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Anthony Alfredo and The No. 21 Maestro's Classic Chevrolet Team Score Season Best Third-Place Finish at Texas Motor Speedway
"Our No. 21 Maestro's Chevrolet fired off really well to start the race. We were able to quickly make our way inside the top-10 after starting in the 18th position. The biggest issue we fought throughout the race was just being a little too tight through the center and on exit of the corner. My crew chief, Andy Street, did a great job keeping up with the track and making adjustments throughout the race. One of the biggest things I've learned this year is just to be patient. Thankfully, we were able to put ourselves in position at the end and that is all you can really ask for. I'm just very thankful for everyone at Richard Childress Racing and ECR because they have no quit and it definitely showed today. It's been a privilege to drive these fast RCR Chevrolets and an honor to work with this organization. To score my best career finish and the best finish for the entire No. 21 team this season in my last start is pretty special. I really wish we could have caught the No. 9 car, but we just kind of stalled out and the No. 20 car ended up passing both of us. Nevertheless, I am extremely proud of my team and thankful to be in this position."
Will Power, the qualifying master of both the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and on the streets of St. Petersburg, reigned again Saturday, winning the NTT P1 Award for pole position in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Power posted a top lap of 1 minute, 1.0369 seconds in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet in the Firestone Fast Six of qualifying for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Live coverage of the season finale on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile street course begins at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC and the Pennzoil INDYCAR Radio Network.
“I thought we had worse tires than the other guys, but I just absolutely nailed it, man,” Power said. “Really, really good lap. I had to work the wheel hard for that one. I’m so stoked to get the Verizon car on pole again. Hopefully we can get Chevy in Victory Lane tomorrow. That would be fantastic.”
Power’s pole run extended a long list of accolades. It was his ninth career pole at St. Petersburg in 12 qualifying attempts, and it was Team Penske’s 10th pole position at St. Pete, with all but one coming from Power.
2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Power scored his fifth pole of the season and his second consecutive after starting first in the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR Race 2 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course Oct. 3. Power also made one step closer to history by scoring his 62nd career pole. He now sits just five behind the all-time INDYCAR record of 67, set by the legendary Mario Andretti.
“I’m able always to take it to another level, and I can only do it once a weekend, I reckon,” Power said. “It’s something I love. I just absolutely love getting the most out of something and perfecting a craft I’ve been working at for 25 years.”
Joining Power on the front row will be Alexander Rossi in the No. 27 AutoNation / NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda, who continued Andretti Autosport’s strong day and posted a best lap of 1:01.1730. Rossi has four consecutive top-10 starts to close the season as he also looks to end the year with four consecutive podium finishes.
Colton Herta, who was fastest in practice, qualified third in the No. 88 Capstone Turbine #ShiftToGreen Honda at 1:01.1815. Fellow Andretti driver James Hinchcliffe qualified fourth in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda at 1:01.3626, and Jack Harvey, who drives for Meyer Shank Racing with an Andretti technical alliance, qualified fifth in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda at 1:01.3675.
The two athletes competing for the Astor Challenge Cup were noticeably missing from the Firestone Fast Six.
Defending series champion Josef Newgarden failed to make it out of Round 2 and qualified eighth in the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet with a time of 1:00.8676.
“We took a swing at it for Q2, and it wasn’t the right direction,” Newgarden said. “I didn’t get the most out of it. I definitely had a lot of slides and wasn’t clean. I think just putting a clean lap together would have been good to transfer, and we just didn’t do the job. It makes our program a little harder for tomorrow, but we’ve still got to go for the win with the Hitachi Chevy boys. Yeah, we can we from there. We just made it a little harder.”
Meanwhile, points leader Scott Dixon will be forced to play defense in tomorrow’s 100-lap race after posting the second-to-last time in Round 2 of qualifying. Dixon will start 11th in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda after posting a time of 1:01.0283. He must finish ninth or better to clinch his sixth series title.
Dixon continued a trend of tough qualifying results as of late. Five-time series champion Dixon qualified 12th and 15th, respectively, in the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR doubleheader earlier this month on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
“It was a little bit strange,” Dixon said. “Our first qualifying session, the car felt really good. Just didn’t really piece it together very well. Then we kind of flip-flopped on how we did it. The first run we did three (laps) on black and then four (laps) on red. And we thought the reds came in quick enough. But right then, with how the traffic was and having to slow down, it was really only two laps. Each corner I was making, the car was getting more grip. But I just needed another lap. It is what it is. Our mistake.”
