Racing News (10254)
Racing News from around the World
TicketGuardian, the award-winning technology platform, has announced a branding consolidation and pivot to the name of its parent company, Protecht. The pivot to Protecht is designed to streamline and simplify the Protecht offerings to partners, prospects and customers.
Protechts industry-leading live event technology and consumer-facing protection products help provide ticketing platforms and organizers with control over inventory, additional lines of revenue, fraud prevention tools and fan engagement through enhancements like an improved checkout flow, bot detection (beta) and upgraded security.
Through its various products such as FanShield, TourShield, EventShield, RegShield and FraudGuardian, Protecht provides a dynamic solution for the live events industry to protect attendees and organizers alike from financial burden by offering the option for consumers to protect their tickets, registrations and events including music, sports, endurance, conferences and more.
"The primary goal of the rebranding is to concentrate on our mission statement as we continue to grow," said Protecht Founder and CEO Bryan Derbyshire. "Were here to protect those incredible encounters and memories as well as the investments fans make in them. We Protecht What Matters."
The rebranding comes on the heels of a blistering start to 2019 for Protecht that saw the launch of partnerships with Learfield IMG College, Eventbrite, Tickets.com and Paciolan, with more in the works. The company also launched a documentary series, FanStories, and hosted its second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series TicketGuardian 500 in Phoenix.
For more information on Protecht, visit www.protecht.io.
Simon Pagenaud started the day celebrating his pole-winning effort in qualifications for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge by participating in the traditional front-row photo shoot. He ended the day at the front of the speed chart.
Pagenaud was the fastest driver in a two-hour practice Monday afternoon on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval as the 33 qualifiers tuned their cars in race trim in preparation for "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" just six days away.
The 2016 NTT IndyCar Series champion turned a lap of 228.441 mph on the famed 2.5-mile superspeedway in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske to top Monday's practice, a day after averaging 229.992 mph over four laps to earn his 11th career pole position and first for the world's largest single-day sporting event.
"It was really good to be able to run with a lot of people on track," said Pagenaud, seeking to become the second driver in as many years to win both IMS races after he conquered the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the road course on May 11. Teammate Will Power achieved the IMS double in 2018.
"I thought at the end it was almost like a race," Pagenaud added about the practice that featured intense running in groups. "Everybody was on track, so that was entertaining. It was a good way to see how the car was reacting.
"Obviously, we have a good idea on where our car is at, but you want to see what the competition is like as well. That's why you saw me running a lot behind people and cycle back to the back (of a group of cars) to try to understand who was strong and how they were driving their cars. But I think we've got a really good (car) balance so far."
Another Team Penske driver, 2017 series champion and current points leader Josef Newgarden, was second fastest in the practice with a lap of 228.273 mph in the No. 2 Shell V-Power Nitro Plus Chevrolet. James Hinchcliffe was third at 227.994 in the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda. Reigning series champion Scott Dixon was fourth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, with a lap of 227.951 mph.
The action was nonstop, with 2,469 laps completed in the session. Takuma Sato, the 2017 Indy 500 winner, turned the most laps (98) in the No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Power was second with 94 laps in the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet, with Pagenaud and Newgarden close behind at 88 laps apiece.
"The car was very consistent, just degrading the front tires a little bit at the end of the runs," Pagenaud said, "but overall everything was very solid, very strong. We did some fuel save (runs) as well, to see how we could do in the race. So it was quite interesting to see all that stuff, and we were able to do some engine tuning as well. So far, so good."
While the 33 drivers will fan out across the United States and Canada on Tuesday to promote Sunday's race in the annual Indy 500 media tour, the cars remain idled until a final practice Friday on Miller Lite Carb Day. The 90-minute session kicks off live Carb Day coverage on NBCSN that runs from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. ET and includes the Indy 500 Pit Stop Competition as well as the premier race of the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season, the Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires.
Indianapolis 500 race-day coverage features wall-to-wall coverage on the NBC Sports family of networks. A prerace show airs on NBCSN from 9-11 a.m. Sunday, followed by race coverage on NBC from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. A one-hour postrace show begins at 4 p.m. on NBCSN.
The Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network also provides Indy 500 race-day coverage on network affiliates, XM 209, SiriusXM 82, Web 970 and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA.
NTT IndyCar Series PR
Speedway Indiana May 20,2019
After spending the entire day in the rain Sunday! A small window opened late in the afternoon for qualifications.
For the second year in a row 2 highly known drivers were bumped from the Indy 500. In 2018 it was James Hinchcliff, and now this year 2 time Formula One Champion Fernando Alonso was the latest to get bumped from running the Indy 500!
Frankly it could have been avoided! McLaren did not give Fernando car he could compete with, and that fact was proven Sunday! The buzz around the media center was McLaren was going to buy a spot. Well that was quickly squashed. Fernando said if didn’t earn a spot then he didn’t want to be in race. Television cameras focused on Alonso during Kaiser's run as he sat on the brink of elimination. The Juncos driver ran four neat and composed laps, eventually crossing the line and knocking Alonso and McLaren—both synonymous with success but, more recently, catastrophe—out by just two-hundredths of a mile per hour.
Then we had the fast nine and it appears we are playing game of “Simon Says”. Simon Pagenaud wins the GP last weekend and this week he wins the pole. Today Simon leads in practice 1 for the Indy 500 this weekend!
This is the tightest grid in 500 history! With just a little over a second between 1st and 33rd positions.
Todays practice results
Pagenaud, Simon 228.441
Newgarden, Josef 228.273
Hinchcliffe, James 227.994
Dixon, Scott 227.951
Rossi, Alexander 227.660
Kimball, Charlie 227.645
Castroneves, Helio 227.614
Power, Will 227.480
Rosenqvist, Felix (R) 227.414
Davison, James 227.393
Follow me on Twitter @Tbalance
In the new qualifying format for the 2019 Indianapolis 500, the bottom six drivers after Saturday’s qualifying session were to duke for the final three positions on Sunday, with only one attempt.
Fernando Alonso’s final 4-lap average was 227.353mph, putting him third out of the five drivers to take time. Alonso was in. Provisionally, but in. After all, the only driver left to qualify was the unsponsored Juncos Racing No. 32, which nearly flipped two days prior with California’s Kyle Kaiser behind the wheel. Alonso is a two-time F1 Champ, defending 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, defending 24 Hours of Daytona winner, 32-time F1 winner, and current FIA WEC Point Leader. No way Juncos’ backup car could bump the McLaren-Carlin Chevrolet, right?
Kyle Kaiser set the world on fire. Not everyone knew his name Sunday morning. The world was either cursing or singing his name Sunday evening. Kaiser’s four-lap average was 227.372mph. Just .019mph quicker than Alonso’s speed. The unsponsored, white, green and orange Chevrolet was in. When the Juncos Racing team began celebrating, Alonso walked past the cameras, media, fans, straight to a golf cart. He hopped on the cart, and was driven out of sight. No talk to the media for the Spaniard. He had failed to qualify for his second Indianapolis 500.
The excitement of bump day is high every year, and unfortunately for the McLaren team, they had lived it. And even more unfortunate for Zak Brown, they had lived the wrong end.
Will McLaren buy a ride from a qualified car? Will Alonso return to the brickyard next year? Only time will tell. And that’s why we love motorsports. The unpredictable. The drama. The excitement. And ofcourse, the speed.
Thank you, IMS. Until next week.
In what has become another Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge tradition, the 33 participating drivers in this year's race will fan out across North America on Tuesday to spread the word about the upcoming running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
This year, the 103rd Indianapolis 500 field is scheduled to visit 18 cities in less than 24 hours. Drivers will meet with local media in each location to discuss the race and partake in activities to increase the already-surging interest in the Indianapolis 500, the world's largest single-day sporting event set for Sunday, May 26 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Defending Indianapolis 500 champion Will Power, who will start the race from the second row, will visit Washington, D.C., and attend the Ambassador's Event at White Oaks, the official residence of the Australian Ambassador to the United States, the honorable Joe Hockey. Power is a native of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.
