Racing Products Late Models and the Diehl Automotive Big Block Modifieds.

The Hobby Stocks will be taking the place of the Millerstown Pic-A-Part Pro Stocks, who have the night off.  The Hobby Stocks are weekly participants on Saturday night’s at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway.  Lernerville will utilize PPMS rules for the event.

In Fab4 action, A.J. Flick leads the Peoples Natural Gas Sprint Car standings on the strength of five wins at ‘The Action Track’.  Sye Lynch sits second, 30-points back.  Darin Gallagher, Brandon Matus and Carl Bowser sit third through fifth and are separated by a mere 7-points.

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John Garvin and Alex Ferree are tied atop the Precise Racing Products Late Model standings.  Colton Flinner sits 23-points back in third with Jared Miley lurking in fourth, 31-points back.  Logan Zarin rounds out the Top 5, 40-points back.

Jeremiah Shingledecker leads the Diehl Automotive Big Block Modifieds by 14-points over Dave Murdick.  Garrett Krummert sits in third place, 28-points back with Brian Swartzlander 3-points behind Krummert.

Pit gates will open at 4:00 p.m. with grandstand gates opening at 5:00 p.m. Hot laps are slated to begin at 6:50 and racing to begin at 7:30 p.m. Children 10 and under, as always are admitted FREE with General Admission set at $15 for all ages 11 and up. Pit passes for all will continue to be $30.  For more information visit www.lernerville.com.

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