Long won PWC. Photo: Porsche

Long (PWC), Martin (Pro Mazda) round out St. Pete weekend with wins

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Patrick Long (Pirelli World Challenge) and Anthony Martin (Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires) won the post-Verizon IndyCar Series race events Sunday at St. Petersburg to cap off a busy weekend on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg weekend.

Long’s PWC win saw him make a move on the start to get past polesitter Alex Riberas from third on the grid, past the Spaniard and Johnny O’Connell in his Cadillac.

The driver of the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R also needed to hold off O’Connell on a restart with less than three minutes remaining after the track had a couple cars peppering it. But Long was able to do so and won by 1.475 seconds from O’Connell in the Velocity Red No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R, and Riberas in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3.

The win was particularly cool for Long, having helped co-run the Kart 4 Kids Pro/Am in Palmetto, Fla. this week – both he and Sebastien Bourdais, who won the IndyCar race earlier Sunday, auctioned their to-be-race-worn helmets off.

Alec Udell (GTA, No. 17 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R) and Preston Calvert (GT Cup, No. 77 Calvert Dynamics Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) took their second class wins in as many days. Udell will race the SprintX races in a Calvert Dynamics-entered, GMG-operated Porsche 911 GT3 R with Calvert as his co-driver.

Full results from today’s PWC race are linked here.

Martin won Pro Mazda. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Meanwhile in the second of two Pro Mazda races, Mazda scholarship driver Anthony Martin completed a weekend sweep for Cape Motorsports.

The Australian took his No. 8 entry to the victory over Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni and Team Pelfrey’s TJ Fischer, thus making it an identical podium for the pair of races in the second level of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires, which is now off until the IndyCar Grand Prix weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in mid-May.

Fischer’s podium was a luckier one with Carlos Cunha succumbing to a mechanical issue, thus depriving the talented teenaged Brazilian of a maiden podium finish.

The results from this Pro Mazda race are linked here.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway can have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.