Dollar General has been in the Verizon IndyCar Series before, with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.
The largest small-box discount retailer in the United States is now back in the series for this year’s Indianapolis 500, as it will serve as primary sponsor for the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry driven by 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve in the 98th running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on Sunday, May 25.
Villeneuve and Dollar General have a history as well, and he expanded on it within a team release.
“I have so many wonderful memories of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway throughout my career, including my last appearance at the track in the Brickyard 400 when I also was sponsored by Dollar General,” Villeneuve said. “It’s been 19 years since I ran this race, but returning with a team like Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and a household-name sponsor like Dollar General is going to give me a fantastic opportunity to perform at a high level.”
His refresher test dates in the No. 5 Honda were announced on Tuesday.
Interestingly, the SPM team is yet to confirm the primary sponsorship package for Simon Pagenaud’s No. 77 Honda, the lead car within the team, for the ‘500. Pagenaud has had two different primary sponsors (Environmental Rail Solutions, Charter Communications) in the first two races.
Dollar General’s main racing sponsorship is in NASCAR, with Matt Kenseth’s No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the Sprint Cup Series.
UPDATE No. 2: The INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was closing in on restarting on Lap 23 or 24 before officials threw the second red flag race stoppage because of lingering puddles on the 2.3-mile Barber Motorsports Park, particularly on the front stretch. We’ll keep you updated as situations warrant.
UPDATE No. 1: The INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is under a red-flag race stoppage after 19 laps due to rain and puddling on the racing surface at Barber Motorsports Park.
Cleaners and dryers are on the track to try and get some of the water off the racing surface. The low spots on the track, as well as the front stretch, have been particularly troublesome and led to several spinouts and at least two wrecks (Charlie Kimball and outside front pole sitter Will Power).
Power’s day is done after suffering irreparable damage to the left side of his car after hydroplaning on the front straight and running into the inside retaining wall.
ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS:
Although rain has been falling for nearly an hour and the Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile permanent road course is drenched, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is underway on NBCSN.
The start of the race was moved up from 3:38 p.m. ET to take the green flag at 3:08 p.m. ET.
Josef Newgarden is the defending winner of this race and also will start from the pole for today’s race.
While the race is scheduled for 90 laps, there’s a possibility that if the weather worsens or if lightning appears, it could potentially be shortened to just two hours.
As can be expected, all cars are on rain tires to maximize grip.
Catch the race live on NBCSN.