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Five-Time Indianapolis 500 Starter B. Whittington Dies at 71

INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, April 26, 2021) – Five-time Indianapolis 500 starter Bill Whittington died in a private plane crash April 23 in Arizona. He was 71.

Whittington’s first four starts at Indianapolis, from 1980 through 1983, came with his family-owned team. But his best career result came in his final start, in 1985, when he placed 14th in the No. 12 Arciero Wines March/Cosworth owned by Frank Arciero.

Texas native Whittington’s best career “500” start came in 1982, when he qualified sixth in the No. 94 Whittington/Warner W. Hogdon March/Cosworth. That year also was significant because it marked the only time in the history of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” that three brothers started in the same race, with brothers Don and Dale also in the field of 33 drivers.

Bill Whittington’s best career finish in limited CART starts from 1980-85 was fifth in 1985 at Mid-Ohio for Arciero Racing.

Whittington found more success in global and North American sports car racing.

He and his brother Don teamed with Klaus Ludwig to win the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Porsche 935 K3 fielded by Porsche Kremer Racing. Bill Whittington also finished second in the IMSA GT standings behind friend and Blue Thunder Racing teammate Randy Lanier in 1984, and his eight-year IMSA career ended with 14 victories.

Fans Set To Attend 105th Indianapolis 500 at 40 Percent of Venue Capacity

Vaccination Days To Continue at IMS throughout May

INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, April 21, 2021) – Fans will attend the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, with up to 40 percent of venue capacity permitted, totaling approximately 135,000 fans. The plan for the Sunday, May 30 race at the world’s largest sporting facility was developed in close consultation with state and local health officials and has been approved by the Marion County Public Health Department.

In addition to limited attendance, further key health and safety measures at the 2.5-mile track include:

  • Face coverings will be required and enforced throughout the venue.
  • Temperature checks will be administered upon public gate entry.
  • There will be spacing between customer groups in the grandstands. In addition, spacing will be enforced throughout the venue.
  • Spectator viewing mounds will be closed to the general public throughout the Month of May, with no Race Day General Admission tickets sold.
  • Frequent cleaning and sanitation processes will be in place, with hand sanitizer and washing stations readily available.

“Our fans mean everything to us, and we can’t wait to welcome them ‘Back Home Again’ for this year’s Indy 500,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. “The city and state have worked with us to identify the appropriate health and safety precautions so that we can successfully host a limited but very enthusiastic crowd. The health and safety of everyone coming to IMS, along with Central Indiana and the Hoosier State, have been paramount throughout this process.”

“The number-one thing fans can do to ensure a great Race Day is get vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Penske Entertainment President & CEO Mark Miles said. “We continue to offer vaccinations at IMS and will be extending our mass vaccination clinic throughout the Month of May. This is all part of the effort to continue getting Indiana back on track.”

In addition to the planned vaccination days at IMS from April 24-30, vaccinations will now be available on select days from May 1-27, with additional details forthcoming. IMS and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will unveil a media campaign to encourage Race Day attendees – and all Hoosiers – to get vaccinated immediately.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is the best tool we have to help us return to the activities we love and have missed over the last year, and every day, more members of our community receive the lifesaving protection it offers thanks in part to community partners like Roger Penske and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said Dr. Virginia Caine, director and chief medical officer of the Marion County Public Health Department. “Our vaccination rates, combined with the outdoor nature of the event, make it possible for fans to return to these hallowed grounds for the Indy 500 this year. We are grateful to the IMS team for their collaboration throughout this planning process and appreciate their work to ensure vaccines reach our neighbors. I continue to invite everyone in our community 16 and older to visit ourshot.in.gov or call 2-1-1 to sign up for the vaccine.”

Additional items of note include:

  • Fans who do not currently have Indy 500 tickets and are interested in attending can apply online at ims.com. If additional tickets are available, these fans will be given first opportunity to finalize purchases.
  • Tickets for all other on-track days remain available, and the same health precautions for gate entry and grandstand access will be in place.
  • With no General Admission access to the infield during the Month of May, the Friday, May 28 Carb Day concert, the Saturday, May 29 Legends Day concert and the Sunday, May 30 Snake Pit concert have all been canceled.
  • IMS customers still have the option to roll their 2021 purchase into 2022, receiving an IMS event credit rather than attending this year’s race.
  • A fan FAQ with additional details about Month of May and Indy 500 items has been posted to IMS.com/PlanAhead.
  • Fans will continue to receive ongoing event information and plan-ahead updates from IMS in the weeks leading into the race.

