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‘Motor Sports’ Articles

3GT Racing gearing up for this weekend’s race in Alton, VA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EAST LANSING, MI (Aug. 24, 2017) – 3GT Racing will be in the second, and last, all-GT format race in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship series this weekend at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, VA. The Michelin GT Challenge will be Aug. 27 and features only GTLM (GT Le Mans) and GTD (GT Daytona).
The No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 will be co-piloted by gold driver Jack Hawksworth and Hall of Famer, Scott Pruett. The team switched silver drivers for the first time at Road America and plans to stick with the new pairing through the rest of the season. Robert Alon and Sage Karam will drive the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3.
“3GT has some great drivers,” Pruett said. “Mix them up however you want, they are still going to be great drivers. I’m happy to drive with Sage. I’m happy to drive with Jack. We’re just trying to find the combination to get that break-through. I thought it would be Watkins Glen, then Mosport, then Lime Rock – when I was in the No. 14. Jack and I ran second and third for most of Road America in the No. 15, until the yellow flag confusion. We’ve had strong races, now it’s time for all the pieces to come together.”
Pruett, who has had three wins at VIR (he is tied with driver Bill Auberlen, for the most wins at the historic track) last drove at the track in 2011. His last win there was in 2010.
So far in the season, between the two cars, 3GT Racing has earned eight top ten finishes. Five in the No. 14 and three in the No. 15 and two top five finishes (one in each car), but a win or podium has eluded them.
Hawksworth, in the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3, turned the fastest lap in the GTD class at Watkins Glen and Road America. He said what he wants most now, is a win.
While he has never raced at the 3.27 mile, 17-turn course, he did get a chance to do a few laps there earlier this year.
“It’s a fun track,” he said. “The fun tracks are the ones with a lot of technical sequences, lots of direction change and not a lot of rest time. It will be a good track for us. Right now, I feel like we have everything we need – good lap times, good pits, a reliable, fast car – and the last three races, especially in the No. 15 Lexus, we’ve been right there, at the edge. I think it’s our time.”
Drivers in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3, Karam and Alon, have both raced at VIR, Alon most recently in Prototype Lites in 2015. Karam’s last visit was with Skip Barber in 2009. Last month, Karam, in the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3, earned the team’s first GTD pole position at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
“It’s been a while since I was at VIR, but I remember the track,” he said. “I’m in a much faster car now and Rob and I work well together. We only have three races left to go and we all want to be on the podium. We just have to work harder and be mistake free.”
Alon said he thinks the team has shown an amazing amount of progress. “We all work together and the team has done a lot this year,” he said. “We got hit with some BoP and had some bad luck in general, but we’ve been strong and we’ve shown speed. We’re ready for that podium.”
Two hour-long practice sessions for the Michelin GT Challenge will be held on Friday, Aug. 25 and a third on Saturday morning. Qualifying will be from 12:20 to 1 p.m. Saturday and the race will begin Sunday at 1:35 p.m. (ET). The two-hour and 40-minute race will be streamed live at IMSA.com and will be televised on FS1 beginning at 1:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday.
About 3GT Racing
3GT Racing was formed to race the Lexus RC F GT3. Owned and operated by five-time Trans-Am Series Champion, Paul Gentilozzi and his longtime partners, Tony and John Gentilozzi, the East Lansing, Michigan-based team principals have been involved in motorsports for more than 46 years and they have claimed more than 75 victories and 15 manufacturer and driver championships.
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RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY Brenda Brissette-Mata; COURTESY 3GT RACING COMMUNICATIONS

IndyCar heads to Greater St. Louis area of Madison, Illinois

For Immediate Release

Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline Fast Facts

Race weekend: Friday, Aug. 25 – Saturday, Aug. 26

Track: Gateway Motorsports Park, a 1.25-mile oval in Madison, Illinois

Race distance: 248 laps / 310 miles

Entry list: Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline (PDF)

Firestone tire allotment: Ten sets for use throughout the weekend

Twitter: @GatewayMSP @IndyCar, #Bommarito500, #IndyCar

Event website: www.gatewaymsp.com/

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

Most recent race winner (2003): Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota)

Most recent pole winner (2003): Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota), 25.5732 seconds, 175.965 mph (one lap)

One-lap qualifying record: Raul Boesel, 24.324 seconds, 187.963 mph, May 23, 1997

NBCSN television broadcasts: Qualifying, 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 26 (tape delayed); Race, 9 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 26 (live); Kevin Lee is the lead announcer for the NBCSN broadcasts this weekend alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Jon Beekhuis, Katie Hargitt, Anders Krohn and Robin Miller.

Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Jake Query is the turn announcer with Rob Howden, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young reporting from the pits. All Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on network affiliates, Sirius 214, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app. All Verizon IndyCar Series practice and qualifying sessions are available on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.

Video streaming: Practice and qualifying for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com and on the INDYCAR YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indycar).

INDYCAR Mobile app: Verizon’s INDYCAR Mobile app is available across all carriers. Exclusive features for Verizon Wireless customers will stream live through the app and include enhanced real-time leaderboard and car telemetry; live in-car camera video streaming for select drivers during Verizon IndyCar Series races; live driver and pit crew radio transmissions during races and live Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network audio streaming during all track activities.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Friday, Aug. 25
4 – 5 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #1, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
6:30 p.m. – Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (single car/cumulative time of two laps), RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)/NBCSN (Taped, 7:30 p.m. ET Aug. 26)
9 – 10 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series final practice, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)

Saturday, Aug. 26
7:15 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series pit stop competition
8:01 p.m. – Driver introductions
8:40 p.m. – Command to start engines
8:45 p.m. – ABC Supply 500 (248 laps/310 miles), NBCSN (Live)

Championship facts:

• Josef Newgarden leads the Verizon IndyCar Series championship with three races to go for the first time in his career. Newgarden took the championship lead for the first time in his career following his win at Mid-Ohio on July 30.

• Josef Newgarden leads Scott Dixon by 18 points with Helio Castroneves (-22) and Simon Pagenaud (-26) just behind. Will Power is fifth, 42 points behind Newgarden. With 54 maximum points available at Gateway, the points lead could change for the fifth time in 2017.

• There are 15 drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series championship: Josef Newgarden, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato, Alexander Rossi, Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe, Max Chilton, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Ed Jones and JR Hildebrand. Any driver who trails the points leader by 159 points or more following the race will be eliminated from contention.

• Since the first Indy car race at Gateway Motorsports Park in 1997, only Alex Zanardi (1998) won the Gateway race and the championship in the same season.

Key championship point statistic: The driver who has led the championship with three races to go has failed to win the championship in five of the last seven seasons. Will Power in 2014 and Simon Pagenaud in 2016 are the exceptions.

Point differential: The 18 points which separate Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon is the third smallest margin with three races to go since 2010. Will Power led Helio Castroneves by four points in 2014 and Ryan Hunter-Reay by five points in 2012. The average deficit with three races to go since 2010 is 22.6 points.

Championship-eligible drivers results at Gateway: Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan are the only drivers to have raced Indy cars previously at Gateway Motorsports Park and all have led laps there…Castroneves won at the track in 2003 and has never finished outside the top 10 in five starts…Kanaan finished second in 2003.

Race notes:

• There have been nine different winners in the 14 previous Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2017: Sebastien Bourdais (Streets of St. Petersburg), James Hinchcliffe (Streets of Long Beach), Josef Newgarden (Barber Motorsports Park, Streets of Toronto and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course), Simon Pagenaud (Phoenix Raceway), Will Power (INDYCAR Grand Prix, Texas Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway), Takuma Sato (Indianapolis 500), Graham Rahal (Raceway at Belle Isle-1 and Raceway at Belle Isle-2), Scott Dixon (Road America) and Helio Castroneves (Iowa Speedway). Bourdais’ win at St. Pete on March 12 gave him sole possession of sixth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 36 wins. Dixon’s win at Road America on June 25 was his 41st career victory and he will tie Michael Andretti for third all time with his next win. Castroneves’ win at Iowa on July 9 ended a 54-race winless streak and gave him sole possession of 12th all time with 30 wins. Power’s win at Pocono on Aug. 20 gave him sole possession of ninth on the all-time list with 32 wins.

• The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline will be the eighth Indy car race at Gateway Motorsports Park. Helio Castroneves won the last race at the track in 2003. Paul Tracy won the first Indy car race at Gateway in 1997. Castroneves is the only former winner entered in this year’s race.

• Three drivers have won the Gateway race from the pole – Juan Pablo Montoya (2000), Gil de Ferran (2002) and Helio Castroneves (2003).

• Team Penske has won three times at Gateway Motorsports Park. Penske’s winning drivers are: Paul Tracy (1997), Gil de Ferran (2002) and Helio Castroneves (2003). Chip Ganassi Racing has two wins at Gateway with Alex Zanardi in 1998 and Juan Pablo Montoya in 2000.

