INDYCAR team owner will be honored at Little League World Series

INDYCAR Photo by Joe Skibinski
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An NTT IndyCar Series team owner will be honored at the Little League World Series on Thursday, but he happens to have one of the most famous names in baseball.

It’s George Michael Steinbrenner, IV, the grandson of the legendary New York Yankees team owner and the son of current Yankees co-chairman and part owner Hank Steinbrenner. The 22-year-old Steinbrenner is co-owner of Harding Steinbrenner Racing in the NTT IndyCar Series, which features 19-year-old rookie driver Colton Herta.

Young Steinbrenner will throw the first pitch in the Little League Baseball® World Series on Thursday, August 15, at the Little League International Complex in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Steinbrenner is the son of New York Yankees part-owner and co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner and the grandson and namesake of legendary owner and businessman George Steinbrenner III.

“I am excited to throw out the first pitch of the Little League World Series game on behalf of Honda,” said George Michael Steinbrenner IV. “Baseball is the core of my identity and the first love of my life, the other love being motor racing. This made the choice to attend the event a must for me as any time I can meld my two passions is something I cannot pass up.”

As the Little League World Series kicks into high gear in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Steinbrenner’s NTT IndyCar Series team will be competing at Pocono Raceway in the ABC Supply 500, 98 miles away from Williamsport.

“I am thankful to Honda for not only supporting Harding Steinbrenner Racing and the NTT IndyCar Series, but also for sponsoring Little League, the world’s greatest game in its most unadulterated form,” Steinbrenner said. “I have watched the Little League World Series my entire life, and this will be my first time to Williamsport to see the event in person.”

In his first NTT IndyCar Series season, Steinbrenner’s impressive resume includes being the youngest winning-team owner in series history after winning the inaugural INDYCAR Classic in March. So far in the 2019 season, rookie driver Colton Herta and the team have one win, one pole starting position and five top-ten finishes.

The Little League Baseball World Series begins Thursday, August 15at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Practice for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway will begin Saturday, August 17th on NBC Sports Gold. Qualifying will be live on NBC Sports at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. Live race day coverage will be Sunday on NBC Sports from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. ET.

 

How IndyCar rookie Sting Ray Robb got that name (and some more of his backstory)

IndyCar Sting Ray Robb
Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment
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PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Every NTT IndyCar Series season brings a new round of getting to know the rookies, and it’s fairly obvious where the story starts with Sting Ray Robb.

Just for clarification, “Robb” is the last name. His given name indeed is “String Ray” on the birth certificate.

Why, yes, he does come from performance-car parentage.

And yes, the IndyCar rookie named “Sting Ray” will be driving the No. 51 Dallara-Honda for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware.

How did that go over with a mom and dad who clearly prefer American automotive brands?

“That’s a tricky question,” Robb said with a laugh Tuesday during the IndyCar Preseason Content Days. “Yeah, my parents are big Corvette fans, and I think that they ruled out criticizing me too badly because they know the dream is IndyCar.”

“I’ll be in a Honda car and I’m assuming it’ll go pretty quick, so I’m OK with all of that.”

“They’re not going to rename you ‘NSX’ or something?” asked Motorsport.com’s David Malsher-Lopez (whose bitingly sardonic wit is regularly heard in IndyCar media centers).

“No. I hope not,” Robb said. “My name is my name. I don’t need a rename, thank you.”

Robb, 21, has been making a name for himself lately, finishing second in last year’s Indy NXT standings with 11 top-five finishes, eight podiums and two pole positions.

But the Payette, Idaho, native also has an intriguing backstory beyond his successful four years in the Road to Indy ladder system (that also included the 2020 Indy Pro title).

He hails from the same small town (northwest of Boise on the Oregon border) that produced Minnesota Twins slugger and Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.

Robb, whose graduating class was less than 100, recently found that Wikipedia listed him and Killebrew as the “notable alumni” from Payette High School.

“It’s nice to be see and appreciate all the things that I’ve learned and been through,” said Robb, who also played some baseball in his day, adding that “I’m more of a consistent singles hitter, slap hitter if you want to call it. No home runs, just doubles or triples here and there.”

Some other facts on the newest memorable name of IndyCar:

–He’s managed by Pieter Rossi (father of Alexander Rossi, the 2016 Indy 500 winner), but he also gets a lot of help from his mother, Kimmie.

“We call her my ‘momager’ because she’s my mom and my manager,” Robb said. “She has been a huge role in my career because she does things that I’m unable to do as a driver.

“She’s able to play hardball with the contracts, etc., and have my best interest in mind when it comes to negotiating, along with Pieter. He may be someone that has a lot of experience in the series with Alexander, but he may not know what’s best for me. It’s good to have them both on my side, and I can learn a lot from them.”

–His family have been lifelong supporters since go-karting. “It was my mom, my dad, my grandparents on the road every weekend,” he said. “My dad has missed one race in my entire life, and it was because he was in the hospital. So we let him have a pass, and he was still on the phone every 30 minutes making sure that tire pressure was right, engine temp was right, we had the right gear on the car, etc.”

–Robb graduated high school a year early to focus on racing after being home-schooled as a child. “I went to someone’s house actually, and she taught me from the time I was in pre-K through sixth grade,” Robb said. “So in seventh grade I started going to public school, and I hate to say it, but I feel like I stopped learning after that point. But it was OK. I got some social skills, lucky for you guys.”

–He also has a wild story about how he landed his current ride during a random encounter in a trip to the gym (which you can read about here).