What They’re Saying About the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb: “Roger Penske and everyone associated with Penske Entertainment and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been incredible partners with us throughout the pandemic. It is high time for fans to return to the greatest motor speedway in the world with this safety plan in place. We’re going to have a great Month of May, so let’s go racing.”

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett: “Today’s announcement demonstrates our continued commitment to safely hosting major events and showcases the strong collaboration between the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and public health partners. We’re excited to have Race Day back in May, welcoming fans as we continue to promote vaccination for residents and visitors alike.”

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box: “IMS has been thoughtful and thorough in its approach to ensuring the safety of fans, teams and all who will visit the Speedway during the Month of May. The organization’s commitment to getting thousands of Hoosiers vaccinated is helping us all with a return to normalcy. The state Department of Health is grateful for the efforts of IMS and its partners.”

Indy 500 Open Test Launches Exclusive INDYCAR Coverage on Peacock

INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, April 5, 2021) – Nearly a full field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES participants will begin preparations for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge during an open test Thursday, April 8 and Friday, April 9 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Thirty-two car-and-driver combinations are scheduled to participate in the two-day session, which will stream live to race fans exclusively via NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, Peacock.

The open test at IMS creates a marquee launch for INDYCAR action on Peacock, featuring NBC Sports talent, exclusive content and interviews previewing the 17-race NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. Fans can sign up here for one week to view both days of testing at IMS, and enjoy live coverage of NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying and practice sessions, as well as coverage surrounding the 105th Indianapolis 500, Indy Lights races, race day warmups and full-event replays of the 2021 season on Peacock Premium for $4.99 per month.

“IMS and INDYCAR are working closely with NBC Sports to deliver what should be an exceptional show on Peacock during these two very important days of testing,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Having the NBC Sports broadcasters, production quality and exclusive content will deliver an engaging viewing experience that builds even more anticipation for finally coming ‘Back Home Again’ to IMS in May.”

Said INDYCAR President Jay Frye: “The NTT INDYCAR SERIES offers the most competitive and daring racing on the planet. Peacock gives our most loyal fans access to key practice and qualification sessions while also showcasing our series alongside a compelling roster of major global sports leagues and competitions.”

A full stream of the test also will be available to international fans via the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA. Details on further global coverage of NTT INDYCAR SERIES race weekends, beginning with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst on Sunday, April 18, will be provided soon by INDYCAR.

The IMS test will be held from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (ET) Thursday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday. There will be no on-site public access. IMS remains focused on planning and preparing to host spectators during the Month of May. An advisory regarding media access will be forthcoming.

Star-Studded Field Set To Turn Laps at IMS

Reigning “500” champion Takuma Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing headline the list of participants testing. Sato and Dixon were the top two finishers in last year’s race, held Aug. 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they have combined to win Indy three times (Sato in 2017 and 2020, Dixon in 2008).

Nine former “500” winners have plans to test, including three-time champion Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002, 2009) in a car fielded by Meyer Shank Racing. Juan Pablo Montoya eyes his third “500” victory with as many teams. Montoya’s prior victories came with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2000 and Team Penske in 2015; this effort is with Arrow McLaren SP.

Other past “500” winners participating will be Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan (2013), Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014) and Alexander Rossi (2016), and Team Penske’s Will Power (2018) and Simon Pagenaud (2019). The record for former winners in a single “500” is 10, set in 1992.

Marco Andretti, who won the NTT P1 Award for pole at last year’s event, will be part of Andretti Autosport’s five participants. Andretti became the first member of his family to win the pole at Indy since his grandfather Mario in 1987. Mario won three “500” poles in his illustrious career.

Simona De Silvestro will make her return to IMS in the No. 16 Chevrolet of Paretta Autosport, a new NTT INDYCAR SERIES team. The Swiss driver last competed in the race in 2015. Pietro Fittipaldi, whose grandfather Emerson twice won the “500,” also will participate in the test in a bid to earn his first starting position in the famed event.

Honda will have 17 entries testing, Chevrolet 15.