• Only three drivers entered in the event have competed in past Indy car races at Pocono. Helio Castroneves has five starts, most among the entered drivers. Three entered drivers have led laps at the track (Castroneves 219, Scott Dixon 71 and Tony Kanaan 21).

• Tony Kanaan seeks to start his 280th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Teammate Scott Dixon has made 221 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the second-longest streak in Indy car racing. Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti has made 197 consecutive starts, which is the fourth-longest streak in Indy car racing.

• Helio Castroneves will attempt to make his 342nd career Indy car start, which ranks third on the all-time list. Tony Kanaan is fourth all-time with 340 starts.

BOMMARITO AUTOMOTIVE GROUP 500 PRE-EVENT QUOTES:

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s three fun weeks. We’re racing every week now. It’s crunch time for the championship. This is what racing is all about when you have to bring your ‘A’ game in tough situations. Gateway is a new track for me. It’s a fast, short oval. I think for our package, it’s going to be quite good. They just resurfaced the track and it’s beautiful. Everyone did a fantastic job. We’ll have the No. 1 Menards Chevrolet this weekend. It’s great to have them on board in their Midwest footprint and always great to go to victory lane with them and that’s what we hope to do.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet):“Gateway is going to be really exciting since I haven’t ran a race there. It’s been a long time since INDYCAR has been there, which presents a new challenge especially with a brand-new track surface. The No. 2 PPG Chevy crew and I have hit a stride as we continue to run well, including a podium finish at Pocono. We continue to try new things and really gel. We’re really happy with how this season has been going and know we have to continue to work hard because, with only a few races left, anything can happen. So we want to do whatever we can to have great points days so we can maintain our lead. I can’t wait to see a new crowd of fans and know that the whole series will put on a great show for those fans.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Team Penske Chevrolet): “I’m really excited to go back to Gateway. Last time I was there, it was a really fun crowd and I can’t wait to see them all again. I’m one of the few in the Verizon IndyCar Series who have actually raced there since it’s been awhile since the series has been there. I feel that we have an advantage since we won there when we used to race there. However, with a new track surface, it’s anyone’s game. The No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Chevy team and I know we have a lot of work to do to gain back some points, but we’re ready to perform well and make it happen.”

CONOR DALY (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “I’ve been looking forward to the Gateway race since our first test there in May. I’ve really enjoyed the testing we’ve done there this year, and we’ve been quick every time on track, so I have high expectations for the weekend. It’ll be supremely close as INDYCAR weekends normally are, but I hope to be fighting at the front end of the field all weekend long.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “Any time a new track is added to the schedule, people get pretty excited about it. Gateway is definitely one of those. The repave was really well done and the surface now is as nice as any track on the calendar. It should lead to some great racing. Obviously (Pocono) was a strong run for us until the crash, so we are hoping to be able to keep that speed and bring home a solid finish with the Arrow car.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 7 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda):“We’re looking forward to Gateway. It’s a place which, historically, has given great shows for the fans to watch. Speaking to Hinch (James Hinchcliffe), who tested there a bit ago, he enjoyed it very much and gave me really good viewpoints to help me get better prepared. I’m looking forward to working more with the No. 7 crew. We have created a great relationship and continuing work with the engineering staff to continue to evolve the car and bring some points home for the team.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Honda): “Having only completed a short test (in May) due to the surface issues, I am really looking forward to seeing what the track and its new silky surface has to offer for us. I feel like we have unfinished business after an unfortunate weekend in Pocono, so I’m happy we have only six days between the two races.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 NTT Data Honda): “2003 seems like such a long time ago when we last ran at Gateway. I love oval racing and am excited the series is expanding and the track is investing back into the sport. The track was repaved recently so there will definitely be a learning curve for the race this weekend. With a two-day weekend format, you’ll really need to maximize practice time and get all the data you can for the race. I’m looking forward to going back to a great market and a Saturday night race.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Honda): “I love that INDYCAR is going back to Gateway after such a long hiatus. The last time we ran there in 2003, I came so close to getting a win, but just didn’t have enough to get past Helio (Castroneves) and had to settle for a runner-up finish. From what I’ve heard, the repave has made all the difference after our first test on the oval in May, so I can’t wait to get out there and see for myself. It sounds like the St. Louis INDYCAR fans are really embracing this race, so hopefully we can give them a great show under the lights Saturday night.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “What a win that was at Pocono. We definitely did not see that coming, but it was awesome. Now we’re headed to Gateway and we’re really excited. There’s only a few races left, so points are critical and myself and the No. 12 Verizon Chevy crew are working hard to try and do well to move up in points. It’s a tight battle with the top five right now, and that’s really great. It makes it more fun but challenging every weekend knowing what’s at stake. We haven’t raced at Gateway before, and it’s a new track surface, so we will really have to be on our game. The team continues to give me strong cars, so I feel we can definitely bring home another great finish this weekend.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “After they repaved the track at Gateway, my teammate Conor Daly ran there a few hours. The car seemed pretty competitive – he was second fastest. I think we have a strong package. In the open test (in May), our team was really quick. It seems like a nice track, it’s new for everyone and they did a great job with the repaving. I’m looking forward to Gateway. We need to keep the top-10s coming.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda): “St. Louis is going to be a difficult race for a lot of people. It’s a challenging place. We had a decent test there after the repaving, so I’m looking forward to going back for the race. Hopefully we can gain some points and have Lady Luck on our side and have a good weekend. The repaving was good. The track is extremely grippy on the racing line. If you get off line, it’s a bit slippery, but it’s grippy on line and it’s also very smooth. Curtis (Francois) and his team did a phenomenal job. Everybody is going to go there and have a great time. We will put on a great show. I think it’s going to be the best short oval show of the year because the straightaway is so long. In essence, Turns 3 and 4 are fairly easy so it makes for a very, very long straightaway. Turns 1 and 2 though are a lot like Pocono with very heavy loads, and things happen in the blink of an eye, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. INDYCAR will put on a good show for sure. Thanks to Fifth Third for their increased involvement in our program. I’m excited to race in their colors and put on a good show. They have been a great supporter of ours for a few years now but to see them step up the way that they have means a lot to our program. We’re going to go out there and try to make them proud.”

ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ (No. 18 UNIFIN Honda): “I’m enjoying this back-to-back racing as we have a rhythm going. Obviously, the weekend at Pocono was quite interesting. Hopefully we can use the progress we’ve made and the experience I have gained so far to try and do things better at Gateway. I also hope that my experience from Pocono and Iowa will allow me to use the practice session to work on getting the car better instead of me having to learn, which will allow us to tune everything for qualifying. It’s a night race so that will also be quite interesting and a bit different for me. I’m quite looking forward to that. I hope that everything will go well this weekend for us as a team. We need to stay focused on our targets and try to accomplish them this weekend.”

ED JONES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “The group at Gateway has done a tremendous job to get the facility ready to bring the Verizon IndyCar Series there. It was such a huge difference from our test there earlier this year to when we tested again earlier this month on the new surface. I’m really excited to go back for the race. I really enjoyed it, and it’s now among my favorite ovals to drive, so I can’t wait to get there. It should be an interesting race. It might be a little challenging with our aero package on the short oval, but it should still be a fun event.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “I am very excited to be coming back to Gateway. Having raced there in the past (in Indy Lights), I think that it will be a great show. A lot of racetracks we go to are fairly symmetrical from one end to the other. Gateway isn’t. Turns 1 and 2 in St. Louis are very tight and a little more banky, very challenging. Turns 3 and 4 are more open radius and fast cornering. It’s similar to Pocono (Raceway), not in layout but in uniqueness and character. When you have that, it really makes it a challenge for the driver and the team to get a balance in the car that works at both ends of the track. When you have that compromise, I think it produces really good racing.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “I’m looking forward to the last short oval on the schedule, where I hope we can continue to be as strong as we’ve tended to be earlier in the year. There are certainly still some unknowns with this being a new event, but the Fuzzy’s Vodka team has been doing a great job and we’ll be looking to make good on that.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): “Adding a new venue to the schedule always brings excitement. I only drove on the Gateway track a few laps when we tested there, so I was never completely up to speed, but I’m looking forward to this challenging track. Gateway is our last oval race for the season, and I hope we can show the speed there that we have shown at all the other ovals.

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda): “It’s always exciting to add a new venue to the schedule, and I’m really looking forward to get to Gateway. The track did a great job with the repave, and I can’t wait to try it out. It will be fun seeing what the new track surface wants – setup-wise. I think it will be an exciting race with a lot of drafting, so I hope we can put on a good show for the fans

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “I really love short ovals, so the addition of Gateway on the INDYCAR schedule was really good news. I’ve been looking forward to racing the DHL Honda there for quite some time. Gateway did an excellent job on the repave. I’m eager to see how the racing will be.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Honda): “I’m excited to get to Gateway Motorsports Park this weekend for some short-track racing. I had the opportunity to take a few laps on the new asphalt during a media event last month, and while I was driving a Honda pace car instead of my No. 83 Tresiba Honda, I got a good sense that it’s so much smoother and will create some great racing under the lights on Saturday night. The pavement investment by the track and all of the excitement surrounding this new event on our schedule helps bring some momentum as we head toward the season finale. There will definitely be quite a few unknowns and challenges for the teams, with limited testing and Turns 1 and 3 being so different.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 Andretti Autosport/Curb Honda): “Coming off two podiums in three races, we have the momentum we need going into the closing stages of the season. Gateway is going to be a new experience for all of us, but like every chance to get in a race car, I am excited. The promoters and track have done an incredible job preparing for us, and I look forward to putting on a great show for the fans.”

