Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Spencer Pigot to attempt Indy 500 for Rahal-Robbie Buhl joint entry

Leave a comment

Less than a week after revealing his intent to enter a car in the Indianapolis 500, Robbie Buhl’s driver and IndyCar team alliance have been announced for the race.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Citrone/Buhl Autosport will field a Dallara-Honda for Spencer Pigot at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. Pigot, who raced the past three seasons for Ed Carpenter Racing, will race in the GMR Grand Prix on May 9 and attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 on May 24.

Buhl raced in IndyCar from 1993-2004 and had been a partner in Dreyer & Reinbold Racing through 2013. He founded his new team with business partner Robert Citrone, the founder of Discovery Capital Management and the largest minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here’s Thursday’s release from Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing:

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (February 27, 2020) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Spencer Pigot, who made three starts for the team in 2016, will return to RLL in 2020 for the GMR Grand Prix on May 9 and the Indianapolis 500 on May 24 in a Honda-powered car entered by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with Citrone/Buhl Autosport (CBA).

CBA was formed in early 2020 by former Indy car driver Robbie Buhl and his brother and business partner Tom, and Robert Citrone, founder of Discovery Capital Management and the largest minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and his son Nick, a Data Analytics Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Penguins NHL team.  Robbie and Tom own Buhl Sport Detroit, a motorsports marketing company that operates a rallycross team and an advanced driver training program called Teen Street Skills.

Orlando, Florida native Pigot, 26, earned back-to-back championships in 2014 and 2015 in the INDYCAR Ladder Series with his 2014 Pro Mazda championship and 2015 Indy Lights title.  He made his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut with RLL in 2016 in the St. Petersburg season opener and also competed in the INDYCAR Grand Prix and Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the team. He made an additional seven starts for Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) that year and joined ECR fulltime from 2017-2019 with a career best start of third place at the 2019 Indy 500 and career best finish of second place at Iowa Speedway in 2018.

“I’m very excited to join Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with Citrone/Buhl Autosport for this year’s GMR Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500,” said Pigot. “I ran my first INDYCAR SERIES race and Indy 500 with RLL in 2016 so it will be nice to return to a team with some familiar faces. I can’t thank everyone at RLL and Citrone/Buhl Autosport enough for their efforts in putting this deal together and the opportunity to compete in another Indy 500. I can’t wait for May!”

The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with Citrone/Buhl Autosport entry for Spencer Pigot will make its debut on track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 8 for practice for the GMR Grand Prix and will attempt to qualify for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500, which will be held May 24.

Attention NASCAR teams: IMSA drivers available for Daytona!

Ker Robertson/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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?