Official practice for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” begins Tuesday, May 18, with more than 33 entries competing for a starting position. NTT P1 Award qualifying will be held Saturday, May 22 and Sunday, May 23. The “500” is Sunday, May 30.

IMS To Host Mass Vaccination Clinics for COVID-19 from March 5-7

INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, March 2, 2021) – The Racing Capital of the World has partnered with the Indiana Department of Health to host a mass vaccination clinic for Hoosiers eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine.

The clinic at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will run from Friday, March 5 to Sunday, March 7 with vaccinations beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. each day. All Hoosiers ages 55 and up are eligible for the vaccine, and appointments must be booked via https://ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211. No walk-ups will be permitted.

“We’re a community-first organization, and we’re extremely proud to assist with this important effort to keep Hoosiers safe and healthy,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “I encourage those who are eligible to sign up, and I’d like to thank our state’s leadership – most especially Governor Holcomb and Dr. Box – for the opportunity to team up and pitch in.”

In addition to IMS, additional clinics will be hosted later this month at University of Notre Dame’s Compton Family Ice Arena and Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg.

“Getting tens of thousands of vaccines in arms in a matter of days is a huge undertaking that requires incredible partnerships,” Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. “We are incredibly grateful to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Notre Dame and Ivy Tech for their willingness to meet this challenge head on to help save Hoosier lives.”

The mass vaccination clinics will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which received its Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA on Saturday. The vaccine requires only one dose and has been shown to be safe and effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths in clinical trials involving nearly 44,000 participants from all races and ethnicities.

“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine gives eligible Hoosiers a safe, effective and convenient way to protect themselves from COVID-19,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “Because it requires just one dose, every shot administered represents a Hoosier who can rest easier, knowing their risk of severe illness from this disease has dropped exponentially.”

Indiana’s Area Agencies on Aging, AARP and nearly 70 libraries around the state also can help Hoosiers schedule their appointments.

Participants will remain in their cars for their vaccines.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the world’s largest spectator sporting facility, has been the worldwide leader in motorsports entertainment since opening in 1909. It annually hosts the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, the crown jewel of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and part of motorsports famed “triple crown” of racing.

The clinic schedules:

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

4790 W. 16th St., Indianapolis

March 5-7

8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Enter through main gate off 16th Street

Ivy Tech Community College

8204 County Road 311, Sellersburg

March 12-13

8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

University of Notre Dame

Compton Family Ice Arena

100 Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame

March 19-20

8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://ourshot.in.gov.

Sato Unveils Image on Borg-Warner Trophy during Online Show at IMS

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 – 2020 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Takuma Sato joined an elite club of drivers to have their image on the Borg-Warner Trophy at least twice, unveiling his likeness Friday, Feb. 19 during an online show at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Sato, from Tokyo, became the first Japanese driver to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in 2017 and repeated the feat last August while driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He is one of just 20 drivers to win the race at least twice in its 104 editions.

The Borg-Warner Trophy Unveiling Special was a highlight of 100 Days festivities Friday, as Race Day for the 105th Indianapolis 500 is Sunday, May 30 – exactly 100 days from today. Joining Sato in person in the ceremony were team co-owners Bobby Rahal and Mike Lanigan, BorgWarner Global Director of Marketing and Public Relations Michelle Collins and IMS President J. Douglas Boles.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan co-owner and late night TV icon David Letterman and Japanese Ambassador to the United States Koji Tomita saluted Sato via video messages.

Sato’s image was created once again by sculptor William Behrends, who has crafted the sterling silver, bas relief images of all winners for the trophy since 1990.

“I am thrilled to once again have my face become a permanent fixture on the Borg-Warner Trophy,” Sato said. “William’s work is extraordinary, and it is amazing how much detail he can fit into the sterling silver sculptures. The effort he puts into making each individual winners’ personality and character is quite special, and it was an honor to experience this thorough and remarkable process once again.”

Commissioned in 1935, the sterling silver trophy stands more than 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs approximately 110 pounds, honoring every winner since 1911 with their sculpted faces affixed to the iconic trophy.

Through a multi-phase process, Behrends begins creating the likeness of the drivers based on a series of 360-degree photos. He then invites the winning driver, in this case Sato, for an in-person session to produce a full-scale clay model of his face.