 

**Madison, Illinois is 9 miles from St. Louis, Missouri

 

RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

After weeks of rumors, speculation, William Byron picked to drive #5 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports in 2018 replacing Kasey Kahne

August 9, 2017

 

WILLIAM BYRON TO COMPETE IN THE NASCAR CUP SERIES FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS BEGINNING IN 2018 

AXALTA AND LIBERTY UNIVERSITY ON BOARD AS PRIMARY SPONSORS

 

 

CONCORD, N.C. (Aug. 9, 2017) – Record-breaking teenager William Byron will drive for 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports beginning next season. He will debut at stock car racing’s highest level in the 2018 Daytona 500 and compete for rookie of the year honors. 

Byron’s No. 5 Chevrolet team will feature sponsorship from Axalta Coating Systems and Liberty University, which currently support the 19-year-old driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Beginning in 2018, the two primary sponsors will cover the majority of Byron’s Cup races annually. Additional details of the multi-year partnerships will be announced at a later date.

In 2016, Byron turned in the most successful debut season in Camping World Truck Series history with a NASCAR national series rookie record seven victories. This year, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native progressed into the Xfinity Series, where he has already earned three wins — Iowa, Daytona and Indianapolis — and currently ranks second in the standings after 20 of 33 races with Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports.

William Byron in 2015 By Sarah Stierch - Own work, CC BY 4.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Byron, who will turn 20 on Nov. 29. “Mr. (Rick) Hendrick has built such a great team. The people at Hendrick Motorsports have dedicated their lives to giving their drivers the best chance to win every weekend. I have a responsibility to them to work hard and put everything I have into this opportunity. They need to know I’m always giving 100 percent because that’s what they do.

“When I told my parents that I wanted to drive race cars, they supported me and believed I could do it. Without them, there’s no way this would be possible. Axalta and Liberty University are awesome partners, and I’m so thankful for their faith in me. I’m going to do all I can to make my family, my sponsors and my teammates proud and represent them all in the right way.”

Hendrick Motorsports signed Byron in August 2016. Next season, he will join drivers Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman as a member of the four-car NASCAR Cup Series operation.

“At every step, William has proven how quickly he can adapt,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “Some drivers have raw talent and some have a strong work ethic. William has both. It’s impressive to see a young guy who never gets rattled and instinctively knows how to communicate with his team. That level of commitment, poise and pure ability is rare at any age. I think he’s just scratching the surface.”

Axalta Coating Systems (NYSE: AXTA), a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, became a sponsor of Byron’s Xfinity Series effort this season. With primary sponsorship across teammates Byron and Alex Bowman (15 races), the company will increase its already significant presence with Hendrick Motorsports in 2018. Axalta has been a Hendrick Motorsports corporate partner since 1992 and recently opened its state-of-the-art Customer Experience Center on the team’s campus.

Liberty University began its support of Byron in 2014 when he drove late models for JR Motorsports and is now in its fourth season sponsoring the driver. Founded in 1971 and located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University is the largest private, nonprofit university in the United States, the largest university in Virginia and the largest Christian university in the world. Byron is currently a sophomore student working toward an undergraduate degree in business communications through the school’s online education program.

“To have this opportunity with a new partner (to Hendrick Motorsports) in Liberty University and to grow what’s been an incredible long-term relationship with Axalta, it’s very special,” Hendrick said. “These are two sponsors who have already built effective programs around our sport and now see even more possibilities. It’s a big compliment to William, who has been a terrific ambassador for them both, and we look forward to a bright future together.”

WILLIAM BYRON YEAR-BY-YEAR:

2017: As a rookie, has posted three wins, one pole position, seven top-five finishes and 14 top-10s through 20 of 33 races in the Xfinity Series. Recorded wins at Iowa Speedway and the iconic venues of Daytona International Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Currently second in driver points, first in playoff points and leads the rookie of the year standings.

