GP of Houston hopes to become a “tradition” (VIDEO)

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This weekend marks the last part of a month-long break for the IZOD IndyCar Series before it heads to Houston next weekend for the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader. Anticipation is growing for the final “two-step” of the campaign, which marks the return of open-wheel racing to Clutch City after a six-year absence.

The Grand Prix of Houston has had a strange history; it was part of the Champ Car schedule from 1998 to 2001 (and featured a traditional downtown street course), went away for a few years, then came back for 2006 and 2007 at Reliant Park before going dark again in the wake of the merger between Champ Car and IndyCar (then, the Indy Racing League).

So will the third time prove to be the charm in making Houston a long-term staple for IndyCar? Austin Crossley, the race’s managing director, is – as you’d expect – confident despite the race’s intermittent past.

“We’ve had a couple bumps in the road – we had a race downtown for four years that had to stop because of our explosion of construction in the early 2000s and we had the race at Reliant Park for a couple of years,” Crossley said in an interview earlier this morning with Houston NBC affiliate KPRC-TV.

“The two racing series merged, we lost our date, but we’re back. We have a five-year deal with IndyCar and Reliant Park, and we have Shell as our big sponsor which is so important. We’re planning to establish this as a tradition for many years to come.”

For more on the upcoming event, check out the interview with Crossley above. Both races of the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston will air LIVE on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra, with Race 1 on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3 p.m. ET and Race 2 on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. ET.

MRTI: Telitz gets creative to help racing career

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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To say that Belardi Auto Racing’s Aaron Telitz has endured a difficult start to the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season would be an understatement. The Wisconsin native only completed four corners through the first three races – Races 1 and 2 at St. Petersburg, and Race 1 at Barber Motorsports Park – with St. Pete being especially problematic.

He took the pole for Race 1, but a crash during qualifying for Race 2 prevented him from actually starting. What’s more, the damage was so severe that the Belardi team needed a brand new chassis, with Telitz’s Dallara IL-15 damaged beyond repair.

They also had to borrow a car from Carlin for Race 2, but Telitz’s race ended after he got tangled up with Victor Franzoni in Turn 2 on Lap 1.

With the damage bill well into the six figures as a result, Telitz has taken to some unique, or rather, creative ways to raise money in the aftermath to help cover the costs. “Creative,” in this case, meaning Telitz is using his art skills.

An artist in his spare time, Telitz has begun selling his own original paintings to help raise money.

 “I’ve been to a lot of art shows and I see stuff and I go, ‘Holy cow, someone’s going to pay a thousand dollars for that thing?’” Telitz quipped in a story posted on the Milwaukee Journal.

In discussing his artistic abilities, Telitz added, “I’m working at getting better. I’d like to be able to paint some animals, those types of things. I got a request from Alexander Rossi to see if I could paint his dog. Unfortunately I can’t do that yet.”

Further, in a partnership with The Styled Garage, Telitz is selling his own merchandise, and accepting donations, to help his cause.

Telitz finished fourth in Race 2 at Barber on Sunday, and sits seventh in the Indy Lights championship, 59 points behind leader Pato O’Ward.

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