The life-size clay image is used as a reference when Behrends works on the smaller model, which is created out of a mixture of oil-based clays. The clay model is eventually turned into a mold and then cast in wax, which is sent out to a jeweler to be transformed into sterling silver. Behrends ends his process by polishing and buffing the image before attaching it to the Borg-Warner Trophy.

“The Borg-Warner Trophy is a revered tradition of the motorsport community, and BorgWarner is pleased to carry on its incredible legacy,” said Frédéric Lissalde, president and CEO, BorgWarner Inc. “It is our honor to be a part of the unveiling of this year’s trophy, even more so following a tumultuous year that has taught us much about perseverance. Takuma’s hard work and dedication to his sport is outstanding, and on behalf of all of BorgWarner, we extend our congratulations to him for his second badge of honor on this trophy that represents the pinnacle of performance for open-wheel racing.”

Fans cheered Sato from their homes during the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23, 2020, as there was no spectator attendance at the race due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sato averaged 157.824 mph and led 27 of 200 laps.

Later this year, Sato will receive a BorgWarner Championship Driver’s Trophy, also known as a “Baby Borg,” which is a miniature replica of the Borg-Warner Trophy that will feature a duplicate of his sterling silver image. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will also receive a memento commemorating the victory: the BorgWarner Championship Team Owner’s Trophy.

Fans Can Relive IMS History, More through Exclusive Digital Content Leading to Indy 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and INDYCAR are offering race fans a great, entertaining history lesson through rich digital content and exclusive interviews leading up to the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 30.

IMS launched today an immersive, in-depth content series chronicling the most iconic anniversaries and milestones of 2021, reminding fans that the Racing Capital of the World is the place “Where Tradition Never Stops,” a content theme with much more to come that celebrates the Indianapolis 500, GMR Grand Prix and all other Month of May events.

The first story honors one of the most recognizable traditions in Indy 500 history: the Borg-Warner Trophy, which celebrates its 85th anniversary in 2021. Each week leading up to the Month of May, IMS will release a new story surrounding some of the greatest moments, traditions and heroes in sports. Subjects include the trailblazing tales of Willy T. Ribbs and Janet Guthrie, the origins of the Indy 500’s most fabled traditions, the memories of beloved “500” heroes A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears, and more.

Fans are encouraged to visit IMS.com/Tradition to preview the full series and read the first installment, as well as to check back weekly as more content is unlocked and great stories are told. The rich, multimedia experience is optimized for viewing on mobile devices, such as phones and tablets, and browsers.

“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has one of the richest histories in all of sports, and race fans are in for a memorable 100 days as we relive the moments that have made IMS the place ‘Where Tradition Never Stops,’” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Digital innovation is a top priority to make sure our fans stay connected to IMS. We are proud to share our heritage and tradition with race fans in Indianapolis and across the globe by offering them more digital content than ever.”

This is just one of several opportunities for race fans to experience never-before-heard stories of the Indy 500 and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, as well as to participate in the celebration.

Welcome Race Fans, IMS’ successful collaboration with the Arts Council of Indianapolis to incorporate Indiana artists and original artwork into the Indy 500, is going digital. Welcome Race Fans 2021 will consist of five artists creating a Welcome Race Fans GIF. These GIFs will be featured on IMS social channels, web properties and onsite digital locations during the Month of May and around the city of Indianapolis. Interested artists can apply here.

Additionally, IMS will continue its new web series “Behind the Bricks,” hosted by Boles, that provides race fans with insider access through interviews with INDYCAR and IMS drivers, as well as off-track personalities that have helped make the Indy 500 “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Featured guests thus far have included Donald Davidson, Takuma Sato, Bob Jenkins and others. “Behind the Bricks” can be seen exclusively on the IMS YouTube channel.

IMS also will provide race fans with audio-only storytelling for the first time. Podcasts to come will include “Behind the Bricks Extra,” which will give race fans full, unedited interviews between Boles and his guests. This podcast and more can be found on all major podcasting platforms.

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES also will continue to build upon its “Where Are They Now?” series that offers race fans a chance to catch up with their favorite former INDYCAR athletes and personalities. Drivers already featured include Ribbs, George Mack and Jim Logan. These interviews, as well as “Classic Rewinds” and more, can be found on INDYCAR’s YouTube channel.

