Tony Stewart/Ray Evernham SRX series announces race format for inaugural season

Superstar Racing Experience format
Superstar Racing Experience
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Superstar Racing Experience, the short-track series started by Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart, announced the race format for its inaugural season Thursday.

The six-race short-track series, which will race on six consecutive Saturday nights starting on June 12 at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, will have its races comprised of three parts: Two 15-minute heat races and a 100-lap feature.

The heats will set the starting lineup for the feature, and points earned in both heats and the feature will help determine the 2021 champion.

The starting grid for the first heat will be set by a random draw among drivers. The second heat will be gridded by inverting the finishing order of the first heat. The results of the second race will set the starting lineup for the main event, which will have unlimited attempts at a green-white-checkered finish.

Each heat winner will receive a maximum of 12 points, descending in one-point increments through the order. The feature winner gets 25 points, second place 22 points, third place 20 points, fourth place 18 points, fifth place 16 points, sixth place 14 points, seventh place 12 points, eighth place 10 points, ninth place eight points, 10th place six points, 11th place four points and 12th place two points.

SRX

“It was very important to come up with a format that would provide the best entertainment to our fans while rewarding the drivers for their performance,” Ray Evernham said in a release. “Every driver has the same opportunity. They’re in a car that’s very different because it’s so universal. It’s a road-course car first, a pretty good dirt car, and just an OK paved oval car. That takes the advantage away from the stock-car guys who run ovals all the time.

“We’ve tried to take the car out of the equation and force these guys to use the skills that we pay to see – how to figure out a new surface, how to figure out a new racetrack, how can they make this car go around using the old-school tools of the steering wheel, the gas pedal and the brake pedal. Driver input is what’s really important with this racecar, and this format accentuates that.”

Said Stewart in a release: “With this format, you not only have to be the fastest driver, but you’ve got to be the smartest driver too. This is going to be a challenge. These are new, purpose-built racecars that none of us have driven before. Every track is so different, and we don’t know how abrasive the pavement tracks are going to be and what kind of grip we’re going to have on the dirt tracks. Even for the local all-stars who have turned thousands of laps at their particular track, they’ll be doing it in a totally different environment. It’s all unpredictable, but that’s what’ll make for great racing and a great fan experience, whether they’re in the grandstands or at home watching on CBS.”

The series also will be racing Knoxville Raceway, Slinger Speedway, Lucas Oil Raceway and Eldora Speedway. The season will conclude July 17 at the Nashville Fairgrounds with each race at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

The SRX series, which is expecting to have a dozen drivers in each race, already has confirmed Tony StewartHelio CastronevesBobby LabontePaul TracyTony Kanaan, Willy T. RibbsBill ElliottErnie Francis Jr.Marco Andretti and Michael Waltrip in its lineup (Formula One veteran Mark Webber, previously announced as an entrant, has bowed out of the series). SRX was co-founded by NASCAR Hall of Famers Stewart and Evernham and was unveiled last July.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”