Schedule stuff: IndyCar at Pocono goes to 500 miles; NASCAR Trucks release ’14 docket

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Open-wheel Triple Crown traditionalists, rejoice.

Today, Pocono Raceway announced that starting next year, their 4th of July weekend IndyCar Series event will stretch an additional 100 miles (40 laps) to become the Pocono INDYCAR 500 Fueled by Sunoco.

That means all three legs of the Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Triple Crown – Indianapolis, Pocono and Fontana – will be 500-mile events (this past year’s IndyCar revival at Pocono was a 400-miler).

“I’m very excited about these changes for 2014,” Pocono president/CEO Brandon Igdalsky said in a statement. “After last year’s IndyCar Series race, droves of open-wheel fans immediately took to our social media channels, sent emails, called us to let us know they wanted more.

“The fans spoke, we listened and we made some changes. The one thing not changing next season, however, will be the ticket prices to see these great, competitive events.”

IndyCar’s return to Pocono this past July may not have been the most exciting oval race in series history, but it wasn’t a stinker, either  – and it can be argued that this race had as big an impact on the season as any other.

Scott Dixon took the checkered flag in a 1-2-3 finish for Chip Ganassi Racing, and that set him off on a three-race win streak that signaled his challenge to Helio Castroneves for the championship. Last weekend, you saw the final result.

“I think this is really exciting for Pocono, the drivers and all the Indy car fans out there,” Dixon said in his own statement. “It will certainly change the race strategy at Pocono next year, for sure. This year’s race was highly competitive and the addition of 100 miles is going to make it even better.”

As a former St. Louis area resident that got his first taste of live NASCAR racing at Gateway Motorsports Park, I happily admit that I’m pleased as punch about this next bit of news.

The egg-shaped 1.25-mile oval outside the Gateway City shall return to the NASCAR ranks next season, as the Camping World Truck Series will make a stop there as part of its 2014 schedule.

In its previous life as Dover Motorsports-owned Gateway International Raceway, the track hosted NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) and Truck Series events plus CART and the Indy Racing League on the open-wheel side.

Also coming back to the Trucks schedule is New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which will host both the Trucks and Sprint Cup for its September 2014 NASCAR weekend.

Here’s the full 22-race schedule for the Trucks in 2014:

Feb. 21 – Daytona International Speedway
March 29 – Martinsville Speedway
May 9 – Kansas Speedway
May 16 – Charlotte Motor Speedway
May 30 – Dover International Speedway
June 6 – Texas Motor Speedway
June 14 – Gateway Motorsports Park
June 26 – Kentucky Speedway
July 12 – Iowa Speedway
July 23 – Eldora Speedway
Aug. 2 – Pocono Raceway
Aug. 16 – Michigan International Speedway
Aug. 20 – Bristol Motor Speedway
Aug. 31 – Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Sept. 12 – Chicagoland Speedway
Sept. 20 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Sept. 27 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Oct. 18 – Talladega Superspeedway
Oct. 25 – Martinsville Speedway
Oct. 31 – Texas Motor Speedway
Nov. 7 – Phoenix International Raceway
Nov. 14 – Homestead-Miami Speedway

Penske, DXC Technology continue on Pagenaud’s IndyCar

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Team Penske and DXC Technology will renew their partnership for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season. DXC joined Penske in 2017, serving as a primary sponsor for six races on Simon Pagenaud’s No. 1 Team Penske Chevrolet.

In re-upping with Penske, DXC will again adorn Pagenaud’s entry – switching back to the No. 22 in 2018, with teammate Josef Newgarden carrying the champion’s No. 1 – for six races, the first being the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in April.

“Team Penske is excited to grow the partnership with DXC Technology for 2018,” said team owner Roger Penske via a release. “This is a technology-dependent sport and we were able to integrate DXC into our INDYCAR program this season and we will be ready to take our performance, and hopefully our results, to the next level with them in 2018.”

Pagenaud echoed Penske’s sentiments, adding that team and sponsor share a common philosophy that drives them forward. ““I enjoyed working with DXC Technology and representing their brand this past season. DXC Technology shares a similar philosophy with us at Team Penske, which is to strive for excellence. We are very proud to work together relentlessly toward further limits in our respective industries. We were excited to get a win with them in Sonoma and everyone at Team Penske wants to build on that as we welcome them back for 2018.”

DXC president, chairman, and CEO Mike Lawrie also highlighted Penske’s reputation as a point of interest to continue their partnership.

“Our partnership with Team Penske provides a great opportunity for DXC Technology,” said Lawrie. “Performance and reputation make Team Penske the type of organization with which we want to align. Like us, they strive for excellence in everything they do and work diligently to provide value for both sides of the relationship.”

Photo: IndyCar

The DXC partnership extension is one of several Team Penske has announced in recent weeks, which are as follows on the IndyCar program:

  • REV Group, a leading manufacturer of specialty vehicle brands serving the commercial, fire and emergency and recreational markets, will continue as a full-season associate sponsor on the No. 1 of Josef Newgarden and the No. 3 of Helio Castroneves during the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 during the month of May.
  • Fitzgerald Glider Kits, North America’s leading truck glider kit assembler, will also continue as an associate sponsor with a presence on Newgarden’s No. 1 Chevrolet throughout next season.
  • Miller Lite, Discount Tire, Alliance Truck Parts, Wurth Group and Auto Club of Southern California and AAA have extended with Team Penske’s NASCAR programs.

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