IMS and INDYCAR will continue to provide fans with even more exclusive content leading up to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opener Sunday, April 18 at Barber Motorsports Park and the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 30.

Don’t miss two-time Indy 500 champion Takuma Sato unveil his likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy during a special streaming show: “Borg-Warner Trophy Special” at 1 p.m. (ET) today at IMS.com/100Days.

INDYCAR Race Winner, Indianapolis 500 Veteran Paul Dies at 60

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020 – INDYCAR race winner and Indianapolis 500 veteran John Paul Jr., widely considered as one of the most gifted and versatile drivers of his generation, died Dec. 29 after a long, valiant fight with Huntington’s disease. He was 60.

Paul, a native of Muncie, Indiana, made seven Indianapolis 500 starts between 1985 and 1998. His most successful year in the “500” was 1998, when he started 16th, led 39 laps and finished seventh in the No. 81 Team Pelfrey entry in his final start in the race.

He racked up more than 20 sports car victories, two INDYCAR wins and made starts in open-wheel, sports car and stock car competition. He also is a member of an exclusive club of drivers who won open-wheel races in CART and INDYCAR.

Paul’s diverse career behind the wheel started in the early 1980s after he attended racing school as a teenager. Paul drove into the top levels of sports car racing and INDYCAR racing with astonishing pace and was considered a phenom in both disciplines.

After participating in driving school, Paul moved into IMSA sports car racing and started winning immediately while sharing the seat of a Porsche 935 with his father in the family team, JLP Racing. John Paul Jr. won his first IMSA start, in 1980 at Lime Rock Park, while co-driving with his father. They also earned another victory and finished fourth in the IMSA GT standings that season.

Paul won the IMSA Camel GT Championship in 1982 at age 22, opening the season with victories in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance classics.

Carrying a growing reputation as one of America’s fastest young drivers, Paul moved to open-wheel racing in the CART series in 1983 and produced a spectacular rookie year for VDS Racing. He passed Indy 500 legend Rick Mears on the last lap to win the Michigan 500 in only his fourth CART start.

Other highlights from his rookie season included finishing third in his first CART start, at Atlanta, finishing second to the legendary Mario Andretti at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and another third-place finish at Riverside. Paul finished eighth in the CART standings as a rookie despite failing to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 due to a crash in practice and missing the show at the next race, at Milwaukee.

In 1983, Paul also won in his first start in the SCCA Trans-Am sports car series, driving a Chevrolet Camaro at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.

Paul’s versatility and skill also were on display in 1984, when he raced in CART, IMSA and in global sports car competition. He finished second in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1984, co-driving a mighty Porsche 956 prototype with Jean Rondeau. His best finish in CART competition that year was third at Caesars Palace.

The highlight of the 1985 season was Paul’s first start in the Indianapolis 500, for AMI Racing. He qualified 24th and finished 15th, the third-best result among six rookies in the field.

Heading into the next decade, Paul qualified for the Indianapolis 500 for the second time in 1990, with Mann Motorsports.

The debut of the Indy Racing League in 1996 helped the persistent Paul revive his career and show the skill that captivated fans and team owners in the early 1980s. He was a regular competitor in the series in its first three seasons, from 1996-98. The zenith of this portion of his career was his victory in 1998 at Texas Motor Speedway in a car fielded by Byrd-Cunningham Racing.

He also continued to compete in sports car racing during the second phase of his career, earning a second Rolex 24 at Daytona victory in 1997 in a Dyson Racing prototype.

In 1999, Paul’s talent and humble, low-key nature were rewarded when the new Corvette Racing factory team named him to its driver lineup for endurance races.

Paul’s driving career ended after the 2001 season, when he began his fight against Huntington’s disease, a rare, genetic neurological disorder that also afflicted other members of his family. Paul earned praise from all corners of the racing world for his valiant fight of nearly two decades against Huntington’s and for his work to raise awareness and funding for the disease.

He is survived by his sister, Tonya; daughter, Alexandria; and son, Jonathan.