2016: Recorded the most successful rookie season in NCWTS history with seven wins (a national series rookie record), three poles, 11 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Named rookie of the year after leading 21 percent of the season’s total laps and securing the NCWTS owner championship. Started two ARCA Racing Series events, finishing second and eighth. Signed by 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports in August.

2015: Crowned NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion after posting four wins, three pole positions, five top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. In 14 events, led 740 of the season’s 1,730 total laps (43 percent). Started two K&N Pro Series West races, recording two top-five finishes. Competed in two ARCA events, earning a second-place finish in his series debut after leading 120 of 200 laps at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Won the pole at Kentucky in second ARCA start. Posted one win and three top-five finishes in three CARS Super Late Model races. Made NASCAR national series debut with a NCWTS start Nov. 13 at Phoenix. Outside of racing, earned the Boy Scouts of America rank of Eagle Scout, the highest advancement rank in scouting.

2014: Turned professional in legends cars in January and promptly won the Charlotte Winter Heat Series U.S. Legend Car Pro championship. Crowned Pro Legends champion at the Winter Nationals at Florida’s Auburndale Speedway after winning six of six races. Gained experience in full-sized stock cars across the U.S. Legend Car Pro division, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series late model division and select pro late models. Signed to compete regionally for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s late model program at JR Motorsports, competing 21 times at North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway. Earned first-ever victory in a stock car on Sept. 6 at Hickory. Named the state of North Carolina’s rookie of the year in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Late Model Series. In total, competed 56 times with 11 wins, 24 pole awards, 29 top-three finishes and 37 top-five finishes.

2013: After racing exclusively online, began competing in the U.S. Legend Car Young Lions division. Raced in 69 legends car events across the United States, posting 33 wins, 59 top-five finishes and 64 top-10s en route to the U.S. Legend Car Young Lions national championship. In addition, won the 2013 Thursday Thunder Young Lions championship at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Young Lions all-star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

ABOUT AXALTA COATING SYSTEMS:
Axalta is a leading global company focused solely on coatings and providing customers with innovative, colorful, beautiful and sustainable solutions. From light OEM vehicles, commercial vehicles and refinish applications to electric motors, buildings and pipelines, our coatings are designed to prevent corrosion, increase productivity and enable the materials we coat to last longer. With more than 150 years of experience in the coatings industry, the 13,600 people of Axalta continue to find ways to serve our more than 100,000 customers in 130 countries better every day with the finest coatings, application systems and technology. For more information visit Axalta.com and follow us @Axalta on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

ABOUT LIBERTY UNIVERSITY:
Liberty University, founded in 1971, is the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation, the largest university in Virginia, and the largest Christian university in the world. Located near the Blue Ridge Mountains on more than 7,000 acres in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty offers more than 550 unique programs of study from the certificate to the doctoral level. More than 250 programs are offered online. Liberty’s mission is to train Champions for Christ with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for impacting tomorrow’s world.

ABOUT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
Founded by Rick Hendrick in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has earned 249 points-paying race victories and a record 12 car owner championships in the premier NASCAR Cup Series. The organization fields four full-time Chevrolet teams on the Cup circuit with drivers Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Headquartered in Concord, North Carolina, Hendrick Motorsports employs more than 600 people. For more information, please visit HendrickMotorsports.com or interact on TwitterFacebook and

Instagram.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Jesse Essex; COURTESY HENDRICKS MOTOR SPORTS & NASCARmedia.com

 

“Bubba” Wallace holds off Bell and Busch to win NASCAR Trucks race at Michigan

Darrell Wallace Jr. in victory lane (photo credit Jonathan Ferry of Getty Images courtesy NASCARmedia.com)

Brooklyn, Michigan — Several members of the media in the Michigan International Speedway Media Center were talking amongst themselves Saturday afternoon after watching the NASCAR Camping World Series race, why Darrell Wallace Jr. doesn’t have a regular ride in any series?

The 23-year-old Wallace has been wondering the same thing and mentioned in interviews after holding off Christopher Bell and the tenacious Kyle Larson to win the 18th Annual LTi Printing 200 at the 2-mile oval in the Irish Hills area of Southwestern Michigan.

Rounding out the top 5 were Ryan Truex and Austin Cindric.

The win by Wallace gives truck owner Mike Millner his first Camping World Truck Series victory.

What is most remarkable about the Mobile, Alabama native, is prior to this race, he had not driven a truck since the 2014 season where his best finish was third. Winning a race after not competing regular in the series for three years, so that he has talent. He won the last race of the 2014 season.

