NASCAR: Nationwide Series race at Indy picks up new title sponsor

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The NASCAR Nationwide Series’ 250-mile race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has picked up a title sponsor in a multi-year deal.

Eli Lilly and Company, an Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company that also sponsors Nationwide Series rookie and Type 1 diabetic Ryan Reed, will back what’s now known as the Lilly Diabetes 250.

The Nationwide Series moved to IMS in 2012 after a 30-year run at nearby short track Lucas Oil Raceway (formerly Indianapolis Raceway Park) in order to join the Brickyard’s “Super Weekend” – which also features the Brickyard 400 for the top-tier Sprint Cup Series and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

But the first two NNS races at IMS, won by Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch, did not have a title sponsor.

As you can likely gather from the race’s new name, Lilly and its driver are both keen on using the race to raise awareness of diabetes, which affects more than 380 million people around the world.

“…We know the reach NASCAR has and we are honored to join our neighbors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to sponsor this race,” Lilly’s U.S. vice president Mike Mason said in a statement.

“We hope our involvement will provide the awareness that is essential to prevention and management of this disease. By working with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we hope to get people talking about diabetes with their doctor, as well as their friends and family.”

Reed, who races for Roush Fenway Racing and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 17, had this to say: “To have the opportunity to race at the home of Lilly’s corporate headquarters in Indianapolis is a great honor and something I’ll never forget.

“I’m grateful to everyone at Lilly Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association for the opportunity to join them in promoting diabetes awareness with the hope of someday eliminating this devastating disease.”

The Lilly Diabetes 250 will go off on Saturday, July 26.

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.”