NTT IndyCar Series PR
After 1,800 laps over the course of 13 races, the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship comes down to a battle between Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden.
The two championship protagonists will be the center of this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, but there are other stories to watch heading into the season finale on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.
Here are five non-championship things to watch for this weekend.
Ending the Year on a High
Of the seven drivers who won races in 2019, only Alexander Rossi hasn’t visited Victory Lane in 2020, meaning the Andretti Autosport driver will have to win at St. Petersburg to extend his streak of seasons with at least one win to five years.
Rossi has history on his side.
In his four previous starts at St. Petersburg, Rossi has an average finish of 7.75 and led laps in the last two races, where he finished third and fifth, respectively.
“I am so thankful that we get to have this event as our season finale, and hopefully we can continue our run of podiums to finish out the year,” said Rossi, who has finished on the podium in the last four consecutive races. “If all the stars align, I know we can get a win before it’s all said and done.”
NTT IndyCar Series PR
Carvana Partners with 7-Time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson and Chip Ganassi Racing in INDYCAR
Leading online auto retailer Carvana (NYSE: CVNA) announced today it will be the primary partner for 7-time NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Champion Jimmie Johnson and Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES racing season in the newly-formed Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing entry.
Johnson co-holds the NCS record with Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for most premier series championships and is the only driver to win five consecutive titles (2006-2010). Johnson’s 83 career wins is tied with Cale Yarborough for sixth all-time and is tops among active drivers. With an impressive record any athlete would envy, Johnson saw his next challenge in INDYCAR, and recently announced his plans to race with CGR in his continued pursuit of excellence.
“Jimmie Johnson has already made his mark as one of the best NASCAR drivers in history, yet he’s continuing to push himself with a new challenge,” said Carvana Chief Brand Officer Ryan Keeton. “He’s not resting, but raising the bar, and that’s a mindset we can very much relate to. We’re looking forward to that shared challenger mindset, teamed up with Chip Ganassi Racing, for what is sure to be a fun, exciting racing season.”
Ahead of the upcoming season, Johnson is scheduled to participate in tests with CGR in the No. 48 Carvana Honda at Barber Motorsports Park and Laguna Seca in November. Johnson’s new paint scheme will be unveiled prior to the start of the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season where he is scheduled to compete in the full road and street course calendar.
“Carvana is a young, tech-forward, smart and aggressive company and is the perfect partner for this next challenge in my career,” said Johnson, who will be competing for 2021 INDYCAR Rookie of the Year. “I’ve dreamed of racing in INDYCAR since I was a little kid. Going from one championship organization to another with CGR, you know the resources, including great people, are going to be there. To have friends like Scott (Dixon), Dario (Franchitti) and Doug (Duchardt) there to lean on and learn from just makes this transition so much better. 2021 is going to be a lot of fun!”
“I think this is a perfect fit for our organization - Carvana is a very exciting technology company that is always continuing to challenge themselves to be the best they can be,” said Team Owner Chip Ganassi. “Like us, they value innovation – and when you add it all up, we seem to have a lot in common, which is why I think this relationship can really grow and be successful. You all know Jimmie and his accomplishments. Jimmie is a champion and a winner and will bring tremendous value to our organization. I think we’re going to learn as much from him and his approach as he is going to learn about INDYCAR racing. It will only move the team in a positive direction.”
As the pioneer of online car buying, Carvana created an easy, transparent way for consumers to purchase their next car - the ability to shop more than 20,000 vehicles, finance, purchase and schedule touchless delivery, all in as little as five minutes from the comfort and safety of home.'
NASCAR Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series Added to Inaugural 2021 NASCAR Weekend at Circuit of The Americas
If everything’s bigger in Texas, it’s only appropriate that the inaugural NASCAR weekend at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) just got bigger. Speedway Motorsports officials today announced that the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series have been added to the weekend lineup with the NASCAR Cup Series at COTA in Austin, Texas, May 21-23, 2021.
