“Racers and Pacers” mark month of May in Indy

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While the New York Knicks managed to stave off elimination last night against the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series, the latter team is still one win away from setting up a veritable “Racers and Pacers” party for the city of Indianapolis as we head for next weekend’s Indy 500.

Notice that it’s Racers and Pacers, not Racers vs. Pacers. It’s true that a tough economy has created more spirited competition for the fans’ hard-earned money, but both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Pacers are wishing each other well and insist that it’s all good for their home city.

“As people promote the Pacers and the NBA, often times they are saying, hey it’s big time in May because it’s Indianapolis and the ‘500’ is there. I think it’s great for both of us that there’s plenty of room to share it,” said IMS spokesman Doug Boles to Indy television station WRTV earlier this week. “This is one of the best sports communities in the country and we love the idea that you’ve got basketball going while we’ve got racing going.”

Pacers spokesman Eddie White also told WRTV that many “500” figures have made their way out to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to attend the games. On that note, “500” legend Mario Andretti received a standing ovation from the crowd in Indianapolis when he was spotted at Game 4 of the Pacers-Knicks series on Tuesday.

“I was very proud to carry the Pacer banner because they were kicking butt and there’s nothing better than to go out there and the team you’re rooting for is winning,” the 1969 Indy winner told The Indianapolis Star yesterday.

The Pacers, now up 3-2 against the Knicks, will get another crack at advancing to the Eastern Conference finals tomorrow night in Indy. Be sure to keep up with that series by reading ProBasketballTalk here on NBCSports.com.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”