Simon Pagenaud, the 2016 NTT IndyCar Series champion who captured the pole position for this year's Indy 500 with a qualifying speed of 229.992 mph in the Fast Nine Shootout on Sunday, will visit St. Louis. The Midwest city is home of the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline, the NTT IndyCar Series race Aug. 24 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. Joining Pagenaud will be Andretti Autosport driver Zach Veach, who is set to appear on NBCSN's pregame coverage of the NHL Western Conference Game 6 playoff between the San Jose Sharks and host St. Louis Blues.
A trio of Indianapolis 500 champions will visit New York: Helio Castroneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi. Castroneves is chasing a history-tying fourth victory at the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," which would extend Team Penske's record wins count to 18. Andretti Autosport teammates Hunter-Reay and Rossi have each won the race once.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Ed Carpenter, who qualified second on Sunday, and Carlin's Charlie Kimball will visit Dallas/Fort Worth ahead of the DXC Technology 600 under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8. The pair will give Golf Channel's "The Morning Drive" host Gary Williams an escort in a TMS pace car and INDYCAR Experience street-legal two-seater to the Colonial Country Club ahead of its annual PGA Tour event.
Ed Carpenter Racing teammates Spencer Pigot and Ed Jones, who complete the 2-3-4 qualifying effort for ECR along with Carpenter, will visit Pigot's hometown of Orlando and challenge fans to a social media scavenger hunt at the Universal Orlando resort and theme park.
Toronto native James Hinchcliffe will visit with hometown media following Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' remarkable effort to qualify him in 32nd position for the race, after Hinchcliffe crashed on the first day of qualifying Saturday. The Honda Indy Toronto is the 11th race of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season on July 14.
Hinchcliffe's fellow last-row qualifiers, Kyle Kaiser of Juncos Racing and Sage Karam of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, will visit Cincinnati and Fort Wayne, respectively.
The full list of markets to be visited and drivers attending is below:
Chicago: Marco Andretti, Oriol Servia
Cincinnati: Kyle Kaiser, Pippa Mann
Columbus: Takuma Sato
Dallas-Fort Worth: Ed Carpenter, Charlie Kimball
Dayton: Conor Daly, Marcus Ericsson, Jordan King
Detroit: Graham Rahal
Fort Wayne: Santino Ferrucci, Ben Hanley, Sage Karam, Felix Rosenqvist
Indianapolis: Colton Herta
Louisville: JR Hildebrand
Nashville: Josef Newgarden
New York: Helio Castroneves, Jack Harvey, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi
Orlando: Ed Jones, Spencer Pigot
Philadelphia: Tony Kanaan, Matheus Leist
Pittsburgh: Scott Dixon
St. Louis: Simon Pagenaud, Zach Veach
Tampa-St. Petersburg: Sebastien Bourdais, James Davison
Toronto: James Hinchcliffe
Washington: Will Power
Coverage of the 103rd Indianapolis 500 begins at 11 a.m. ET Sunday on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. Tickets are available at IMS.com.
NTT IndyCar Series Pr
The battle for the ARCA Menards Series championship moves from the quick half-mile of Toledo Speedway to the sweeping, ultra-fast high banks of Charlotte Motor Speedway in Thursday night’s General Tire 150. The race, the seventh race of the season, will be the second race in five days for the ARCA Menards Series teams and the second race of a seven-races-in-six-weeks stretch that carries the tour into the summer.
No one has been able to hold on to the series championship lead for more than one race throughout the series’ first six races of the year. Harrison Burton (No. 20 DEX Imaging Toyota) led after winning the season opener at Daytona, but he is racing full time in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series and not competing for the ARCA title. Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) took over the top spot after finishing third at Five Flags Speedway in March, but fell ill the night before the third race of the season and did not compete, losing the lead to Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford). Braden lost the lead to Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) after the fourth race of the year at Talladega but regained the lead after the fifth race of the year at Nashville when Self was caught up in an accident and finished 15th.