The last 11 laps of the race were very exciting as Wallace protected his position very well. Probably worried more about the clever and cunning Busch, who has dominated this series for years, than he was about Bell. Driving his #99 Maestro’s Classic Chevrolet, Wallace blocked high, low and middle. He did lose the lead briefly, but gained it back and confidently held on to win his sixth Trucks race overall. His first win at Michigan.

“It’s been so long since I’ve been in victory lane,” Wallace said. “I try to hold a positive mindset over it, and everybody in my family knows it eats at me every day.”

Wallace, NASCAR’s who started the 2017 season as the only African American full-time driver, has had an up-and-down career. He lost his ride driving in the XFINITY Series for Roush Fenway Racing because the sponsorship dried up. He debuted for four races in the Monster Cup Series as a fill-in for the injured Aric Amirola. He received a deal this week with MDM Motorsports.

Wallace’s start to the race was not spectacular. He started ninth on the 5th row. His pit crew received a penalty on Lap 53 when his crew went over the wall too soon. But as the race progressed, Wallace edged up closer and closer to the top of the flow. For several laps he was driving third behind Cindric and Bell but passed them up with 11 laps to go thanks to strategy planning by his spotter, Freddie Kraft.

Wallace’s crew chief is Shane Huffman.

Darrell Wallace Jr. #99 winning race (photo credit by Sean Gardner of Getty Images courtesy NASCAR media.com)

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race Results LTi Printing 200

Michigan International Speedway

Brooklyn, Michigan

Saturday, August 12, 2017

1. (9) Darrell Wallace Jr.(i), Chevrolet, 100.

2. (13) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 100.

3. (10) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 100.

4. (11) Ryan Truex, Toyota, 100.

5. (8) Austin Cindric #, Ford, 100.

6. (1) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 100.

7. (5) Noah Gragson #, Toyota, 100.

8. (6) Grant Enfinger #, Toyota, 100.

9. (4) Chase Briscoe #, Ford, 100.

10. (7) Justin Haley #, Chevrolet, 100.

11. (14) Ben Rhodes, Toyota, 100.

12. (12) Kaz Grala #, Chevrolet, 100.

13. (16) Stewart Friesen #, Chevrolet, 100.

14. (17) Tyler Young, Chevrolet, 100.

15. (20) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 100.

16. (19) TJ Bell, Chevrolet, 99.

17. (18) Wendell Chavous #, Chevrolet, 99.

18. (2) Johnny Sauter, Chevrolet, 99.

19. (24) Josh Reaume, Chevrolet, 98.

20. (28) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, Vibration, 82.

21. (15) Cody Coughlin #, Toyota, Accident, 65.

22. (29) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, Engine, 48.

23. (26) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, Engine, 33.

24. (22) BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, Vibration, 16.

25. (27) Camden Murphy, Chevrolet, Electrical, 12.

26. (21) Ray Ciccarelli, Chevrolet, Fuel Pump, 11.

27. (30) Mike Senica, Chevrolet, Brakes, 8.

28. (25) Todd Peck, Chevrolet, Engine, 5.

29. (3) John H. Nemechek, Chevrolet, Accident, 4.

30. (23) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, Vibration, 2.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  126.493 mph.

Time of Race:  01 Hrs, 34 Mins, 52 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.176 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  5 for 23 laps.

Lead Changes:  7 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   M. Crafton 1-10; C. Briscoe # 11; J. Sauter 12; C. Briscoe # 13-15; K. Busch(i) 16-62; J. Haley # 63-65; A. Cindric # 66-89; D. Wallace Jr.(i) 90-100.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  K. Busch(i) 1 time for 47 laps; A. Cindric # 1 time for 24 laps; D. Wallace Jr.(i) 1 time for 11 laps; M. Crafton 1 time for 10 laps; C. Briscoe # 2 times for 4 laps; J. Haley # 1 time for 3 laps; J. Sauter 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 51,29,88,27,21,19,18,16,99,4

Stage #2 Top Ten: 51,16,4,88,27,33,24,18,29,98

 

RACE NOTES

* Matt Crafton was the Keystone Light Pole Award winner for the race.

13th pole of his NCWTS career in 397 starts

First pole of 2017

11th Top-10 of 2017

Third pole in 16 races at Michigan International Speedway

*Chase Briscoe, who finished fourth, was the fastest qualifying rookie.

*Austin Cindric, who finished fifth, was the highest placing rookie.

* Christopher Bell leads the point standings over Johnny Sauter by 37 points.

