NTT signs extension as IndyCar title sponsor

IndyCar NTT title sponsor
IndyCar
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INDIANAPOLIS — IndyCar announced a contract extension with NTT at its title sponsor Thursday, a move that solves one of the big financial questions facing Roger Penske in his second year as owner of the series.

NTT is a global technology giant that became title sponsor of the IndyCar Series in 2019. The company has since become the official technology partner of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Brickyard weekend.

“Over the first two years as entitlement sponsor of the series, the dedicated team at NTT has helped IndyCar become more efficient and effective through smart technologies,” said Penske, who became owner of IMS and IndyCar in January 2020. “As our sport continues to grow by connecting with a new generation of fans, NTT helps take us down new roads by creating more engaging experiences through our shared digital platforms.”

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Next on Penske’s to-do list is ironing out a new television contract. The current deal with NBC Sports is in its final season. IndyCar is also courting a third engine manufacturer, which would not enter the series any earlier than the 2023 debut of a new engine.

The new V6 engine will go from 2.2 liters to 2.4 and add approximately 100 horsepower. The twin-turbocharged V-6 will also have hybrid tech for the first time.

“We believe that in every respect the series is growing,” said IndyCar CEO Mark Miles. “I hate talking about being positioned for growth. I like growth. I think it’s happening now. All the metrics are indicating that. More fans are paying more attention, being more engaged with us.”

A critical component is extending the relationship with NTT, a company that helped the relaunch of IndyCar’s mobile app and is working on boosting the data experience for viewers.

“We wanted to get it into the hands of more fans and more users so we started by focusing on access. The previous version was only available on one carrier. We made the app available on all carriers and platforms,” said Eric Clark, NTT Data Services chief digital and strategy officer.

“Then it was a race to put more data into it, more analytics, give more value, make it more compelling for fans who want to download the app and use the app before, during and after the race.”

Clark said app usage is up 30% during live races and downloads have increased globally, with New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Sweden emerging as popular IndyCar markets. Six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon is from New Zealand and the series fields five drivers combined from Australia, Canada and Sweden.

“As we continue this partnership, we are committed to drive more data, analytics, AI, and more compelling use cases into not only the app but also to the fans that are at live race events,” Clark said.

At Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NTT worked with Penske on the 100-foot Pagoda Plaza video board that provides a new viewing experience inside the historic track.

Motocross: Chase Sexton to miss Hangtown after midweek practice crash

Sexton Hangtown practice crash
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Chase Sexton announced on Instagram he will sit out this weekend’s Pro Motocross race at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California after a practice crash on Tuesday left him with a concussion.

Sexton’s crash on Tuesday happened during a test session at Fox Raceway.

“Bummed to make this post but I’ll be sitting out this weekend,” Sexton said. “As you guys saw I had a big one during qualifying at Pala, then another one on Tuesday this week that banged me up pretty good. Nothing broken just need a few days to get back to 100%.”

Despite his crash in the first qualification session in Pala, California, Sexton mounted up for both motos and finished second in each race behind his teammate Jett Lawrence, who was making his Motocross debut and won with a pair of first-place finishes. Sexton padded his SuperMotocross points’ lead over the injured Eli Tomac, who is still second in the combined Supercross and Motocross standings despite missing the SX finale at Salt Lake City and the outdoor opener with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Sexton has an advantage of 78 points over Cooper Webb and cannot give up his SMX lead by missing this round.

At stake, however, is the risk of losing ground to Lawrence in the Pro Motocross championship. Sexton currently trails his teammate by six points and is liable to lose significant ground this weekend.

In addition to his concussion, Sexton has also been diagnosed with mononucleosis and the combination of the two conditions caused the team to make the difficult decision to keep him out of the lineup at Hangtown.

“I’m super-bummed to miss this weekend’s race,” Sexton said in a press release. “I feel like I rode well at Pala, and I was really looking forward to Hangtown because it’s a good track for me. Unfortunately, I was already pretty banged up from my qualifying crash on Saturday, and now with mono and Tuesday’s concussion on top of it, I want to do the right thing and hopefully be back on the track soon.”

A return date for Sexton has not yet been announced.

Other 2023 Injury News

450 riders
Eli Tomac, Achilles tendon | It was just a freak deal
Justin Barcia,
collarbone and shoulder
Jason Anderson, vertebrae
Christian Craig, elbow
Marvin Musquin, wrist
Malcolm Stewart, knee | Signs two-year extension
Aaron Plessinger, hip | returned at Salt Lake City
Dylan Ferrandis, concussion | Will not return until Motocross
Cooper Webb,
concussion | returned at Pala

250 riders
Nate Thrasher, hip
Stilez Robertson, leg
Cameron McAdoo, shoulder
Seth Hammaker, arm and wrist
Austin Forkner, knee | Injury isn’t the hardest part
Jo Shimoda, collarbone | returned at Atlanta
Jalek Swoll, arm | returned at Pala