Braden held the lead going into the race at Toledo, but now faces a 25-point deficit to Self after a crash at Toledo left him 13th at the finish. Heading into Thursday night’s 100-lap clash on the 1.5-mile quad-oval at Charlotte third-place Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation/Southern States Bank Chevrolet) is just 35 points out of the lead. Eckes jumped to fourth with a third-place finish at Toledo, now just 65 points out of the lead, and Joe Graf, Jr. (No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford) dropped to fifth but is just 100 points out of the lead. The tightness at the top of the standings means anyone could come out on top after the race.
"This points battle has already been very intense," Braden said. "No one's even been racing head-to-head for it yet on track. We've also just passed the one quarter mark of the season. Now, the intensity of the schedule is about to ramp up, and things will get even trickier. Mistakes will be made, and I feel that some frustrations will start to set in. A championship battle like this is as much a mental fight as it is physical."
Although he missed the race at Salem due to illness, Eckes is fourth in the standings. Missing the race at Salem certainly hurt his chances, but a 26th-place finish at Talladega the following week almost ruined them. Eckes stayed focused and went on to win at Nashville, reigniting his championship hopes.
“The month of April wasn’t very kind to us,” Eckes said. “But we can’t look back. We’re going to go out and do what we need to do and that’s go try to win as many races as we can. We’re going to look ahead and whatever happens will happen.”
If he’s going to get back into the title fight, Eckes will have to deal not only with Braden, but his Venturini Motorsports teammate Self as well. Self, who is also running the full ARCA Menards Series season for the first time in his career, was a pre-season favorite to win the championship. He was swept into a crash early at Daytona and finished 31st, leaving him in a deep points hole heading into the second race of the season. He won the next time out at Five Flags and went back-to-back with a win at Salem. Self has been one of the strongest cars on the track every week but has been involved in two accidents not of his doing. He avoided the trouble that shortened Braden’s day at Toledo and retook the points lead for the third time this season.
“If you look at my stats it’s crazy,” Self said. “It’s up and down. When I finish, I am in the top five. We need to get over the bad luck and find consistency. We’ve had great cars all season long and we’ve been fast. If we can keep out of those situations like Daytona and Nashville and still keep our performance where it’s been we’ll have a shot at it.”
While he might have flown under the radar the first quarter of the season, Holmes is not one that should be overlooked. After a difficult 2018 season that saw he and his father Stacy decide to park their racecar several races short of the full season to restructure the team, Holmes has been quietly strong to start 2019. Crew chief Shane Huffman, himself a former driver, has rebuilt the racecars and given Holmes confidence he can go compete for his elusive first career ARCA win.
“We decided we needed to regroup and figure out what we needed to be successful for this season,” said Holmes. “We worked hard over the off season to put together a strong team. We knew where we wanted to be and the resources we needed to get there. Racing is a family sport. You travel a lot with your team and get to know everyone really well. It’s important to have a strong leader and hardworking crew members. I’m proud of the team that we’ve put together. We take steps forward after each race and build on what we learned to make the next race stronger. We have the cars and guys to be a competitive team this season. One of our main goals for the rest of this season is to be consistent and finish within the top five every week. I feel like we’re achieving that goal right now. We just have to continue to work through the little kinks that come with each race. We’re still a fairly new team, so there’s always things we can work on to be better. If we can continue to be consistent, I know we will have a chance at the championship.”
Graf made a splash in his rookie season last year when he finished second in the closest finish in series history at Talladega, a statistical dead heat that was only broken by reviewing the photo finish camera. He followed with his first career win in a fender-banging duel with Zane Smith – the driver he lost to at Talladega – to win at Berlin. In cars owned by crew chief-turned-car owner Chad Bryant who still prepares and calls the shots for Graf on race weekends, the New Jersey native expected to be a title contender in 2019. He’s in the mix but has fought bad luck to start the season. Graf has stayed positive and looks to make a move to the front through the next six weeks.
“We didn’t have the start to the season that we were hoping, but luckily we’ve been able to build some consistency as the season marches on and our finishes are showing that,” offered Graf. “We’re not exactly where were wanted to be at the moment, but we’re improving and heading in the right direction with a lot of effort by everyone. We’ll get there. This team is too good. We know that consistency during this upcoming summer stretch will lead us back to victory lane and hopefully keep us within reach of the championship fight.”
