Associated Press

RLL re-ups with Steak ‘n Shake for 2016 IndyCar season

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Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has extended its support with Steak ‘n Shake, what Graham Rahal termed as his “good luck charm” throughout 2015, for a second consecutive season in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

The announcement was confirmed Thursday at the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Indianapolis.

Steak ‘n Shake will be the primary sponsor of Rahal’s Honda entry at five 2016 IndyCar events, including races in St. Petersburg, two events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Mid-Ohio and Sonoma. Maxim Magazine branding will continue to be prominently featured on the race car. Both are owned by Biglari Holdings Inc.

Team co-owner Bobby Rahal had hoped to retain the restaurant chain for a second season and made significant progress to do so over the course of the year.

“We are very pleased that Steak ‘n Shake will be back with us in 2016,” he said in a news release. “The 2015 IndyCar Series season was a great one for us both on track and off and our partnership with Steak ‘n Shake was one of the many highlights. We are looking forward to building on that success together in 2016.”

Graham, meanwhile, enjoyed a career year with two wins, including one in full Steak ‘n Shake livery at his home race at Mid-Ohio, and finished fourth in the points.

The announcement is the latest in RLL’s offseason; the team has also confirmed a two-car BMW M6 GTLM program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and added Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion Spencer Pigot for a three-race program in a second IndyCar (“introducing Pigot” and his seat fit posts linked within this sentence).

Michael Carter wins Mazda Road to 24 Shootout

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Michael Carter was selected as the winner of the 2018 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout.

Carter was one of four drivers who competed for the honor and a $100,000 scholarship that went along with it. Matthew Dirks, Hannah Grisham and Loni Unser also competed.

With the scholarship, Carter will compete in the 2019 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup.

“What a journey this has been,” said Carter in a press release. “The reason I started racing a Mazda was because of the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout. It was our one single goal all along and to finally accomplish that is surreal. The process begins next week of getting ready for next season, for the series test at Barber, and to put together a good season in the Global MX-5 Cup.”

Carter was invited to the Shootout largely because of his 2018 performance in SCCA. He finished second in the SCCA Hoosier Super Tour Points Championship, won the Spec Miata Challenge and won in Spec Miata at the American Road Race of Champions.

The 18-year-old Carter had his eye on the Road to Mazda early.

“Each year, it is exciting to see the next batch of talent that is in the pipeline,” said John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports. “I heard something from Michael and his father that really hit a chord with me which was that they built a Spec Miata with the sole purpose of going up the Mazda Road to 24 ladder.

That really speaks to the challenger spirit at Mazda, to why we have the Shootout, and to the family that we have at Mazda. Michael is the driver today who walks away with the scholarship, but we had four families come together here who have all gone racing together. For all of us at Mazda, it’s very rewarding to give these families a chance to go racing together. We look forward to watching Michael take the next step in his career in next season’s Global MX-5 Cup.”