NASCAR: Panasonic expands partnership with Hendrick Motorsports

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Already a technology partner with Hendrick Motorsports, Panasonic has expanded their pact with the NASCAR juggernaut to include primary sponsorship for Jeff Gordon.

The three-year agreement will see Panasonic serve as the primary backer for Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet in two Sprint Cup events during the 2014, 2015, and 2016 seasons.

Gordon will race the Panasonic colors this weekend at Sonoma Raceway and again on Aug. 31 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In all other events, Panasonic will be an associate sponsor for the No. 24.

Panasonic has worked with Hendrick since the 2007 season, providing the team with items such as laptops, cameras, projection units, and video production tools for their North Carolina headquarters.

However, this will be the company’s first foray into on-car branding since the alliance began.

“We use their technology across the organization, and it provides the best possible tools in every area, from competition to marketing to IT,” team owner Rick Hendrick said of Panasonic.

“To have them see more opportunities for their business and want to grow the relationship sends a very positive message.”

For Sonoma, the company will have its Toughbook line of computers on the No. 24’s quarter panels. You can check out the paint job below.

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Jeff Gordon will drive the No. 24 Panasonic Chevy this weekend at Sonoma and at Atlanta on Aug. 31. Credit: @JeffGordonWeb on Twitter.

MRTI: Saturday Barber Notebook

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Both the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires completed their first races of the weekend on Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park.

Indy Lights saw a pair of teammates battle for the win, while a series veteran suffered first lap trouble for the second race in a row.

In Pro Mazda, things were much more straightforward, as a title contender ran away to a dominant win from the pole.

Reports on both series are below.

Indy Lights: O’Ward Withstands Herta Challenge for Race 1 Victory

Lap 1 told the tale for Indy Lights Race 1, as Colton Herta led from the pole, but Pato O’Ward was able to sneak by on the inside entering Turn 5.

O’Ward subsequently had to withstand a race-long challenge from Herta, who kept the gap at less than one second between the two Andretti Autosport affiliated drivers – Herta races under the Andretti Steinbrenner Racing banner – for most of the 30-lap race. But, O’Ward kept Herta at bay to take the win by one-and-a-half seconds at the checkered flag.

This is also O’Ward’s second win in three races in the 2018 season.

Belardi Auto Racing’s Santi Urrutia finished third, followed by Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni, and Ryan Norman finished fifth to put three Andretti Autosport affiliated drivers in the Top 5.

Meanwhile, Belardi’s Aaron Telitz endured a second consecutive race in which he failed to complete a lap, after he was collected in a Lap 1, Turn 2 spin with Dalton Kellett. Kellett, who spun on his own, was able to continue despite the contact, but Telitz suffered damage to the right-front suspension, forcing him to retire without completing a lap for the second race in a row.

Results are below. Race 2 rolls off at 1:00 p.m. ET.

 

Pro Mazda: Thompson Roles to Dominant Race 1 Victory

Exclusive Autosport’s Parker Thompson dominated Race 1, leading all 25 laps from the pole on his way to victory. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Race 1 for Pro Mazda was hardly ever in doubt. Polesitter Parker Thompson, who soared to pole with a track record in qualifying, led right from the drop of the green flag to lead all 25 laps on his way to winning Race 1.

Thompson had to withstand a brief challenge from RP Motorsport’s Harrison Scott on a Lap 4 restart – a caution was flown for debris on the front straightaway on Lap 2 – but Thompson immediately began gapping the field again, and the Exclusive Autosport driver won by over five seconds.

Scott came home in second, while BN Racing’s David Malukas, Team Pelfrey’s Andres Gutierrez, and Juncos Racing’s Rinus VeeKay battled for third, with Malukas holding off Gutierrez and VeeKay to take the final spot on the podium.

Results are below. Pro Mazda Race 2 rolls off at 10:50 a.m. ET on Sunday.

 

Check back later for driver quotes.

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