Two hours of practice for the General Tire 150 is scheduled for 11:30 am ET, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 5 pm ET, and the race is set to go green shortly after 9 pm ET. The race will be televised live on FS1; ARCA for Me members can access free live timing & scoring, live track updates, and live chat at ARCARacing.com. New users can register for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login. For ticket information, log on to CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com or call the track ticket office at (800) 455-3267.
ARCA Menards Series PR
Speedway Indiana- 5/20/2019
Sad news to report from Indy!
Two-time Indy 500 Champion Al Unser Jr was arrested in the suburb of Indianapolis of Avon, Indiana!
According to Fox 59 in Indianapolis..
Avon police arrested two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, Jr. on an OWI charge.
Unser was booked into the Hendricks County Jail at 3:21 a.m. on Monday.
Unser faced similar legal problems in the past. He made headlines in 2002 when he was arrested after an alcohol-fueled fight with his girlfriend. He also has previous drunk driving arrests in 2007 and 2011.
Unser has been very vocal about his struggles with alcohol. In fact, just a few weeks ago he spoke with Hope Academy students to share his story of addiction as a recovering alcoholic. He said drinking was a demon he faced, and he hopes others will learn from his mistakes.
That years-long challenge has gotten him into trouble with the law before. In 2002, he was arrested for domestic battery against his girlfriend at the time. She blamed his drinking for the incident when she reported it to police. He first denied knowing her, but later said she hit him first. The charges were later dropped the woman stopped cooperating with investigators, but Unser still decided he needed help.
"Nearly every poor choice I've made in my life occurred under the influence of alcohol," he read in a statement at the time
Bobby Unser after the arrest that he'd talked to his nephew about his drinking problem. "It’s been addressed, for sure. He knows about it, but not doing anything is the problem. In other words, knowing is one thing, doing something about it is another thing and he really needs to do something about it."
Al Jr., now 57 years old, won 34 races including two Indianapolis 500s during his time as a driver, and continues working in the racing industry.
The Heritage Truck Centers 250 was the first time the CARS Tour visited Motor Mile Speedway since 2015, and Saturday night's action made up for the long hiatus when Bubba Pollard and Bobby McCarty muscled their way to Edelbrock Victory Lane. For Pollard, it was his third tour win this season and the first for McCarty in nearly a year.
SUPER LATE MODEL RECAP
Matt Craig claimed the Mahle Pistons Pole Award and led the field to the green flag in the opening race of the night. Second place starter Bubba Pollard nosed ahead of Craig to lead lap one before the Kannapolis, N.C, retook the top spot on lap two and held it for over a third of the race.
Pollard began to show his speed on lap 47 when he bypassed Craig for the top spot, but Craig found a way back around on lap 59. The pair continued to trade blows, moving each other out of the way multiple times before Pollard ultimately took the lead for the final time on lap 78 after a caution for Mike Speeney's problems in turn three.
Despite Pollard's late-race dominance, Craig threw everything at the No. 26 Ford when he attempted to outduel Pollard on a lap 114 restart. Having none of it, race control thwarted his work when the restart was called back as a jumped restart and reattempted with Pollard on the inside lane where he motored away after the green flag.
Pollard extended his lead to a .686-second advantage at the checkered flag, beating Craig, Stephen Nasse, Tate Fogleman and Kodie Conner to the line.
"When you drive good stuff, got good people behind you, they make it easy on you," said Pollard in Edelbrock Victory Lane when asked about how he has pulled off three wins so far this season.
"When you drive me dirty, I'm going to drive you back dirty, and that's all there is to it," he continued when prompted about the battle with Matt Craig. "When you run me up the racetrack, I'm going to let you know it. It could have been a lot cleaner than what it was, and it wasn't. It's part of racing if he wants to drive like that. You're looking at a new Bubba Pollard. I've kinda been easy on people, kind of just rolled with the flow, but I ain't taking no [expletive] off nobody no more. If you touch that 26 car, you're gonna be ready for it."
