INDYCAR Photo by Joe Skibinski

INDYCAR team owner will be honored at Little League World Series

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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.

 

Attention NASCAR teams: IMSA drivers available for Daytona!

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NASCAR will be making its debut on the Daytona International Speedway road course next month, and there’s a big fan who’d like to join the historic weekend.

This fan actually has impressive credentials, too — a few thousand laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile layout that annually plays host to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

In 2014, the winning GTLM team in the sports car endurance classic included IMSA Porsche driver Nick Tandy, who rabidly has followed NASCAR for more than 30 years since growing up in England.

So why not try racing NASCAR? Especially because Tandy has the weekend of Aug. 14-16 free.

He’s not picky, either — offering up his services on Twitter (as well as those of Porsche teammate Earl Bamber) for an ARCA, Xfinity, trucks or Cup ride.

Tandy’s affinity for American stock-car racing runs deep.

His first trip to the World Center of Racing was as a fan attending the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008. During Rolex testing in January, Tandy, 35, said he hadn’t missed a Cup race on TV in 15 years.

Among his favorite NASCAR drivers: the Earnhardts, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. When IMSA ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2014, Tandy stayed a few extra days at the Brickyard and bought Kyle Busch gear for himself and his children.

He briefly took the stage during a NASCAR weekend last October. After IMSA’s season finale at Road Atlanta, Tandy made a few demonstration laps and a burnout in his No. 911 Porsche before the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

He also has some experience in stock cars, having raced Modified-type grass-roots series on England’s quarter-mile short tracks.

Couple that with a Daytona road course record that includes two consecutive podium class finishes (including last Saturday) and a sports car resume with 13 IMSA victories and an overall win in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans … and maybe a NASCAR team should take a look.

And Tandy isn’t the only IMSA driver who likely would be available.

Corvette driver Jordan Taylor, who won the 2017 Rolex 24 overall title with Jeff Gordon as a teammate (and the inspiration for his Rodney Sandstrom persona), also tweeted his availability for the weekend on the high banks.

Sports car veteran Andy Lally, a GTD driver with multiple class wins in the Rolex 24 as well as 38 Cup starts (he was the 2011 rookie of the season in NASCAR’s premier series), also hung out his shingle.

There also is AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth (who just won at Daytona last Saturday), the Englishman who teamed with Kyle Busch at the Rolex 24 in January and made an Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio last year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Many sports car drivers (such as Taylor) already live in Florida, and many are hunkering down in the Sunshine State with IMSA returning to action at Daytona last week and Sebring International Raceway next week. Because of COVID-19-related travel concerns and restrictions, several IMSA stars who live outside the country are riding out the pandemic within a few hours of Daytona with nothing to do.

Why not a weekend at the World Center of Racing?

Over the years, scads of “road-course ringers” (including some Formula One veterans) have tried their hands in stock cars at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

How about considering the many sports car drivers who already have reached victory lane at Daytona by making a few right-hand turns, too?