* Kyle Busch finished third. He has  posted nine Top-10 finishes in ten races at MIS.

Stats courtesy of NASCAR Communications

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newgarden wins at Mid-Ohio to take over points lead in IndyCar; second straight win

LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sunday, July 30, 2017) – Josef Newgarden finally completed what he started at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, bursting into the Verizon IndyCar Series championship lead after winning the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio in dominant fashion.

Newgarden led 73 of 90 laps on the 2.258-mile permanent road course, taking the checkered flag 5.1556 seconds ahead of Team Penske teammate Will Power. It gave the Tennessean back-to-back wins, following his triumph July 16 at the Honda Indy Toronto.

Josef Newgarden (courtesy IndyCar)

Newgarden also vaulted atop the season standings for the first time in his six-year Verizon IndyCar Series career. He is the first American-born driver to lead the championship since Ryan Hunter-Reay won the title in 2014 and holds a seven-point lead over another Team Penske driver, Helio Castroneves, after 13 of 17 races.

“I feel like no one can take anything away from this win,” Newgarden said. “With this team on the (No.) 2 car side, I feel like we really did a great job today. There was no luck involved in that. We went out and won the race.”

HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO: Box score

Driving the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, Newgarden started second and made a daring pass of pole sitter Power for first place on Lap 13. He surrendered the lead for just four laps the rest of the way as pit stops cycled through.

Newgarden has contended for the win at Mid-Ohio each of the past three seasons, but various incidents prevented the rising INDYCAR star from sealing the deal. Today, in his first season with Team Penske, the 26-year-old did just that.

“We’ve been close before here,” he said. “I feel like we’ve always found speed. … It’s just nice to get something at a track I haven’t had a previous history of winning the race. That was nice.”

The second-place finish continued a frustrating run for Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. The 2014 series champion has started in the top four at Mid-Ohio for eight straight years – including pole positions in 2010, ’11 and this year – but he has yet to win at the track.

“I know we started on the pole and finished second, and that could be viewed as coming up short in some way,” Power said, “but it was a very good finish for the Verizon Chevrolet.  We really weren’t on the pace all weekend and really got the most out of qualifying.

“So second (place), for the pace of my car, that was as good as we could get today. We’ve had too many seconds in this place, though.”

Local favorite Graham Rahal finished third in the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda. It was the fourth top-five finish at Mid-Ohio in as many years for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver and New Albany, Ohio, native. Rahal was the last driver to win consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series races, sweeping both ends of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear doubleheader weekend in early June.

“Our car had great pace today, we just could never quite get in clear air,” Rahal said. “I’m really proud of everyone on the Steak ‘n Shake team. … We’re going to keep our heads down, keep working hard.”

Castroneves finished seventh in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet to retain second place in the championship. Newgarden has scored 453 points to 446 for the Brazilian driving in his 20th Indy car season. Four-time series champion Scott Dixon finished ninth in the race and slipped from first to third in the season standings with 445 points. Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud finished fourth in the race and is fourth in points with 436. Power is fifth with 401 points and Rahal sixth with 395.

The race ran caution-free until Dale Coyne Racing rookie Ed Jones spun into the grass in Turn 9 on Lap 67, bringing out the race’s only yellow flag after Newgarden had built a 10-second advantage. Newgarden quickly sped away on the Lap 71 restart and wasn’t challenged the rest of the way.

The next race on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule is the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 20. The 500-mile race on the “Tricky Triangle” oval airs live at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Mazda Road to Indy recap

Nico Jamin of Andretti Autosport completed the Mazda Road to Indy hat trick, winning today’s Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race to make him victorious at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in all three MRTI levels. The 21-year-old Frenchman won three Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda races at the track in 2015 and collected a pair of Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires last year.

Jamin won by 0.5026 of a second over Santi Urrutia, the Belardi Auto Racing driver who won the first race of the weekend doubleheader on Saturday. Despite finishing 12th today, Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) retains a 42-point lead in the championship over Urrutia and Colton Herta (Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing) with two Indy Lights races remaining.

In the third Pro Mazda race of the Mid-Ohio weekend, Anthony Martin made a statement, racing away to victory by 13.9957 seconds over championship rival Victor Franzoni. Martin (Cape Motorsports), the 2016 USF2000 champion, moved four points ahead of Franzoni (Juncos Racing) in the standings with three races to go.

The Pro Mazda results remain unofficial, however. The cars of Martin, Franzoni and TJ Fischer were impounded for further evaluation this week in Indianapolis – an extension of the current inspection process.

 

RACE RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

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