LATE MODEL STOCK RECAP
Four years ago, Josh Berry picked up his first CARS Tour win at Motor Mile Speedway, and picked up where he left off by rocketing to the Hedgecock Racing Pole Position during qualifying. As expected, he shot to the lead early over second place starter Deac McCaskill.
The opening two thirds of the race was exceptionally clean, with two caution flags on laps 40 and 80 thrown by rule according to the series' competition caution policy. After lap 80, however, things got crazy when Taylor Gray lost control exiting turn four which started a massive chain reaction melee that collected at least ten cars in one fashion or another. Multiple drivers were eliminated from the race afterwards.
Bobby McCarty, who had moved to second during the opening two stints, challenged Josh Berry on the restart, but was unable to steal to the top spot despite a quick outside lane at Motor Mile. A slew of late-race accidents including four cautions in the final scheduled 25 laps, gave McCarty multiple opportunities to bypass Berry but none of them yielded any results.
Josh Berry took the white flag after 124 laps and appeared to be en route to his 16th career when when Brandon Pierce sent Ryan Repko for a spin in turn two, forcing officials to throw the yellow before the leader had taken the checkered flag, prompting a green-white-checkered restart.
On the initial attempt, Berry bypassed McCarty in turn three, but washed up the track allowing McCarty to drive to his inside in turn one. The two made contact, and Berry went spinning up the track, handing McCarty the race lead and relegating Berry to the tail.
The second attempt at a finish saw McCarty choose the high line for his restart lane, while Justin Carroll started underneath. The pair leaned on each other while others pushed and shoved behind them. They took the white flag in a near dead heat, and made the final circuit door-to-door before racing off turn four to the checkered flag where Bobby McCarty edged out Carroll in a photo finish of .029 seconds. Sammy Smith, Brandon Pierce and Tommy Lemons, Jr., rounded out the top five.
"I really hate that with the 88, I really do, he knows I don't race that way," McCarty said after thanking his crew in Edelbrock Victory Lane. "He was trying to pinch me, and I was trying to run him up a little bit, and we hit wheels. It yanked the wheel right out of my hand. I've never wrecked nobody for a win, I never have and I never will, that was just a racing incident. Hopefully he and I can talk about it and come to an agreement. But, like I said, a big thank you to everyone at Nelson Motorsports. My wife and son are here, and it's he first time they've come in a long time, so this is a really cool moment for me.
"When that [lap 124] caution came out, I was worried, because they can cause a lot of problems," he continued when asked about the setup for the finish. "You never know how these restarts are going to play out. Josh didn't get to the throttle really good coming out of four, and I was able to pull the crossover and we got position on him and that was unfortunate and I really hate that happened. I didn't know whether to take the inside or the outside on the last restart because I was losing forward drive and that's where the 88 was killing us. I felt like if someone was on our outside, I wasn't going to be able to get the throttle down. We took the outside, Justin's a really hard racer, he races hard but he races clean, and I hope the fans enjoyed that show."
The next event for the CARS Racing Tour will take place June 8 at Langley Speedway, the Who's Your Driver 125, a standalone event for the late model stock cars with support from three local divisions at a highly-competitive .395-mile layout on the east coast of Virginia.
For more information on the CARS Tour, visit their website at CARSRacingTour.com, or follow them on Facebook (@CARSTour), Twitter (@CARSTour), Instagram (@cars_tour), and Snapchat (@carstour). The series also has its own YouTube channel, Roku channel (available through its TV website), and a new publicly available Amazon FireTV app released this week.
CARS Racing PR
Inaugural eNASCAR Heat Pro League Season Set to Commence Memorial Day Weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway20 May 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
704Games, the Race Team Alliance and NASCAR announced today that the inaugural eNASCAR Heat Pro League™ season will make its highly anticipated debut Memorial Day Weekend live from Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The historic first races precede Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 with the green flag dropping at 3:30 p.m. ET at the NASCAR Trackside Live stage as well as on NASCAR’s Facebook and 704Games’ Twitch via livestream. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace will be on-hand for the pre-race festivities.
