Simona De Silvestro gets Rocket Pro sponsorship for Indy 500

0 Comments

Simona De Silvestro and Paretta Autosport will have primary sponsorship for the Indy 500 from Rocket Pro TPO, the division of Rocket Mortgage that works with independent mortgage brokers.

De Silvestro will race the No. 16 Chevrolet in a first-of-its-kind Indianapolis 500 entry that will be driven, owned and crewed exclusively by women.

“Having Rocket Pro TPO come onboard as our primary sponsor for this year’s Indy 500 is a perfect partnership,” said Beth Paretta, CEO and team principal of Paretta Autosport in a release. “We are both huge proponents of highlighting the power of women, while also using technology and speed to be the best at what we do.

“I cannot wait for what we will be able to accomplish as a team – both on and off the track.”

The partnership will kick off a multimedia campaign designed to highlight women in mortgage lending by showcasing female leaders who thrive in the industry. The campaign will be named the ‘Rocket Accelerator’.

“It is an honor to be able to use the Indianapolis 500 to highlight and amplify the important role that women play in our industry, in our company and in independent mortgage brokers’ offices all across the country,” said Austin Niemiec, Executive Vice President of Rocket Pro TPO. “Rocket Accelerator will be a central focus of our business as we look to expand opportunities and access for female brokers, while also creating educational programs for the next generation to give them the keys to unlocking their full potential with a robust career.’

De Silvestro’s last full season in IndyCar came in 2013. She finished 17th after starting 24th in that year’s Indy 500. In 2015 she made three starts with Andretti Autosport and finished 19th in the Indy 500.

Paretta Autosport is a new team that will race as an extension of the IndyCar “Race for Equality and Change” announced last July to broaden equality in the sport. The team has a technical alliance with Team Penske.

Paretta Autosport is an initiative to encourage and mentor girls and women to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. The team will incorporate women in key roles: mechanics, engineers, marketing, business operations, and more.

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
0 Comments

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)