“When NASCAR rolls into Austin for the first time, it’s going to be exactly what Speedway Motorsports always presents, and that’s the biggest, baddest events that we see throughout all of NASCAR,” said Daniel Hemric, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports. “Bruton and the entire Speedway Motorsports family always do the utmost job of bringing the best experience for the fans, the best show for the fans, and we look forward to doing that as drivers as well.”
Three-day weekend packages are on sale now at NASCARatCOTA.com with general admission access starting at just $99 and reserved seating starting at just $125. Fans can save an additional 20 percent on adult weekend packages by purchasing during the NASCAR Playoffs. This offer will expire at midnight on Nov. 8.
“Anytime we go road racing, it seems like there’s a lot of beatin’ and bangin’,” said current Xfinity Series point leader Chase Briscoe, who will take over the cockpit of the No. 14 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2021. “I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
Fans will get their first glimpse of the weekend action as the Xfinity and Camping World Truck series take their first practice laps on the world-renowned road course on Friday, May 21. On Saturday, May 22, the on-track action will heat up with practice and qualifying sessions for each series as well as the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series races. The weekend will conclude with the NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, May 23.
Fans who have already made deposits for weekend ticket packages will be contacted directly to finalize their seat selections, while new purchases can be made at www.NASCARatCOTA.com.
Three-day weekend ticket packages are the most affordable way to catch all the action for the May 21-23 event. Single-day tickets will go on sale Feb. 1.
Announcements regarding race length, course selection and the complete weekend schedule will be made at a later date.
Fans can purchase a three-day weekend general admission pass starting at $99 and a three-day reserved seat starting at $125 for all practice, qualifying and race events online at www.NASCARatCOTA.com. LIMITED TIME ONLY --- fans can save an additional 20 percent on adult weekend package purchases through Nov. 8
Speedway Motorsports PR
“This is unreal. To drive this car and start the year with no experience is a tall feat. I’d never thought I’d get here. It can’t be much sweeter,” Scelzi said.
Scelzi pounced on the 124th lap of the race, diving inside Gray for the lead coming to the white flag. After side-by-side contact on the front stretch, Gray spun with a flat left rear tire while Scelzi dashed ahead for the win. The victory came during the 22nd appearance for the West Series in Roseville and the first time under the ARCA banner.
Gray battled side-by-side on several restarts with Virginia’s Mason Diaz. The bottom proved to be the preferred line throughout the battle. The top-five contenders lined up nose-to-tail including eighth starting Gracie Trotter who had driven into the third position.
A debris caution slowed the action on lap 105. Diaz fell to third on the restart as he got loose on the outside line. The caution fell again for debris on lap 110.
A multi-car skirmish ensued on the following restart as the field raced into turn three. Trevor Huddleston got into the back of Diaz while Trotter tangled with Loomis’ Jack Wood.
Scelzi restarted second for the final restart, challenging Gray before the decisive maneuver on lap 124. Aromas’ Todd Souza avoided the spinning Gray to finish second ahead of Huddleston, incoming points leader Jesse Love, and Blaine Perkins of Bakersfield.
All three local divisions who competed on Friday night completed their main events without a caution flag. A-All Mini Storage was part of a group of supporting sponsors for the events as seen on AllAmericanSpeedway.TV American Racer West, Jaws Gear & Axle, and McGinnis Race Car Bodies offered awards as well.
Roseville’s Roy Smith held off 2020 Super Stock champion Andrew Peeler of Sacramento for his first win of the season. Peeler was aiming for his sixth consecutive win and led the combined practice and qualifying session. A six-car invert placed Smith and Peeler on the third row for the 40-lap main.
Roseville’s Jeremy Fritts led the opening lap before former track champion Erick Ray – in his first start of the year – grabbed the lead. By lap 14, Ray, Peeler, and Smith were lined up as the top-three cars. Smith took over the lead with an inside pass on lap 17. Peeler quickly followed into second. Peeler stayed glued to Smith throughout the remaining 23 laps but was unable to complete a pass for the lead. Smith won the $300 feature plus the $100 hard charger award ahead of Peeler, Ray, Blake Disomma, and Andrew Kemp.
Sacramento’s Jason Philpot added to his championship resume with Friday’s Jaws Gear & Axle Limited Mod triumph. The win paid a total of $650 including the hard charger prize. Philpot was not the fast-time qualifier however, with Derrick Doering of Auburn taking that title. The duo quickly advanced from the third row up to the leader Mike Gorham of Lincoln. Doering overhauled Gorham on lap 22 when Gorham was hung up in lapped traffic on the outside line.