“The eNASCAR Heat Pro League is a result of incredible industry collaboration and a shared commitment to growing NASCAR through innovation,” said Tim Clark, senior vice president and chief digital officer, NASCAR. “The esports community is massive, highly engaged and passionate, and our league presents an unparalleled opportunity to reach new and existing fans.”
The newly formed esports league will have a season that begins this Sunday and culminates during the 2019 NASCAR Playoffs. Fourteen notable NASCAR teams and 28 drivers will compete across a variety of virtual tracks on the NASCAR circuit. The full team rosters can be seen below.
"Players from across the country competed to be part of the eNASCAR Heat Pro League with the best of the best being chosen by teams to compete in the inaugural season back in March,” said Ed Martin, Managing Director of Esports, 704Games. “The 28 drafted drivers have spent weeks practicing for what is sure to be a thrilling and dynamic season. When we started the NASCAR Heat franchise, we set out to capture the drama and excitement that unfolds in NASCAR every week and deliver that experience to gamers around the world. The eNASCAR Heat Pro League is the next evolution of that mission and we’re thrilled to bring competitive online console racing to a global esports platform in collaboration with NASCAR.”
Fans can tune-in Sunday, May 26 starting at 3 p.m. ET for pre-race coverage. The Xbox race will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET with the PlayStation 4 race following at 4 p.m. ET. The second race of the season will follow on Wednesday, May 29.
For more information about the eNASCAR Heat Pro League, please visit eNASCAR.com.
Xbox One Drivers/Teams:
Greg Matarazzo / Chip Ganassi Gaming
Nicholas Vroman / Leavine Family Gaming
Tyler Dohar / JR Motorsports
Brian Tedeschi / Team Penske Esports
Nick Walker / Roush Fenway Gaming
Diego Alvarado / Petty Esports
Josh Shoemaker / Stewart-Haas Gaming
Sam Morris / Hendrick Motorsports Gaming Club
Daniel Buttafuoco / Gibbs Gaming
Justin Brooks/ JTG Daugherty Throttlers
Matt Heale / GoFas Gaming
Jordan McGraw / RCR Esports
Jacob Kerr / Germain Gaming
Casey Gomme / Wood Brothers Gaming
PlayStation 4 Drivers/Teams:
Slade Gravitt / Wood Brothers Gaming
William Arnold / Germain Gaming
Joey Stone / RCR Esports
Hunter Mullins / GoFas Gaming
Zach Onson / JTG Daugherty Throttlers
TJ McGowan / Gibbs Gaming
Nick Jobes / Hendrick Motorsports Gaming Club
Brandyn Gritton / Stewart-Haas Gaming
Mike Braas / Petty Esports
Cody Giles / Roush Fenway Gaming
Corey Rothgeb / Team Penske Esports
Jason Keffer / JR Motorsports
Josh Harbin / Leavine Family Gaming
Josh Parker / Chip Ganassi Gaming
704 Games PR
Simon Pagenaud continued on his roll this May, winning the pole position for the upcoming 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso, however, will be a spectator for the May 26 race after failing to successfully qualify.
In a drama-filled Sunday afternoon that featured separate qualifying sessions to fill opposite ends of the 33-car starting grid, Pagenaud completed a four-lap Fast Nine Shootout qualification run on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway superspeedway at 229.992 mph to earn the NTT P1 Award, the 11th pole position of his 11-year Indy car career and first at the Indy 500.
Meanwhile, Sage Karam, James Hinchcliffe and Kyle Kaiser drove their way into the field with the best qualifying efforts in the Last Row Shootout, with Alonso among those whose runs came up short on speed.
INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRESENTED BY GAINBRIDGE: Starting lineup
Pagenaud delivered the 18th Indianapolis 500 pole position for Team Penske, extending the benchmark NTT IndyCar Series program's record that stands at 13 more than any other team. In addition, Pagenaud became the first Frenchman in a century to capture the Indy 500 pole, since Rene Thomas in 1919.