Beloved IMS Historian Davidson Retiring Dec. 31

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020 – Donald Davidson, beloved by race fans worldwide for nearly six decades for his encyclopedic knowledge of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500, is retiring Dec. 31 as IMS historian. Davidson has amazed, entertained and delighted millions since he first crossed the Atlantic to visit IMS in May 1964,…

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African American-Led Ownership Group To Compete in Road To Indy

Team Penske to mentor new team as it launches competition in 2021 USF2000 Series

INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020) – African American business leader and former team manager Rod Reid has announced the formation of Force Indy, a race team set to compete in the 2021 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.

For 30 years, USF2000 has been the formative step of the popular Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires ladder system, which culminates in scholarship opportunities in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. This program has grown into a proven pipeline for open-wheel racing’s future stars.

Force Indy Team Principal Reid brings years of karting and auto racing experience and a recently expanded relationship with NXG Youth Motorsports Inc., which has introduced more than 2,300 students from under-represented communities, ages 11 to 15, to the educational benefits of the sport. Force Indy’s race team will focus on hiring and developing Black American men and women mechanics, engineers, staffers and drivers. 

“I started a race team in 1984, and I have always had a desire to have a team of talented individuals who look like me in the professional ranks of the sport,” Reid said. “I have been in and around the sport for 40 years, and this is just the culmination of years of hard work. I simply cannot wait to see this race team on the track this spring.”

The Force Indy announcement includes a mentorship from the legendary Team Penske, winners of a record 18 Indianapolis 500’s and 16 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championships. During its first season, Force Indy will be based in Concord, North Carolina, as it receives guidance from Team Penske’s key personnel.

“When the IMS and INDYCAR acquisition happened a year ago, I was pleased to learn of the work Rod Reid was doing,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway Chairman Roger Penske said. “To lend our support to an effort like this is a natural. Together, we’ll work to not only get this new team off the ground but continue to support it and its mission as it continues down a path to compete at the top level.”

Force Indy will make its debut at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, March 5-7, 2021. The team will use No. 99 on the car in honor of the late Dewey “Rajo Jack” Gatson, who drove a roadster with that number toward the end of his career in 1951. Gatson, one of the winningest African American drivers and mechanics in racing history, never received an opportunity to race in the Indianapolis 500. 

Overall, the initiative is part of a broader picture in the INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway “Race for Equality & Change,” announced in July. The goals include recruiting and developing a diverse workforce throughout all levels of INDYCAR and IMS, ultimately creating a community that fundamentally transforms the sport.

“Rod is a passionate leader and talented team builder who has demonstrated a fundamental commitment to equality and opportunity in our sport,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “IMS has been privileged to be a partner with Rod and NXG for more than a decade, and we know he’ll bring the same commitment and drive for excellence to Force Indy.”

Sponsorship and driver for Force Indy’s inaugural season will be announced at a later date.

“We are fortunate to have Team Penske offer guidance and race-winning experience,” Reid said. “Roger’s experience will be an invaluable resource in creating a successful organization. There’s no better time than now to start a team.”

For additional information, please visit the team’s website: www.ForceIndy.com

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Drivers to Test Oct. 28-29 on IMS Oval

Carpenter, Dixon, Hunter-Reay, Newgarden, O’Ward, Sato To Prepare for 2021 Indy 500

Preparations for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge will accelerate during an NTT INDYCAR SERIES oval test on Wednesday, Oct. 28 and Thursday, Oct. 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Drivers testing include six-time and 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing, two-time and reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, two-time series champion Josef Newgarden of Team Penske, one-time series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport, three-time Indianapolis 500 polesitter Ed Carpenter of Ed Carpenter Racing and 2020 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP.

Newgarden and Sato will test Wednesday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (ET). All six drivers are scheduled to test Thursday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Also, Scott McLaughlin of Team Penske is expected to receive time Wednesday to complete the Rookie Orientation Program.

Fans are welcome to watch testing for free both days from the Turn 2 viewing mounds. Face coverings must be worn at all times and proper social distancing must be adhered to. No food or drinks will be allowed on the mounds. The Turn 2 viewing mounds will be the only part of the facility open to spectators.

All visitors to IMS must enter via Gate 2 off 16th Street and will be subject to temperature screening. Fans are encouraged to follow the IMS social media accounts for weather updates on Wednesday and Thursday.

WHAT: NTT INDYCAR SERIES Oval Test

WHO: Drivers Ed Carpenter, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Josef Newgarden, Pato O’Ward and Takuma Sato

WHEN: Testing: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29

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