Philpot and Doering made contact into turn one on lap 33 but were able to separate with Doering maintaining the lead. Philpot went to the outside with two laps remaining, which led to a wheel banging and sliding duel exiting turn four. They made contact again into turn one but straightened out for the backstretch. Doering then spun, nearly collecting Gorham in a narrow miss. Philpot persevered for the win ahead of Gorham, Nuno, Doering, and Don Shalla.
Matthew Fuhs of Roseville ended his father Ray Molina’s streak of six straight F4 wins by taking the $150 to win, 30-lap main event. Fuhs also added a $100 hard charger for his efforts. His hard charger came by the way of a qualifying mishap, when both Fuhs and Molina went under the 16.5 second break out. They were relegated to starting tenth and eleventh in the starting lineup respectively.
John Sproule of Rocklin led the first two laps from the outside pole before 2020 championship runner-up Rich Innis took over on lap three. Fuhs was quickly up to second by the ninth lap, then grabbed the lead on lap 18. Molina and Innis had a great battle for second while Fuhs gained a comfortable lead. Fuhs won by 1.2 seconds over Molina, Innis, Jerry Nunes, and Vic Theberge.
All American Speedway thanks Sinister Diesel, Jaws Gear & Axle, JM Environmental, Riebes Auto Parts, A-All Mini Storage, NAPA AUTO PARTS, CashInTheCan.com, and @the Grounds for their support of the 2020 racing season!
Gio Scelzi made a thrilling pass for the lead heading into the final lap to capture his first career win in the ARCA Menards Series West on Friday night at All American Speedway and take home the winning trophy in the NAPA AUTO PARTS 125 presented by CashInTheCan.com.
The 18-year-old series rookie from Fresno, California, dashed to the inside of the leader in Turn 4 as the two headed to the white flag. As both cars slid out of the turn, Scelzi was able to complete the pass and pull away in the final lap to take the checkered flag in the Bill McAnally Racing No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS/Curb Records Toyota Camry.
“I had such a good Toyota the whole time,” Scelzi said. “I can’t thank my guys enough. I’ve never had a car where I could run guys down and pass them like that. I knew he was struggling. I didn’t pass him on the outside; I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get him. Then he bobbled there and I kind of slammed through the door.
“This is unreal,” Scelzi said. “Nobody works harder than my crew chief John (Camilleri). We’ve really come into our own and have learned each other.”
Scelzi, who started third, ran in the top five through the first half of the race. As the laps wound down, he began to move up. He was able to avoid trouble in a couple of late-race cautions and restarted outside the front row with five laps remaining. After initially attempting to take the lead on the outside, he made his move to the inside to take the lead and the win.
His three BMR teammates all finished in the top 10 – with Jesse Love in fourth in the No. 19 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry, Holley Hollan taking sixth in the No. 50 JBL/NAPA Filters/NAPA Belts & Hoses Toyota Camry, and Gracie Trotter recovering from a late-race incident to take 10th in the No. 99 ENEOS Toyota Camry.
Trotter had charged from eighth on the grid and raced her way to third in the first half of the event. She remained in contention until getting caught up in a multi-car incident just after a restart late in the race. After starting seventh and remaining in the top 10 for much of the race, Love took advantage of that incident to nab his ninth top-five finish in nine races this season. Hollan battled back from a couple of incidents to match her best career finish of sixth.
Love retained his lead in the championship standings, with a 17-point margin. Trotter remains third in the standings, 20 points out of second. With his win, Scelzi tied her in points. Hollan remains seventh in the standings.
Scelzi, son of four-time NHRA drag racing champion Gary Scelzi, became the third BMR driver to win an ARCA West race this season – with Love scoring three wins and Trotter capturing a victory. Friday’s win marks BMR’s 104th overall victory in ARCA Menards Series East/West competition.
Guests from the NAPA Distribution Center in Sacramento and from Riebes Auto Parts were treated to a VIP experience on Friday. They received a special pit tour and a meet-and-greet with the BMR drivers, along with a catered meal. In addition, NGK VIP honorary crew members were at the event.