"Team Menards and Team Penske have been phenomenal about giving me the best equipment," said Pagenaud, who turned 35 on Saturday. "I can't thank them enough and my teammates for always pushing me to the limit. This is incredible. This is the biggest race in the world, so obviously I'm on Cloud Nine."
Pagenaud is the hottest driver in the NTT IndyCar Series, fresh off a May 11 win in the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the IMS road course. Driving the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet on the oval on Sunday, he outperformed a trio of Ed Carpenter Racing drivers who qualified second through fourth.
Pagenaud edged out Ed Carpenter, who qualified the No. 20 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet at 229.889 mph and narrowly missed winning the Indy 500 pole for a fourth time. Spencer Pigot, fastest in first-day qualifying on Saturday, ranked a career-best third Sunday in the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet at 229.826 mph. Ed Jones was fourth in the No. 63 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet at 229.646 mph.
"I was hoping one of the three of us was going to get the pole, but finishing 2-3-4 is the next best thing," team owner/driver Carpenter said. "I'm really proud of the whole team to give us the cars we had, which put us in the position to go out and qualify the way that we did."
Rookie Colton Herta repeated his stellar effort from Saturday, qualifying fifth on Sunday at 229.086 mph in the No. 88 GESS Capstone Honda for Harding Steinbrenner Racing. Will Power, the 2018 Indy 500 winner, rounded out the second row by qualifying sixth in the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet (228.645 mph).
Sebastien Bourdais posted the seventh-best run in the No. 18 SealMaster Honda (228.621 mph), ahead of NTT IndyCar Series points leader Josef Newgarden in the No. 2 Shell V-Power Nitro Plus Team Penske Chevrolet (228.396 mph) and 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda (228.247 mph).
Pagenaud will lead the closest field in Indianapolis 500 history to the green flag. The time separating Pagenaud's four-lap qualifying attempt and that of slowest qualifier Pippa Mann was 1.8932 seconds, breaking the previous mark of 2.1509 seconds in 2014. The 228.240 mph speed average of the 33 qualifiers is fourth fastest in Indianapolis 500 history.
Rain delayed the start of Sunday's two qualifying sessions more than four hours. The Last Row Shootout to decide the final three drivers in the field preceded the Fast Nine Shootout, and it ended with Alonso and McLaren Racing on the outside looking in. Returning to the Indy 500 for a second time in a bid to win the last leg of racing's Triple Crown, Alonso was knocked from the field when Kaiser posted a four-lap qualifying run 0.019 of a mph faster.
Six drivers vied for the last three positions in the field. Alonso, the third to try, completed his run at 227.353 mph in the No. 66 McLaren Racing Chevrolet. It placed the Spaniard second to Hinchcliffe at the time.
Karam qualified at 227.740 mph in the No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet, dropping Alonso onto the bubble as the 33rd qualifier. In a backup car cobbled together by his Juncos Racing crew after Kaiser crashed the primary No. 32 Chevrolet in Friday practice, Kaiser ran four laps at 227.372 mph to take the last spot away from Alonso.
"Obviously, it would be nice to be in the race next Sunday," Alonso said. "We came here to race and to challenge ourselves, and we were not quick enough. I congratulate all the other guys that did a better job, and hopefully we'll see a nice show next Sunday.
"We are all disappointed, and we will try to do better next time. But it's that kind of things that you learn. I said before, I prefer to be here - even 34th - than being at home like last year."
Kaiser called the days since his crash "the most emotional 48 hours of my life." The 2017 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion qualified for his second Indianapolis 500 with the small-budget Juncos team.
"I don't think I can wrap my mind around what we just did," Kaiser said. "Like I keep saying, all the credit to the team. They've been working nonstop trying to get this car ready for us and they did everything we needed to get us in this field. I'm so proud of them, so proud of everybody that helped make this happen."
The field of 33 has a two-hour practice scheduled for noon ET Monday that streams live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold. The final practice, held traditionally on Miller Lite Carb Day, has been expanded to 90 minutes starting at 11 a.m. Friday and will be televised on NBCSN.
The 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 airs live at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 26 on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.