NHL great Luc Robitaille to serve as grand marshal for 50th anniversary of NHRA finals this weekend


No, Luc Robitaille didn’t get lost on his way to a hockey game.

Rather, the legendary NHL player will be at this weekend’s season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals drag race in Pomona, California because he was asked to — he’ll serve as the event’s grand marshal.

It’s quite an honor for Robitaille, who will oversee the 50th anniversary of what is commonly known to many fans as simply the World Finals.

Robitaille played 19 seasons in the NHL, including 14 seasons with the Los Angeles Kings. He won a Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in the 2001-02 season.

Robitaille, an eight-time all-star, still owns the NHL record as the highest scoring left winger in league history and also holds the Kings scoring record at 577 goals.

After retiring at the end of the 2005-06 season, Robitaille has worked in the Kings’ front office, with his present role as president of business operations. During his tenure as a team administrator, the Kings have won two Stanley Cups. He’s also one of only five King players to ever have his jersey number (20) retired by the team.

Several legendary drag racers will also take part in the 50th anniversary festivities, including “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Kenny Bernstein, “TV Tommy” Ivo, Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, Ed “The Ace” McCulloch and Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney.

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IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”